Sunday, September 30, 2012

Meeting Mermaids and New Friends, then heading home


Up early (for us) this morning and headed East about 80 miles.  Destination was Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.  This is the home of the world famous mermaid show.  It used to be privately owned but now the state owes it and the mermaids are state employees.  This place has been here for 65 years.  I will let the pictures tell the story.

We arrived in time to cruise the river before the first show

Injection molding machine these were popular when I was a kid
 They I found this concrete Mermaid but I wanted to meet a live one.

First mermaid

On the boat, the water is crystal clear

These are school kids, the school brings them out to the river to learn to paddle and learn ecology

Lots of spanish moss in this cypress tree

This is a 4 year old Bald Eagles nest

Back to the dock
Time for the first mermaid show which showed us how they breath and how they train.

Caught this guy sneeking a peak

Bonnie flattened some more pennies
Then we had a little lunch and looked around the park, look what I found.

Yep a real live Mermaid

My favorite Mermaid
 Then we headed for the second show about the little mermaid who wanted legs

The under water pictures are hard to capture without the proper lighting but there they are real mermaids.  While we were at the show I got an email from John and Kathy Huggins.  We have listened to their podcast about Living the RV Dream for several years.  Seems they are in Florida and not very far away.  We called them and made plans to meet them for supper.

But first Bonnie wanted to see the West coast of Florida and the ocean.  So we headed west.

Lots of marsh grass

We are headed for those palm trees

Bonnie spotted this Bald Eagle on the way

We made it to the ocean!
Then we headed to the Cracker Barrel to meet John and Kathy.  We had a nice dinner together and then went out on the porch to continue talking.  While we were chatting two horses and riders showed up and rode right between us, I got the girl to turn around and I snapped a picture.

Never seen this at Cracker Barrel before.
 Before we knew it 4 hours had passed by and we were still chatting away.  Besides having RVing in common John and I were both ETs in the Navy.  Bonnie and Kathy did not run out of things to talk about either, but John and I were starting to yawn so reluctantly we called it a night.
John an Kathy have been full timers for many years now and have lots of experiences to share.  They have also just published a new book So you want to be an RVer
Thanks John for letting us know you were close by.

Bonnie received a beautiful beaded bracelet from Kathy, she really likes and appreciated the gift.

It takes Kathy two days to make one of these lots of work and love go into each one.
We made it back to the condo a little after 11 and I guess I better get some sleep as its almost 1am.  Today is our last day before we fly home on Saturday.


Today is our last full day in Florida.  Bonnie started the wash, I checked in online for the flights.  I need to head up to the front office and print out our boarding passes and we will be all set for the trip home.  We have no real plans for today so not sure what we will do.

So we have worked on packing and wrapping things up today.  I got the boarding passes printed.  Later just after a thunderstorm went through Bonnie went up to the spa for a tour and to pickup a free gift.  Then back to the condo.

A little TV tonight and then off to bed.


Up at 6am, getting ready to fly home.

The trip to the airport went off without a hitch.  Our flights to Baltimore and continuing on to Buffalo left on time and arrived early.  For once the baggage came quickly and Elizabeth was there to pick us up.

Once home I was busy for a while.  Started the boiler so we would have hot water, plugged in the water softener, and turned on the breakers.  The breaker for the softener was bad so I had to replace that with a spare I had.  Then I hauled up the suitcases to the house.

Replaced the breaker and all buttoned up again, all is working
Then I checked the outside bays on the coach.  I had set 3 mouse traps, all three were tripped, two had caught mice.  Cleaned them out and reset them.

About that time Bonnie's mom, dad, and sister pulled in the driveway.  They were on their way home from Apple Umpkin, a local craft fair and fun time.  Carol had the clippers with her and I got my ears lowered, Bonnie was starting to call me shaggy.  After that we visited for a while and then after they left we had a bite to eat, finished unpacking and finally got to relax a little.

We went from the 90's to the 50's trying to stay warm now and had to turn the heat on in the house.


Forgot to mention yesterday that we found this when we got home yesterday.

Nice and clean ditch
Next I need to cover the pipe with stone, fabric and then enough dirt to eliminate the ditch enough to be able to mow this area.

So today we were up and off to church.  It was good to be back at church and we had a good time and heard a good sermon.  Elizabeth had a gas leak at her house and the gas company turned off the gas.  So we picked up Alexus on the way.  The gas company came back and found the valves on her old gas stove leaking.  So they disconnected it and capped the line.  So she contacted the landlord and now has a new stove.  Bonnie and her are even doing some canning now, what a day.

I stayed home so I could work on some catching up.  I also spent a couple hours up at court and somewhat caught up.

Now I am going to catch up on a little TV.  I did see that the Bills lost as well as the USA lost the Ryder Cup.

Going to post this now and call it a night.  Thanks For Checking In.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A week to relax in Orlando


We both slept in this morning and once up had a leisurely breakfast.  I called and made reservations for an air boat ride at 3:30.  In checking the area I also found a fort to visit.

The boat ride is on and near the St Johns river in Christmas Florida.  So we decided to leave early and also visit Fort Christmas.  It was build in the 1860's as a fort to hold supplies for the army.  It was only used for a few months.  Here are a few pictures of the park and the fort.

Visitors Center

Lots of Spanish Moss 
Rebuild fort replica

Front gate of the Fort

It was a beautiful park
Then we moved on to Airboat Rides at Midway.  We were early and we had time to visit all the displays and exhibits.

Right on the river

Meet Pork Chop their pet pig.  She really enjoyed belly rubs 
The water is high and these small gators were on the lower deck

Down the path in the boat to the river

Lots of birds like this Blue Heron

Whats that ahead

Yep cows that live in the swamp right in the water

Spotted our first Gator

Into the Cypress grove

Some times the water gets really high and this is dry ground in the fall and winter

These are two air plants

Gator high and dry about a 12 footer

Looks like he is grinning 

This is a farm raised gator that you can hold and examine

And Bonnie did
Bonnie had not been looking forward to the airboat ride, but afterwards said it was one of the most relaxing experiences she ever had and that she really enjoyed it.

It was getting late so we headed back toward the condo.  On the way back we decided to stop for dinner and we picked Chinese.

Bonnie's Seafood in a birds nest
She found this in her cookie

My General Tso's Chicken

Right on!  In my cookie

Bonnie wanted to stop at Walgreens to look for souvenirs and toothpaste.

Finally back at the condo to rest up for tomorrows adventures.


I forgot to mention yesterday that we drove by the Airstream Ranch in Dover, FL.  I have read about it and seen pictures but was surprised as we drove past it on our travels.

Borrowed picture of the Airstream Ranch
It was well after 9 when we got up this morning, I guess we both are getting rested up.  We decided to take it easy today and make plans for the rest of the week.  Then the fun started.  I got an alert on my phone about a charge on my credit card I did not recognize, here we go again.  But a happy ending by the time I was on the phone with the credit card company we figured out that it was a charge Bonnie had made.  She made it last week and they just got around to running the charge.  So we are good there.  While this was happening the bank back home called and said they had a fax with my signature asking them to send a large wire transfer to somewhere in Japan.  Sure glad they called as I had not sent them a fax.  They turned it over to their fraud unit and evidently they have had other requests also.  So alls well that ends well.  So much for a restful day.

We decided to go to a mystery dinner theater tonight so I made reservations at Capone's.  The setting is during the gangster days so we should have a good time.  Well time to get ready.

We arrived and were were greeted at the door by Bugsy Malone.

Bonnie and Bugsy
 Then Jewel came out and invited us in to the Speakeasy.  We had to knock 3 times on the door and give the password.  "2 Cherry Cokes"  Once admitted they took our mug shots and then escorted us to our table

 Capone's has been here for 20 years and we had a good time.  There were about 8 entrees on the buffet to choose from plus sides.  The food was good and it was all you can eat.  How ever the dessert left a lot to be desired.  It was a small piece of what tasted like store bought cake.

Then came the show.  It was a musical comedy set in Chicago during prohibition.  It was a bit corny but we had lots of laughs and enjoyed the night.

The dinner and show lasted almost 3 hours and since this is the slow season was half price.  Well time to get some rest we have a big day planned again tomorrow.


Another leisurely morning and then we headed out to visit Gatorland.  We took the kids there years ago and we all really enjoyed it, they still talk about it.

Its as old as I am. 
The Famous entrance
 Years ago there was a fire here and everyone was worried about this entrance but it survived

Young Gators

I guess they do not eat turtles, it climbed all over

Bird on a Hot Tin Roof

Colorful Parrots

White Gator not albino

One of the big old guys

In the aviary 

That little white bird kept coming back
 Then on to the gator wrestling show

Sah Ahhhhh!

Resting his hands

Taking a Nap

Big guy out in the breeding swamp

You looking at me?

This guys moved fast once the lunch arrived

We finished up the visit with a ride on the train.
After the train ride we headed to WalMart to pick up some bread and fruit for the last few days.  It sprinkled a little on the way home but not much.  It was 93 today and it felt like it.

Stayed in for dinner tonight and now time for a little TV and reading maybe the hot tub.

Thanks for Checking In.  I hope to meet a real live mermaid tomorrow!