Saturday, December 24, 2011

HOLT, FL 32564

Location: BLACKWATER STATE PARK, Holt, FL 32564
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RV: I have been so concerned about getting to California by June and Montana by July,that I've only been wanting to stay a week at the same place before moving onward.  Scott assures me that we can slow down. So we may start staying 2 weeks at a time after our last reservation which is near New Orleans, LA. We'll see.

RV PARK REVIEW:
Dec. 22 - Dec. 29, 2011
BLACKWATER RIVER STATE PARK Holt, FL 32564
$22./day Site #19
Our rating: 4 out of 5 Would revisit.
+Many large/long sites (TiTi loop better sites)
+Full hook ups
+Clean sites with stone or cement
+Daily garbage pickup
+Paved roads
+Dog poopy bags provided
+Lots of walking trails
+Blackwater River walking distance for swimming & canoeing
-Verizon internet so-so
-Verizon cell ok, AT&T cell, no service
+Private sites
Blackwater State Park is a really nice park.  We happen to be on a cement site, which I think is supposed to be handicapped accessible. Although I like the more rustic atmosphere of Ochalocknee State Park, I don't miss the sandy roads & sites.  We were all constantly dragging dirt into the RV.  At this park, we can go out barefoot and not worry about the dirt.
We have had terrible internet connection at both this park & at the last park.  We are starting to wonder if it is a problem with our modem or other equipment.  According to WHEELING IT blogger, Verizon was supposed to be great here.

VIEW:  Although we don't have a beautiful view, at least we are looking into woods. Very thick woods. So it feels private.

There are some nice short trails within the park that go along the river.




FOOD:  We've only been here one day and Scott found a Pet Smart, a Publix and a great Thai Restaurant!  It's called Wasabi House, Authentic Japanese Cuisine.  4797-99 Hwy. 90, Pace, FL 32571  850-994-9068
Scott brought take out home for lunch. Very nice surprise.  We sampled the Thai Red Curry Chicken, the Tom Yum soup, fried rice and vegetable fried rice.
The Red Curry Chicken was EXCELLENT. Some definite heat to it, so I needed a glass of milk to cool my mouth.
The Tom Yum soup is a Thai version of Hot & Sour soup.  Good with some heat, but still prefer Chinese Hot & Sour.
Fried rice, was delicious and moist.
The highlight for me was the vegetable fried rice.  I didn't think it would be much different from their regular fried rice, but boy was I wrong.  Strong flavors that blended beautifully together, with chunks of veggies sauteed and mixed in.
We will be stopping here for dinner one night I'm sure.

CRAFTS: I worked on the Sweet Memories Shrug, on our 3.5 hour drive here.  I am working on the ribbing for the arm. All that is left is to sew together & put an edging on.

PETS: We wonder what the dogs think when we change locations.  When we open the RV for their walk in the morning, do they realize they are in a different place?  They seem to handle it well.  Devin opened the screen door by himself today and went outside.  Scott was outside doing something and saw him.  Scott just acted happy to see him and called Devin in a happy to see you voice. Devin came right over to Scott.  Phew! Devin has been much calmer at this campground. It is so heavily wooded that any wildlife is hidden in the brush.  So even though Devin runs from window to window in the morning to see what he can find running around outside, all is still and Devin stays calm.  That is a really nice change.
This morning it was 48° outside. Great temperature for a nice morning walk.  We walked down to the Blackwater River. Once there, I let Lyla lead the way. When we came to a fork in the path, I just let her go the way she wanted.  She was having a blast! I was somewhat concerned that I may get lost, but I figured I could backtrack if I had to. Lyla gently pulled and guided us along a small lake, over a wooden bridge and lo & behold, she brought us back to the camground! I'm so proud of her.  As soon as we hit the paved road of the campground, she relaxed and let me lead the rest of the way.

BOOKS:  Still reading Messiah. Well worth the read.  Also, listening to Double Dexter.  Both are about serial killers, so sometimes I've been getting the characters mixed up.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Quiet time

Last day at Ochlockonee State Park
Another nice relaxing week.  I am slowing accepting that right now, my life is about ME. I get to watch a lot of TV, I get to read & craft a lot and IT'S OK! I'll take this easy life style. I'm sure when the house gets a buyer, we'll be in for some stress, so I'm enjoying this down time right now.

RV: Modification-Scott finally figured out how to mount the living room TV on an arm that swings. That is one less thing to put away for safety before we travel.  The cabinet for the TV is just thin board and was made to hold the old style heavy TV's on the slide tray. Scott knew this thin board could not handle the stress & weight of the arm and TV. So he reinforced the cabinet with 1x1's and a 3x3 board.  He stained them golden oak and it matches beautifully and the 3x3 board holds the TV & arm with no problem.  Now we have some extra storage behind the TV. Yea! More storage!!!


Storage under & behind



Arrows show added wooden braces

Not much going on at this campground. VERY quiet & VERY dark at night.  We have seen some beautiful night skies without light from surrounding towns interfering.  I haven't seen a sky like this in almost 20 yrs. Scott is into the stars and what they are, etc.  He was showing me the section which is it's own galaxy, and then of course we saw the big dipper, etc.  It looked almost fake, like those glow in the dark stickers you put on the ceiling in a bedroom to imitate the sky. I had bought Scott a telescope a few years back and was so happy that I got something that I knew he wanted. He used it a couple of times, but with the lights from town interfering at home, he lost interest. Down to the basement it went.  We did salvage that before the junk cleaning crew emptied our basement.  No room for the telescope in the RV, so in storage it has gone.  Maybe in the future, we'll find room for it somehow.  This State Park is exactly the kind of place to use the telescope.
There are HUGE pine cones everywhere. They are larger than the size of Scott's hand.  When they fall on the roof of the RV, we just hope they are not doing damage. They make a huge thump when they drop on the roof.
There are also white squirrels here! Some are all white, some are white with a gray streak down their back. I saw one that was all white and when you looked at the tail sticking up, you could see the dark bone through the tail.


We also saw our first and would be nice only poisonous snake. Alive and sunning in the middle of the road where we were walking our dogs.




FOOD:  I drove 15 miles to get to what I thought was the closest "super"market according to GPS.  Ended up it was a a teeny tiny grocery store. The packaged prices were high, but the meats weren't too bad.  I picked up some boneless chicken breasts for $1.79 a pound. Of course, the label stated "USE TODAY OR FREEZE".  Into the freezer it went, since ours is almost empty. We needed butter...$4.09 for a pound.  No 1/2 pounds (2 quarter stick packages) available.  And to think when living in NJ, I used to stock up on butter on sale at $1.99 a pound. That is a sacrifice I'll make to continue our full time lifestyle.
I always like to have fresh broccoli in our fridge. I can eat that steamed or raw. This grocery had broccoli  crowns packaged in plastic wrap. Really, just the crowns, no stem at all...nice! Picked up a package, inspected for age, hmmm, is that a little bit of mold? Yeck! Picked up a different one, same thing and the 3rd, again the same thing. This week, I'll stick with our canned veggies.  Scott goes out the next day and finds an IGA within 5 miles. Geeze!
On the way home, I saw a little Mom & Pop seafood joint. I believe it was called Steven's Seafood.  I decided to surprise Scott with a shrimp basket for him for dinner.  I go in to this tiny place with fold up tables & chairs as the dining room. There are a couple of locals eating there, so it must be ok.  I order our very unhealthy, but local seafood fried dinners. I should have ordered ahead, so I didn't have a chance to look around. While waiting about 25 minutes for our dinner to be ready, I had a chance to look around at all the dusty family pictures displayed. I looked behind the counter and saw a few yellowed sheets of paper hanging on the wall with quaint sayings such as "I can only please one person per day. Today isn't your day", etc.
Then I looked at the wall to wall windows. They had curtains made out of beach towels with shower rings holding them up.  Dust & cobwebs and the top in between every ring and the ceiling. That doesn't mean the kitchen is dirty does it?  Then I looked right above my head in amid the dusty cobwebs is a huge dead(?) cockroach!!!! Oh my gosh! Calm down. Aren't cockroaches difficult to control  in Florida? And, at least it was dead...I think. Well, our whole dinner is fried, so that will kill anything bad in the meal.  Yes, we ate the meal and 2 days later, we feel fine. But, I will not be going back there again.
Now Scott, who seems to have had better luck with not only the grocery store, but a take out dinner, brought home a wonderful bbq sampler.  We had some ribs (fair), some smoked chicken drumsticks (delicious) and some shredded smoked pork (delicious). Their bbq sauce was wonderful...sweet with a little bite.
CRAFTS: I finally have a project that I think I'll be finishing! It's so nice to be using larger needles and fiber again.  I'm working up a shrug out of the yarn I had spun from Ryley, Pillsbury and Lyla's fur.  The combo of light and dark is very nice. This is the pattern I'm knitting. And below is my progress so far. I think it's going to be really nice.

Friday, December 16, 2011

SOPCHOPPY, FL 32358


RV PARK REVIEW:
Dec. 15 - Dec. 22, 2011
OCHLOCKONEE RIVER STATE PARK  Sopchoppy, FL 32358 
$19./day Site #06
Our rating: 4 out of 5 Would revisit.
Arrived here around 3pm on Thursday, 12/15/11. Very small park, but so far we are really enjoying it. Seems to be a very quiet campground.  Only 30 sites total. Not all are RV accessible. This would be a cool place to tent camp.
+Some can fit a large  RV, others are more for pop ups/tenting. Lots of foliage around.
-Sandy sites and roadways.
+Electric & Water. Dump Station
+Verizon internet worked good.
-Verizon cell & AT&T cell no service
+Very quiet campground. 3 miles in from main road.
+Lots of deer & squirrels
+Lots of trails
+River walking distance for canoeing
There are lots of trails right from our site down to the river, or should I say rivers. We are right on the point of the Ochlockonee River and the Dead River.  There are canoe rentals for $7./half day.  Lots of people fishing.

View from RV


PETS: Greeted this morning by a cute little Doxie on the loose. Of course Devin was going nuts in the RV.  I opened the door to say hello, and Devin shot out. The chase was on! Devin chasing the poor little scared Doxie and me chasing the  over excited Devin.  Finally everyone was caught and under control.  Cute Doxie had been loose all morning & the owner couldn't get a hold of her until Devin chased her right into her owner's arms for protection.  Glad I could help!
Speaking of over excited Devin...shouldn't he be calm now?  He turned 1 yr. old yesterday.  Doesn't that mean he's not a puppy anymore? Why does he still act like a puppy? (Yes, just kidding and wishful thinking.)

CRAFTS: I think I need a break from lace weight knitting. I'm hoping it's only a break.  I frogged my previous project, and have been procrastinating starting the next because I hate doing a gauge swatch, but know it must be done.  So last night I decided to begin.  Cast on 55 and do 3 pattern repeats.  I'm using lace weight cotton and calls for #5 needles. That's better than the #2 needles I was using in the frogged project.  I'm also using Knit Picks clear lucite needles.  The problem with them, is you can see through them, so sometimes you get confused seeing the front & back of the stitch.  Ripped back 2x.  Needed my glasses, then needed more light.  The third time I attempted was when I realized, I need better glasses, or maybe my eyes are tired, but I just couldn't read the knitting. Every stitch was a struggle and a question. That's it.  Time for an Aran or Worsted weight yarn with some #7-9 sized needles for a break.  I do fear that my eyesight is getting worse.  I'm not happy about that at all.
I did work on my plastic canvas tote while traveling to this new desitination.  Pretty boring project, but at least not frustrating.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pick up your dog's poop!!!!


VENT: Having two dogs, we really appreciate the campgrounds that not only allow dogs, but provide a dog park and poopy bags.  While walking the dogs today, of course I had to pick up their poop. We always carry our own bags even though there were poop bag stations along the way.  So while getting a bag from the dispenser kindly provided by the campground, right there in front of the poop bag dispenser was a small pile of poop. Geeze! I was so frustrated!!!!! All there needs to be are a couple of complaints and bam, dogs not allowed.  This was right in from of the FREE POOPY BAGS!!!!! So of course, I picked it up.
I will admit that I am very predjudiced about little dog owners. Yes, I am generalizing, so if you are a good, responsible little dog owner, then I'm sorry for throwing you in the same group I'm venting about.
Owners of little dogs usually are very lax in discipline and training of their dogs.
Small dogs should be taught obedience and manners.
The little dogs yip, yip, yip at everything.
The little dogs jump, jump, jump.
The majority of poop I see not picked up are little piles.  A pile whether big or small is still SHIT! and should be picked up!!!!

The larger breed dogs are usually better trained and quieter.  It may be partly because of the type of breed, but it is also because if a large dog is not trained, it can be too much to handle, where a little dog even with bad behavior is "cute", at least the owners think so.  I find it totally annoying and irresponsible!

Little dogs should be TAUGHT/TRAINED to not yip, yip at everything that passes near it's space, which seems to include a wide area.
If a large dog barked (since they don't yip) at every passing being, there would be a complaint put in and possibly the large dog would be considered vicious.
Same rules should apply to the little ones.  Your yip/barking is very annoying and will sometimes get even a well trained dog riled up.
Little dogs should be TAUGHT/TRAINED not to keep jumping on people.  At least keep the little dog under control with a leash. It's just bad manners.  Even a little dog can dirty someone's pants with their dirty paws, or put a run in a woman's stockings, etc.
Large dogs are USUALLY taught to not jump and if not, the owner has a good grip on the leash to prevent the jumping.  Yes, this is not only for good manners, but a large dog jumping can cause more damage also.
And lastly, how difficult is it to pick up your little dog's LITTLE poop??!!!???  Little dog poop is so small, you can just seal the bag and stick it in your pocket if you want.
You would think that the large poops would be left since they are more difficult to pick up in one bagful and then we have to carry this 1/2 - 1  pound bag around with us.
If you are a dog owner, whether a large dog or small, there is a responsiblity with that ownership.
TRAINING, LOVE, CLEAN UP, HEALTH CARE, COMFORTABLE SHELTER.  If you can't fulfill what dog ownership entails, don't get a dog! Visit a friend who has a dog, or borrow your friend's dog to get your dog "fix".
Of course, if you have the time, money, and discipline to be responsible for a dog, then save a dog that needs a home. Go to PETFINDER & search for a dog that would fit nicely into your household & lifestyle. Of course there is the rescues I volunteer for:
ABOVE & BEYOND ENGLISH SETTER RESCUE
ADOPT-A-SETTER, IRISH SETTER RESCUE OF NJ
HAVE-A-HEART GUINEA PIG RESCUE
There are rescues for all kinds of animals and yes, pure bred dogs & cats also.
Research the breed first, so you know what to expect.  My heart is with the older dogs.  They are usually much calmer, and just want you to love them in their final years.

RV: Tomorrow we are leaving to our next stop 3 hrs NW.  We're going to another Florida State Park. We've been very happy with FL State Parks even though there is no sewer.  The sites seem to be close together, but yet, it is still quiet & peaceful.
I can't say I'll miss this River Lodge RV Resort. Not a bad place, just forgettable...that is until a a vehicle stopped us while walking our dogs and asked about our setters. They then pointed to the back of their vehicle and in the crate were two BEAUTIFUL BENCH SETTER 4 month old PUPPIES!!~!!! One orange & one blue. What are the chances of that?? More on that under "pets".

RECREATION: We didn't spend much time outside at this place. Weather was fine, but a lot of "no see ums" which are nasty little gnat sized bugs that BITE!!! Plus this wasn't a very scenic area either.
Today, we did finally take a bicycle ride along the WITHLACOOCHEE BAY TRAIL At the Felburn Park Trailhead.  Paved all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. Very nice ride. Rode about 12 miles total.
Along the ride I saw my first LIVE Armadillo! The only Armadillo I've seen previously was a road kill in Oklahoma years ago.  And then, we saw another one!  I'm not sure what their enemies are, but they sure didn't seem to be fearful of us until we were very close to them. Then they just kinda shuffled into the brush.  They are cute in an ugly-cute kinda way.



At the end of the bike trail was the Gulf of Mexico. Another first! Scott braved, the no see ums, the sand crabs, and the potential for alligators (sign posted), to be the first of us to wade in the Gulf of Mexico. I was content to be the photographer and wait for a more civilized area to test the Gulf.




PETS: Good news & Bad news:  The good news is yeah!, Devin has two young dogs to play with at the dog park that has been empty all week except for us.  The bad news is we're leaving tomorrow.
We did all meet at the dog park in the center of the RV campground. And yes, they all played and got tired out.

What a difference in the personalities of the two puppy siblings.  The female orange belton (like Lyla) is very mellow, while the male black belton is outgoing and playful.

Eventually even the shy female started joining in playing with the group.


We are still amazed at meeting not just 2 English Setters, but 2 BENCH English Setters, & puppies! What fun while it lasted.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Love my life!

I love my life.  Granted, I have a little gin & tonic buzzzzzzz, but it makes me so aware of how lucky we are.
Scott is in his element, making some tomato sauce & searching for new destinations.
We have a change in plans.  Our bedroom TV is in Lady Lake Best Buy for repair. So we have to hang around Florida for another 3 weeks, instead of heading to Louisiana in two weeks.

PETS: The dogs are behaving beautifully. Devin is now more content to spend time with us in the RV. He doesn't need as much exercise as before.  He has actually let me sleep past 7am yesterday! That is HUGE!
I've been training him on a 30' light rope and calling him to me.  He's doing pretty good.  I think at this point he would not run away, BUT, if there was a cat or deer, he would "not hear" us and chase after them.  That is not a chance I'm willing to take.
Scott is doing surprisingly well with riding his bike with Devin along side.
Well, that is until..."ooooooh, at cat!".....
Never fear, all is well.  No one was harmed in taking this photo.

BOOKS: Because I stayed up so late last night FINISHING "Whitney, My Love", I ended up taking a two hour nap today. We were supposed to take a bike ride along the  Withlacoochee Trail, but, hey, who cares? I'm retired and there's tomorrow.
Started "Messiah" by Boris Starling (the author of "Silence of the Lambs").

CRAFTS: The camp Wi-Fi is FAST!!! I've been enjoying surfing RAVELRY for how to possibly make my t-shirts look nicer with a knitted or crocheted collar & sleeves. I have so many t-shirts. That is my main wardrobe and it's not the most flattering, but I like the sayings and dog images on them.

RV: This is our first Christmas in the RV. No big deal.  We stopped with the whole holiday Christmas celebration about 5 yrs. ago.  It got to the point, that if Scott wanted something, he would just buy it, making it very difficult to surprise him with any gifts & the same for me.  So now, really, all the holidays are "just another day"... even our birthdays and anniversaries.  We held out by still insisting on cards for birthdays, etc., but really, why bother.  I KNOW my husband loves me and he KNOWS I love him. It is gift enough to relieve each other of the stress of having to go out to find a card and gift.
Here is our ONLY Christmas decoration.
It's a little (4" high) LED Christmas tree that plugs into the USB port of the computer.  Got it at Big Lots.  Even THAT tree, Devin wanted to get at. We haven't had a Christmas tree for 7 yrs, since we adopted Lyla. Yes, pets as children do change our lives.  The pets are well worth it. Children? I wouldn't know and don't want to find out.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Time

It's amazing how much time we have when free of most of our responsibilities. No house to clean, maintain, no yard to maintain, no job commitments, no children.  I am so thankful that we were able to retire so young (Deb at 53 and Scott at just under 55). I never took my job for granted, as many of the younger employees did. I was thankful I had a good job that was secure with benefits. I worked 32 yrs. for the Post Office in case you weren't aware. 10 of those years was on the midnight shift. But even though I did not hate my job &  did appreciate the job I had, I also resented HAVING to be there 40+ hours a week. The time it took out of my day, my life. It felt like a jail sentence, counting the years, months, days until I would have the freedom to do what I WANTED to do, and not what I HAD to do.

"For disappearing acts, it's hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work."  ~Doug Larson

 I can't say it enough. I am so thankful and lucky to have been able to retire while I hopefully still have a long quality of life ahead.


I'm so happy! I just had to jump up and give hubby a hug.
Weather is great, dogs are well and mostly behaving, haven't heard about any issues with the house in NJ (yet), my husband is happy because he doesn't have to work on the Turnpike, I'm really enjoying the book I'm reading.
 I have TIME to do my crafts, I have TIME to watch a movie, I have TIME  to read,  I have TIME to organize files on the computer, I have TIME to keep up with grooming the dogs, I have TIME to exercise, I have TIME to clean what is needed, I have TIME to explore the country, I have TIME to keep up with this blog.
TIME IS PRECIOUS.
"One must learn a different... sense of time, one that depends more on small amounts than big ones."  ~Sister Mary Paul


RV: I found myself today trying to decide what to do instead of trying to squeeze what needed to be done into the day. Such an odd feeling.  I'm actually now looking for chores to do!  Cleaning of the RV is quite simple. Not much here.  So I'll start working on putting a coat of protectant on the outside little by little.
Scott also is looking for things to do. Don't think for one second we are bored! No way! Just need to give ourselves permission to do things we want instead of chores. To realize it's ok to watch a lot of TV, or knit a lot, or read a lot.

RV MOD: Scott decided to put an outlet in the ceiling of the bedroom. Our RV has the wiring for a 2nd AC unit, but we seem to do just fine with just the one in the living area. We've found that when it gets cold, we need a heater in both the bedroom and the living area. We have a little square ceramic type heater for the bedroom and a flat MICA PANEL HEATER in the living room. These work fine in cooler weather.  When we were in NJ and it was freezing & below, we used the propane RV heat to get up to 66 - 68° degrees and then switch to electric to maintain. But, if I wanted to make coffee in the morning, I had to make sure to turn off the bedroom heater. Not a big deal, but just a nuisance.
Scott wanted me to mention that he used a "heavy duty" extension cord and a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) outlet. I guess that means he knew what he was doing.
Here are the results
The ceiling outlet goes towards the wall and then down the side of the cabinet. See the white female end by the TV. That is where we will plug in our heater (as long as we have 50amp service).

FOOD:  Went into Crystal River & found NATALIA'S PIZZA & PASTA. It wasn't the pizza & pasta that caught my eye, but the Cuban menu! Picked up some Cuban style pork roast...delicious.

CRAFTS: I've caught up with rescue work.
I'm starting a new knit project. THIS  is what I hope to knit.
While traveling in the truck from site to site, I work on crocheting or something else that does not take detailed work. The truck can be quite bumpy at times and I don't want to lose a knit stitch. I'm not experienced enough to correct my dropped stitch easily. So previously I was making Shamrock potholders.
Now I'm working on a plastic canvas project. I'm designing a tote for our plates, utensils, etc when we go to pot luck dinners. Below is the "in progress".
Also, with all this TIME on my hands, I brought out my counted cross stitch that I haven't touched in years. This I do outside at the picnic table with the fabulous bright sunlight. Now that I've aged since last working on it, I not only need glasses, but good, bright, true light.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

INGLIS, FL 34449

Shoulda, coulda, woulda....

RV LIFE: Lesson learned: relax, slow down, enjoy the present.

RV PARK REVIEW:
Dec. 8 - Dec. 15, 2011
RIVER LODGE RV RESORT Inglis, FL 34449
$27./day (w/Good Sam) Site #30
Our rating: 3.5 out of 5 Would return for overnight, or if no where else.
+Free Wi-fi: Excellent speed
+Clean modern bath house & laundry
+Nice sized enclosed dog play area
We are currently at RIVER LODGE RV RESORT. Nice enough place, but not Highlands Hammock! I didn't realize how good I had it until "it's gone". We "shoulda" stayed another week, we "coulda" stayed another week. In hind site we "woulda" stayed another week. I'm done rushing to make it to Canada in July. As the time draws near and we need to rush then, so be it. But for now, I will relax and if we especially like where we are, we'll extend our stay.
I'm not saying this place is not nice.  It's just your typical private RV campground.
At least it's not just an open field. But there is no breath taking view, even though we do have woods behind us.
View from rear window

There are no squirrels running around all day to entertain and and keep our setters on their toes, but there is a seasonal tenant's cat that is free to roam and excite our setter, Devin.
There is a nice fenced in dog area, but sigh, no other large dogs to play with.  There are just a bunch of little yappy dogs, that charge the windows of their motor homes, and bark & growl as I walk our well behaved QUIET dogs around the park.
This park has EXCELLENT free Wi-Fi! It's the fastest since living at home. But, I rather be outside at Highlands Hammock than inside with a quick computer.
There is nothing around here. We are right off Rt. 19 which has just been expanded, so is quite a busy highway.
There's a nice sound barrier wall, that really does a nice job of blocking the traffic view & noise. The greenery that is growing up the wall is pretty cool.  It looks like a Donna Dewberry One-Stroke painting mural.
By the office are a couple of these bushes (below), that I've never seen in NJ.

Nice swimming pool, 2 bathroom/laundry buildings.  Paved roads.
I believe this is a new RV resort and they plan to expand in the future.

FOOD: Our eating habits have changed since RV'ing F/T.
Scott has lost at least 30 pounds, me? well, uh, maybe 3 pounds? I don't get on the scale anymore. All my life I have had to carefully watch what I eat and exercise to keep my weight where it should be. When I hit 50 and stopped dieting, I gained 30-40 pounds!
I'm hoping now that I don't have cookies & ice cream in the RV, that I'll lose weight without really trying.  I've gotten into the habit of having a bowl of cereal for lunch, which does a very nice job of keeping me satisfied until dinner. If I want something sweet, I eat Malt-o-Meal Tootie Fruities, which are very similar to Fruit Loops. If I'm just hungry, I'll eat a bowl of Malt-o-Meal Mini Spooners, which are similar to mini wheat squares.  Good way to squeeze in a glass of milk. This replaces COOKIES & milk.
For a snack at night, I have a glass of milk with chocolate or caramel syrup in it. This replaces a large bowl of ice cream and now I'm getting some more calcium & vitamin D.
We're also more active between bike riding, hiking and HAVING to walk the dogs several times a day.

CURRENTLY READING: I think I'll add this segment as I start a new book.
The last two books I read were true story books.
The Godmother by Richard Smitten.  This was about a really evil, cold woman who moved up to be a powerful Colombian cocain dealer. No regard for life if it got in her way. Interesting.
The Blooding by Joseph Wambaugh. About trying to solve a couple of cold case child murders just when DNA was discovered. This wasn't worth the read.
Whitney, My Love by Judith McNaught. Yes, it is exactly what you think it is. A girly romance and it is set in the 1800's. I needed a break from the sad, but true stories.  I am loving this book! I picked it up at Highlands Hammock book exchange, by the laundry.

PETS: Devin is coming along with his training.  He is not so absorbed with the wildlife that he doesn't listen. After a little whistle, he turns to look at us and we say come and 90% of the time he comes.
He seems to have regressed into more puppy behavior as far as chewing.  He has begun to grab our shoes, chew on the furniture, & counter surf.  He did not do any of this until now. Sigh...another thing to work on.  We'd love to get rid of the crate, but if we want to keep him safe and our RV intact, then he needs to be crated.
Although Devin is more pup than we really wanted, he is still a good dog and has many endearing habits.
See the video below. He loves his squeeky toys!
video
All our pets have transitioned to RV living very well.
Our African Grey Parrot, Swayze who has plucked her feathers for 15 yrs, is actually growing some back now.
Lyla has found her spot
Devin has found his spot
The good news is they have chosen separate chairs, so there is no fighting for the chair, well....
The bad news is, where do we sit????
Devin has also learned how to open the screen door.  He slides the plastic part over and then rests his head on the opening, which in turn pushes the handle down and magic, it's open!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Sebring, FL continued

Our final day at Highlands Hammock State Park. We considered staying a second week, but I said we may need that week to get North for our Alaska trip in July 2012.
Most of our time was spent at the campground.
FOOD: We did go one day food shopping. Never been to a Sweet Bay grocery store. We bought a pound of their broccoli salad. Yum! Broccoli, raisins, bacon, onion, sweet mayo, sunflower seeds. Great combo. Anyone have a recipe, please link it in the comments.
We also went to DON JOSE MEXICAN RESTAURANT. I had done a Google search for eateries in the area. Don Jose received rave reviews.  We went on a Tuesday early evening.  Large restaurant with a large deck for outside eating, with a view of Lake Jackson.
They gave us the typical nacho chips and salsa. The salsa was very good with just a hint of heat to make your lips tingle.
We both started with Black Bean soup.  At first I didn't care much for it. It seemed bland. I'm used to some heavier spicyness to it. But as I continued, it just blossomed in your mouth. Very creamy with bits of cilantro and onion. I would order again.
Scott ordered Salmon that was smothered with tomatoes and zuccini.  He enjoyed it but when he saw my Chicken Fajitas, he wished he'd ordered that. The Fajitas were truly delicious.  The chicken mildly seasons and char cooked nicely. Served with 4 flour tortillas, guacamole, sour cream and tomato salad. I put that all on the tortilla and rolled it up. Wonderful! Served with spanish rice and black beans. The spanish rice was light & almost fluffy which was a nice change from the sticky mess you usually get at mexican restaurants. I left the black beans. They just tasted like they were straight from the can with no seasoning added.
Heaven...I'm, in Heaven! I had the flan for desert. Probably the best I have ever had!!!!! Scott had Tres Leches, which he said was delicious also.
I will be craving that Flan for a loooooong time!
HIKING & BIKING:  Although I preferred staying at the campsite to read & craft, Scott enjoyed exploring the bike trails. My bike is made for long distance road riding, Scott's new bike is for both road & trail. So he took off quite a few times on his own.


On our last day, we both took a bike ride and a hike through a looped trail. What an adventure for such a short hike.  We are used to NJ vegetation and bugs and wildlife.
The Florida vegetation reminds you of Jurassic park. So of course, Scott had to play that up.  First he tells me I'm awful brave for wearing sandals when there are scorpions in Florida! Then he starts with stories of the wild boar in the area. Well pay back's are a you know what.
While I was walking ahead of Scott, I spotted low hanging spider webs connected from tree to tree across our path.  I warned him, but he still was quite stressed. He is somewhat phobic of spiders. Well, my always inventive husband came up with a "web wacker"!
Scott using Palm Frond stem to wack spider webs
But AGAIN, Scott's "eagle eye wife", saved the day. Ahead, just above our heads was a huge spider web. We probably would have been fine passing under, but I just had to point the spider out to Scott. Like I said...pay back's a b____! His reaction was priceless.  He acted as if he was about to throw up or run when I pointed the spider out to him.
Black & Yellow spider 3-3.5" long with dragon fly
Above is what I pointed out to him.  Just a little itty bitty spider who web had captured a dragon fly. Anyone know what kind of spider? Let me know in the comments section.
**UPDATE May 25, 2012: I believe I found out what kind of spider this is! A BANANA SPIDER! I was reading some old posts from BOB AND LINDA'S RV TRAVELS. They were in a hammock forest when they saw the spider. We were also walking through a hammock, when we saw our spider.
Here is a photo of a Banana Spider. From what I read they are pretty harmless, just scary looking.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Miss you

RV: This is the start of our adventure. We have no obligations until our Alaska trip in July. We know where we're headed in general, along the Gulf coast north, then west. But no reservations and no time frames yet.
Very weird feeling, not knowing where we'll be next week.
Also, very weird feeling knowing we not heading back to NJ in the near future. This makes me begin to truly miss my friends.
No evenings eating ice cream, knitting, & getting into laughing fits with the ladies at WHAT'S THE SCOOP.
No evenings knitting at Barnes & Noble, although I do miss the days of meeting at Border's.
No Sundays at Shirley's getting lost in knitting machine instruction.
No relaxing with Petra and drinking wine and letting the stress release.
Other than that, this full time RV lifestyle is quite nice.
Scott & my roles seemed to have changed.  While living in NJ in a stick house, I did most of the cleaning & working around the house.  Scott worked F/T and had a few honey dos, but mainly was able to relax and spend time on his computer while at home.
Now, I'm more relaxed and Scott is working on the "house"/RV.  I refuse to feel guilty about sitting around and knitting or crocheting.
CRAFTS: I find myself playing more games on the computer, I read a book about every 3 days. I'm also finally starting to knit or crochet on a regular basis.
My goal for crafting is to not have any leftover yarn from a project.  I recently made a mobius cape and had about 3/4 skein left.  I made an kerchief and still had yarn left, so then made a summer skull cap.  Have a very small amount left and plan to make a simple necklace with the rest.
COOKING: We've been so busy with Cedar Creek Owners Club rallys, cleaning out the house, visiting my parents, that Scott hasn't really cooked much.  So now he'll be able to renew his hobby of cooking.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

SEBRING, FL 33872

Location: HIGHLANDS HAMMOCK STATE PARKSebring, FL 33872

So this is how our week in a Hammock (The hammocks found in northern Florida contain "the largest numbers of species of trees and shrubs per unit area in the continental United States" Platt and Schwartz 1990:194) began...
Arriving at Highlands Hammock State Park, we were greeting by a friendly creature who wanted to find a new home in our kitchen. Scott was kind enough to gently escort our unwanted guest outside, where he took a rest on our tire rim.

RV: We almost took out our roof AC by a low hanging branch from a LIVE OAK TREE.  Thank goodness for Scott's eagle eye Wife! I don't understand why Scott can't maneuver an RV around a campground and keep a look out above for low branches also.  (Sarcastic remark). Luckily I was doing my part and looking up and screamed STOP!!! If I hadn't, we would have been back to the repair shop. 

RV PARK REVIEW:
Dec. 1-Dec. 8, 2011
HIGHLANDS HAMMOND STATE PARK Sebring, FL 33872 
$24./day
Our rating: 4 out of 5 Would definitely revisit!
+Beautiful setting
+Bathrooms close & clean
+Many trails and bike paths
+Dog poopy bags provided if you ask
-Sites close together
-No sewer (dump station)
We spent this past week at Highlands Hammock State Park.  BEAUTIFUL park.  Here is our view driving into the park.

There are a few paved sites, but most are soil, covered in pine needles.  There is dense wood all around which makes for a beautiful view when the campground is close to empty.
The sites are squished together to fit as many sites in as possible. But this is only a problem on weekends or the busy season. This place packed up full on the weekend. The sites are so close that it looked like we were all one big group together. Come Monday, it was back to the quiet, empty campground we so enjoy.
The bathrooms were modern and clean. There are 2 washers & dryers by the bathrooms with a table for a book exchange.
Here is the view outside our RV on a weekday. Our Irish Setter, Devin is actually in the next site. That is how close they are. Where ever there is a picnic table, that is a site.

The weather was absolutely perfect! If I could have weather like this all year round, I may not miss snow. I'd rather have snow, than hot & humid. But the temps were around 65 to 70 every day.  I spent most of my time outside.
Here's my busy schedule
Devin still gets me up anywhere from 6:30 - 7:00am. I take the dogs for a 45 minute walk and thoroughly enjoy the scenery, the smells, the wildlife.  Deer and squirrels all over the place.
After our walk, I eat breakfast (toast & coffee) at the picnic table and read for an hour.
Then I move to the outdoor recliner chair and have another cup of coffee and read for a couple of hours.
Take the dogs for another walk.
Now an hour or two on the computer "working". Which means doing my volunteer work for Above & Beyond English Setter Rescue. 
Maybe do some crafts in the afternoon. Presently making a plastic canvas tote to carry supplies for the pot luck dinners we enjoy.
Take the dogs for a walk.
Go for a bike ride or hike.
Now time to head inside do more volunteer work on the rescue applications & also web surf.
Dinner
Computer
Read during commercials in bed, while watching TV.
Zzzzzzzzzz......
Very relaxing way of life.


ALTOONA, FL 32702

Love you Mom & Dad

Had an enjoyable 2 weeks with my parents at their Continuing Care Retirement Community. We're only 55 but we seem to fit right in.  I see our future.

RV: We were able to set up our RV right on the community property with 30amp service & water.  We did quite a bit of bicycle riding the short distance to my parent's home, so as not to fill up our black water during our 2 week stay.
A small dog park was right behind our site. The Par 3 (chip & putt) golf course was in front of us.  Below is a photo of a beautiful sunrise over the golf course (thank you Devin).
We also heard this really weird noise quite often. Found out it came from the flock of cranes (I think Sandhill Cranes) in front of our RV in the golf course.

FAMILY & FRIENDS: Pat, our parents dining companion shared her extra credits with us. Between her credits and my parents credits, we were able to eat in the Community dining room almost every night.
We did go to Pizza Hut one night and Scott made his Chunky Pasta Sauce one night. (See July 16, 2011 post)
We enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving dinner in the Community dining room. All you can eat served family style. Ham, Turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing w/sausage, corn, green beans, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and mince meat or pumpkin pie for desert. No cooking and no cleaning up for any of us!!!
My very frugal Dad treated us to a evening of musical entertainment at a local high school.  Great seats close to the stage and very entertaining. It was great to see my father clapping & swaying to the music.
A couple of evenings we played Bingo with other residents.  I won the big final pot of $8.00! We would spend a couple of evening playing Dominos with my parents.

PETS: We took lots of walks around the lake to try to tire Devin out. Most times it didn't work.
Devin & Lyla met my parents' cat, Sandy. Lyla just sniffed, but of course, Devin wanted to play. Sandy wanted no part of it and hid most of the time.
As soon as we'd bring the dogs into our parents' home, my father would jump up to move the cat food.  My father didn't appreciate feeding our large dogs, Sandy's breakfast.
All in all, our dogs were good and we all had a wonderful relaxed two weeks with my parents.

Our Travels