Friday, March 31, 2017

It's the end, the end I tell you....

As compensation we found out more friends Steve and Mary are in Florida, heading this way and after a quick e-mail they arrive for a few days in the park the same day everyone else is leaving!!

Me, Mary, Steve and Barbara.
Mike and Lynn called to tell us of their first week RV'ing. They've been to Cape Canaveral and the Keys and now are heading towards either New Orleans or Memphis! They sound like they are getting the hang of not planning, I'm not certain their plan to be in Canada before too long is going to leave them much time for more side trips though!
Happy Wife, Happy Life!
The taxes are finally getting done after we waited a month for AARP only to be told “Oh we can't do yours" when we showed up for the appointment. A little frustrating but I managed to find another tax preparer who could turn it around quickly, and quick they were too. A couple of days.

Barbara got a call from the Eagles about her swearing in but I didn't. Puzzled I called the contact person only to be told he'd suddenly passed away. A sad time for his family. I'll figure it out for myself.

Harold's son Don and Zach Don's son are in the park helping Harold and Wanda pack up. Unfortunately Harold's Mom who he was so worried about when his brother passed away has been admitted to the hospital. Our thoughts and prayers are for her and the whole family.

My commissioned painting of a friends car has finally got some work done on it. It's amazing what only having a week left before you move on can do for your motivation!! I sent Wayne a photo of it 95% complete and he likes it, so that's a big relief. We're going to meet them in Pensacola and hand over the painting.

Play Ball! I see a painting there somewhere.
We had a side trip to Sarasota with a free hotel stay so we could see some Spring Training Baseball. We got in 2 Baltimore Orioles games and watched them beat the Twins then the Blue Jays. A good weekend and a very picturesque beach area.

Sarasota Beach right outside our hotel.
 I was contacted by a legal firm who are starting a “Mass Action” law suit against Ford to try and recover some money for Fiesta owners with all the transmission problems. It sounded good at first as they say it won't cost the client anything because the action requires Ford to pay legal expenses. Reading the fine print (really a lawyer has fine print in the contract?). Reveals that Ford may chose to include lawyers fees in a settlement check, in which case the lawyer will collect his fees from the client, EVEN IF THAT FEE EXCEEDS THE COST OF THE SETTLEMENT!. Lawyers!

That darned Fiesta.
The week is rushing by. We decided to go to the Fun 'N Sun Fly In at Lakeland FL after leaving here. It's one of the most famous air shows in the US and so close we have to go look. I lashed out for preferred seating on the day we go because it has seats, shade, drinks nearby and on the day we are going there is something I've never seen before NIGHT FLYING DISPLAYS! Apparently the aircraft have light shows and pyrotechnics as they fly in the dark. We'll stay at the Thousand Trails Park near Orlando for a couple of nights then head up to Pensacola where we'll stay at the Elks Lodge for about a week. They have full hookups so it should work out great.

In a spare moment we made our reservations for NEXT winter! If you want particular parks it's best to get in early.

Now we have to get some papers shredded, find a shipper to take my Grandfather's trunk to Fred our son, tidy the rig, check all the tires and the air bags, put away all the chairs, mats etc outside, organize the storage bays, stow the grill, check the car and RV engine fluids, put the bikes back on the bike rack. Phew that's a LOT!

One last Leesburg Art Assoc. friday meeting before we'll be on our way.

Barbara gets sworn in at the Eagles Lodge on Saturday, and we decided to stay at Holiday Travel one extra day, which gives us an extra day to get packed up!!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Life is flashing past!

My Grand Fathers army foot locker finally got removed from the trunk of the Fiesta after almost a year! We really need to empty it and decide what we're going to do with the locker itself. I'd hate to sell it rather than keep it in the family but it sounds like it's going to cost thousands to ship back to UK.

Lynn is here from Australia at last but she picked up a nasty cold crossing the planet, Fred and Judy are back and the daily parties have started again. Harold and Wanda are back but they are kind of quiet after their sudden trip to Virginia for a funeral.

We've been getting our annual physicals, and running around getting blood work done is taking up some time. I have to go see the Dermatologist to look at some skin blemishes too.

We finally got the rear view camera installation finished using the new telescoping ladder (Which is a cool piece of equipment). Most of the previous week was taken up by the “Sungators RV Rally” in Bushnell where I taught a painting class, and now I have a commission to paint a friends car!!

Happy artists at the Sungator Rally
Apart from that we haven't done much at all!!

Not doing much at an Antique RV Show and Flea Market
April is rushing up fast, and we WILL be out of here on April 1st but it sounds like we'll be just around the corner camping at the “Eagles” Lodge because we are to initiated as members soon. I'm going in on March 28th and Barbara on April 1st. Luckily they have 10 acres (YES 10 ACRES!!) of camping in the back of the Lodge so we'll stay there for the night after Barb gets initiated and set off on our next adventure on the 2nd.

Why the Eagles? Well they are very similar to the Elks and it will give us many more resources for camping and socializing in our future travels. We're looking forward to the experience.

Not doing much at a watercolor class
All other kinds of fun things have been happening too, Al and Jackie were back in Florida for Bike Week in Daytona and they have Dave along with them, an old friend from our motorcycle days. Fred, Judy, Mike and Lynn together with Barbara and I drove down to Daytona and we all went for lunch at Destination Daytona surrounded by lots of shiny custom motorcycle. 

The expression "Like herding cats" comes to mind

Wild custom bike at "Daytona Experience"
Then down to Main Street Daytona which is the place to be during bike week, with lots of bars, stores full of motorcycle related stuff and a continuous stream of motorcycles day and night riding by for everyone's entertainment. A great day out.

The gang at the famous "Boot Hill Saloon" Main Street Daytona

Just a custom V8 powered motorcycle on Main Street
Mike had introduced us to a dice game named “Farkle” and every evening has us all sitting around the table in Fred and Judy's rig playing Farkle or a dominoes game named “Mexican Train?
It's going to be SO quiet when they have all left!

Judy and Fred and Mexican Train
Tax time has reared it's ugly head and fortunately AARP has a free tax clinic at the local library so we had an appointment set to get our returns filed. I don't remember signing up for an “Income Tax Club” at anytime so I'm wondering why we pay dues every year? We do get camping discounts at National Parks though, maybe we did sign up?? It turned out to be a bust however as AARP wouldn't do our returns because we have to file a Maryland return for the rental house and they don't allow you to do that for their free service. Now we have to find an alternative and/or file an extension.

Plans for our Europe trip need to be refined, and paying for the trip is primary! We spent some quality time at the bank and arranged for new credit cards with no foreign currency charges and auto pay so we won't have to be online all the time transferring money. We have the details for storing the rig and the car sorted out (We hope) and we'll get a cab or airport shuttle booked from the storage site to the airport once we get the rig set.

The day came when Fred, Judy, Mike and Lynn left. Sad but happy. Sad they are leaving but happy for them that they are off on their own individual adventures.

As compensation we found out more friends Steve and Mary are in Florida, heading this way, and after a quick e-mail they arrived for a few days in the park the same day everyone else is leaving!!

And the BIG NEWS!!
Our little blog passed 20,000 total views this week!!

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The end is near!

It's always one step forward and 2 back! A trip to the local RV store Camper Inn got the part we needed, I put it in now have move on to the next one, though I will probably leave the bathroom floor until last.

It got me first. Then Barbara caught it from me. It's highly contagious. We are both looking forward to being on the road again.

Maybe that will motivate me to get the maintenance tasks done? I made a start. I got the calendar out and wrote the tasks to be done on it so I will be reminded before April gets here. I finally changed the engine oil and filter on the rig, replaced the water filter and installed a new awning strap on one of the bedroom window awnings. Mike had a broken day/night shade in his rig so I gave him a lesson on repairing those. They are quite simple to do and I have no idea why some places charge $100 for a 15 minute job like that.

Meanwhile we've been sampling some more local events.
One went with a bang – a WW2 reenactment with real TANKS! They fired everything from handguns to the tank canons during the show. Very impressive. They had a big vendor area too where you could buy uniforms, weapons, WW2 radios and parts for your WW2 vehicles.
In the heat of battle

Time for a family picture with the victors.
Some time was spent at a Native American Pow-Wow in nearby Mount Dora. We expected great things and had filled Mike's head with stories of the one in Yuma last year. Unfortunately this one wasn't as big although the costumes were very picturesque. It was spoiled by a whole lot of pointless speeches by the various participants and a very officious organizer who insisted on walking across the dance circle during the performances to correct what he perceived to be deficiencies.
The Aztec Dancers

Great costumes

This one might get painted!
To make room in the RV when we leave here I donated the last of my motorcycle painting to the Leesburg Center for the Arts as a thank you for all the fun I've had drawing and painting there. I have a commission as a result of posting my paintings on Facebook! More later.
Some of the paintings I donated to the Leesburg Center for the Arts
I also had to do the painting for the art class at the RV Rally coming up and buy all the supplies so the new students have something to paint on. Sometimes it's hard to think up a painting that's easy for first timers but visually attractive enough for them to take a pride in their work. I get real satisfaction teaching these classes so it's worth the effort.

Mike our Australian friend had some good/bad luck with his “New” RV. He drove it down to the store and on the way back, as he turned the last corner into the park the serpentine belt snapped leaving him with no power steering! He struggled and got it back to his site then called a mobile repair place. The good luck was that they were close by finishing another job and Mike had found a spare belt in the storage bin under the rig. The repair guy was there in minutes and the belt replace shortly after. If he'd been out in the Arizona desert on a back road when it broke it might have been a much different story!

We took him to his first SKP event at the Chapter 57 monthly meeting where his Aussie accent attracted lots of attention. Lynn, Mike's wife should be arriving soon too, so we will have to drag them to the Rally the chapter is having in Bushnell. Rather than move the rig up there and pay for camping twice (we paid for a whole month here whether we stay or not) we decided to commute the 30 minutes each way each day.

My Grand Fathers army foot locker finally got removed from the trunk of the Fiesta after almost a year! We really need to empty it and decide what we're going to do with the locker itself. I'd hate to sell it rather than keep it in the family but it sounds like it's going to cost thousands to ship back to UK.

Finally we made rough plans for the rest of our time in Florida. We bought tickets for 2 Baltimore Orioles baseball spring training games near Sarasota and got a free hotel stay using the last of my many thousands of Holiday Inn Club points from when I was still working and travelling. That will feel strange, sleeping in a building!!