Wednesday, December 31, 2008

08 New Year's Eve Catching up

Yea, I am one of those types of people who think you need to tie up things before the end of the year - so you start the new year off clean and clear! That said I have a week's worth of activities and photos to post today. So bear with me and let us begin.

Here are some photos of this wonderful park we are in, Sumter Oaks, in Bushnell, Florida, where the weather has been fantastic being in the 80s most days.

On one side of the park we have mules....there's even a baby mule second from left.

Then on the other side of the park (where Jim and I are parked) there is a pair of Sandhill Cranes who have the run of the park. They walk around freely and everywhere; actually they come walk up quite close to you - it's very special.

The first day we arrived Joe and Marcia brought out The Margarator with Joe's dad, Butch, Paul and Connie joining in.

Connie made a real unusual, but delicious snack. It looks weird but try it for yourself. It's made with a Ritz cracker, spread with peanut butter, add a little chopped onion, yes, onion, and top that with a squirt of catsup, yup, I said ketchup (yes-I had to look at the bottle in the refrigerator for the correct spelling). But when you pop the whole thing in your mouth it is a very, very nice blend of tastes.

One of the nights Joe, Marcia and another couple, Tom and Sharon, took us to a very cute restaurant called Kracker Shack which is located in Werda-Hecamiat RV Park. You pronounce it where-the-heck-am-i-at. Isn't that the cutest thing? It really is a not-so-good-looking shack, but the food is wonderful.

They specialize in fish (all fried, unfortunately) with shrimp, cod, and scallops, along with pork chops, meat loaf and sandwiches. You can get full or half orders at very reasonable prices. Jim had a half order of shrimp which was four huge butterflied shrimp, paid $9.99 with fries and seasoned green beans and he couldn't finish it all. I got the half-order of fish and received three x eight inch pieces of battered cod with pickled beets and fried okra and couldn't finish it either. We WILL go back for sure.

OK, I didn't put in the photos of Webster, Florida's Flea Market, but that's a post all to itself, so I'll to it separately.

Oh, oh, Bob and Molly Pinner arrived in the area yesterday and came over to Paul and Connie and we all visited. I adopted Bob as my Sixth Husband, with Molly's permission - yes, I have been married five times - and we haven't seen the Pinner's since last February in Laughlin, Nevada, where we spent a few days together. It was great to be all together again.

Oh, oh, oh, Smokey and Pam Ridgley just, just pulled into Sumter Oaks. They have been up north in the cold, cold weather and have finally made it to the warmth of Florida.

Boy, are we going to have a great Happy Hour and New Year's Eve party tonight! Heard The Margarator is coming to the party with Joe and Marcia. Too bad I can't drink anymore (elevated liver function) but I might sneak one to celebrate the beginning of 2009.

Well, Happy New Year to all of you. May you be loved and fulfilled all year long. Remember - you are loved!!!!!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008

Merry Christmas from sunny Florida. I hope all of you are spending time with someone who loves you. Here in Bushnell we will have lunch with the other park rvers. It will be a main meal of ham here....I'm bringing two French Apple Crumb Pies....want to come join us?

I'm adding these two photos after the fact, as they were actually taken at the Christmas Dinner....but I wanted them part of the blog.

Last night we had an Chinese gift exchange and it was a lot of fun. It was really hilarious to watch all the wine being "stolen" - liquor was the big favorite and there were about five bottles of wine moving around the room. Jim and I brought a four pack of Kalua White Russians and, boy, was that a hit. Quiet, stable, gray-haired grandmas all of a sudden became commandos on a mission keeping an eye on where the White Russian went so they could steal it when their number was called. Great belly laughs!!!

Need to start baking my pies so I will sign off for now. Enjoy those around you and be happy. Remember - I love you!!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Entering Florida

Thursday we left Helena (I did add some photos to yesterdays post if you want to go back and view them) and drove a long day to Lake City, Florida, and stayed in another of our favorite campgrounds, Oaks n' Pines, also a Passport America park. It sits right off I-75, but it isn't too noisy. They have an enclosed area for the dogs to run around...puppies sure liked that. Didn't take any photos....don't know why....keep forgetting.
Left Lake City and headed down I-75 to Bushnell, arriving about 1pm. We had a wonderful welcoming committee with Joe and Marcia Jones and Paul and Connie Anderson waiting for us at the entrance. Escapees Sumpter Oaks Campground is very pretty and we like it a lot. I'll take more photos today and post them tomorrow.
The weather is perfect; temps from 75-79 degrees, blue skies and gorgeous. I had to change into shorts when we arrived to be comfortable. My bones are finally warming up.
We went into town and bought some groceries and looked around town a bit. We keep having to buy groceries here and there as I have the freezer filled with regional foods we wanted to savour in the future. So we have roasted hot green chiles from New Mexico (there are only mild chiles available in the cans), pork link sausage from Coffeyville that we really liked, then, of course, the shrimp, grouper and red snapper from Gulf Shores, Alabama. So when we want to eat just real food we have to go grocery shopping. Last night we felt like eating tacos so we had to go buy hamburger. Tonight I'm making a Mexican casserole - want to come over and join us for dinner?
Well, I slept in this morning till 9 am, and it is time to get dressed and join the world outside, so I'll say so long for now, and remember - you are loved!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Summerdale, Alabama

Ah, we felt like we were coming home when we arrived in Escapees Rainbow Plantation RV Park in Summerdale, Alabama. It's about 25 miles southeast of Mobile and about 25 miles north of Gulf Shores.

I wanted to go to the beach in Gulf Shores, but when we got there the fog was so thick you couldn't even see 25 feet of the beach and none of the water....very disappointing. I didn't take the camera but it didn't really matter as I have pictures from when we were here last year, before we had this blog. So I get to use those photos now....that's pretty neat.

The rv park is very nice with paved roads and you park on grass. You use to be able to buy deeded property here so there are many houses in the park - many not belonging to members of can do that with deeded property. Some of the houses are set up to have their rvs part of the property. The resulting house structures provide interesting architecture. The rv goes into the area where the car is presently parked. Practical idea.

We did make it to one of our favorite places down here, and that is Billy's Seafood Market. You can get numerous types of shrimp, oysters, and fresh fish. It's basically a wood shack with large tubs, totes or the seafood lined up on a table. Billy's has its own boats so you can't seafood fresher than that. We bought large shrimp, grouper and red snapper and froze it for future use. Billy's gets their own oysters and outside there are mounds and mounds of oyster shells from their shucking...pretty neat!!!

One of the unusual things we found here in the Foley area were strip-mall type structures for various types of doctors. Instead of being housed in the hospital building or something, these strip malls provide easy access from the main drag, park and walk in. There are urologists, dentist, orthopedics, neurologists, opthomology, etc. There are three of them in the area and I think this is a great idea; makes it alot easier to use.

There is also an old-fashioned drug store in Foley called Stacey Rexell Drug that makes you feel you have gone back in time to the 50's. Yes, there is a soda fountain with about seven stools with iron heart shaped backs. They make all the favorites, like phosphates, malts, banana splits and, my all-time favorite, hot fudge sundaes. There is even a working pharmacy in the back. The walls are lined with shelves of dark wood with glass cabinets in front to hold the aspirins, etc. It really is a tourist attraction and you see a lot of grandparents bringing in their grandkids, explaining that this is what a drug store looked like when they were young; and how they use to share a coke with their sweetie buying one soda and two straws---that's so they could legally get closer with their foreheads touching....I remember- I use to do it too!!!

Well, that's it for now. We left Summerdale about 9 am and are now traveling on the infamous I-10. Luckily I-10 in Florida is very well maintained and very smooth. Maybe the shelves in the refrigerator will stay put and everything won't come tumbling out when I open the door tonight.
Happy holidays and remember - you are loved!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Helena, Alabama

Came into Helena, Alabama, south of Birmingham, which sports banners on their light posts as being voted one of America's top 100 towns to live in by Money magazine 2007. All the houses we saw were brick and upscaled. There were many gated communities. Couldn't see any industries, etc. so figure it is kind of a bedroom community for Birmingham. Highly recommend this place if you are in the area.

We found a charming little campground through Passport America there in Helena called Cherokee Campground. It sits on a lake and in times past they had a man-made beach. It was very popular with the locals who came to swim and boat. Then the beach closed down and in what is now the campground was cleared out for dances. They had lights in the trees and sported live bands on weekends. Then in 1985 it became a campground. It is charming with lots of tall trees. I can image how pretty it must be in the summer with all the gree foliage. We had a peaceful night's sleep.

Drove on this morning towards Summerdale in the Mobile area and got here by 3:30 pm We really like Escapees Rainbow Plantation Park and it felt like "coming home" as we drove down through Robertsdale into Summerdale. After checking in we sat outside the rig and relaxed in the 75 degree weather. It sure felt good, as we haven't been able to sit outside for a month in Kansas. Later we drove into Foley and ate at the Shrimp Basket. Tonight they were featuring 25 cent oysters, so we ordered half a dozen. Jim had two and I downed the rest with lemon and hot sauce.... splurping them from the shells. Oh, they were GOOD :) Tomorrow we will visit Tanger Outlet stores and go to Billy's Seafood for fresh shrimp to put in the freezer. Tomorrow for dinner I will make a salad and we'll devour another pound of steamed shrimp ....yummmmmmm!!!

Oh, we called our Escapees friends, Lesle and Bill, who remain in Coffeyville for another week of working at Seems the weather got down to 13 degrees and with the wind-chill factor, it felt like minus 3 degrees. Boy did we leave at the right time. Bill called yesterday to say they have changed their plans of spending winter in Colorado and Arizona and are now going to travel to the southeast instead and will happily will be spending time with us in Bushnell. Snow in LA and Las Vegas, plus minus 19 degrees in Denver helped convince them, along with all our comments about warm Florida. Anyone else want to join us???

Our daughter sent us this photo from Santa Fe - yes, Santa Fe with that much snow. Those are candy canes for curly hair. The snow will probably paralyzed the town as they only have 5 snow plows for the whole city.

I have enjoyed reading Knitting by Anne Bartlett. In it the main character describes a woman as having "a careless propensity for joy". Isn't that lovely? I wrote those words in my sayings memory book; those are words worth remembering and striving to become.

I haven't been able to get to sleep at night - too long sleeping during the day I guess. It's 8:30 pm so I'll try again now. Good night, dear friends and are loved!

Monday, December 15, 2008

On the Road towards Florida

We had enough cold, windy weather and with a two day ice storm predicted for Monday and Tuesday and high wind warning for Sunday, we baled out of Coffeyville Saturday morning when we finished work. We started traveling about 6:30 am and headed for Branson/Hollister, MO to meet up with our Escapees friends, Sandy and Mike Bubar. RV newspaper editor/publisher, Nick Russell says that he tries to keep a state between him and a relative, but thinks nothing of traveling 200 miles to have lunch with an fellow rv friend. That's kind of what we did, traveled 173 miles to have dinner with the Bubars and left the next morning.

Sandy fixed us a great breakfast of biscuits and sausage gravy with scrambled eggs and fried potatoes. We had been up 34 straight hours, so we did get a 3 hour nap then went out for dinner to the Rib Crib - fabulous St. Louis cut pork ribs. Jim and Mike ordered exactly the same dinner including sides (ribs, brisket, onion rings and baked beans), as did Sandy and I (ribs, fried okra and seasoned fries). Do you think we two couples are compatible? You betcha!!!!

After dinner we went to one of those Branson shows - this was the Pressley Family Country Jubilee. These Pressleys were the founders of Branson some 47 years ago and Lloyd Pressley is 84 years old and still plays the bass in the show. Now there are four generations performing in the two hour program which was a mixture of sacred, patriotic, and country music. It was quite good with lots of humor----it felt real good to belly laugh again after 3 months of hard work.

Sunday we took off but took this picture with the Bubars in the clubhouse of the Escapee park there in Hollister. I "pinched "this photo off of the Bubars blog (sorry Sandy) as I haven't downloaded mine from the camera yet.....and I'm posting this from the truck as we are driving down the road (let's hear it for air cards yeaaaaaaaa). We drove through Arkansas and got to Memphis, TN but it got dark while we drove around trying to find a place to stay. The local Walmart had heighth restrictor barrier so that semis couldn't enter and that prevented us from entering also. Semis could only park for two hours and there were security cars and cop cars driving all around. Tried to stay at the Tom Sawyer Mississippi River RV Park in West Memphis, AR but it was pretty barren and office was closed on Sundays. It might be really pretty in the summer with everything green and lush watching the tug boats mosey down the river, but in December there are 4-5 rvs parked there and the land is brown and ugly, so we drove on. Finally parked at Mississippi River RV Park in Memphis, TN with two other rigs and had a good nights sleep. I did wake up a couple of times and although I heard the freeway traffic, I thought "gee it is unusual to be in an rv park right off the freeway and not hear a train"........ till the whistle blew and blew and blew. Yes, indeed, we were back up to the railroad tracks. Oh, well, it is kind of comforting to hear now, we are so use to trains by/in rv parks.
We got off at 9 am this morning and because ice storms were predicted for Memphis this afternoon, figured we'd head south to Mobile/Summerdale, AL to get out of all the bad predicted weather. We'll stay at a Passport America park in Helena, AL tonight (right outside of Birmingham) and make it to Summerdale Escapee Rainbow Park tomorrow. Then I am going to take an extra sleeping pill and tell Jim not to wake me up until I get up and go to sleep and see if I can get caught up from Coffeyville. We really like the Escapee Park in Summerdale and the close proximity to Gulf Shores and the availability of fresh fish and shrimp.
Ok, that is all for today as we are getting close to Birmingham and I need to listen to the TomTom for the final directions. We miss all our friends at home and our rv friends on the road everywhere. Know that you are all thought of often and fondly.
Remember - - - you are loved!!!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Ellie with Annie and other campground pets

This post is for Ellie so her sister can see a photo of Ellie's dog, Annie, taking Ellie for a walk. Yes, that is what I meant to say.
Annie loves to have something in her mouth to carry around - usually a ball. But once Ellie was walking Annie with the obligatory leash on the collar and Annie complained that there was nothing for her to carry in her mouth. So Ellie unclipped the leash and held on to it and gave Annie the handle of the retractable off they went with Annie taking Ellie for a walk.....cute as the dickens!!! You can't help but smile and laugh when you see Ellie and Annie out for their walks.

Here are some other photos of campground pets.

The Blighs have three rescue greyhounds in their fifth wheel.... I admire their dedication to those wonderful animals.

Then there is Joel and Linda with Bruno their beloved Doberman. Very much the gentle giant of the campground.

Then there is Paul and Linda's Newfoundland. You never hear her bark or even growl.

I know I already told you about Sherlock with the blue eyes, but I need to add him in to this conversation of campground pets, just to be fair.

Of course, I have to end up with our two charming fellows, Poncho in the front and Chorizo in the back. They are litter brothers and are six years old. They are great traveling dogs as they fall asleep within minutes of the truck pulling out, and only wake up whenever the truck stops. Unfortunately, they have to be in their crate 11 hours a night, but the young man next door comes and lets them out late in the evening and plays with them a little. It will be nice when we are finished with this workamping job and we can be with them more.

Hope you liked the photos of some of the campground pets. They are all so very well behaved as you hardly ever hear any barking. The pets owners are also very well behaved as they all pick up their pet's "business" and the campground is nicely maintained.

Remember - you are loved!!!!