Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Chrome Step Covers. Oh Yeah.

When I announced to a group of friends at the Tampa RV Show that I wanted chrome step covers for our coach, my comment got a big hearty laugh, followed by a flood of jokes.  "And then Wayne can get wide whitewall tires all 'round" and "coon tail for the antenna" were two lines I remember. 

Well, I got my chrome step covers anyway and yesterday I installed them.  The process was simple and the result was as beautiful, maybe more, than I thought it would be.

Let me show you...

Our original steps.  All cleaned and dry.
Not bad but just needing a little chrome.

First step is to remove the sandpaper grit anti-slip coverings. 
This left a sticky residue but that works to help hold the new chrome step covers.

Placement of the chrome step cover is practiced a few times before removing the adhesive strip covers.
Gotta get it right the first time.

Next, the white protective paper must be peeled away to reveal the nice shiny chrome step cover.

Cover removed.  Oooh, it's shiny.

It's best that I sit on my fanny to finish this project. 
My knees and ankles were aching.

Both step covers are in place here and the kickplate is applied to the painted strip below the door.
Notice it is time for Wayne to emerge from inside the coach. 
He knows how to avoid the sticky situations.

"There's an air bubble under this rubber strip," he said.  "I'll press it out."   Gee thanks.

Now, if Wayne was inside, who took the pictures of my chrome step installation?  That would be our neighbor and friend, Nancy.  We were joined by another neighbor friend, Mark.  He provided scarcastic remarks.
Mark owns the Pinnacle fifth-wheel across the street.
Nancy is my neighbor next door and my partner in this effort.  Thanks, Nancy!

During this creative moment, I decided to spray paint my white 3M plastic wall hooks.
They got two coats of hammered gold spray and they look much nicer now. 
Wayne didn't help in this project either. 
It turned out to be a very productive day and I love the new chrome step covers and kickplate! 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

2013 Mullet Festival at Stan's Idle Hour in Goodland

I believe this is the first time we've ever attended the annual Mullet Festival without a group of friends. Did everybody else outgrow it?  I suppose.  We went alone, maybe caused by nostalgia as this would be the first festival since the death of the founder, Stan Gober.  Or maybe we wanted to remember the fun we've had there other years. Mainly we came because this might be the last time for the foreseeable future.  If we return to Florida next winter, it's likely we'll visit the south central or eastern coast.  As nice as Southwest Florida is, there are other beautiful places around the state to visit too.

We took the scenic route to Marco Island, arriving at Goodland around two o'clock in the afternoon.
Sunny and warm -- near 80 degrees as we pull onto the road to Goodland.
Goodland is a fishing village on the south end of Marco Island and is home to a field research station for 10,000 Islands.  The area is really nice.

On approach to the heart of Goodland and specifically, the intersection where Stan's Idle Hour is located, this is the scene on the corner across the street from Stan's.

We took our $10 parking space in the front yard of one of the locals. Of course, the Mullet Festival attendees are the most interesting...

Cowboy hat, tuxedo coat and rubber fishing boots.  
The tux was really just a black long coat cut-away with some cheap "tails" sewn on.

Three of Goodland's loveliest ladies get a ride through town.

A really tame pink coif and some really white skin -- all ready to sunburn.

Not obvious at first glance, these sunglasses actually are little commode lids that flip up to show commode seat sunglasses.

Part of the Roman guard.  Guarding the men's room with beer in hand.

I don't know.  I just don't know. Kitty or bunny?
The crowd was as large as last year and maybe larger with a never ending line of cars coming up the road into tiny downtown Goodland.

The highlight and grand finale of the annual mullet festival in Goodland is the crowning of the Buzzard Lope Queen.  This outrageous contest is an un-beauty contest of women (to say "ladies" would just not be right) who wear feathered costumes and mimic the dance of a buzzard as it devours road kill.  A corny song is sung over and over and over again, on a tiny stage with all the contestants flapping around before a crowd of drunken revelers shouting, whistling and applauding to cheer their favorite to victory ... and the crown.

The crowd is ready for the Buzzard Lope contest

A new festival shirt is unveiled for each year.

This year we opted to sit in the shade behind the bandstand where we enjoyed seeing the fishing boats and pleasure yachts.

My favorite shirt. 

We began visits to Stan's Idle Hour in Goodland, Florida way back in the 1990's and saw a woman dancing with her husband. Their dance was lewd and embarrassing to see. We learned her name was Mary. A few years later, Mary's husband passed away.  Mary continued to dance and quickly became the annual favorite in the Buzzard Lope contest.  After some years, Stan crowned Queen Mary and as Queen, she would no longer compete in the annual contest, allowing others to claim the annual crown.  She is still known as Queen Mary and she is still a vulgar character.

Queen Mary
Among the cast of characters this year, we met the woman in the photo below. She happily reported that she is a Navajo Indian descendant from Germany who spends 6 months each year in Naples.  She is also 73 years old. She was such a sweet woman, that within minutes, I forgot how "over the top" she was in the rhinestones, silver jewelry, facelifts, cowboy boots, dental implants and obvious embellished breasts. 

A few more of the unusual people mingling in the crowd of Mullet Festival goers.

A dog and his master wearing matching sunglasses.

Momma drives a Harley

Probably a contestant, but certainly not a winner, in the 2013 Buzzard Lope Queen contest.

Once again this year, I don't know who was crowned "Buzzard Lope Queen" and it really isn't important.  Everyone seemed to have a good time even though we saw two emergency medical service vehicles carrying people from the crowd.  I don't think anyone died. That's a good thing.

As the festival wound down, we strolled around Goodland for a little while and took a few pictures of interesting places and things.

Stan's Idle Hour Bar from the water side.

An 55+ community

A very good restaurant. The Little Bar.

Another good restaurant.

Just before sunset we took the dogs for a long walk in a new Goodland park and captured this picture.
And that ended the 2013 Mullet Festival and began the long drive back to the campground in North Fort Myers.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Southwest Florida: Seminole Campground in North Fort Myers

Those who know Wayne and me know that we are reluctant reservationists.  I suppose we just have a hard time with commitment but we rarely make campground reservations.  A couple of reasons for this logic; first being that most campground do not refund. We're stingy and can't stand the thought of forfeiting a deposit.  Second: we don't having to be somewhere at a particular time.  If we pass something we want to see or do, we like to have the flexibility to do it.  Third: it's important to be able to leave quickly if we don't like a campground -- and let's face it, you just never know.

Coming to Florida, particularly south Florida, in winter, without reservations is bold. Every wintering RV'er who doesn't go to Arizona seems to come to south Florida. But we are bold!  And we're not afraid to park at a truck stop for the night if we find ourselves in a bind. We'll spend several winter months this year, like last, bumming around in south Florida's mild sub-tropical sunshine without huge campground commitments.  I know it seems sick but we're comfortable doing it this way.

We left Tampa after the RV show without a clue where we'd stay the night. We pulled over for lunch and made a phone call to a campground we heard about last year.  It's in North Fort Myers, just a stone's throw from the dreaded place where we spent a week last year.  We made a call and sure enough, there's a space for us for a night or until the end of January.  Surprisingly, the rate is reasonable too!

Our site at Seminole Campground
What a pleasant surprise we found at this quaint campground.  Clean and neat with plenty of moss covered trees and large new concrete pads at every site. The interior roadways are crushed shell and small pebble, but the dust seems to be well managed and is watered down every afternoon.  We like what we've found.

There are a few cats that roam freely around the park.
This was taken the afternoon we arrived just before we got their playpen set up.

Seminole Campground is so pleasant we've decided to check into a month long stay. Sure enough, our timing is good as the folks who were scheduled to come in on February 1st, sadly, have taken ill.

The sites are close together but very nice with a strip of grass.
 The neighbors in the new Bounder beside us, Nancy and Ken, stopped in for a few minutes to welcome us. 

Just like last year, the Fort Myers RV Show follows immediately after the Tampa Show and is scheduled for this coming weekend. Of course, we must attend... My itch from last year has been scratched so I don't need to go into every single unit. This year, Wayne is the sucker... In and out. In and out. And so it goes.

There's Wayne coming out of a Rockwood fifth-wheel making space for the line waiting to go in.

Later he checked out all the Tiffin diesels..  Phaeton, Allegro Bus and Zephyr.
He likes them all this year -- much more than last year's display models.

A walk through the Camping World display gives him a rest in one of the Papasan chairs.

I think this was in one of the Monaco coaches.

Alas! A rare photo of me.  Only because I asked.

I think this was a Winnebago coach. 
Ah ha! Caught him off guard.

These lightweight, recycled plastic lights were interesting. I saw them at the Tampa show too.
Pretty and not expensive but where do you store it on travel days?  I almost bought one except for the storage issue.

Another look into Entegra's Cornerstone coach.
Lee Civic Center, where the Fort Myers RV Show is held, does not allow pets on the premises, so without Lexie and Ozzie, we made an abbreviated visit but had our hands stamped in case we wanted to return.  

Once we got home, I realized Wayne is actually seriously considering a trade.  More about that as developments occur.  I expect him to return to his senses anytime. 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

2013 Tampa RV Show: Final Day, Sunday

Temperature high 78 and sunny    As feared, the window tint guy cannot remedy the problem with our windshield so we were free to return to the RV show this morning at a pretty early hour.  

First stop today was to see the antique camper display and it was cute. Looking at things like these remind me of my age as I remember seeing these when camping with my family.

We'd be out of the sweatshirts within 30 minutes of this picture.

Those who know me know I'm from a hard-working family and our first camper was a homemade job my daddy built on the back of his truck. We thought we were camping in high style.  My love of camping, campfires and the great outdoors comes from my father. We never had anything nearly as nice as the beauty below...

Hey! This is from my era!
To our surprise the crowds weren't really large on this Sunday morning, the last show day. We did get an early start.  We took advantage of the freedom to wander in and out of all the coaches that ordinarily are crowded. Wayne took in all the Newmar, Winnebago and Tiffin products in addition to seeing the Monaco and Holiday Rambler coaches.  He also did a check of the Entegra and American Coach display models. 

Wayne looking at a Mountain Aire
We're on the final day of the huge Tampa RV Supershow and alas! I've not succumbed to new coach fever.  Good thing.... I nearly drove us both crazy last year.

We had a great time at the Holiday Rambler and Monaco displays where we ran into several people we met here last year. We were introduced to Judy, in the photo below, owner of Alliance Coach. She is a scream!  We'll  rendevouz in Sevierville, Tennessee with this group in early spring.

Surprisingly, our feet and legs held up all day and we were still going when the displays began coming down.  All our friends had long since left the fairgrounds so we milled around by ourselves -- with the pups in tow. 
Where do they sell the funnel cakes?
In late afternoon on Sunday, Camping World was discounting 50% off some display items and we picked up a new folding chair and another grooming table. We'll return the full-price one we bought yesterday.

We would stay one more night boondocking at the fairgrounds.  We had plenty of company as many camping units were relocated into the lot where we were parked. Vehicles were moving around us until late in the night.  Next morning, we were up and gone early and making our way south.

Farewell to the RV Show for 2013
Next stop... North Fort Myers. I'll be in touch with details of where we are.