Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Manatee Arts & Crafts Festival and Wine Tasting

We have been having a lot of fun lately. Let’s face it folks-isn’t that what retirement is supposed to be all about? I know that’s the version of retirement we signed up for. We went to the Manatee Arts and Crafts show, held here in Crystal River, last Saturday, Jan. 21. On the way there, we decided to eat at Hardees instead of Kim’s for breakfast and it was really good! We both had coffee and an egg, cheese, and bacon biscuit which actually melts in your mouth. The small round hash browns are quite good as well. The Hardees in Homosassa is a very busy one. They seem to have locals who bring in their own coffee mugs and get their coffee refills free-a regular coffee club.  After eating breakfast we headed to Crystal River to the downtown historic area where they held their arts and craft show.

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The vendors were actually set up on both sides of US Hwy 19, which is the main, 4-lane highway heading north/south thru the area. We got there at 10 AM and it wasn’t too crowded, but a lot of walking was involved. We brought a lawn chair so I(Jeff)could sit down when my back started tightening up and I needed to rest it. We showed excellent fiscal restraint (The State of the Union Address last eve has influenced vocabulary today). We only bought two koozies designed to hold water bottles(yes, water for real), a quarter pound of peanut butter fudge, and lemonade to sip on.


By the time we had left we had seen many of our neighbors and friends from Rock Crusher. It was a beautiful day for the show though. The festival also had an entertainment area where musical acts played throughout the day. We passed on that. They also ran shuttles to the Seven Sisters Spring area which was open so folks could walk the new boardwalk and see some manatees. That line was way too long for us to wait. It was a great way to spend about 4 hours on a gorgeous Florida winter day.

That same night we had a wine tasting event in the clubhouse. You were asked to bring a bottle of wine in which they would wrap it in a bag so no one knew what wine they were tasting. We were also to bring a snack to share. There were about 23 people there for the first time this event was held. Two of the ladies acted as servers and brought around the wine and poured it in our glasses to taste. We rated 9 white wines and 8 red wines on a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best. After tasting all the whites, we all were asked to submit our highest rated. We then did the same with the reds. There were a few that we really did like and then there were some that tasted like apple cider vinegar or worst yet what transmission fluid might taste like…yuck! We had brought a Muscadine Red wine from the Smoky Mountain Winery in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It came in second place(really first) in the red category. I say ours was really first because the first place choice, once revealed was simply Welch’s grape juice with Sprite. Obviously, not a wine and should have been disqualified. Barbie and I both noted that on our ratings sheets that it was Welchs. Guess we know what had NO alcohol in it. :-) The snacks were very good and much needed with all that wine. But then again, we did pour some of the tastings in a discarded glass because of the nasty taste. Prizes were awarded to the top two of each category and the gifts were very nice. Now we need to have a beer tasting night.  :-)

Sunday we had some rvers ride up on their bicycles and introduce themselves. You see we actually know Chuck and Ayn as “Roadlife”, their log-in name on RV.Net Forum, an rvers forum on the internet we both follow. We had communicated through the forums as being at Rock Crusher Canyon. We have met so many fellow rvers through either this blog, RV.Net  Forums, Forums or the Escapees Forums. These sites are full of great information with the opportunity to meet fellow rvers down the road.

On to a new topic. Our bed is really getting to us in a bad way. We have been sleeping on it for a year now and the mattresses that they put in these RV’s are on the low end of being comfortable. We had put on a two inch thick memory foam mattress pad on the 6 inch rv mattress back in March of last year. But now the whole bed makes us feel stiff in the morning and is most uncomfortable. Jeff has had to move out to his recliner chair in the middle of the night because of his hip, and not his back, for the last two weeks. We have rotated the bed’s mattress a couple of times but there is really no change. We feel that we are sleeping on the wooden platform with little cushion and not the bed anymore. We don’t want a Sleep Number bed since we had that in the stick house and got rid of it. Do any of our readers have any suggestions on what kind of bed is good and comfortable for them? We’re leaning toward some type of memory foam. We had a Bamboo memory foam mattress in our motorhome, we purchased from Overstock a few years back, which was all right but we don’t know how that would survive for fulltimers. If you have any suggestions or preferences that have worked for you, please let us know.

For the first time this winter, we finally ate at the “Freezer”  this past Monday. This is truly an old fish company’s freezer in which they converted it into a bar type atmosphere which serves fantastic steamed shrimp and other fish. Check out some Freezer reviews HERE. We had garlic toast and steamed shrimp with a pitcher of their Cedar Key Red draft beer.The menu is not extensive but what food they have is great and the beer is cold! We love the atmosphere and the folks you see there as well. It was a great “happy hour” start to the week.

Today, Wednesday, Jan. 25 we went to Home Depot for some supplies to make a pvc drying rack to attach to the ladder of the rig.

PVC Drying Rack

I also bought pvc to build a support to place under our long slideout awning to keep water from pooling when it rains. That is tomorrow’s assignment. Afterwards we went to Dan’s Clam Stand for some clam chowder, shrimp, fries and hush puppies. Everything was very good again.

Thursday, Jan. 26 we are headed to the One Buck Coffee Club at 8:30am in the clubhouse. We gather to drink coffee, tea, or hot chocolate and solve the problems of the world.  Afterwards there is a meeting for people interested in assisting to develop the park’s activity calendar for next month.  Jeff will attend that.

We hope to attend the Ocala RV Show this Saturday when the weather will be better than Thursday and Friday. There is rain on the horizon for the next two days off and on so those might be great days to clean the inside of the rig??? Perhaps Saturday we’ll make the hour drive to Ocala.

Whew…I think we’re done. Soooo…until next time….

Thursday, January 19, 2012

RV Supershow & More

We went down to our house in Valrico, Florida last Wednesday to prepare ourselves for our day long adventure to the Tampa Fairgrounds where the Florida RV Supershow was held. Every type of rv is represented at the show from Class B camping vans, truck campers, Class A and C  gas as well as diesel motorhomes, travel trailers, fifth wheels and even park model homes. There is everything from a couple thousand dollar pop-up campers to over $2 million dollar Class A buses.

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The admission cost was $10 per person without a coupon or $9 per person if you had a coupon. Seniors Day on Wednesday was also $9. We brought Jeff’s scooter along so he would enjoy the day much better without having to worry about his back giving out on him. For those of you who have never attended this show, it is huge and covers alot of ground. We even took Kozmo who spent most of the time on Jeff’s scooter on the floor taking in EVERYTHING! She looked like she was a kid in the candy store. She was very well behaved and got many compliments on her cute looks and behavior.

We arrived at the Super Show at 9:15am Thursday and saw many old friends. We saw Pat and Sandie Gregory, Tom and Sharon Mann, who were all from the Roamin’ Rigs, the FMCA club we used to belong to when we had the motorhomes. We saw many people from Rock Crusher Canyon RV Resort who drove to Tampa for the show, and two couples from our place in River Vista RV Resort in Dillard, Georgia. We ventured to the vendor building which was overly crowded. Since the weather on Wednesday was a wash out, senior citizens were everywhere. We saw Karen and Rob, the managers from River Vista, manning the River Vista  booth. We actually won a free night in one of the cabins provided we spend money for three nights. We ran into Roy from Quandra Bigfoot Jacks who put on our hydraulic jacks last May. If you want these jacks he is located in Lakeland, Florida. We went through many fifth wheels. We saw great kitchens in the Heartland Big Country fifth wheel and saw beautiful bathrooms in the Mobile Suites made by DRV. We saw a great plan in the Thor Redwood fifth wheel in regards to the entertainment section located in one of the slideout areas.  A new fifth wheel made by Palomino called the Columbus was different in that the kitchen island actually moved to your liking. They also had a fantastic side by side wall hugger recliner with a middle hand section in this model. I believe these are referred to as “theater seats.” I would really like to replace our sofa with this beauty. But all in all, if we could put all of the things we like into one fifth wheel, then we would have a new fifth wheel. But that “ain’t gonna happen”. :-)

While in the Valrico area we just had to eat at some places that don’t exist in the Crystal River area. We ate at Zaxby’s chicken and had great chicken with fries, cole slaw and Texas toast. We ate at Five Guys and had their great burgers and fries with wonderful iced tea. We stopped on our way back to the rig Friday in Brooksville at the Chick Fil-A and had their chicken sandwich. They have a new Tortilla Chicken Soup which was very good-quite spicy. We have plans on stopping at Buffet City, a Chinese restaurant  located in Brooksville. Hopefully we will get there this week. Nick and Terry Russell from the Gypsy Journal magazine and blog, have recommended this place several times since they have been down here in Florida. We ate at Dan’s Clam Stand here in Homosassa this evening for dinner and just loved it as usual. We wish Sherry and Charlie could have been here to enjoy the great clam chowder and shrimp with us. We are thinking of you both!

Kozmo continues to amaze us with her “mannerisms”. We have included some pictures of her outside in the dirt, on her new outside pillow and her time in her inside bed. We put a fleece blanket on her inside bed and she just loves it. But her best time still is lying on the dirt outside our rig. She even smells like dirt sometimes. Luckily her bath time is coming up so she can smell like a princess again.

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On another positive note, I went to a new doctor last Monday here in Crystal River and really like him. My blood pressure, heart, pulse and thyroid is great! This past Monday the 16th,  I went for a bone density scan and my osteopenia is holding its own for the last three years. Blood work is next month and a follow up with the doctor in regards to this is also scheduled for February. I am happy to find someone up here in Crystal River so in case I do get sick I don’t have to travel two hours to Valrico to see my old doctor. We are both going to look into optometrists in this area soon. This past Tuesday evening there was a barbequed chicken dinner with Buckaroo Bruce’s baked beans, cole slaw, roll and iced tea. Ninety three tickets were sold for this dinner. It was quite good as well!

Lots more to look forward to this week… Saturday morning blueberry pancake breakfast in the clubhouse,  a wine tasting gathering will be held in the clubhouse on Saturday evening where every couple brings a bottle of red or white wine that all participants will blind taste. Voting will be done and a prize awarded to the couple who brings the favorite red and white wines. We all are also to bring a snack to share. Sounds like fun huh?   Saturday and Sunday in downtown Crystal River is also the Manatee Arts and Crafts Festival. We really have enjoyed this in past years. Many vendors (about 100) line the streets with their craft items. There are additional food booths, musical entertainment and boat tours of King’s Bay. They even are running shuttles to the Seven Sisters Springs area where the manatees all huddle up in the crystal clear spring waters. We’ll no doubt spend a couple of hours enjoying the festival AND contributing to the local economy. :-)

That’s about it for now. Until next time….

Friday, January 6, 2012

2012 – Off to a Good Start

We celebrated New Year’s with Jeff, aka Big Daddy DJ,  DJ’ing the Rock Crusher Canyon RV Park New Year’s Eve Dance. There were probably about 95 people in attendance and they all seemed to have a lot of fun dancing, snacking, sipping adult beverages, talking to each other and eventually feeling quite stiff and sore the next day. We heard of no one complaining of hangover type symptoms Sunday, but we did hear of alot of achy knees and sore backs from all the dancing. It’s amazing how a bit of alcohol can cause one to do do things they regret later. :-) This was probably the best turn out for a Rock Crusher  New Years gathering yet.

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Sunday, we were invited to Canadian friends, Allan and Ruth’s rig for some great conversation and snacks and more adult beverages. We met some neat people who were all from Canada and a lot of fun to be around. The game of Ladders, otherwise known as Bolo Golf to us, was played and enjoyed on their site. Kozmo was invited to the gathering and met two other puppies named Breezy and Lola. She already knew Allan and Ruth’s dog named Henry and they are all so sweet !

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We haven’t done much of anything around here except try to keep warm the last three days. The lowest temperature we had was 23 degrees on Tuesday morning. We stayed warm with the two electric heaters on after the heat pump shut off below 30 degrees. We had to put the furnace on for two hours to get the chill off though. We hate to use the furnace as it uses so much propane. We were happy today to sit outside today and rake a lot of leaves into beautiful piles. It was a beautiful 70 degree day. We even took a golf cart ride without getting cold. Spoke with lots of people in the park. You can tell the “snowbirds” are arriving in force. It is good to see them again.

We went with three other couples to Peck’s Old Port Cove restaurant in Ozello which is about 25 minutes away. The company and food were great! Jeff had his usual peel-n-eat garlic shrimp which helped in preventing vampires from attacking him at night :-) and I had the fried shrimp, scallops and oyster platter which was very good. Peck’s is near the end of Ozello Trail road which has many curves and marshes on both sides of the road as it heads west towards the Gulf of Mexico. It can be intimidating while you drive out there. We know not to be out there after dark because there are no lights to guide you on the road. Many of the houses out there are on stilts. But then again if a hurricane came through, you would have to evacuate because there would be water over the roads very quickly. The restaurant had burned down several years ago but had been rebuilt since it was so popular.

We helped out on Thursday morning in the clubhouse to launch a new club called the 1 Buck Coffee Club. It costs a dollar for unlimited coffee. One must bring a 16 ounce or smaller cup for the coffee, tea or hot chocolate. We brought some donut holes from Dunkin Donuts and some other people brought some cookies and pumpkin bread. Even though the temperature was 35 degrees, about a dozen people showed up for coffee and we made a good dent in solving the world’s problems. We hope it will be a weekly event because the people said they enjoyed getting together like this.

RCC CupWe have several food events in the park coming up. Saturday morning is another breakfast at the clubhouse . These are held every other Saturday. Since we won a free breakfast coupon at the last breakfast during a raffle, we will only have to pay for one this time. Next Tuesday is a soup and salad night which was very popular last year. There are two choices of soup and several dressing choices for the salad. For $5 a person you can fill up on soup and salad. Later in the month are a hotdog w/fixins night, a chicken barbeque, and spaghetti dinner. Throw in a Sundae Sunday one week and a strawberry shortcake night the next Sunday on top of those events. Oh, and how could I forget a wine tasting gathering on a Saturday evening---oh boy!

We will be traveling to Valrico on Wednesday afternoon to prepare ourselves for going to the RV Super Show in Tampa on Thursday. We know it is Senior Citizen Day on Wednesday but last year there were so many people that we got a little frustrated. We even get to bring Kozmo this year since they allow mild tempered pets on leashes. She certainly qualifies. We will head back to our rig on Friday. Maybe we will see some of you there at the Super Show on Thursday.

‘Til next time… hope your new year is going well for you!