Thursday, January 29, 2009

Manatee Festival in Crystal River

Joe and Marcia suggested that the Manatee Festival in Crystal River would be an interesting outing, so on a sunny, eighty degree Saturday, we drove about 40 miles west of here to the little town of Crystal River.

The Live Oaks and Spanish Moss form an inviting tunnel driving thru Floral City

There were lots of street vendors with crafts, and food and wildlife displays. Many of the local Wildlife preservation groups were there providing education about protecting and preserving our wildlife and state and national parks areas.

A Red-tail or Chicken Hawk gets rehabilitated!

and this Barred Owl is very unconcerned about it all!

The Manatee Conservatory was offering kayaking trips to the Manatee area, but it was a very busy day, so we decided we will return to kayak with the manatees on another day! It was a pleasure just to enjoy the sunshine and warm temps at this small town festival!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thanksgiving in January

Last week was a busy one...there are several birthdays in January so it was decided that we would fry turkeys and have a Thanksgiving in January to celebrate birthdays!

The first bird is dropped!

Joe, Bob and Jim are the turkey fryers!

The crispy, golden finished product!
Then it was time to enjoy the turkeys.....with the dishes prepared by all of our great cooks, we had a feast fit for a king....Dressing, gravy, potatoes, squash, cranberries, and lots of fresh salads!
Happy birthday in January to Leslie, Smokey, Leland and Joe!!
Of course, we don't really need an excuse to get together and is one of the things we do best!
Last week was on the cool a matter of fact, it was downright COLD for four days! We had two nights down to about 25 degrees...brrr... and several days that remained in the fifties all day! But we got through it, and are happy to report that it has been in the upper seventies or eighties for the last five days or so! The warm weather feels so good to the bones! We walk and ride our bikes everyday and there is always something to do. Makes it hard to keep up with the blog! :)
Hugs to everyone!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just another day....

It's Tuesday, January 20, 2009, another Inauguration day in the good 'ole USA. We got up, dressed, and tidied up the MH, as is our usual routine. We picked up the paper from the drive and headed up to the McDonald's in Bushnell to enjoy Sausage, Egg and Cheese McMuffins....2 for $2.00...a bargain! We sat and talked for awhile, enjoying our McMuffins. Of course, it's not Hardee's like in Warsaw, but was 50 degrees this morning here. It's a bit cooler and going to be much colder tonight and for the next two or three days, but it's much warmer than it's all good!
We stopped by to see see Bobbie and Jim for a few minutes, to pick up our chairs and things left there last evening from our Thanksgiving in January Birthday Potluck, and then ended up at Paul and Connie's. We chatted for a good while, until Connie said "I'm hungry...let's go eat!" Imagine that, as eating is one of the things we do best around here. So we mosied on up to The Hayseed in Webster for about the best homemade hamburger around, for $3.65 with fries....another bargain! We continued conversing and solved most of the world's problems by around 2:15 pm.

Paul and Connie Anderson

What a great day, just having good conversation with some fine friends. We plan to play some games again this evening...the gals are on a winning streak so look out...we've got to keep that going!

Hugs to everyone!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Looking back on the train trip from South Bend......

Today is a back to the train trip from South Bend, Indiana to Ashland, Virginia in mid October to be with Kristy while she battled the Bone Marrow Transplant. I left Elkhart/South Bend with great anticipation, hoping to see her win the battle and the war on Leukemia. In retrospect, I certainly wished that I had completed writing this blog when I first arrived in Ashland, as I did not know then what we all know now. But those were busy days, and there was not much time for reflecting on the train trip that I had enjoyed so much. After Kristy's death, I really didn't feel like writing about the trip that started out with so much optimism and enjoyment.

Having said this, today I will recount the train trip on the Twilight, an Amtrak Superliner, that runs daily from Chicago to Washington, DC.

Now, I have always loved the train, and we have taken the train from Fredericksburg to New York City and had such fun on the trips. Once, it snowed about about 14 inches the night before our train trip to NY and what a treat!! Everything was covered in white....Philadelphia and Newark look so pretty when the grime and graffiti are covered in a beautiful layer of fresh white snow!

It was getting quite cold when I left South Bend, but no snow as yet. Bob took me to the station and I boarded the train with two other women... an Amish woman headed to Toledo and a nice South Bend gal named Sue. fun traveling companion!

Sue hadn't been on the train before, so she was a little unsure about enjoying it, but I think she became a convert! We boarded around 9:30 pm and around midnight we were hungry and thirsty, so we found our way down to the lounge and sat talking and sharing a beverage for a good while. It sure makes time fly when you have a good conversationalist to share time with! Sue was on her way to South Carolina to see her daughter and granddaughter. We managed to spend a great deal of time talking and eating during our trip and I felt truly blessed to find a great "train friend" to help pass the time in such an enjoyable manner. Thanks, Sue for sharing your trip with me!
I hadn't been on a "Superliner" before; this was a double decker train, with seating and berths below, and seating, lounges, dining room car and observation rooms above. This made the upper seating very quiet and soothing, as they were large and roomy with fully reclining seats; it made for a truly comfy trip. The conductor indicated that they only run the Superliners in the Mid-West and West, due to the height of the bridges in the Eastern part of the country.

About the time we passed near Toledo, it began to snow. And snow it did, all the way thru the Cumberland Mountains of Maryland.

It was like a winter wonderland.......

Some photos from the observation car of the snowy landscape....

the trees were still showing their bright fall colors and the snow frosted them white...

the little Church in the wildwood.....

a Pennsylvania valley in Fall splendor...

passing the Jefferson Memorial leaving Washington DC...

into Virginia and on to the station in Ashland!!
It was good to be back in ol' Virginia and I was glad to see my brother-in-law, Allen, waiting at the station...but it really was a magical trip for me. It was almost as if time had been suspended for the duration of the trip, and I just knew that all was good and right with the world. It was a good choice to take this train trip home at that time, for many reasons. I'm so grateful I did.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Withlacoochcie Kayaking....

Last week Paul Anderson organized a kayak outing on the Withlacoochie River (not sure what it would be With-out-lacoochie! :) ) so Paul and Connie, Bobbie and Jim, Marcia and Joe, Trisha, and Bob and Molly, took off towards Nobelton to the launching site, about 15 minutes west of Bushnell. It was the perfect day to be on the river...sunny, warm and no wind...just the kind of day this group loves! We all had more than enough wind last winter in the desert!
Below you see our little group in the drop off van.....

Connie and Paul in the rear, Joe and Marcia, Molly, Jim, Bobbie, and Bob....

and Trisha in the navigator's seat....'s Trisha!

Here's most of the group at the launch site........

And here is my best side..... NOT!:) But you can clearly see that the shoulders are in much better shape than last winter!! :) :)

Honestly, I thought that since we were on a RIVER, there should be water skiing....but this little spit of a river would only be a ditch with water in it back at home! But what a lovely river it was! We meandered our way downriver about 5 miles from the drop off point at Hog Island back to Nobelton and spent about 3 hours enjoying the nature and each other's company.

There were lots of turtles sunning along the way.........

here Jim and Bobbie float a spell on the flat smooth water.....

for several miles, we floated four and five abreast down the river, as only this group of happy campers is wont to do!!

The bright blue sky was a welcome backdrop for the day!
The scenery along the Withlacoochie River was lovely.....
and we all had fun paddling and floating down this Florida river!

Arriving back at the Paddler's Pub, we disembarked and shared a nice late afternoon meal in the shade of the live oaks and Spanish Moss. Thanks, Paul, for engineering another great day! :)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Florida Grande

Tuesday rolls around and we've been here a week already...the weather has been absolutely gorgeous....sunny and upper seventies or low eighties....what more can we ask for?? It feels so good to be warm!
Below is a shot of our site...we're in the outer corner and have a huge Live Oak covered with Spanish moss at the far rear of the lot. There is full sunshine all day until around 3:30 PM when the large oak lends a little shade...just about perfect.

Today was "Street Bowling" here at Florida Grande so we mosied on up to watch the happenings. It was a lot of fun!

Below you can see Bob with the group observing the street bowling...which has been affectionately named the "Sewer Bowl" because the bowling takes place on the lane leading into the sewage processing station. Aptly named, I think!

Since the Clubhouse and other amenities are not yet completed here, our fun is mostly "homemade" or created with and where we have any resources. It is amazing just how resourceful people can be!!

It's warm and pleasant, and for this we are very grateful!!

Hugs and safe travels!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Heading South.... :)

We were packed up and ready to pull out from the farm on Sunday evening. Paul and Katie leave for work around O'Dark Thirty, so we got up very early and were dressed to see them off on Monday morning and say goodbye. We will really miss these guys, as well as Bombay, Kahlua and Mudslide, and the horses, pigs and chicks. We've shared so many good dinners and "road trips" with Paul and Katie while we've been here. I will miss the "pitter patter" of "big feet" as they come over each evening!!
They left at 6:40 and we waited just for the sun to begin lightening the sky and we headed down the farm lane also. Sad to leave them, but anxious and excited to be back on the road and headed South to warm temps!!
We had made plans to meet Dee and Jim in Benson, NC for lunch. We hadn't seen them since June at the RV Dreams Rally, so we were looking forward to seeing these nice folks again. They are shopping for their RV and plan to be traveling next year, so it was great fun to hear about their plans.

Jim and Dee in NC

Thanks, for a wonderful lunch, Jim and Dee!
We then traveled on to Walterboro, SC, where we headed to the Wal-mart for our overnight stop. Boy, we were ever surprised to see the Wally World parking lot LOADED with RV snowbirds!

Over 33 RV's in the Camp Wally World lot!

Count us as one of them....on the front left!

It really did look like a campground!! We went in and did our requisite shopping then turned in for a good nights sleep. It was back on the road again by 7:30 AM on Tuesday. We were in Florida by 11:30 and headed straight to Florida Grande. Arriving at Florida Grande in Webster around 3:30 we were delighted to find warm, sunny temps and our place ready and waiting for us!! It's good to be here!!! :)

We met up with Paul and Connie and Bobbie and Jim after we got settled and had a great little visit. We've missed these "desert" buddies!!!

Hugs to everyone!!