RV Trip 2011 – Spring Hill

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I was so excited when Dad, Greg & Adrianne pulled into the driveway!

Arriving in the RV

They arrived in good spirits, ready to tour our little part of Florida. With no clear plan (hey, it’s vacation!) we set out to enjoy the next three days together. The day of arrival was spent visiting and enjoying a delicious dinner expertly grilled by Trav… ribeye steak, baked potatoes and salad.

Each morning, Sadie was the guide for Crews Lake Park.

Crews Lake Park

The next day, we went to Honeymoon Island State Park in Dunedin, Florida. Here’s Dad enjoying the sunshine on the beach.

Dad on the beach, Honeymoon Island

Adrianne and Greg on the beach.

Adrianne & Greg at Honeymoon Island

The waves were the biggest we’ve ever seen in the Gulf! If we had known, we would have taken the body boards.

Trav at Honeymoon Island

After the beach, we went to Dunedin Brewery. The beer and food were delicious!! The vanilla bean beer was soooo good. Adrianne & Greg had the 7.9% apv honey beer. Dad had a delicious apricot peach ale. And Trav, our designated driver, had lemonade! I’m so happy we found a good place to eat down there.

Dunedin Brewery

Day six started with 18 holes of frisbee golf at Word of Life Camp in Hudson. It was a first for me, and fun! I took a picture of the map and it helped us find some of the tees. The course was pretty well maintained and we got to see a bunch of birds, including a pair of Sandhill cranes, pretty close up.

Frisbee Golf

After golf, we prepared for canoeing down the Weeki Wachee river. We arranged to rent a canoe and a tandem kayak at Weeki Wachee Kayak Rental. We usually rent from the state park right at the launch site, but they were all sold out for the day. We were very happy with the service from the rental place and would go there again. Here we are at the beginning of the trip.

Canoeing with Dad

The water in this river is crystal clear and 72 degrees. We saw lots of birds and fish, and a merganser of some sort accompanied us for a while.

Greg & Adrianne Weeki Wachee

We stopped to play on the rope swing about halfway through the trip. There were some kids using it and we just joined right in. Dad got some really good pictures. I especially like this one… everybody looks so happy over Adrianne’s big splash!

Rope swing!

As we got closer to the Gulf, we saw 7 manatees! A couple of them were pretty big and we also saw a baby with his mama. The rental guy picked us up at Davis Park and took us back to our car.

We got home with enough time to pick up Greg & Adrianne’s luggage and get them to the airport, where they left feeling satisfied and happy with their vacation… they got to do a lot of stuff and see some neat things.

On Friday, I had my RV driving lesson in the parking lot of an empty warehouse. I did pretty good but got a couple of fails on right turns going over the curb. Then I drove it around on the street a bit and did just fine. I love the view from the front windows in the RV!

That evening, we went to the Elks Club for dinner and dancing. Dad & I did a great polka plus a couple others and line dancing.

Line dancing at the Elks Club

Dad got to meet a lot of our friends and we all had a good time. The early night at the Elks allowed us plenty of time to get home and get to bed for a good night’s rest before our departure.

Next post – the trip to New Jersey!

You can browse the trip archive to see all of the entries in one place.

RV Trip 2011 – First Leg

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This year, my Dad fulfilled a lifelong dream when he bought a 30′ RV. Way to go, Dad! I’m so happy for you. 🙂

Dad's RV

His first major trip was in June, to vacation and visit family on the east coast… first us in Florida, then to my sister Kelly in New Jersey, and his sisters in New York. The plan was for Dad, my brother Greg & niece Adrianne to come to our house, stay for a few days, and then fly home. Then Dad and I would drive up to Kelly, pick her up and continue on to New York. Then back to New Jersey and I would fly home.

When Dad arrived at my brother’s house to pick them up, Zoey jumped right in and was ready to go!!

Zoey in the RV

She had to stay home, though. Kinda hard to get a big dog like her home on the plane.

The first leg of the trip was a leisurely 4-day drive from Tucson, Arizona to Spring Hill, Florida.

Dad driving the RV

Day one brought them to Texas, where they camped overnight and then went to The Caverns of Sonora before hitting the road for the day. They said it was the most spectacular cave they had ever been in… a beautifully preserved, living cavern with so many interesting formations!

Cave

Everybody took turns driving. Here’s Adrianne behind the wheel!

Adrianne driving the RV

Next stop – New Orleans, Louisiana. They were able to park pretty close to the French Quarter and spent the afternoon touring Bourbon Street and seeing other sights, such as a giant lubber grasshopper and a sign at a park warning of no swimming due to alligators.

Bourbon Street

I love this picture Dad surreptitiously took of the t-shirts hanging outside a shop. The second one is especially good!!

New Orleans Funny T-Shirt

The end of day three found them in Pensacola, Florida.

RV Trip Pensacola

They stayed in an RV park right on the beach and after taking a little dip in the Gulf of Mexico, they set off for our house. My next post will be about the time we all spent together here.

You can browse the trip archive to see all of the entries in one place.

Childhood Art

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This is the remains of a plaque I made for my parents when I was a child. It appears to be a flower made of glass tiles, corn husk, and beans. On the back it says in pencil, “To mommy & Daddy From Emily” (click on the picture for the large version, if you like).

Flower remains

It’s so neat my mom kept stuff like this.

I’m sad and also comforted by having Mom’s stuff around me.

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Her things are constant reminders to remember her as best I can… to hold on to and treasure the memories.

Here’s one of my favorite pictures of Mom. Kelly surprised Mom & Dad by flying us down for Dad’s retirement party. They were really surprised and happy!

Mom & Kelly Retirement Surprise

Mom

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Here’s one of my favorite pictures of Mom and Dad:

My Dad and Mom

It’s been a week and a day since my mom passed away. I love her laugh, her smile, her sense of humor, and her dedication to the project at hand. My mom was always all in, whatever she happened to be doing. I remember she tried her hand at sewing, crochet, embroidery, Artex, bear collecting, teddy bear construction, genealogy, photography, baking and cooking and did very well with all of them! Plus she played the guitar and the piano, and she was kind to animals. She was a good mother and I’ll miss her very much.

How I loved going fishing and camping as a kid.

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I have many fond memories of camping trips. Bill Ross with his boat, and his wife cooking the fish we caught that day. Kayaking and water skiing in Patagonia Lake. Making fires, whittling sticks and roasting marshmallows. Card games. Scrambled egg breakfasts. Cozying up to the fire on a chilly morning. Enjoying all that nature had to offer!

Kennedy Lake

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Here’s a picture from our recent vacation to Tucson. We’re at Kennedy Park, a place I spent a lot of time as a kid. I have very fond memories of catching crawdads, exploring, going to Brownies and hanging out with my friends here.

Kennedy Lake in Tucson

Flashback!

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Today a movie from 1986 came on TV and they showed $.86 for a gallon of gas. We wondered if that was accurate, and a Google search revealed this result:

1980s Flashback

What a great site! I put in the year I was born and looked at all the stuff that happened – crazy. Gas was $.33 per gallon! I took the polls, too… you get to vote on the best song from each era. I enjoyed my little trip down memory lane. How ’bout you?  🙂

Back from Michigan

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We went up for Tia’s high school graduation – it was fun! We flew in to Detroit and drove to the Lansing area on Friday. On Saturday we went to visit family in the area, and on Sunday we went to the graduation ceremony. Here’s a pic of me and Trav at graduation:

Trav & me at Tia\'s graduation

I’m trying to get better at taking pictures like this one – with the camera at arm’s length – so we can have both of us in more pictures.

We had a great time driving halfway across Michigan on Saturday (some of our best memories are of spending time in the car togther, just talking and talking and talking). On the way we stopped at place called Dublin Jerky Company and bought a ton of jerky… they’re really nice there and will give you a sample of any kind you want. We tried a whole bunch of them – including crocodile and pheasant! We ended up with venison, kangaroo, beef, double-smoked beef, double-smoked elk, applejack beef (marinated in apple cider vinegar and Jack Daniels) and honey ham turkey jerky. Oh and we got a bag of jerky chew, too (it’s ground up into little bits). Some of the jerky had just come out of the smoker and it was still warm. MmmmMmMm delicious!

Our visits with family and friends were fun, too. It was really good to see everybody and share a wonderful meal. The other “vacationy” part of our trip was spending some time in the hot tub and pool at the hotel… very relaxing.

And of course there was the whole reason for our trip – to see Tia graduate! She looked so proud when she saw her Dad down next to the student’s seats, taking a picture of his now-not-so-little girl. We also got a video of her walking up to get her diploma and of the students throwing their hats into the air at the end. Very fun! I especially like the ending of the hat video because the picture first gets blocked by people leaping to their feet, and then it gets jiggled by the roar of the crowd and the stomping of feet on the bleachers. You can hear me cackling with delight right before the end. I tried to post it to YouTube but it failed… I’ll try again soon and update this post with the link.

In all, an excellent trip. Leisurely travel schedules, no lost luggage, and the best travel companion I could ever ask for. It’s good to be home, though, and I can tell the critters missed us a lot… they’ve been demanding my attention – which I’m happy to give – all night. And it will be good to sleep in our own bed, which I’m going to do right now! Nitey nite.

Complimentary Starchy Grain!

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Bleys found a great site – freerice.com – where they donate grains of rice for every vocabulary word where you can choose the correct meaning. It’s great fun! Hard, too. The most recent word I tried was ameliorate – I’ve seen the word but got it wrong…. ameliorate = improve. I’ve made it (briefly) to level 44 so far.

This made me think of being a kid and calling myself Emilia Bloka, when I was learning Spanish. 🙂 Which makes me remember getting a Spanish dictionary for Christmas! I believe my parents have a film of me showing off my spiffy new dictionary. I love those films!!