Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Port St. Lucie, FL

We arrived at Port St. Lucie on November 15, this is where we will spend the winter.  Our campground, Port St. Lucie RV Resort, is small with 117 sites, clubhouse, pool and laundry.  But we are right in town with Hwy 1 only 1 block from us and all the shopping you could want.  The park is tucked in behind a storage unit facility and a shopping center making it rather private.  You really wouldn't know it was here if you weren't looking for it.


 Across the road is a nice development with sidewalks that lead to a park that goes around a lake which is perfect for walking and riding bikes.  We were lucky to get a spot in this area, The Treasure Coast, is very popular being right on the coast and so far the weather has been great.  I was put on a waiting list as folks book a year in advance!  Our site is on a corner with a very large tree and we get afternoon sun near the front of the rig.



 Mark has wanted a popup shelter for a while to park his bike under so we scored one at Sam's Club
with side curtains.   Well we put it up, set up the chairs and tables and voila...a wonderful outside living room. The first week the evenings were chilly so we turned on our outside propane heater, dropped the side panels and we were toasty warm.  Needless to say the bike is not parked under it!

We made friends with a couple from Quebec, Pierre and Ann, and they ride a motorcycle.  So after Thanksgiving we hooked up with Bill (we met him at Fontaineblue State Park in New Orleans) who was spending the holiday with his sister in Jupiter and planned a ride.  Pierre and Ann joined us for a nice ride of the area as Bill knew his way around.  We rode the A1A  down the coast to Juno Beach where we watched windsurfers play in the waves.  Then we visited a Marina checking out the huge yachts seeing how the other half lives.  Lunch was enjoyed in Jupiter by the water front.


Thanks Bill for a wonderful day!

================

Our next adventure took us to Daytona Beach for our nephew Randall's graduation from Palmer Chiropractic College.  We stayed at the Dream Inn where Marks brother and wife (Lynn and Susan) were staying.  It was a small hotel with that old time feel.  We had a slider door that opened to a patio that looked right out to the beach, it doesn't get any better than that.  

Daytona Beach is one of the last beaches that you can drive your car on which of course I had to do!


Annelien's parents Christo and Alida and brother Andre flew in from CA.  It's hard to believe that it was two years ago we spent the holidays with them in CA. We all had a great time playing miniature golf in the afternoon.  That night for dinner we went to a wonderful German restaurant complete with a band that provided great entertainment.  


Lots of beer, sauerkraut and sausages for everyone!

The next day was the one Randall had been waiting for......Graduation!!!

This is a post that he made to Facebook that morning and it brought tears to everyone's eyes.


Today, after a very long road, I graduate Palmer College-FL as a doctor of chiropractic.
I want to thank all of my friends, family, and Class 144 for the most memorable experience of a lifetime; countless hours studying, infinite class memories, boards stress, but making lifelong friends and colleagues throughout the process. Also, thank you Annelien Williamson for supporting me every step of the way; without you I would not have been able to achieve such an accomplishment.
I know my Grandpa, Dr. Ray Williamson, DC would be proud and I really look forward to this path and a new chapter as a physician.

          We all know Ray was looking down on Randall as he graduated and was so very proud of him.


                                  You did it Randall and we all couldn't be happier for you!!!  

                                                                   ++++++++++++++++

                                              There were some visitors to the park one day.


Sandhill Cranes.
These birds are large and tall weighing any where from 9-14 lbs, standing 2.5 to 4 feet with a wing span of 5 to 7.5 feet.  Everybody had their cameras out taking pictures and the birds just looked at us with an expression like "what are you looking at!"

===============

Originally we had talked about spending the winter around Lake Okeechobee so we decided it would be a good motorcycle ride to check out the area.  Our friends Pierre and Ann came along for the adventure.  Not to far out of the city there are lots of farms and orange groves.  It was nice to be back in the county, then our route took us down this wonderful tree covered road.\ It was the highlight of the ride.


We weren't impressed with Lake Okeechobee but if you were a fisherman than it is a good location.  This is why we like to explore areas nearby for future reference.  We stopped in Indiantown for lunch and then headed home.  It was a nice day to be on the bikes.

--------------------------------------------

Pierre and Ann were flying back home to Quebec for the holidays so we took them to the airport in West Palm Beach then did some looking around. Trip Advisor told me to check out Clematis street which is the main road through the heart of the downtown area.  The road ends up at the park where the sand tree is every year.  We had been hearing about this on the news and I will say it was very impressive.  


    Across from this park is the intercoastal waterway complete with huge and I mean huge yachts. 


OMG our jaws dropped as we walked along the marina.  The above yacht is 190" long and you can charter it for a week at the cost of $300,000 plus expenses!!!  Were not in Kansas anymore Toto, so this is how the other half lives.  The monthly dock rent is around $3,500.  West Palm is high dollar so we didn't even check out any campgrounds knowing we probably couldn't afford to stay.  We are only an hour north so we can come visit anytime.

======================

The spot next to us in the campground has been vacant as the park doesn't really fill up til after the holidays.  So we have been parking my truck there, well we came home and there was a trailer setup.  It was a nice young couple, Roger and Kate, and they have been fulltiming for 3.5 months.  They sold everything and hit the road.  It was very refreshing to see this young couple living life outside the box.  We hit it right off and became fast friends.  They like beer, we like beer so we visited 2 breweries having a great time.  The next morning it was decided that 1 brewery would have been a better idea.


A good time was had by all and we will stay in touch.  They are moving an hour north of us to do some boondocking and we will visit them at their new location.  


Roger writes a blog Rolling with Grass and I have added a link to it on my blog list.

=============================

Our grandson Reed and his mom were in Flagler Beach so we made plans to met them at the zoo in Melbourne.


Reed was most fascinated by the monkeys.


Just look at those beautiful blue eyes.  
We were so happy to spend so time with him and his mother.

====================

Well that sums up the year for us.
  Mark became a certified RV Technician, we white water rafted, walked the Appalachian Trail,  climbed Stone Mountain, kayaked with alligators, drank too much on Bourbon Street, traveled through 5 states (Louisiana being our favorite), visited 6 breweries, spent time with old friends and made new ones.  It was a great year and we look forward to what 2015 has in store for us.
As always,
thanks for following our adventures. 

+++++++++++++++++++

Check out my handmade jewelry at my Etsy store by clicking on the link.



























Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pensacola & Tampa Florida

Leaving New Orleans we headed to Avalon Landing RV Park in Milton Florida which is north of Pensacola/Navarre.  Mario and Jeff live in Navarre and own Tiki Jake's in Pensacola and Island Style in Navarre.  Again these crazy guys were our neighbors back in Castle Hayne, NC.  Jeff's sister is part owner in the above campground and we received the family rate, yeah love a discount.


The park was clean, well kept and located on a canal.  We settled in and made plans to get together the next day for the Zombie Ball Fundraiser which is put on by the Kewe of St. Patrick that they belong too.  


All I can say is that a good time was had by all.  We were road killer and the guys were 3 blind mice.  Once again we spent the next day recovering and then we went to dinner at Jeff's parents house.  

On Monday we went to Pensacola beach to do some exploring and meet up with the guys later.  I still say the east coast has the prettiest beaches.


Around cocktail hour we all met at Juana's Pagodas on Navarre beach, this is their second home.


Mark, Rick, Roy, Mario, Jeff and me.
  Cocktails in hand we watched a beautiful sunset show on Navarre beach.




This unfortunately was the last time we seen Mario and Jeff as they had a trade show to attend.  No worries as they will be visiting us in Port St. Lucie this winter.

Wednesday the Blue Angels had a practice at the base and it was open to the public.  What a performance these talented pilots put on.  I took a bunch of pictures but they just don't do justice to them so I suggest you catch one of their shows.  Awesome.

Across from the airfield was the Pensacola Lighthouse.  



Just climb 177 steps up the historic Pensacola Lighthouse & Museum for one of the most beautiful views on the Gulf Coast.
The top of the tower offers stunning views of Pensacola Pass (where Pensacola Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico), three forts, the Pensacola skyline and the historic Navy Yard. The fully restored Keepers' Quarters, built in 1869, is home to a museum and a gift shop.  
We enjoyed a picnic lunch on the beautiful grounds afterwards.  



On Thursday Rick and Roy invited us to a get together that the Krewe of St. Patrick was having at the Pensacola Bay Brewery.  A brewery, were in on that!  It is located south of downtown in a friendly quaint area.  We enjoyed good beer and new friends. 

----------------------

A big shout out to Mario, Jeff, Rick and Roy for making our stay in Pensacola a good one.
We will be back! 

-----------------------

Our next destination was Tampa but it was a longer drive then we like to make so we stayed overnight in Chiefland at the Walmart.  Next day we arrived at Lazydays campground.  


It's a nice campground with pool/hot tub, newspaper and we received meal tickets for breakfast and lunch.  No charge for extra parking which is always a plus for us.  
On Tuesday Mark flew home to take care of some business and pick up his work van.  I have a good college friend that lives in Lakeland who I haven't seen in 4 years so we made plans for the weekend.  Mary Ann spent Friday night with me and we laughed and talked til 4 am.  The next day we went to her house and I spent the night not to return til Sunday evening.  It was wonderful to just hang out like we use to some 28 years ago.

Love you girlfriend.

Mark returned on Tuesday so now we have 3 vehicles and 2 drivers, have to come up with a plan for the final move.  

I am happy to report that while we rode our bikes and walked all over Lazydays RV Center we looked at about a 150 RV's.  There was nothing that we saw that made us want to trade in our rig.  That's a good feeling knowing we made the right decision when purchasing and we are still happy with it 3 1/2 years later.
Another reason we were in Tampa was to attend a RV Trade show put on by one of the suppliers that Mark deals with.  The show was held at the convention center in downtown Tampa.  It was beautiful center located right on the Hillsborough River.


There is a really nice river walk that is a must if you are in the area.  The show ran for 2 days and on the last day we participated in packaging meals for hungry children.  The name of the organization is Feeding Children Everywhere.  There was 3 assembly lines setup and we packaged 6,000 meals for hungry children in the Tampa area.


It felt really good to be a part of this.  Check out their website for a project near you or organize one yourself.  

The last day of the show ended at noon so we hopped on the streetcar, which is directly across from the convention center, and rode to Ybor City.  It is a historic Cuban neighborhood north east of Tampa and is know for cigars and coffee.  We strolled the streets enjoying the smells and scenery on our way to the Columbia Restaurant.  This restaurant is Florida's oldest and largest Spanish restaurant, established in 1905.  


We found the food to be good and at a reasonable price.


This is the dinning room that we ate in and is one of 15.  Every room is just gorgeous!!!  So worth a visit if you are in the area. 

---------------------
So now it is time to make our move south to Port St. Lucie but we had one more stop along the way.  Mark made a contact at the show concerning RV holding tanks.  Now you all know if you own an RV the sensors don't usually work and you may at some time had an odor issue.  This is caused by Struvites, they are rough porous crystals that build up on your tanks and the line below the toilet.  The only way to effectively remove them is a thorough hydro-jet cleaning by a trained professional.  Once the tanks are clean the only thing that will eliminate them forming again is using TankTechsRx probiotic tank treatment.  The closest technician lives in Mims so Mark made an appointment to have our tanks cleaned.  We left the AxleCrutch trailer and the work van at Lazydays and drove to Mims.  The next day the tanks were cleaned and the sensors are now working.  We will only use TankTechsRx in our holding tanks from now on.  This will be a service that Mark will be providing in the future.
The next day we arrived in Port St. Lucie for the winter.  Early the next morning we drove back to Tampa in the Tahoe to pick up the trailer and van.

Wow, we have had a wonderful 2 months of traveling but are both ready to be settled again.  

Thanks for following our adventures!

-----------------------------

Bonnie's Helpful Hints For RV Living

Trying to find a rug that will fit the entrance of the RV is no easy task.  They are too big or too small, so here is how I solved the problem.

Trim the rug to fit and then melt the cut edges with a lighter.  
A custom fit rug!!!

-----------------------------------

Shop early for my custom made jewelry at Wandering Designs on Etsy