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Monday, January 31, 2011

Greetings from Sunny Florida

My sympathies to all of you in the frozen north. I feel your pain of the cold weather and all the shoveling you are having to do, but only until the temps here get above 60, it is 58 at this moment.

Not much exciting going on here. Last Thursday Mark and I went to Wally World and had lunch at Hungry Howies, it is a pizza buffet place, not bad and plenty to eat. The ladies were taking a beading class, that is why we were able to get away for a while.

Friday was a day of catching up, in fact I finished a book I was reading, it is on the Nook. I really like that thing, it is easy to read and compact. I believe I have stated this before, Barnes & Noble have free book Fridays and I get all of them some I don’t read others I do, like the one I just finished. It is the “Billy Boyle” series by James R. Benn, the first one was free and I bought the rest. It is a clever marketing scheme, give the first book of a series away free and hook the reader and they buy the rest. I have done that to several authors.

Saturday we went to the beach. The temps were in the low 70s so I thought ok shorts. I was ok until the sun started to get lower in the sky and the temps began to cool as the wind came in off the gulf, I started getting cold. We all began to get cold and went to the car. (There is a coastguard C-130 doing touch and goes at the airport so on the takeoff the plane comes right over our camper, cool.) Anyway here are a couple pictures from the beach.


Life of leisure.

Now a couple pictures of the sunset.


Well one of Sarah, Sharon and Mark.

Now the sunset.

DSCN0653DSCN0655DSCN0656DSCN0658The colors are very vivid, I don’t believe pictures can do justice.

Tonight we go out to eat at the Outback with Mark & Sharon, Bobbi and Coco folks we have met through Mark & Sharon. We are celebrating Sarah and my 35th wedding anniversary. I know, most of you will wonder how she has put up with me over the years, must be my charm. I really believe it is because she was very patient and tolerant of my miscomings, times when I wasn’t home for whatever reason and Sarah IS very patient with me, I am amazed and very happy she has this ability. So I hope the next 35 years will be smoother but just as good as the next 35 years. Sarah, you have made the last 35 years go by smoothly and without you we wouldn’t be where we are today, I love you.

Dreams Do Come True

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lazy Days in Sarasota

Sunday, Larry and Kathy left bright and early. They were hoping to get with in an hour or two of Mobile, AL. Their plan was to visit the USS Alabama in Mobile and Larry wanted to catch some of the Bears game on TV.

For us it was church, lunch at Perkins and home to watch the Bears and Packers. Mark came over to watch the games with me and Sarah went over to his place to visit with Sharon and watch movies. Mark and I watched both games, we were disappointed the Bears lost but it should be a pretty super bowl.

Today we did not do much except stay at the camper, except for two walks for Sarah and I and a bike ride for me with Mark, we stayed in the camper. I worked on the computer, trying to reload Family Tree Maker and reserving a couple of camp sites in South Dakota and Wisconsin.

I was able to get all my tasks accomplished Monday, Family Tree Maker wouldn’t load because it wanted a .net file, I found somehow the file was turned off. We have reservations for SD in May when Daniel and family are there and for the month of August in WI to be with Robert and family. Not sure yet where we will be other than those places, I figure Kansas City will be one place we will spend a week or so in June. This year we will be in the Midwest for the summer and next year the plan is to go out west and the northwest.

Yesterday I went for a bike ride with Mark, came home got a couple things done on the computer, then we decided to go to a movie. Mark and Sharon picked us up at 12:30, the movie was at the Parkway 8 theatre, Secretariat, I know the movie has been out for quite some time now but I wasn’t a top priority of mine. The movie cost a whole $2 each but if you buy anything at the concession stand it will cost a bundle, we didn’t buy anything. I didn’t know if I would enjoy the movie or not but I did enjoy it. Everyone knows how the movie ends but the details leading up to winning the triple crown make a good story. So if, by chance, you haven’t seen it yet do so, it is worth the time.

After the movie I was high jacked by an ice cream shop, I had some gelato, very good. Then we went back to Mark and Sharon’s to play hearts. If you have never played hearts, the object is to accumulate all the hearts and the queen of spades or none of them at all. It was the guys against the gals, Sarah had never played hearts before, at least that is what she said. So I dealt the first hand and wouldn’t you know Sarah ran the table to shoot the moon, meaning she took all the cards, hearts and queen of spades. When that happens the opponents get 26 points and you get none. The team reaching 100 first loses. Anyway, long story short, we lost 3 games to 2. Oh well we figure we’ll them the nest time.

There were severe thunderstorms in the area last night, it rained quite hard while we were playing cards, I kept going over and over in mind to try and remember if we failed to close any windows. When we got home we found we hadn’t forgotten any.

That’s about it for now, remember

Dreams Do Come True

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Sarasota, Naples, Dog Track

Today is Saturday already, where did the week go? Larry and Kathy arrived last Saturday and are scheduled to leave tomorrow. This week has gone by way to fast.

We have done something almost everyday except Thursday when we just sat, the weather was great and we decided we weren’t going anywhere or do anything.

What we did do was we went to O'Leary's Tiki Bar and Grill for lunch one day. They have good food but I like it because it is on the bay and you can sit outside and eat. Then we walked around the bay. DSCN0568 As I have stated before there are some very nice boats docked in the bay. This area has walking paths where you can walk, observe the boat in the bay and those which are docked. The path is one half mile and is marked in quarter mile increments so you know how far you have walked. There is a children’s playground and benches everywhere to sit and read, think or just watch the people and believe me watching the people there can be very entertaining.

There is a fountain

DSCN0540showing dolphins coming up out of the water. It was donated by a company who has a restaurant on the bay.

The other interesting item in this area is the statue of the sailor kissing the nurse at the end of WWII. DSCN0561This sculpture was done by J. Seward Johnson and purchased for the city by Jack Curran and with the help of the veterans organizations in town was able to donate the sculpture to the city and place it where it is today. It is fun to watch all the people having their picture taken by the sculpture and even more fun to see how many look up the skirt.

Wednesday we went to visit our cousin Kurt Hoenig, he lives in Naples and is a realtor. So if you are planning on buying property in FL give him a call he can sell anywhere in the state. None of us had ever been to Naples but with the help of Samantha, Larry’s GPS system we were able to easily find Handsome Harry’s restaurant where Kurt was saving a table for us. We had a great lunch and conversation but after two hours it was time to walk off lunch. So we walked out to the beach. It was fabulous, the blue of the water, the whiteness of the sand and the sound of the surf coming ashore. There is a pier located here, the original was built in the late 1800’s but was destroyed by a hurricane. It was rebuilt by a local resident for the public use of the town. There is a snack shop about half way out on the pier, the pier is probably two hundred yards long. Fishing is allowed off the pier without a license, fish cleaning stations are located at the mid point and the end of the pier.

DSCN0584Yours truly.

DSCN0597A view of the beach from the pier.

DSCN0599Looking back to the shore from the end of the pier. DSCN0604The group, L to R, me, Sarah, Larry, Kurt and Kathy.DSCN0609Another shot of the gulf and the shoreline.

We capped off the day by going to Killian’s Chocolates and Ice Cream, we each had some ice cream and it was delicious. We had a great time visiting with Kurt and seeing where he lives.

Yesterday Kathy and Larry went to the Ringling Museum, we didn’t go because we had already gone and I didn’t want to spend the money. Sarah and I hung around the camper and did nothing, I love this life.

About five we were in the mood to find a place to have supper and decided to go to the Sarasota Kennel dog track to see what they had to offer. I thought it was a casino with slots etc. but all they had there was the dog track and poker. The dog races were to begin at 7:30 so we decided to eat in the Hungry Hounds CafĂ©, Kathy had a chili dog and her review of it was “not good”, the rest of us liked our meals. So we are wondering what happens to the dogs who come in last. Any ideas?

We stayed for all 12 races and had a great time. We went to the same window for betting and winnings, the lady helped us with the lingo etc. On the first race, we not knowing any better, placed our bets and the #3 dog came in first, Kathy had bet on it, but when she went to claim her $2.60 winnings, we bet big all night, the ticket came up with no winnings. On further examination of the ticket Kathy had bet on the #3 dog at the Naples track. So we had our first lesson in betting at the track, always look at the ticket you get. At this track you can place bets at 14 other tracks therefore it is important you say the track name when you place your bet. We learned in placing a bet there to say, name of track, dollar amount to bet, what type of bet, win-place or show, and dog number. We all won occasionally, Larry was putting his winnings in one pocket and paying out of another pocket, he was up $40 or so by the 12th race. I won $7+ a couple of times and $11+ a couple of times so I figured I was up a couple of dollars. So on the 12th race we wanted to end with a bang, the cashier was telling us all night we should play the Quenelle because you can win big money. Also, she had told us that any dog having the name beginning with Boc usually placed. So the 12th had two dogs with Boc in the name. We bet $24 on 4-7-5 dogs and 4-7-8 came in the money. It paid $43 according to the board. You would have thought we won the lottery, this win put us in the black for the evening. We went to the window to cash in and discovered we were wrong. We didn’t win the $43 like we thought but $172 because we had bet 4 $6 tickets, we needed to multiply the $43 by 4. Well, now you would thought we won the Irish Sweepstakes, this definitely put us in a winning position for the night. Tony, aka Kathy, had the program and was figuring the which dogs we should bet on, she was correct the majority of the night. We had a good time and may do it again.

Today we are relaxing, it is cold outside 52 degrees right now at noon. We are just going to hang out for the day.

Dreams Do Come True

Friday, January 14, 2011

RV Show and Good Times

This week has flown by, well actually the last few weeks have flown by and we are enjoying every minute of it.
Mark and Sharon had a guest over the weekend, Joyce Herman Brockway, I hadn’t see her since high school. We had a good visit getting reacquainted over the couple of days she spent with Mark and Sharon.
Sunday we went to the Sarasota Jungle Gardens, they have a reptile house and a few penned up alligators and a crocodile, but the most interesting species are the birds, parrots and flamingos. We listened to a talk about different parrots and cockatoos.
These birds did some tricks and were enjoyable to watch.
We then walked around the gardens. The price of $14 each to get in I thought was a bit steep because the gardens, in my opinion need some work. The big attraction are the flamingos,
For a price you can buy a bag of food to feed the flamingos with and there was a little boy who would put food in his hand and when the flamingo would try to take it out of his hand he would drop the food. It was fun to watch him. Then it was time for the daily feeding,
It was an interesting day but as I said I wasn’t that impressed but I am glad I went to see it. Here are a couple more pictures form the gardens.
It was a good day.
Wednesday Sarah and I went to the movie to see "Life as We Know it". It was pretty good, something to do on a cold day.
Thursday was the RV Show at Tampa at the State Fairgrounds. This is the biggest or one of the biggest RV shows in the country. We left about 9:30, Mark drove, and got there about 10:45. I had a couple goals for the day, I knew Howard and Linda Payne were going to be there to meet and greet RV-Dreamers, I wanted to say hi. Sarah and I met them about five years ago in Des Moines and then we saw them at their first rally in Branson, MO. My second goal was to see what was new in the fifth wheel industry and look at some motorhomes.
We got to see Linda and Howard, we had a nice visit and enjoyed talking with them. Then we got something to eat, not good, the food left a lot to be desired. Then we went into one of the buildings where vendors had booths set up, we picked up a lot of stuff. I bought a pair of shorts and Sarah bought grill of some sort for the top of the stove. Mark and I found the motorhomes, a million to two million dollars apiece, they were nice but I don't believe I would be able to afford the insurance on one.
I have to say after looking at the New Excels and other makes and models, I am very happy with what we have. This unit is everythnig we want and need. We love our unit.It was a long day but I  enjoyed every minute of it.
We closed out the day with dinner at Cracker Barrel, good food, good company and we enjoyed all of it.
Dreams Do Come True

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Isn’t Life Great

What a life, we are having a great time and enjoying every minute of it. The weather has been good, we had rain the other night and that is all the rain we have had so far. It has been 50/50 for sun or clouds  but I have not used the furnace at all. I have turned the heat pump on and it runs some but not much. Have I said I love this life?

We got the truck back Wednesday, it seems some o-rings were bad which did not allow enough oil pressure to build for the fuel to get to the injectors, or something like that. The truck seems to run a bit quieter than before, so time will tell if that was the problem, it did get rid of the “no start” problem.

Went to Hungry Howie’s Pizza place Thursday night, $5.99 for a buffet, not a bad price and the pizza was pretty good also. I ate to much as usual.

Yesterday, Sarah and I went to the VA Clinic so I could get my flu shot. I know I should have gotten it before now but there just didn’t seem to be time. Anyway, I go in and give them my VA card and they say I am not in there system. I tell them that is correct my home base is Iowa and all I want is a flu shot. They take some information from me and ask us to take a seat. Forty five minutes later I go up to the counter and ask when I would be seen, the said “Oh, have a seat with Jim”, fifteen minutes late Jim is done typing something into the computer and puts my name and SSN and a couple of other pieces of information and says, you aren’t in our system. I know, I said, all I want is a flu shot. Jim calls someone and asks them to do a “hick” and it prints to Jim’s printer, he gives me the paper and says go up stairs and see if they can give me the shot, even though the clinic doesn’t begin until 1:30, it is now 12:15. I go upstairs and explain all I want is a flu shot and the receptionist asks one of the nurses, she says she is on lunch, she goes into a back room and I could hear her explaining what I want and one of the men says he will take care of me. I don’t remember his name, he was a navy medic and now he is an LPN with the VA, he gives me the  shot and we are on our way.

Now this took about an hour and a half, I could have gotten my shot when Sarah got hers but I didn’t want to spend 10 minutes filling out the questionnaire they wanted me to fill out and Medicare would have paid for it. But I really didn’t have anything else to do and I got my name in their system if I need to go back to them.

Last night we went to Mark and Sharon’s and played the game Sequence, we had a great time, I don’t remember who won the most games, guys or gals, but we had fun. I do need to find the larger mat so the cards are easier to see.

Today I went to get on my bike to go for a ride with Mark and the rear tire was flat. Now contrary to some people, there is not weight limit on the tires, the tube had a hole in it. I had to go to a bike shop to get a new tube because the number on the tub didn’t give me any help on what I needed. I bought two tubes one for now and one for the a future need. I fixed the tire and Sarah and I went bike riding.

As I stated before we have a alligator in the lake behind us here is a picture of it. I believe it is waiting for the bird eggs to hatch and then he/she will have a nice meal.


I need a stronger telephoto lens but alligator is laying between the tall grass and the branches are.

Well, that’s all for today more later.

Dreams Do Come True.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


I have been remiss in my writing, my only excuse is we have been kept busy seeing the sights with Mark and Sharon, Mark is a life time friend who lived next door to me when we were younger.

I will now catch up on all that has happened.

We had an uneventful trip from Louisiana. We left on Dec 28 our first stop was Azalea Acres RV Park in Robertsdale, AL. The park was relatively easy to find my GPS lead us right to it. The owners took a big field and turned it into an RV park. They have a few cement slabs everything else is grass. There is a comfortable amount of space between camp sites so you don’t feel claustrophobic. The owners and camp host were very friendly and accomodating. We only stayed one night but if we needed a spot and were in the area I would most likely stay there again. This is a Passport America park so $14 for the night was nice.

Wednesday found us on the road to Lake City, FL and Oaks ‘N Pines RV Park. Now this park was the opposite of Azalea Acres. Where the night before we were a mile or two from the interstate, Oaks ‘N Pines was right next to the interstate. The sites were quite tight, had I put the awning down it would have been close to touching the camper next to us. This is basically a no frills park set up mostly for short term stays and at $38 per night it is not a cheap park. The owners were very friendly but the interestate noise is quite heavy.

We arrived at Sarasota Lakes RV Resort, Sarasota, FL Thursday about 2 pm. This is one time I did not listen to the GPS our friends had given us directions to the entrance of the park which was different from what the GPS wanted me to do. Anyway, we made it just fine and got checked in. My friend Mark, we lived next door to each other as we were growing up, he and his wife Sharon met us at the office.



Mark led me back to the campsite. The road is narrow, all one way streets, one vehicle wide.


As you can see not a lot of room to manuver.


Our camper is across from the yellow truck. Lucky for me the yellow truck was not home when I was trying to back into the site. The fifth wheel is just shy of 38’ and the F550 is quite long so all of that made for an interesting time. I have concluded that with backing into this site and my brother in laws driveway I should be able to back in to most campsites, we’ll see.We have a view of a lake out our back window, which is nice, it beats looking into another camper.

This park is well maintained and has quite a few things going on for activities etc, but I am not one who wants to go to the same place every year, that is why there are wheels under me.

Mark and Sharon have kept us busy since we arrived, we have had lunch down on the Bay, drove over to Longbow Key, had breakfast at the Blue Dolphin off of Armand Circle among other things. Friday night we went to the beach to watch the last sunset of 2010;


I was very nice, I had hoped the clouds would get red after the sun set but no such luck.

Thursday after we got the camper situated the way I wanted it, I unhooked the truck and parked it but after I shut it off I discovered the tail end was in the road by a few inches, so I went to move it and it wouldn’t start. I tried several times that afternoon with no luck. Needless to say I was not a happy camper, I decided to wait until the next day to see if it would start. Friday morning the truck started, so Mark and I took it to get fuel, it wouldn’t start when we wanted to leave. Long story short I called Coach Net, they had a towing company take it to Sarasota Ford and that is where it is at today, I am waiting for a call telling me it is done. Hopefully we will get it back today. The problem had something to do with some type of oil pressure needed to make the injectors work otherwise the engine will crank as if it wants to start but isn’t getting any fuel.

All in all I like our site, we do have an alligator in the lake behind us, I saw it yesterday sunning itself, I will try to get a picture of it.

That about takes care of our trials and tribulations so far, we are having a good time and enjoying ourselves.

Dreams Do Come True.