Sunset in PV

Sunset in PV

Monday, May 30, 2011

May 20 – 30, 2011 “Jamestown, Yorktown & Williamsburg, VA”


Sensory overload is the phenomenon CC and I are experiencing; so much history in such a small area. We purchased the 7 day pass ($79.95 each) that allowed us to tour all 3 locations at our leisure during the one week period. We could have easily spent more time here, but there is only so much feeble old brains like ours can comprehend and absorb.

Jamestown - In 1607, 13 years before the Pilgrims landed in Massachusetts, a group of 104 English men and boys began a settlement on the banks of Virginia's James River. They were sponsored by the Virginia Company of London, whose stockholders hoped to make a profit from the resources of the New World. The community suffered terrible hardships in its early years, but managed to endure, earning the distinction of being America's first permanent English colony. (As always, click on any image to enlarge.) 

Yorktown - On October 19, 1781, the decisive military campaign of the American Revolution culminated with the British surrender to combined American and French forces under the command of George Washington. The Siege of Yorktown effectively ended the six-year struggle of the Revolutionary War and set the stage for a new government and nation.

The Nelson House is beautifully restored mansion of early Georgian architecture, this was the home of Thomas Nelson, Jr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Governor of Virginia and commander of the Virginia Militia during the siege of Yorktown. The house is mainly made out of bricks that originated from England.

The Yorktown battlefield is about 800 yards from this historic house, where errant British cannonballs still lie embedded in the brick exterior.

Williamsburg, an independent city located on the Virginia Peninsula in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area of Virginia, USA. As of the 2010 Census, the city had an estimated population of 14,068. It is bordered by James City County and York County, and is an independent city. The Bureau of Economic Analysis combines the city of Williamsburg with James City County for statistical purposes.

Originally Middle Plantation, a 1632 fortified settlement located on high ground on the Peninsula between the James and York rivers, it was renamed Williamsburg after the capital of the Virginia Colony was moved there from Jamestown in 1698. The town received a royal charter as a city in 1722, and was the center of political events in Virginia leading to the American Revolution.

The Governors Palace, home to seven royal governors, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson.

Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette, often known by simply Lafayette, played a pivotal role in the Revolutionary War against England. Some historians conclude that he and our Founding Father, George Washington, had a father-son relationship, and it was he, Lafayette, that rode into Williamsburg and announced the Patriots defeat of the British at Yorktown, which was the last major battle of the war.

Every once in a while I see something intriguing; such was the case with this automatic gate closer. Ingenious you say? What else were the early patriots to do with all of the cannon balls after the war ended?

Tomorrow is a travel day as we motor toward Washington, DC, to visit friends and tour the Smithsonian Museum(s). We needed a small break, to allow the swelling of our brains to subside. This full timing is starting to be like work; we must find a happy medium if we are to survive. Otherwise, we may as well go back to work………......................……….NOT!

Until next time, take care, stay well and thanks for dropping by to check on us.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 8 – 19, 2011 “Englewood Beach, FL to Virginia Beach, VA”


After a fantastic visit with Kathi & Obe, we are now northbound to Starke, FL, a distance of 223 miles, where we stayed at the Starke/Gainesville KOA . By the time we arrived and got set up, we were both feeling like our stomachs were scraping our spines, so naturally set out in search of a chow down spot. (WARNING: I AM CHEATING ON THIS POST) Since we have moved so fast, and have been so busy, I am including links to places we’ve seen, and things/tours we’ve taken, as this will greatly enhance the information, and lessen the time it takes to blog about everything we did during this posting. Please click on any of the underlined links to learn more about a specific topic. (As always click on any image to enlarge)

A mere 2 miles up the road was Sonny’s Bar-B-Q where I feasted on $10.99 all you can eat ribs. For those of you unfamiliar with Sonny’s, I can only say,“Thank God I don’t live around one, or I would look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy”. For those of you familiar with, and live close by one of the 150 locations, all I can say is “You lucky chumps”.
Travel day has us motoring toward Savannah, GA,  169 miles to the northeast, where we checked into the Savannah Oaks RV Park.  As soon as we were at home (set up), CC began her due diligence to locate and procure a Tour of Savannah the following day.   Savannah is a beautiful city, and well worth the time and $$$ for admission.

Included with the tour was lunch at Uncle Bubba’s Oyster House. For those of you unfamiliar with Uncle Bubba, he is Paula Dean’s little brother. For those of you unfamiliar with Paula Dean the “Butter Queen”, all I have to say is either you live under a rock and have never dined on Southern Cuisine, or, are a damned Yankee. If the latter is true, it’s not too late for redemption, just head south to Savannah and order up some Shrimp and Grits or Southern Fried Chicken.

Pictured below are Uncle Bubba and Paula Dean.

Another travel day already? It’s off to Charleston, SC, a short jaunt of 107 miles. While in route, the “Change Engine Oil” warning flashed on the dash of the rig, so CC phoned Camping World in Charleston and they were extremely accommodating in getting us in on short notice for an oil change and lube.

This week we are traveling at breakneck speed to meet our friend George aka Jorge, in Myrtle Beach on Sunday, and then hump it on to see CC’s Brother Mike, on Monday, in Virginia Beach. This part of full timing is starting to be like work; hurry to get there and then hurry to get someplace else. But that is part of why we chose this lifestyle, to see family and friends that we haven’t seen in some time. CC reminded me that we can take it easy next week, while George and Mike are working. That’s what I call, “Putting things in perspective”.
While at Camping World, CC spotted a 2011 Winnebago Tour 42QD, and it was REALLY nice, with a floor plan that we both liked, complete with a bath and a half. Will this be the “Ultimate Rig” for us? Time will tell. Exhausted from shopping, (I not CC) departed Camping World to make our home, complete with hammock, at Lake Aire RV Park on the outskits of town.

The following day we were up with the chickens to take in two Tours of Charleston; First the Town Tour, and later that afternoon a tour of Magnolia Plantation. The following is a typical single row home in the historic district.

Beautiful Magnolia Plantation is still owned by the founding family, and has been since 1676.

It is definitely a small world. Today while at the Magnolia Plantation, we overheard two ladies saying they were from Oklahoma. When I asked “where in OK?”, they replied Oklahoma City, and CC chimed in that we (her and I) went to MCHS in OK. The look on their face was priceless, as they responded, “What year did you graduate?” When CC said 1971, they almost fainted, because they too were classmates of ours some 40 years ago at the same high school. Anyway, long story short, Kathy and LeAnn, it was nice seeing you again, and we hope you enjoyed your cruise to the Bahamas. It truly is a small world!
No rest for the weary, and so it is on to Myrtle Beach, SC, 119 miles northeast along the Atlantic coast, where our home is now located at the Briarcliff RV Resort. We need to retire with the chicken tonight, as Jorge will be here manana.

We have known Jorge for almost 20 years and first met him when Jason played lacrosse, and George had an indoor facility the boys played in during the cold winter months in Colorado. As our acquaintance grew, so did our friendship, and in 1997(?) coached a youth lacrosse team to an undefeated season and a State Championship; infamously forever referred to as “Panther B”. Actually, George coached, along with fellow LAX guru Dave, whilst I manned the water bottles. It’s a tough job, but someone had to do it.

We spent the day chatting and catching up on old times and current events of our everyday lives now, and even broke free for lunch at a great little home owned joint called Prosser’s Bar-B-Q in Murrells Inlet, SC. The food was outstanding.
After lunch, a walk on the beach was in order to walk off some of the grub we chowed down. All in all, we had a wonderful visit. Take care buddy!

Up and on the road by 8 am, today we will travel 370 miles. We haven’t driven that far in one day since June 2010; it was mostly an uneventful trip to our home for 3 days at First Landing State Park.
We had just gotten set up around 5:45 pm when Mike called and said dinner was ready. CC set an all time record showering, curling her hair, and applying makeup in less than an hour. We arrived at Mike’s house shortly before 7, and were welcomed with open arms by he, his wife Debra, and young adult children, Travis and Shannon. Debra had a gourmet meal prepared of appetizers and fresh salmon that was perfectly seasoned and cooked, not to rare but still moist and flaky; simply perfect! A couple of us MAY have consumed one too many adult beverages, but we had a fabulous time. This is the incredible view we enjoyed while dining. It just doesn’t get any better than that!

The following day consisted of sailing the Chesapeake Bay with Mike on his sailboat. This is where I let CC take over, and let her give her $0.02 worth on just how the day transpired. Take it away CC, but be nice; he is, after all, your brother. I will only begin by saying “I THINK Mike had a hangover”.
We started off enjoying a little breakfast with Mike at our campsite.  Mike was waiting for the wind to pick up a bit.  The boat was in the “Little River Marina” a short drive from the campsite.  After a short walk on the dock telling us about all his friends and fellow boat captains we boarded his boat named “Second Circle”.  Following a few simple directions from Captain Mike, assisting with backing out of the boat slip we were off.  The weather was beautiful, a few clouds with a slight breeze of 10 to 12 mph.  After motoring out past the no wake zone Mike turned off the motor and raised the sails.  We were moving right along at 7 knots according to the Captain.  The sea was not too choppy for the Captain but for his two land based mates the boat was pitching and rolling.  It was not too bad as long as I stayed up on deck.  The three of us were enjoying the view, the ocean, and the conversation.

We were going to tack back in the other direction so Mike asked me to move forward.  As I moved up to another seat and turned around to face the direction we came from I commented, “Mike did you notice that big dark cloud following us?”  Looking over his shoulder Mike’s demeanor changed.  He turned back to me and said, “Why did you have to find that?”   Mike attempted to keep the light conversation going while analyzing the situation.   We could not outrun the approaching storm and it was too big to go around, so he decides to hit it in its teeth!  Not knowing what to expect I asked, “On a scale from 1 to 10 with 10 being the worse what should I expect?  The First Mate Fester responded, “4”.  Knowing these two I was not reassured.  The Captain lowered the sails with minimal assistance from his two mates.  The wind and the rain were pushing us out and the boat trying to motor back to the marina the Captain commented that the trip back would not be as fast as the trip out.   Our experienced Captain at the helm was trying to look through the rain sailing the boat back into the harbor, waiting for the wind to shift when he looked around and said, “I think it blew over!” Of course I thought it was wishful thinking on his part but there was blue sky over head.  Captain Mike was so excited he was ready to turn around and go back out sailing.  My immediate comment was, “Are you kidding?”  We probably would have turned around and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon on the ocean but the wind stopped which stomped all over Mike’s excitement.  So after a slow leisurely uneventful ride back in to the boat slip we were back at the dock early.  While tying it up and buttoning down the hatches Mike noticed a problem with the bilge pump.  So for the next few hours we enjoyed watching Mike crawl up, over, around and thru the boat trying to fix the problem.  The boys (Captain and First Mate) made a run to the boat parts store and I enjoyed a few minutes listening to the sounds around the marina.  It was a wonderful day of sailing with a little excitement and a little maintenance.  We had a great time.   

After a full (?) day of sailing, it was off to dinner at Captain Groovy’s, a favorite of Mike and Debra's for a little bite to eat.  CC and I split the grilled seafood combo plate of grilled shrimp, flounder and crab cakes, served with rice and vegetables, and it was soooo good. Now I understand why it is one of their favorite places in the area.
The following morning, Mike called, and said he was bringing the kids by to see the rig. Debra was not feeling well, and had a doctors appointment, so she would not be joining us. After a brief tour of the rig, we all headed for the beach for a mid-morning walk.

Needless to say, the kids were relieved to know that Mike had planned on taking us to the Boardwalk in VA Beach, and they were free to come or go. As we would have done at that age, they went, home that is. Again, we had a wonderful visit, and enjoyed the time spent. Mike suggested a place for lunch, the Rockfish Grill, and it did not disappoint. I had the She-Crab Backfin Soup, and it was fantastic.
After a brief walk on the beach as we headed back to the car, I managed to catch brother and sister; all together now, “Ain’t they sweet?”

As they say (who is they?) all good things must come to an end. Mike is an international pilot  for Delta, and he had to go back to work, as he had a flight to London today out of Kennedy, and we are still northbound. With good-bys behind us we fired up Ms. Sol Crucero, and it was off to Williamsburg, VA. Thanks Mike and Debra for a fantastic visit.
Next week we will be touring the Williamsburg, Yorktown, and Jamestown areas. Until next time, take care, stay well, and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

April 25 - May 7, 2011 "Manasota Key, FL"

After a short drive of only 69 miles, we arrived at Homosassa Springs RV Park. After getting checked in and set up, we wanted to explore the area, and right down the road was the State Park, complete with mosquitoes.  I don’t think these guys and gals hardly noticed. (As usual, click on any image to enlarge)

For more information click on the following link for Homosassa State Park.
The park is also a sanctuary, caring for injured animals, as was this Bald Eagle, along with other rehabilitating manatee, owls, foxes, and deer.

While here at the RV park, CC did some laundry, and some provisioning, while I tried to catch up on our budget and finances. That part of life doesn’t change, whether your living this lifestyle or in a stix and brix. Money doesn’t grow on trees; wonder if anyone has reminded Congress of that?
Another short hop of 80 miles, and we were at our new home, the Tampa East RV Resort. These long(?) travel days are really taking their toll on us. HaHa! After check in and set up, CC reminded me that we were only a few miles from Lazy Days, the largest RV distributor in the world; soooo off we were to find our “Ultimate Rig”. Upon arrival at Lazy Days we were asked a few questions, and the receptionist then called for a sales person by the name of Moke to assist us. He was a very nice and friendly young guy, new to the industry, and really worked his tail off, trying to find us exactly what we were looking for in our “Ultimate Rig”. We narrowed it down to a 2007 Tiffin Phaeton 42 footer, with tag axle with a 350 HP Cummins diesel.

We slept on it, and kept coming back to the one thing, well actually two, that we just couldn’t live with; the TV location in the living area, and the possible misconception that I thought the 350 to be a little small for this size of rig. It drove and rode remarkably well on the test drive, but that was in flat Florida, and not in the mountains that seem to now be in our blood, after 30 years of living in Colorado. We could have done the deal for $100K plus our rig as a trade in, but we were not willing to sacrifice what we wanted AND be $$$ lighter in the wallet. We will continue looking; there has to be a rig out there with our name on it.

May 2, 2011 Our One Year Anniversary ; One year ago today, we left our home of 10 years and moved into Ms. Sol Crucero full time. We haven’t killed one another yet, so I guess we’ll keep trying; Happy FT Anniversary CC!
Travel day; a short 75 mile jaunt to the southwest, along the Florida coast, to the beach community of Englewood Beach to visit longtime friends, Kathi and Obie. (Last names withheld to protect the innocent.) The arrival ritual consisted of shots of tequila followed by biting a lime---ooops, forgot to stop and get limes---Cheers anyway! It’s been a long trip for us since leaving Weslaco on March 15. Let’s do another shot!

Bright and early (?) the next morning we walked down to their dock, and were pleasantly surprised at a couple of dolphins chasing mullet off the seawall. Pictures were hard to take, because you never knew just where the dolphins would surface, but it was fun watching them chase the fish, and play with them after they were caught, that is, until it was lunchtime---down the hatch lil’ fishy!

We trekked on down to the Lock & Key for a light lunch; calamari and nachos ala margaritas. A strange combination you say? Both were outstanding, AND we had leftovers. Time for the beach, and a few more margaritas; I think we were all ready for bed as midnight approached. Manana is a new day!

CC and I stumbled across a little neighborhood bakery in nearby North Port, FL, where the apple fritters are to die for, Abbe’s Bakery on the Tamiami Trail. (The cinnamon rolls aren’t too shabby either.) I ordered 4 of each, and off to Kathi and Obie’s we were. After making pigs out ourselves it was time for a little boating.

What a great day, just being on the water, taking in the sights and smells, watching for dolphins, soaking in the sun, sipping an ice cold margarita; aaahhhh………life is good! There was one of us in the foursome that decided that THEY were going to do some skiing, and after several (4) unsuccessful attempts, made their way back into the boat. My lips are sealed, and I’m not naming names, but they DO have at least two vowels in their name; and that’s ALL I’m saying.

Now it’s time for a great meal at The Gulf View Grill on Manasota Key. I had the Parmesan Encrusted Chilean Sea Bass, Kathi opted for Crab Colorado (a misnomer if ever there were one), and Obie and CC chose the Scallop and Shrimp Fettuccini. Great food with great friends; Life is indeed good.

While in the area we also dined at Maria’s Mexican Café, and the 776 Café, and both were very, very good, and are highly recommended along with Lock and Key and Gulf View Grill. Parting company is always a hard time for CC and I, as we have come to realize just how precious life and the gifts of life are, but the time has come to say our good bys. The week has gone by much too fast, and we thoroughly enjoyed our visit, your company and your hospitality. Hasta luego, mi amigos!

Another travel day again? Wow, where have the last two weeks gone? This is the gypsy lifestyle we have chosen, and so it is, with a heavy heart, we now head northward, up the Eastern seaboard, in search of “The Ultimate………” Until next time, take care and stay well