Saturday, April 30, 2011

Kayaking with the Manatee

We had family visiting for a week of vacation and enjoyed many great events.  We went to Tarpon Springs, Clearwater Beach, Tampa, Ybor City and the exciting Weeki Wachee!  Well, at least the river is exciting.  Kayaking on this river is like taking a trip back in time.  We came upon a great place to swim and then the Manatee showed up.  It was great watching them swim around with us. 

A few even went down river with us on our return trip to the docks.  It was a great week. 

And they even enjoyed staying in our RV Condo, kind of like a private get away in the yard.  Of course, it was fully operational and they really did enjoy the vacation lodging.

House For Sale

Well, I guess this is good and bad.  We are just getting the little place fixed up nice.  It was the plan to keep this little place in stand by for the winter months, but not a permanent retirement location.  As it turns out, we like this area of Florida so much that Jan wants to grow some 'roots'...literally.  She wants to plant stuff and know that it will grow with us into the future.  So we are listing the house for sale and if it sells, we will look for a larger more permanent retirement home. 

We will still be half timers and travel during the summer.  And if it does not sell, then GREAT.  We love this house and this area. 


2003 Honda Reflex.

So we have been tugging the little Scion behind the RV for our sightseeing vehicle.  But I fear that there will be days that Jan will want to be off shopping or visiting with family or some other situation that will leave me without wheels!! OH NO. 

In addition, we all know what is happening again with gas prices.  AND, I was missing my old motorcycle.  Not that this little yellow dab of joy is quite the same as my Vulcan 1600 Classic.  But I do get to twist the throttle, have the wind in my hair, lean in the corners and all at 65mpg.  I can live with this.

I had been looking for a scooter for a while.  About the time I got serious, I saw this unit advertised at the Honda Dealer here in town.  It was well cared for, low miles, extras added and anti lock brakes.  I took it for a test ride and loved it.  It is only 250cc, automatic, but quick off of the line and cruises at 70 mph+ all day, no problem..  But I want it for 50 mph cruising and even slower sight seeing.  I expect it will be lots of fun.

I bought a HITCH MOUNTED RAMP to put it on.  I have a SPLIT RECEIVER that will allow me to mount the bike ramp high and the dolly low.  I hope it all works out ok.  I have not set it all up yet for a full dry run.  Some how, it will all work out.  My only concern is turn clearance between the scooter mount and hood of the car.

JUNE UPDATE:  The scooter did not make the trip.  As it turns out, the scooter is 'rear heavy'...not very well balanced on the ramp.  I should have made a dry run weeks prior to leaving.  If I had, I would have seen the problem and created a fix.  The FIX?  Weld additional receiver mounts on the hitch and have the ramp be supported at TWO POINTS.  Had I done this, everything would have been a go.  So my recommendation if you want to bring a motor bike with you - check your proposed equipment well in advance and plan to have a multi point mount to the frame of the tow vehicle. 

Awning Repair

April has been an interesting month, but the blog sure has been silent!!!  I have found it distracting here in Florida.  Day after day of blue sky, warm air, sunshine...sitting to blog has been a challenge.  So tonight I will catch up some with a few entries.

New Awning Fabric (and slide out fabrics as well).  Last fall the main awning fabric failed.  The portion that sits exposed when rolled up was beat up by the effects of UV, weakened and cracked.  Then water gets in and separates the layers of the fabric.  The first 24 inches began to separate and according to the technician I worked with, it could have all been avoided with some maintenance.

Lesson learned...keep the awning and slider fabrics protected with some form of UV inhibitor.

I did not think I had it in me to make this a DIY project.  Sequencing, alignments, spring tension, cutting, drilling and all the other details.  If I had a fellow RVer with experience in fabric replacement, maybe.  But I had too many projects going on with the house.  SO....

As a result of meeting a vendor at the Tampa RV show, I gave David a call at RVMedic.  Parts for the awning and two slides was $550 and labor was $350.  I drove the RV to their shop and in 3 hours was back on the road.  If you are ever in the Tampa area and need RV support, give them a call.  Honest folks and a good job.