Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kayaking Weeki Wachee

Weeki Wachee River.  With perfect weather, we finally had the time to get onto the water this week.  We have a Sea Eagle inflatable, but decided to buy a rigid kayak for winter use in Florida.  The Sea Eagle will be our travel kayak, taking it in the RV. 

The Pelican Apex 130T will be our boat for the winter because transport is not an issue. 

We went to the Weeki Wachee river today.  We put in at Weeki Wachee Gardens, 2/3 of the way to the Gulf down stream. 

We paddled part way to the head water of the river, where the spring and state park are located. 

This part of the river is developed, with a beach area, boat ramp, restaurant and many canals with homes on the river and its tributaries.  It is really pretty. 

Many birds, fish, turtles and other habitat as well as additional natural springs and the beautiful river. 

Next trip will be a coordinated float down the entire river, from the head waters at the spring and state park.  We also want to get over to the Hillsborough River State Park, nearer Tampa,  real soon. 

Hope you are enjoying your winter...and spring is almost here!  Yea!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight Savings Time -- BAH HUMBUG.  Sunrise is a great time of the day and delaying it is not to my liking at all!

I feel especially bad for the school kids and going to school in the dark is unsafe.  I think sunrise should coincide with human activity, especially in the morning.  Maybe daylight savings time could be applied during the summer months only, when the school kids do not have to wait for a bus on busy roads and in the cold!

Of course, this is my little rant.  It is not like I can do anything about it.  Just another way in which our political 'leadership' is not listening.  It is all about money, not the people.

But now that the sun is finally coming over the horizon -- at 740 am -- I hope you find joy in your day.  May you know peace, comfort and hope.  Pray for the people of Japan, the Middle East and those less fortunate than us in the USA.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Peace and Disaster

Central Florida has been such a peaceful place to spend the last 4 weeks of winter.  I have had the windows open for a solid month.  78 +/- 4 degrees during the day; 58 +/- 4 degrees at night.  Wow.

I have been to the beach many times.  At one of my favorite swimming holes I was able to enjoy the bulk of the afternoon with the manatee.  A fresh water spring fills up a creek to the north west, flowing into and merging with the tidal brackish water of the Gulf of Mexico.  No less than 7 manatee were swimming about, feeding and posing for photos.  Unfortunately, all I had with me was my cellphone!!!  So the images are not that good.  But good enough to remember a very peaceful day.

AND THEN I come home see all the events of the Middle East and Japan on the news. I am overwhelmed at our level of blessing in this country and then the difficulties that others are encountering in other countries. How disastrous.  We have peaceful streets and a stable coastline, at least in my neck of the woods.  No nuclear fear, no military war within our border...well, there is Wisconsin, Mexico and our Politicians. Our country is struggling in so many ways morally and financially; we are literally - bankrupt.  My shallow concerns about $4 gasoline pale in comparison to what others are facing.  I believe that our world is on a path of change WAY bigger than most realize or believe.

My faith causes me to reflect, to pray, to understand that there are some truths that I cannot ignore.  I reflect on the blessings of my life, and am thankful, and acknowledge that they come from God.  His plan for me could change at any moment; am I prepared to trust Him then?  I also reflect on God's power, as seen in His creation.  Planet earth is not an accident, nor are its properties of power and awe.  People are also His creation, though evil is not.  So I must trust that the events of the Middle East and Japan are part of His plan.  There IS a reason for these things.  I pray for these people, for their families, their governments, our government.  I do believe that our world is moving in a Sovereign direction, to the beat of a Sovereign plan...God's plan.   Mankind thinks too much of itself, and for many reasons has stopped looking for and listening to God. 

So in the ebb and flow of my life and the world around me, I try to keep a balanced perspective.  God is God.  His creation shouts His presence.  World events demand divine perspective.  I pray I stay alert to His presence in my life and that I will be prepared for the days ahead...the goodness and the challenges.

May you know His presence in your life as well.  

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Maintenance Time

With the nice weather, I decided to start thinking, doing something about travel prep.  Ideally I would have done this stuff in November, after first arriving at the winter haven after traveling the summer.  But this past autumn was our 'move in' month and there was so much NON-RV stuff to do, the poor Gray Whale (the big monster above) had to suffer through being 'beached' in the yard. 

So now, with fresh inspections and maintenance done on the mechanical side, the 'vehicle' is road ready.  I ended up at the Ford dealer for this adventure.  3.5 hours and $200 later, all mechanical service is done, including the generator.   I learned a lot too, while shadowing the technician.  There are still two unresolved issues though.  One is an air suspension system malfunction; not a Ford installed item and they would not work on it.  The dash switch to put air in the 'bags' does not seem to be activating the air pump.  So, while there is enough air in the system for now, I need to get that looked at.  The other is awing repair.  The vinyl fabric got weakened via UV radiation and the fabric started to leak.  Once the water got in, the material separated on the upper third of the awning.  So, while I am at it, might as well replace the two room slide covers even though they look OK for now.  It would stress me out to be half way through summer and have the slide out covers come undone. All three will be done in a few weeks after a trip to Tampa.  The work will be done at the RV Medic facility, $900 +/- for all three fabrics, installed.  While there, I hope the air ride can be resolved too! 

Gotta have a budget for this stuff.

So in about 9 weeks we hope to be on the road. 

Safe travels to you and yours.....Mike. 

Tarpon Springs Florida - Day Trip

Wow, the blog has been quiet for a while.  Jan has been working at her seasonal nursing job.  While she is working I have continued to do projects around the winter home.  On her days off we try to do some relaxing or adventure things.  I have been able to read a few good books and check out a few good movies.  We have been on walks about the neighborhood and a few drives into the countryside.  I have done some car maintenance and visited some family a few hours away in Sebastian FL.  Weather in Florida this year has been 'out of the norm', as has much of the country.  December was colder then normal, lows 35 +/- and highs 60 +/-, about 10 - 15 degrees below average. NO SNOW, but we still hibernated a lot!   January was wetter than normal, but temps were more normal and we had mostly nice days.  February has been warmer and dryer than normal, and QUITE NICE!  Temps have been lows of 60 +/- and highs of 78 +/-; no heat running, windows open all the time.  Really, really nice.

We did get some gardening done.  I also have some RV maintenance items on the list of 'to do'.  MAY will be departure month.

We did have one particularly nice day trip to Tarpon Springs, Florida.  You can find photos here of our little adventure, password is shadow.  Tarpon Springs was settled in the late 1800's and had only a few hundred residents.

 One of the photos is a museum home and the architecture is typical of earlier Florida style homes.  Soon after, many Greek immigrants settled the area and began sponge diving, putting Tarpon Springs more firmly on the map.
There is a strong Greek history and presence still in the area.  The sponge docks area is a very interesting stop, as are the old town, the old parks and the Howard Park Beach.
 We will be going back to see that museum, a classic car museum and ride the sight seeing boat of the area.  If you are ever in the Tampa area, this is a worthwhile visit.  We had a very enjoyable day and a beautiful sunset too.

So far, our move to and life in Florida has been everything we had hoped it would be.  We are looking forward to Jan's seasonal job coming to an end and a new 6 month adventure on the road.  We have plans to be on the southeast coast in May, Virginia in June, in the mountains somewhere during the summer, and work out way to Texas in the late summer.  We will be back in Florida by November 1.