Saturday, March 24, 2012

2 Great Weekends in a row

The past two weekends have been awesome! Last weekend in Homosassa a Dragonboat Regatta was held. And, today was the ShrimpaPalooza Festival in “Old” Homosassa.

There was a good number of out-of-town guests in town and crowds of spectators gathered along the Homosassa River at McRaes boat docks  and the Riverside Resort by Monkey Island for the third annual Homosassa River Dragon Boat Races. They began at 9 am Saturday, March 17, on the river in front of Riverside Resort.

Dragonboat Festival 2012

Besides the local Natures Coast rowing teams, visiting teams from Tampa, The Villages and Hawthorne, competed in three types of races. Two of the races were straight sprint races, one 300 meters long and the other a 3000 meter one. These races originated in China nearly 2,000 years ago. Its popularity has been growing all over the world for the past three decades. For these sprint races,  five teams  raced up and down the river. Each boat held 20 paddlers, 10 on each side, along with a steersman and a drummer who  kept the beat and everyone focused. The third race was a dragon boat barrel race. This unique race was a big crowd pleaser on the Homosassa River for sure. In this race, the 44-foot boats had to cut tight corners which tested the teamwork and skills of every team. Below are some pictures taken at the event.

Dragonboat 1   Dragonboat 2

Dragonboat 3   Dragonboat 4

Dragonboat 5   Dragonboat 6

Thank goodness “The Shed” at McRaes is nearby.

DSC_0047   The Shed

The day’s great weather and activities made many of us thirsty! What a great outdoor atmosphere and event.

Here is a video of the barrel race.


This morning, after stopping first for a Hardee’s Drive-thru Breakfast, we went to the Homosassa Public Library. You see they held their annual Friends of the Library Book Sale. Barbie couldn’t resist checking it out. There was a line waiting to storm the event 20 minutes before they opened the doors! Barbie spent 35 minutes searching for her finds. She came back with 4 paperbacks that cost her a total of ONLY $2! All paperbacks were 50 cents each and hardbacks $1. Not only did they have books but DVDs, CDs, and puzzles. She enjoyed herself while Kozmo and I waited in the truck. We were resting up for the excitement of the FIRST ShrimpaPalooza Festival in Homosassa!


After leaving the library we made the 8 minute drive to “old” Homosassa to check out this new event. The Rotary Club of Homosassa Springs organized this event advertising it as  Mardi Gras Homosassa Style! It actually kicked off Thursday and Friday night with Palooza Parties at the local bars, which we did not check out not knowing what to expect. This mornings’ activities started with a 10:30 am Parade down Yulee Drive. Unfortunately, we just missed the parade. People were still walking around the streets but we knew we must have missed the parade as everyone seemed to be wearing beads-we had none.  It was about time for the event to kick into full gear with live bands, lots of food and plenty of arts and craft vendors to visit. We did run into our Rock Crusher neighbors, Roger and Judy, and they saw the parade-they had beads!  We’ll get the scoop from them later. There certainly were plenty of opportunities to enjoy some great seafood, arts & crafts, live music and all the fun one could handle!

IMG_1816   IMG_1819

Not knowing what to expect, we didn’t stay in the area long as we had our furry, four-legged GPS with us. We couldn’t just leave her by herself and wander around.

Kozmo 4 legged GPS

‘Til next time………………….

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Chili Cook-Off

The Chili Cook-Off for Rock Crusher Canyon RV Park was held this afternoon.


There were SIX chefs (one gentleman and five ladies) that prepared their finest chili. THIRTY taste-testers sampled the chilis, submitted their ballots, and sipped their favorite beverages. I found out today that I enjoy Michelob Lager pretty darn well. I’d never had Michelob Lager before. I’ve had regular Michelob, Michelob Light and Michelob Ultra but no “Lager.” Barbie prepared her “Rock Crusher Red” last evening and let it simmer in the slow cooker all night. I woke up in the middle of the night and the aroma permeated the fifth wheel for sure.

The cook-off began at 3:00pm in the clubhouse. I’m certainly glad I remembered to take a Zantac tablet before we went or I’d be paying for it with a severe case of heartburn by now I’m sure. Since I suggested the event at an activities meeting in December, I was co-chair of the event. Before we began sampling I explained the procedures to all in attendance.  The chilis were labeled A,B,C,D,E, and F. The testers needed to sample all six and award each a score of 5,4,3,2 or 1, to each chili, with 5 being “great” to 1 being “not good.” See below.


SCORE EACH CHILI 5-4-3-2-1 (5=best)

















We had Ritz crackers and saltines to add to the chili if desired. There was iced tea for those who did not bring a beverage with them. None of the cooks conferred but each was different. There was a “Thanksgiving Chili” which included as main ingredients turkey, pumpkin pie mix and butter beans. It was unique for sure and really did taste better than it sounds. Another unique one, “Special Blend White Chili” was made with grilled chicken cut up very fine with black eyed peas as the major ingredients. This chili had NO traditional seasonings you’d find in chili at all, but was very well seasoned, good and so different. Another, “Summer Chili,” was a red chili with the beans and seasonings but made with sausage and not a ground beef. “Chetas Chili” was so named by it’s chef because she said she cheated by using pre-packaged ingredients instead of mixing individual ones. Huh??? That’s what I thought until it was explained to me that she used salsa in jars instead of tomatoes, onions, peppers etc. It was good as well. The final chili was “Grannie’s Chili”, which was as you’d think, a long time family recipe that has been passed around for years. As I said, all were quite good in my opinion-it’s just a matter of personal preference I guess. I looked at the ballots only to unfold them to make it easier for the three ladies that served as the “official” tallyers. Most scores were 4’s and 5’s, with a few 3’s. Only ONE ballot I saw used all 1’s and 2’s on his/her ballot-- my only explanation for it was, that person just doesn’t like chili at all!

The managers donated 3 prizes for upcoming campground food events to be given to the top three favorites: a free breakfast coupon, a free ice cream sundae, and a free strawberry shortcake. They also provided certificates. As co-chairperson, and not knowing the managers made certificates,  I also prepared certificates for the Champion and all 5 other participating chefs. Once the ladies had concluded tallying the results they gave them to me to announce: 

Third Place – SUMMER CHILI


Second Place – GRANNIE’s CHILI


2012 Rock Crusher Canyon RV Park Chili Cook-Off CHAMPION



Yes, Barbie’s chili won! Isn’t that a sharp looking certificate I made for my wife! :-)

Blue Chili Champion Certificate

Well, that’s the big news around here for now.

‘Til next time……

Monday, March 5, 2012

Time’s Flyin’-But Not Much Happenin’

I can’t believe it has been two weeks plus a couple days since our last post. Just like many of you with blogs, when you stay at one location for an extended time, we seem to write less frequently. Day-to-day regular happenings don’t seem worthy enough to write about and the days just pass on by. Isn’t retirement great-you do what you want, when you want to-or do nothing at all. I must admit, I’m getting anxious to make plans and get ready to head north again. It’s been a great winter here at Rock Crusher Canyon but it’s about time to head north. Our rough plans have us leaving here probably right after Easter weekend. We’ll make one or maybe more stays on the way up to our site in River Vista Mountain Village, in Dillard, GA.

aerial river vista

River Vista Mountain Village is located between Clayton, Georgia and Highlands and Franklin, North Carolina. It is located about one mile south of the North Carolina state line and about one mile east off of HWY 441. River Vista sits in a beautiful valley surrounded by the Smoky Mountains to the east and Blue Ridge Mountains to the west. Picnic tables and meditation benches are located along the banks of Slick Rock Creek and Mud Creek, which border the Resort to the east and southeast. Our clubhouse/office offers a full kitchen, TV and reading area, card/game tables, computer stations, fitness room, and rocking chairs and checkers tables on the front porch facing Little Estatoah Falls in the Smoky Mountains. An outdoor heated pool and spa are located at the main pavilion which also features a large fireplace with wooden rocking chairs, community tv, picnic tables, and restroom facilities.

Pavillion Pool Area  Pavillion Fireplace

Pavillion & Pool  Pool

River Vista Falls 2  Mountain View with Pond

There is also an indoor heated pool and spa building adjacent to the pavilion area. In addition, there is a large Mountain Center Clubhouse  with double commercial kitchens, stage, two-sided fireplace and wall partition. This is the area that Big Daddy DJ has hosted dances, both in the street and inside the Mountain Center.

Big Daddy DJ Memorial Day 2011 INSIDE MTN CENTER


The campground is open all year, has 144 lots to choose from as well as five 1 and 2 bedroom rental cabins. The rv sites have gravel pads with full hookups (water, sewer, 30 and 50 amp electric service), cable television with premium channels and has free wireless internet throughout the resort. Kozmo reminded me to also mention the resort is pet friendly. Part of the resort is the original 99 site owners section, Falls View, where we bought our site in 2004.

Falls View May 2011

That section is sold out, although occasionally an owner resells a site. Of these sites, about two-thirds of them have built park model cabins on them. The campground itself is now also selling sites and a few have been sold. Can you tell I love that area and am getting antsy to be there?

So what have we been up to the past two weeks? The weekend before this past one we drove over to Ocala Sun RV Resort in Ocala to visit with the Roamin’ Rigs, the FMCA rv club we were active members in from 1997 until we sold our motorhome in January of 2011. Although we were made honorary members, we no longer attend the rallies since we no longer have a motorhome. It was great seeing all of our friends and sharing a traditional happy hour with them. Happy Hour 4

After the happy hour we stopped at a Tijuana Flats Restaurant in Ocala for dinner before making the hour long drive back to Crystal River. We love Tijuana Flats but unfortunately the closest one to Crystal River is the one in Ocala.

Last week we drove down to the sticks-n-bricks home in Valrico for 4 nights. I had my 6 month doctor’s visit to review blood tests etc. All the blood work looked great, cholesterol good, blood pressure good. Bottomline, he said I’m good to go for another 6 months. He did reiterate that dropping some more weight would help take some strain off my back. Yeah, yeah, tell me something I don’t know. :-) I try believe me. We also bought some landscape bricks, some soil and plants and put a 6’ X 3’ planter in front of the house. We had a robellini palm out there in a planter for years but it died about a year and a half ago and we got rid of it.

images[1]    BEFORE

We needed to add something out there so the planter it was.

 Valrico Planter   AFTER

While in Valrico we also ate at China Palace, our all-time favorite Chinese buffet restaurant!

Finally, I’ve got to comment on the weather. Those of you in Florida certainly know this but the past week of weather around here has been crazy. We had temps in the 80’s for several days before that wicked front came through here that caused all the tornados and damage in the midwest. It was really quite windy here with gusts up to 50 mph but no tornados. It rained really hard here in Crystal River Saturday night/Sunday morn from 4:00-4:30am and then quit and started turning cool immediately. This morning the low here was 42 degrees and we had the heat pump on. Crazy weather, but give me this over the tragic stuff that other parts of our country has experienced.

Well. that’s the Cliff Notes version of our lives for the past two weeks. We hope each of you are happy, healthy and enjoying life! Thank you for following our adventures. We leave you with the Kozmo picture of the month…she bonded with Elmo in Valrico!

Kozmo & Elmo 3

‘Til next time……..