gypsyjournal2009

Shortest Move Ever

 Posted by at 12:02 am  Nick's Blog
Feb 192016
 

I’m not quite over my cold yet but I think I have pretty much the worst of it behind me, except for a nagging cough that doesn’t want to let go. But Terry’s a couple of days behind me in the cycle and feeling crappy. I spent most of yesterday working on the new issue of the Gypsy Journal, except for a stop at the campground office to visit with park manager Gary Greene and a trip to the post office to mail off my concealed weapons permit application. Then it was back home and back to work.



Yesterday we made what I think is the shortest move ever, maybe twenty feet at the most. I didn’t even turn the GPS on!

The utility hookups for our pull through site and the one next to us here at the Orlando Thousand Trails preserve are back to back on a little strip of grass between the two sites. The way it is set up, we would park towards the front of our site and the neighbor would be parked facing in the opposite direction toward the front of his, and the rear end of both of our coaches would be close to the utilities.

But they are apparently new RVers and they were parked in the middle of the site and had their sewer hose going into what should have been our connection. Nobody was around their rig, so we had to park further back so I could reach the other sewer outlet. This put us so close to the neighbor on the other side that extending our patio awning was too close. I thought about asking him to move, but what the heck, it’s only for a little while.



Their parking tag said that they would be here until the 22nd, but just about dark yesterday they decided to move to another site, so we decided to move to the proper position and sewer connection so the next person coming in next to us would not have the same problem. It didn’t take all that long to pull in the slides, retract our leveling jacks, move the motorhome forward and repeat the process in reverse. And now we can use our patio awning, which is a good thing since the sun is hitting that side of the motorhome and it will help to keep us a little bit cooler.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Shades of Moloch: Star Borne: 2, an excellent science fiction tale by my friend Sharon Delarose. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Shades of Moloch

Thought For The Day If you eat sensibly, avoid alcohol and tobacco, exercise regularly, and drink plenty of water, you will die anyway.

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Feb 182016
 

The Escapees RV Club‘s 56th Escapade rally will be held July 24- 29 in Essex Junction, Vermont, and like all Escapees events, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m not sure of the exact schedule yet, but I’ll be presenting several seminars at the rally and they will have a full lineup of seminars on every topic an RVer could ever want or need.



I have had several people who have never been to New England asking me what to expect because they have heard tales of narrow roads, heavy traffic, and tight RV sites in the campgrounds up there. So for those of you who haven’t spent much time exploring that part of the country, I thought I would share my perspective from an RVer’s point of view.

First of all, a lot of what you have heard is true. Be prepared to deal with some of the most aggressive drivers you’ll find anywhere, and a lot of traffic any place you go. I’ve driven in Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago, even New York City, and the drivers we encountered in Massachusetts and Connecticut rank up there with the worst of them. If you drive an RV through here, you need to pay attention every minute, and having an alert copilot is a big plus. More than once Terry warned me of another driver who was changing lanes without signaling, failing to yield when coming onto the highway from an onramp, and pulling other kamikaze stunts.

Something we found frustrating is that the mile markers and the exit numbers on the interstate highways are not keyed together like they are in most states. So while you may be at mile marker 35 (if you can find a mile marker), you may only be at exit 4 or 5. It makes it a little difficult to quickly figure out how far you have to go to your next turn.

While fuel is never cheap anywhere, when we went to Connecticut to visit Mystic Seaport, gasoline was 35 cents a gallon more as soon as we crossed the state line from Massachusetts.

Before we set out on our trip, several people told us that the highway tolls in New England would kill us. Actually, we spent more in tolls driving through Indiana and Ohio on our way there than we did while in New England.

Many of the RV parks up there are not built for large motorhomes or fifth wheel trailers so if you plan to visit, be sure that the campground you are headed for can accommodate a rig your size. Also, a lot of the RV sites are not full hookup. Many of them are just water and 30 amp electric, with a dump station. And make your reservations early. Space is limited and fills up fast.



Most of the people we met in the campgrounds were weekend campers or folks who have a seasonal site and leave their RV parked in the same place all summer long, or even year round. We only ran into a couple of other fulltimers. Expect every campground to have a lot of kids, a lot of smoky fires, and don’t be offended if people don’t seem quite as outgoing as those you meet in the Midwest or down South. It’s not that they’re unfriendly, they just don’t seem as open as RVers we have met in other places.

And as can be expected anywhere with a relatively short season, the RV parks have to make money while they can. On our visit four years ago, $45 and up per night was about the going rate. If we didn’t have membership campgrounds to stay in while we were in the area, the trip would have been too expensive for us for the month we spent in Massachusetts. I think we enjoyed Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, which we visited on a previous trip to New England, more than we did Massachusetts. Those other places just seemed a lot more laid back by comparison.

If you’re like many RVers and have a firearm in your home on wheels, be aware that once you leave Pennsylvania it is unlawful to have a gun in most states in that part of the country. Penalties can be very harsh, and can include both steep fines and jail time.

So why are we going back again? How could we not! There is so much to see and do that we could spend years exploring the region and hardly scratch the surface. Quaint villages that look like they should be in a Norman Rockwell painting, the rugged coast of Maine, the most delicious lobster you’ll ever taste, historic sites that date back to the very beginnings of our nation, and a thousand other sights that you will never forget. And did I mention Escapade?

It’s Thursday, and that means it’s time to kick off a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Shades of Moloch: Star Borne: 2, an excellent science fiction tale by my friend Sharon Delarose. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Shades of Moloch

Thought For The Day Brushing your teeth is the only time you clean your skeleton.

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Blogs And Brakes

 Posted by at 7:01 pm  Nick's Blog
Apr 012015
 

For over a year now I have had problems with the blog crashing and being offline anywhere from a few minutes to as long as 22 hours in one instance. Every time I called Go Daddy, our hosting company, they seemed to have a different reason for the problem, and no matter what they tweaked it did not resolve the issue on a permanent basis.

Sometimes they said it was a WordPress problem, other times they claimed it was because of high traffic (last year the blog got over 700,000 visitors), or a problem with their servers, or because they were changing servers. No matter what the excuse was the end result was always the same – the blog was down and it was costing us money in lost advertising revenues.

One solution that was suggested by a couple of people was to switched to a managed WordPress site on Go Daddy. I can’t really tell you what that is, but when I ran it past Greg White, he said his blog is a managed WordPress site and he does not have the problems I’ve continually experienced.

Changing to the managed site is supposed to be quick and easy, but we all know that never really happens, right? So I decided to wait until we were together with Greg and Jan and he had the time to tackle the project. And I’m sure glad I did!

He called Go Daddy yesterday to start the process and immediately ran into a problem with the old blog’s web address. That took him a couple of calls back to Go Daddy and a lot of trial and error, but he finally got it handled. The blog has now been copied to a temporary web address and hopefully will go live today or tomorrow without any problems. As a reader you should not see any difference except for the fact that the blog should load faster and we won’t have any more outages. Thanks for all of your help Greg!

When we were in Tucson Monday afternoon we noticed a metal sound when we applied the brakes on our Ford Explorer. By the time we got back to Apache Junction the sound had changed to a noticeable grinding that we could both hear and feel. Yesterday morning I called Brake Masters in Apache Junction and Steve Weiss, the manager, said to drop it off about 2 p.m. I did and by 5 p.m. he called to say the work was done and I cold pick it up. They installed new front brake pads and rotors, checked the rear, which still have 85% left, changed the oil and filter, and gave the SUV a good inspection for any other potential problems.

A couple of times people have suggested that a 2005 vehicle with 112K miles on the odometer and at least 50K more being towed behind our motorhome might be ready for replacement. But it’s paid for, it runs and looks good, and is very comfortable. So why go into debt for something else? The fewer payments the better, right?

Thought For The Day – You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.

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Dec 232010
 

The RV world lost an icon yesterday, when Joe Peterson, co-founder of the Escapees RV Club, passed away. I have been privileged to meet Joe many times over the years at Escapades and other RV events, and he was always a cheerful, friendly, outgoing gentleman.

When Joe and his lovely wife Kay founded the Escapees, way back in 1978, they had no idea what they had started. Over the years they nurtured and guided their little organization until it grew into one of the largest, and in my opinion the very best, RV clubs around. The legacy Joe has left is something the rest of us will enjoy and benefit from for years to come.

This is a loss for all of us, but a double hit for the family; I’m told that Joe’s son-in-law, Bud Carr, also lost his father just a week or so ago. Please keep them in your prayers.  

We had visitors yesterday! Jim and Dee Walter, who are staying at an RV park a couple of miles up the road, stopped in to say hello. We had a good time talking about the RV lifestyle, sharing a joke or two, and comparing our favorite apps on our Droid smart phones.

After Jim and Dee left, Terry and I drove a mile or so south of the campground to Pioneer Park, a county park that includes a small museum, campground, and boat launch on the Peace River. Here are a couple of pictures, one upriver and one downriver. If we get a chance to paddle our kayaks while we’re here, I think we’ll use the launch at Pioneer Park, because the one at our campground is much steeper and looks like it would be harder to use.

Peace River from Pioneer Park

Peace River from Pioneer Park 2

We booked two weeks here at Peace River, and while the campground is okay, the town doesn’t have much to offer. Yesterday we had dinner at the Panda Chinese buffet, and it being a small town, we didn’t have high expectations. As it turned out, we were still disappointed! If we could change our stay and get back into the Orlando Thousand Trails, we’d leave and head back up that way. There’s a lot more to do and see in that area. We’d like to get some paddling in while we’re here, but the weather report for next week is looking pretty grim, so I don’t know if we’ll get to do that or not.   

I mentioned smart phone apps above,and if you have an iPhone or iPad, you might be interested in a brand new app that the nice folks at Technomadia just brought out, called Coverage?. This is a simple app that lets you see where you can expect to get 3G and roaming signals in the continental U.S. for AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile. Yes, you can go online to the different carriers’ websites and get the same info, but Coverage? allows you to do so offline, wherever you happen to be.

These are the same folks who put out the excellent State Lines app, which no RVer should be without. Check out Coverages?, I think you’ll find it useful. They also publish an e-book titled Answers to the Common Excuses not to Travel Full-Time that I have heard good things about. I need to order a copy and check it out.

One final thought on technical things before I close. I have been having  e-mail problems for quite a while now. Sometimes e-mails never get to me,  other times they show up, but disappear from the server before I can read them, or ones I have saved for future reference go missing. 

While we were in Fort Lauderdale last week, Chris Guld from Geeks on Tour, switched me over to G-mail, but since our websites are still hosted on Yahoo for the time being, our e-mail first goes through the Yahoo servers, and that is where we seem to have the problem. So if you e-mailed me and I didn’t get back to you, please try again. Also, I lost some e-mails from folks who asked us to stop by while we were in their area, and I had no way to re-contact them. My apologies.

Bad Nick has been busy posting a new Bad Nick Blog titled Armed Citizens Fighting Back. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – Why be difficult, when with a little bit of effort you can be impossible?

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Dec 222010
 

We are into our annual slowdown in our printing schedule.

We try to have each issue of the Gypsy Journal printed and mailed by the middle of the month preceding the issue date, and five issues a year, we are usually able to meet that deadline. But every year, when it’s time to print the January-February issue, that schedule goes out the window. No matter where we are in the country or which newspaper we are using to do the printing, and no matter how far we plan ahead, we run into scheduling problems.

This is caused by several factors, including heavier than usual printing schedules, as stores are printing and mailing out special holiday advertising inserts, at the same time that press rooms are shorthanded as employees take vacation days. Because we are not a weekly or even monthly job on their schedule, we get shoved to the bottom of the pile while they take care of their regular customers’ needs. We understand it, we expect it, but it’s still frustrating.

So, like every year, the newest issue of the paper is going out later than we want it to. It’s at the printer now, and hopefully they’ll have it back to us early next week so we can get it mailed out. In the meantime, we appreciate everybody’s patience.

We have made a change to the way we do our printing, starting with this issue. Until now, we have used different printers in different locations around the country, wherever we happened to be when it was time to go to press. This has been problematic at times, and with the changes in the industry, it has only gotten worse. We never know what kind of quality we’re going to get with a new printer.

Another major problem is that the size of most newspaper pages is getting smaller and smaller, and we have resisted going to the newest size reduction. But, it has been increasingly hard to find newspapers that continue to print on our size paper at times. Last year we had to leave Alabama earlier than we had planned and drive all the way to south Texas to get printed, after last minute changes at the printer we had used in this region in the past. This year we thought that we’d have to go all the way back to Indiana from Washington, DC to get printed, when the newspaper we had planned to use switched paper sizes on us. Fortunately, we found a printer in Virginia at the last minute, but it was stressful.

So we have contracted with one of the newspapers who prints us in Michigan when we are in the Midwest to do all of our printing in the future. They have recently upgraded their systems and added the ability to allow us to upload our files to them via the internet, and once each issue is printed, they will ship it to us by truck.  They could actually handle our mailing too, but in addition to the papers we mail out, we also have several thousand extra printed of each issue, which we distribute as samples at RV rallies and RV parks we visit in our travels.

This will add quite a bit to our cost for each issue, but it will give us consistent quality from a printer we are comfortable with, and who understands our unique needs.  I’m sure we’ll have a glitch or two along the way, but we’re confident that in the long run, it will all work out.

I’m still adding new seminars to the schedule for our Arizona Gypsy Gathering rally, March 7-11 in Yuma. I still have quite a few time slots to fill in, but it’s coming together. I have posted a very preliminary seminar schedule on our rally registration page to give you an idea some of the offerings we will have. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and check it out. We’ll have over 60 different seminars by the time we’re done, so there’s sure to be plenty to meet everybody’s interest. As I said, this is just a preliminary schedule, and there will be lots of changes and additions by the time the rally starts. Be sure to register early, we’re looking forward to seeing you there!

Thought For The Day – We can’t go back in time and have a different beginning, but we can start today to make a new ending for ourselves.

Register Now For Our Arizona Gypsy Gathering Rally

Dec 212010
 

When we checked into the Peace River NACO campground on Sunday the office was closed, so the ranger said to go up to the office anytime Monday morning and pay for our stay. Apparently “anytime” is first thing in the morning, because at 10 a.m. somebody was knocking on our door.

Since we seldom get to bed before 2 a.m., we don’t get up early, so by the time I threw on some clothes and got to the door, the person was driving away in a golf cart. After I brushed my teeth and combed my five or six hairs, I went to the office and paid for our stay. Geez, we’re here for fourteen days, it’s not like we were going to stiff them out of $70.

Over the years, we have gotten a lot of flack from other RVers who seem to be offended by our sleeping schedule. More than once some older RVer has said something about “lazy” people sleeping the day away. I usually tell them I’m not lazy, I was up late working hard so I could pay into Social Security so they can get their check next month. I mean, really, is it anybody’s business when we go to bed or get up, as long as we don’t make any noise or disturb them when we’re up and they’re in bed?

Since the rain had stopped and we had a nice blue sky overhead, even if it was still rather cool, we went down to check out the boat ramp to the Peace River, here at the campground. The river was nice and calm, and if it warms up some more, we want to get our kayaks wet.

Peace River

Okay, maybe we want to get our kayaks wet! I saw a sign about alligators at Lake Hancock at the Orlando Thousand Trails, and that didn’t bother me. But snakes? That’s taking things a little bit too far! I’ve heard of people wrestling alligators, but this fat boy don’t do snakes!

Alligator Snake sign

The Spanish moss that hangs from the live oaks trees all over Florida is even on the palm trees here at the campground! 

Trees with moss

Our South Dakota license plates and registration for the Explorer came yesterday. The nice folks at our mail service in Sioux Falls, Alternative Resources, handled all of the paperwork, got the plates and registration, and sent them to us by Priority Mail. Since the 30 day temporary plate from the dealer where we bought the SUV expired Saturday, I was glad the plates arrived.

After picking up the license plates in the office, we drove into town to make a stop at the post office to mail off an order, then on to WalMart for a few things, and back to the campground. As we were driving back to our RV site, we stopped to take a picture of this motorhome with steer horns mounted on the front end. I wonder if this guy is from Texas?

RV Steer Horns

We spent the rest of the day at home. I answered e-mails, had a long exchange with a lady in Oklahoma who is looking at a used RV and was asking my advice because she had some concerns. After hearing them (105,000 miles on a 1999 gas powered Class A, many stains on the ceiling from obvious roof leaks, a musty smell inside the coach, a generator that would not start, and a broken windshield), I told her to run, not walk, away. She still wasn’t convinced, because at only $25,000 the seller tells her it’s a heck of a deal. Yes, it is. I’m just not sure if it’s a heck of a deal for him, or for her!

Thought For The Day – Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

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Dec 202010
 

Okay, just what the heck is going on here? I came to warm, sunny Florida so I could sit on a beach and leer at all of the pretty girls in their skimpy bikinis, just like they show on all of the travel posters. And what happens? I get here and it’s so darned cold that the only creatures on the beach are penguins, and the girls are at home wearing sweat suits, bundled up in down comforters, huddled around space heaters! Where are those bikinis I came here to see? I was promised bikinis! Heads will roll!

As I wrote in yesterday’s blog, we scrubbed our plans to go to the Keys, and instead drove from Fort Lauderdale to the Peace River NACO preserve at Wauchula. We left Paradise Island about 8:30 a.m., stopped for fuel and to hook up the Explorer to our tow bar, and were on the highway before 9.

We retraced our route back up US Highway 27 through the Everglades to South Bay, around Lake Okeechobee, and through Clewiston, Moore Haven, and Lake Placid. Just before Sebring, we turned west on State Route 66 and followed it 25 miles to Zolfo Springs. From there it was only a mile or two north on US Highway 17 to the campground.

Most of the way we ran in a light mist that occasionally became rain, and under a heavy overcast. It’s harvest season in Florida, and we passed trailers being loaded with oranges all along the way.

Oranges trailer

In  Moore Haven, the police were escorting a long convoy of trucks and tractors pulling sugar cane trailers in the right lane.

Convoy

US 27 is a well maintained divided four lane highway most of the way. When we left it, State Route 66 was a two lane road, but in good condition. You can see in these pictures what a gray, ugly day it was.

Gray driving day

Gray driving day 2

We got lucky and the rain stopped a few minutes before we arrived at the campground, so I didn’t have to park and get hooked up in the rain. The campground has 200 full hookup 30/50 amp electric RV sites, and another 200 30 amp water and sewer only sites. We had been told that this time of year, the full hookup sites go fast, and to expect to have to settle for one of the water and electric sites. But we got lucky again, when we arrived they still had several full hookup sites available to choose from.

The campground has both open sites, and sites in the beautiful live oak trees that we see all over the south. All sites are back-ins, on grass. We chose an open site to be sure we could get a good signal on our rooftop TV dish.   

Peave River TTN RV

Peave River TTN RVs

Under our Thousand Trails membership, we are entitled to 50 nights camping a year for our dues, and any nights over that are $5/night. This is the first year that we have gone over 50 nights, but we’re more than happy to pay $5 a night for a full hookup campsite in Florida, even if it is cold and dreary!

The trip was 175 miles, and we arrived at the campground at 1 p.m. Once we were settled in and hooked up, we ran into town for an early dinner, then stopped at Sweetbay grocery store so Miss Terry  could pick up some things.

While Terry was in the store, I talked to Greg White on the phone. Before he ran away from home to become an RV gypsy, Greg ran an IT computer company, and when he’s back home in Houston, Texas, where he and Jan are now, he keeps busy solving problems for his former customers. Greg and I were talking about all of the ways people can get into trouble online, and we decided that he should do a seminar on the Do’s & Don’ts of Computer Security at our Arizona Gypsy Gathering rally in Yuma, in March. I’m going to arrange the schedule so I can sit in on that one!

Looking at the 10 day weather forecast, it looks like we may have a couple of decent days this week, with temperatures in the 70s, and then another cold front will drop it back into the 60s. I think the only way I’m going to see bikinis this winter is if I buy a calendar!

Thought For The Day – A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.

Register Now For Our Arizona Gypsy Gathering Rally

Dec 192010
 

The old saying “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts” dates back to the story of the Trojan Horse, when the Greeks besieged the city of Troy during the Trojan War. According to legend, after a long siege, the Greeks built a huge wooden horse, and concealed a small force of their best soldiers inside. Then they boarded their ships and sailed away.

The besieged Trojans thought that they had outlasted their enemies, and opened the gates to the city and pulled the horse inside as a victory trophy. That night, after the Trojans all went to sleep, the Greeks hidden inside the horse force crept out and opened the city gates to the rest of the Greek army, which had sailed back, under cover of night. The Greek army entered and seized the city of Troy, ending the war.

The purpose of this history lesson is to tell you that while you might want to avoid Greeks bearing gifts, Geeks bearing gifts are something else altogether!

Yesterday evening Jim and Chris Guld, from Geeks on Tour, showed up at our door with grilled lobsters that Jim had caught while scuba diving just off the beach, here in Fort Lauderdale. Those things were huge!

Lobster 2

Terry Nick Lobsters

Jim and Chris supplied the main entree, and Miss Terry filled out the menu with wild rice pilaf, stir fried mixed vegetables, and fresh sliced Heirloom tomatoes. Everything was delicious, and I guarantee you nobody went hungry!

After dinner we sat around visiting for a couple of hours, and Chris showed me a trick or two with G-mail, Windows Live Writer, and Microsoft Streets & Trips. And, of course, we swapped a lie or two, and solved a good number of the world’s problems in the process.

Jim Chris Nick visiting

It’s been wonderful having this one on one (or actually two on two) time with Jim and Chris, away from all of the hustle and bustle of an RV rally. Thanks for all your time, help, and especially your friendship, Jim and Chris! It’s been a lot of fun!

Since the weather is supposed to cool back down next week, we have scrubbed our original plans to go to the Keys, and instead, today we’re leaving Fort Lauderdale and are traveling to the Peace River NACO preserve in Wauchula, Florida.

We’ll hang out there until we get the new issue of the Gypsy Journal back from the printer and mailed off, and hopefully we’ll get in some kayaking on the Peace River, if the weather cooperates during our stay.

We’ve only got a few weeks left in Florida before we have to start west to get ready for our Arizona Gypsy Gathering rally in Yuma March 7-11. During that time, we want to get back to Pinellas Park for a family gathering, and we’d love to spend a few days around Crystal River, and maybe at Cedar Key, if we can.

Bad Nick has been busy posting a new Bad Nick Blog titled Blame Your Parents, Not Us. check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you have changed.

Register Now For Our Arizona Gypsy Gathering Rally

Dec 182010
 

Today is our last day in Fort Lauderdale, and it sure has been a fast week! Between bad weather and getting the new issue of the Gypsy Journal wrapped up, we haven’t gotten to see much during our stay.

But last night Jim and Chris Guld from Geeks on Tour took us for a quick tour of some of the city’s highlights when we went out to dinner, and it is obvious that they have a lot of affection for the place. Chris went to high school here, and Jim lived here from 1985 until they went on the road a few years ago. Since Chris’ mom and Jim’s dad and son both live here, they spend a lot of time here at Paradise Island RV Resort.

We drove along the waterfront, where we saw the lights of huge ships making their way down the coast, and stopped to walk on the beach for a few minutes. Since it was dark, we didn’t get to see a lot, but anytime I’m on a beach, I’m a happy camper! We had a very nice dinner at an outside table at a restaurant called Coconuts. On our way in, we stopped to check out this huge pot of paella, a concoction that included saffron rice, lobster, crab, scallops, shrimp, onions, peppers, and assorted vegetables. It looked delicious, but at $26 a serving, we all decided we weren’t quite that hungry! Paella Jim and I had blackened mahi sandwiches, while the ladies had fish tacos, and we finished off with delicious key lime pie. Yummy! While we ate, we watched large boats cruising up the Inland Waterway, and smaller boats coming and going as people stopped at the restaurant’s dock. One of the waitresses took this picture of the four of us at our table. Don’t we look well fed and happy? Chris Jim Guld Terry Nick Coconuts The restaurant is located right next door to the International Swimming Hall of Fame, which honors the achievements of famous swimmers, divers, water polo players, synchronized swimmers, and people involved in life saving activities. Did you know that the late radio and television personality Art Linkletter was  a world-class swimmer, or that if it weren’t for a bad bout of poison oak, he would have participated in the 1932 Olympic Trials. A college backstroke champion, Linkletter might well have earned a spot on the US Olympic swimming team. I wonder what direction the famed humorist’s life might have taken, if it weren’t for a bad rash?

We had a good time visiting with Jim and Chris at dinner. Besides being the world’s best mobile computer geeks, they are also accomplished kayakers and scuba divers. Miss Terry has always wanted to learn how to dive, which I had hoped she could do this winter. I think hearing all of Jim and Chris’s stories of their underwater adventures really whetted her appetite to try it!

Even though we didn’t get to play tourist very much, we did get some things accomplished in our time here, or rather, I should say, Chris got some things accomplished for me. Over time we will be moving all of our websites off the Yahoo servers, and she has a lot of the groundwork done for that. She also helped me with an ongoing problem I’ve been having with e-mail messages disappearing after I open them, or not getting to me at all, another problem that seems to have its origins with Yahoo. Thanks Chris, I really appreciate all of your help.

Thought For The Day – Why is the man you hire to invest all of your money called a broker?

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We Never Know

 Posted by at 5:08 am  Nick's Blog
Dec 172010
 

I got a call from my daughter Tiffany the other day, telling me that her grandfather, Jim Zipf, had passed away. Even though I had not seen the man in almost 25 years, and even though Tiffany’s mother and I had parted company long, long ago, I was still sorry to hear the news. I always liked Jim, and we got along very well.

Tiffany and I were talking about families, and how she has now lost all of her grandparents, her aunts and uncles on my side of the family, and other people she loved. I hated to tell her that as she gets older, it will happen again and again. We never know when our own, or somebody else’s time on this earth will end.

One of the things I love about the RV lifestyle is that it gives me the freedom to visit family and friends in every corner of the country. Since we hit the road over twelve years ago, I have been able to reestablish relationships with cousins I had not heard from in years, high school and Army buddies I had lost contact with, and recently, my nephews and a niece, right here in Florida, that I had not seen in over 25 years. It is amazing that so much time can pass, yet with many of these people, we have been able to pick up right where we left off, and the connection is still just as strong.

In one case, I’m glad I did, because I was able to visit with one of my best friends from high school several times before he died suddenly earlier this year. Like I said, we never know.

The RV lifestyle also has allowed Terry and I to see places and do things that we had only dreamed of before. How many people can say that they have paddled their kayaks in the Florida Keys, or ate fresh lobster in Maine, or watched the leaves turning on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, or been serenaded to sleep by coyotes in the Arizona desert?  How many have been able to walk the hallowed ground at Arlington, or roamed the narrow streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans? Many RVers have done all that and more in the same year!

Sometimes I burn Miss Terry out, because I want to be going and doing all of the time, and once in a while she needs some down time to recharge her batteries. I need that too, but I have known so many people who were always going to do something “someday” and never made it, because their calendar ran out before “someday” arrived.

I know that we need to stop and smell the roses now and then, but there are so many new adventures and old favorite places waiting for me just around the next bend in the road and over the next hill. I want to get to them all while I still can!

Thought For The Day – Making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life’.

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