Header Picture

Epcot, Orlando, Florida

My Readers

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Sorting Out

32556551_10217261185628447_2592656604503474176_nWhen we arrived here last August, to save on expenses we basically emptied out the fifth wheel. We didn’t want to have to buy everything new for the house. We had quite a few piles of STUFF all over the place!

Now 32620857_10217261185308439_2480848903457472512_nthat we are getting ready to go back into the fifth wheel, we are being quite a bit more selective about what we bring back.


So I’ve started sorting through the kitchen to figure out what I really use on a day to day basis. It will be nice to be able to leave stuff behind. Like the roaster oven that we used to cook our turkey or ham on holidays. I’m going to whittle my baking pans down to what I use the most often. While we are up at our seasonal site, we will only be 20 minutes from my mother’s house, so if there is anything I am missing I can borrow it from her anyway.

We will also be going through the rig before we start moving back in. Anything left in there will seriously be on the “do we really need this?” list. I am anticipating that we will have a lot of extra room in the rig. 32372847_10217237451275103_3135129700045684736_nWe won’t be bringing knick knacks, boxes of pictures which I carried around for almost five years, our printer or keurig coffee maker. We are leaving behind our rug, the side tables that we used in the bedroom and living room. Just for the summer, we are also taking out the table which we never use. (You can see it in the pic above over to the left by the window.) We will just be storing that in the house until we get back. I think we are going to be so light that the truck won’t even know it’s pulling anything!

I have today off and then I go back to work tomorrow to start my last few days before the start of summer vacation.

Thirteen days until we hit the road!

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Winding Down

32418615_10217237500476333_1252402288736075776_nBy the middle of April, most of the snowbird portion of our park had headed north for the summer. Since we aren’t leaving until the end of May, we were the goodbye committee each time. The streets have gotten so quiet. I’ve been doing my morning runs pretty early because once the sun comes up it gets hot. Other than being too hot to run after 8:30 or 9 am, I really haven’t minded the weather too much. It’s so different since we aren’t in the rig. The a/c keeps it really comfortable, and it’s so quiet, we don’t even know it’s on most of the time.


32325621_10217237497916269_644031557215977472_n


On one of my runs recently, I saw the sandhill cranes taking advantage of the open yard to look for their breakfast.


 

32385431_10217237472675638_7822498926333788160_nOur friends Jim and Dee, (who used to be our neighbors but bought a place in Auburndale a couple years ago), met us at Brewpop Brewery in Auburndale a couple weeks ago. We used a groupon  we had purchased for a tasting. It was a fun time but I didn’t like their brews as much as I enjoyed a tasting we did earlier this winter at Keel and Curley Winery.

32253764_10217237469995571_1065901588834418688_n



32460132_10217237480555835_2327579980432670720_n





Right before the last of our friends left, we had one last get-together at our house. We played a rousing game of Pegs and Jokers – men vs women. We had a lot of laughs and enjoyed each other’s company for the afternoon.

32350146_10217237449475058_894714715085733888_nWe’ve been doing lots of odds and ends over the past couple of weeks. We were thinking about the rig sitting in storage all winter, and that we didn’t want to bring any hitchhikers north with us. So we met the guy who sprays our property, and he sprayed the inside of our rig and in the basement. Don’t want to see any of those palmetto bugs running around!


32372847_10217237451275103_3135129700045684736_nWhile we had it open, we checked around inside. It looks really good. No calling cards from any visitors that I could see, and it smelled really fresh inside. We are going to make some pretty big changes when we get it over here. The boys will be staying with us for a month while we are up north, so we are going to make some configuration changes and take out some furniture that we don’t use. I’m excited to see what it looks like.

32228762_10217237455875218_3123448595886374912_n

We were walking last week at the end of one of our few cloudy days, and I noticed that it was clearing on the horizon. It cleared just enough that the sun going down just lit up the whole sky. It was so beautiful!



I am down to my last week and a half to work at Home Depot. I’m looking forward to a few months off, and heading off on our extended vacation. But I’m going to miss my co-workers also. I’ve been so lucky to have gotten a job that I am enjoying so much.

Fifteen days left until we hit the road!

Friday, April 13, 2018

A Day at Epcot and Rain Test

After our truck didn’t start on Sunday, our neighbor came over and they started it with a jump. We ran it for about 45 minutes hoping that it would charge the batteries up enough to start on Monday, but Monday morning they were once again dead. So we had to jump it again to get it started, and Harry headed off to the Chevy dealership. Once they checked the batteries out, they reported to Harry that one was dead and the other was close. Yeah, we figured. So Harry used their shuttle to come home for the day, and they called in the afternoon to let him know when the truck was ready. There was some good news for the day though. Harry asked them to check the brakes while the truck was there and they are still in great shape. Not bad considering they are the original brakes and we are heading for 87k miles on the truck!

Last week Harry spent a morning putting up some flashing above and around our front windows in an attempt to take care of a leak we’d noticed during the last couple rainstorms. On Tuesday we finally got some rain, and we were both eager t30688504_10216976066860656_380222382289190912_no see if we saw any drips coming in.



30698685_10216976066100637_5524282151245185024_n



No leaks!



30582127_10216964083121070_7498269417880445720_nOn Wednesday we enjoyed another day at Epcot. That makes four days for us this year. We buy the Weekday Select annual pass for Florida residents. That pass enables us to go to any of the Disney parks on weekdays only, with the exception of some blackout periods. The blackout periods are at peak times like Christmas week, a couple weeks in March or April when the spring breakers are coming, and a couple months in the summer. Those are all times when we wouldn’t want to go anyway so it works out fine. Our annual pass covers admission and parking, plus gives discounts at some of the stores and restaurants.

30051580_10216964118321950_1811756255873418428_o

We were looking forward to going this time because this is the time of year when they have their Festival of Flowers. The displays are so beautiful.

30629274_10216964072800812_6053255874770643778_n




30688450_10216964088121195_1779341265540941817_n




30653394_10216964075480879_8996015504249950283_n


It was a beautiful day to walk around and enjoy all the Disney characters made up with flowers. We went on a couple rides – including my favorite at Epcot – Soarin’!



30724904_10216964067320675_1188236788186287231_nAnd we had a huge surprise when I sent a pic to a friend that we had worked with at Amazon, knowing she was a big Disney fan, and she replied to my message that she was at Epcot also! We met up right outside the Soarin’ ride, after we found out she was in line right behind us. That was so amazing! We hadn’t seen Robin since the last time we worked at Amazon in the fall of 2016.


That will be our last trip to Disney for this winter. We only have six weeks left here and they are going to go fast, especially with being scheduled to work three days a week. You can really tell it’s the end of the season. We have a lot of empty spots around us again, and most of our friends will be gone by this time next week. It’s getting to be traveling time!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

One Year!

20170408_122400

Time flies when you’re having fun! Believe it or not, it has been one year since we had our first look at the place that we now call home!


20170408_140425


Here was Harry getting his first look around.


20170408_140403 (1)


20170408_140352





Even with the unexpected expenses we have had this winter season, especially having to replace the air conditioner last August, we have absolutely no regrets about buying this park model.

In some ways having this place has just made things simpler. Although the address that we had through the mail service served its purpose at the time, it has been so much more convenient with a more conventional permanent address. Now we don’t have any address issues popping up when we apply for anything that requires credit. When we had the mail service address, our applications were always getting flagged as possible fraud. Even filling out applications has been easier – no more trying to figure out the best way to answer the question about whether we own or rent.

Beyond that, having a home base gives me a little sense of…security?…relief? While we were fulltiming, there were just a few times when we had major repair issues crop up – the kind of repair where you aren’t going anywhere until it’s fixed. The time in Ohio when our front axle basically came apart. The time in Peru when the roller underneath the bed broke which meant we couldn’t bring the bedroom slide in. We were always really lucky in that we were able to get our repair completed without any major time spent out of the rig. But it was always in the back of my mind just as a little distant worry, what we would do if something major like that happened. Now, if anything big and “trip-stopping” happened, I know that we could just come home. And not only have our home waiting for us, but also my job. I only have to call and three weeks later I can be back on the schedule. So that’s just given us a little peace of mind.


Speaking of repair issues, we had a new one pop up today. We went out to go to the store, and…nothing. The truck wouldn’t start. I’m just glad it didn’t happen over the past three days when I was working. We aren’t sure if it’s the battery, or the starter. So in the morning we have to call and get the truck towed to the Chevy dealer in town. UPDATE: Our neighbor came over and he and Harry got the truck started with a jump. So at least now we know it’s the batteries.

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Work Week Complete

I just finished a three day stretch of work days. It depends on the department, but for me, with the schedule constraints of the people I work with, my work days and hours are usually pretty consistent. Most weeks I work two  8 hour days during the week and then I open on Saturday, which means I work from 5 am to 1:30. So this week I worked Thursday and Friday from 9:30 to 6, and then did my usual shift today. And next week I do the same, which means I now have four days off before I work again. Not too hard to take!

I gave my leaving date to the appropriate person in HR yesterday. So now it is official that I have a little over six weeks left to work. I have to call in September about a month before we come back, and then I will be put on the schedule right away. That means that we will arrive, and then I can go right back to work. No applications, delays, orientation etc! I just love how convenient this job is going to be.

I had a comment about how it works with Florida residency and Disney pricing. We haven’t gotten any special pricing for our Disney cruises, but that’s partially because we have always had a special week that we needed to go. My understanding is that Disney cruises usually get filled up, so I’m not sure if they offer special last minute pricing. However, we have gotten some good deals for the parks. Both Harry and I have season passes, and they have a really good price for Florida residents. And once you have the pass, you get an even better deal to renew it the following year. Also, when my mother was here, and we wanted to stay overnight, I got an email that they were offering some certain resorts/certain nights at 30% off. The range of dates was within the time period I was looking at, so I called, and we got a really good deal for the night that we stayed at the Caribbean Resort.

30265054_10216924105961666_942238738669371392_oHarry’s big project for this week was doing some outside repair work. The last couple of times it rained, we had a pretty good leak over a window. And, before that, we had a drip coming in over the front door. So Harry decided it was time to get that fixed. He opened it up and found the house wrap was pretty frayed, and there were gaps at the end by the doors.

30411715_10216924100041518_4581229658007142400_o

He opened up the siding along the windows and put flashing in along the sides…


30265350_10216924091721310_3460946855423115264_o




and then above the top of the windows and door.


Then caulked over the door under the piece of trim.

30441116_10216924130082269_8086195753506045952_o



And then it was all put back together!



A couple days ago, Harry used the water hose to spray all over the front, and, NO leaking!! Another great repair job done!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

March – Running Fun!

28952034_10216615424644826_7002809298464031470_nThree years ago we attended an event in Sebring called Run the Track. It’s a 3.74 mile race around the Sebring Raceway. It’s a pretty small race with only a few hundred people, but it’s a fun event. One of the best things about this race was the long sleeve running shirt that we got. So we decided that it would be nice to do it again, and get another shirt – well worth the $25 cost!

28337830_10216616810039460_6614402590981721740_o


Not only did we get another long sleeve running shirt, and have a good time – but I came in 1st place in my age group! That was pretty exciting!



That was only the first great running event we had going on in March. It was a long time ago – over a year!- when we signed up for a half marathon that would be taking place in Sarasota, FL. We have done several other races over the past few years, and for all of them we traveled to the location on the morning of the race. Races always start pretty early in the morning, and since we have to arrive early to find a parking spot, we’ve always had to get up in the middle of the night to have enough time to get ready. For this race, we decided that we were going to splurge and get a hotel room right by the start. Being Sarasota, and right by the water, it was really pricey, but it turned out to be totally worth it!

29312995_10216697205569298_2437339881065265857_n

We left for Sarasota on Saturday morning. We had found a Groupon for a place to eat in Sarasota, and being St. Patrick’s Day we decided to eat earlier in the day to avoid the crowds. That turned out to be a great idea, because the meal was really filling. We were barely even hungry again for the whole rest of the day!

29314650_10216697208449370_1905149503179190557_n

After eating, we drove a couple miles to Lido Beach and were lucky enough to find a parking place. We went for a nice walk on the beach to pass the time until it was check-in time at the hotel.



A29342467_10216697209689401_4588729970048944681_nround 3:30, we left to drive over to our hotel – the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. This is easily the most expensive hotel we have ever stayed at. The view was awesome, but other than that, I can’t say it was that much over and above other places where we have stayed. But the best part about the location was it's proximity to our race – that parking lot over to the right in the picture was where we needed to be in the morning.

29357047_10216704794559018_8591677292556079292_n


And then it was race day! Harry took this picture as we were walking over to the start line. It was so relaxing just being able to get up in the morning, have our coffee and breakfast, and then just stroll on over about 20 minutes before the race started.

29340202_10216704797959103_5788933472086335706_n



I took this picture as we were running over the Ringling Causeway.


28699345_10216715735312530_321298143465970793_o

One of the nicest parts about this race was that the race photos were free to download. This is the first race we have done that didn’t require you to purchase the race photos. 

So here we are coming in! Our official time was 2:42:34. (It took us three minutes from the official start to actually get over the start line. They start people in waves.) I was extremely happy with our time. This was the first half marathon that I actually ran all the way through!


29339742_10216707864315760_3991604725211712252_n


There’s the Causeway! We ran all the way across this and then back. That was the first 6 miles of the race.



And then we took a nice leisurely walk back to the hotel where we could shower before we headed for home. It was a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

February Was Cruise and Company Month!

29920830_10216886489701283_922250618_nAfter a quiet uneventful month in January, we knew that February was going to be the exact opposite. We had a cruise coming up early in the month, and after that we were having our first official company! When we bought the park model last April, we decided right away that we were going to use the Florida room as our living area, and leave what was originally the living room for a guest area. We set it up before we left for the cruise, and I loved the way it looked.

On Sunday, Feb 11th we drove to Sebastian to pick up my mother and stepfather and from there head to the cruise port in Port Canaveral. Being Sunday morning, it was very quiet and we had a quick and uneventful trip.

27971643_10216355323342456_1625251858355716886_n


I always love the first look at the ship!

27657858_10216355327302555_7852211907129277720_n



My sister surprised us with some magnets for our door! (Her oldest son, Matt, was staying in our room for the cruise also.)

Just a few photos to show the fun we had on our cruise…

27858901_10216385857225784_2481419791620245028_n


27867445_10216385400134357_4545843300264054207_n


27749842_10216355324622488_6584285510294658332_n





27972615_10216386136712771_9161071459161379217_n


28167226_10216457076886231_7990993988158017269_n







28167062_10216457082126362_2066929634095639998_nOur cruise went to Key West, Cozumel and Costa Maya. We didn’t plan any excursions for the cruise, and just planned to walk around the port areas. That is the one thing I would change for any future cruises we go on. It always sounds like a good idea to just walk around and enjoy the area, but the immediate area near the cruise port is 27751718_10216385393334187_7956098765175521693_nalways so touristy, with people just nagging you to buy their merchandise. It’s probably going to be a few years before we go on another cruise, but I will keep that in mind for the next one.

But the actual cruise portion of the week was wonderful. We had three rooms in a row, so we had a nice long balcony area, and it’s always so great to have time to chat with family members that we don’t see all the time.


28166733_10216457164888431_6141094445087453009_nWhen we arrived back home, the fun wasn’t over yet! My mother and stepfather came back to Avon Park with us to extend the enjoyment for another week and a half.




28378072_10216484917982241_3129335928835133504_n

We packed a lot into the time we had. We went for some drives and gave them some tours of the area. We went on a tram tour of Highlands Hammock State Park, and enjoyed checking out the locals.



28166367_10216457160528322_4275193259955619562_n

We also spent a couple days at Epcot, and had a wonderful time exploring the different countries in the World Showcase area.

28276703_10216463819174784_1372766123968612080_n





28168678_10216453587839007_1432455259866718540_n

While we were there, Harry enjoyed his favorite – a plate full of German food from an all you can eat buffet!




It was a whirlwind 10 days, and they enjoyed their time so much they are planning to come back next winter for three months! We reserved a spot here in the park, and they are going to live in the fiver and enjoy soaking in a little  of our nice Florida winter weather.