Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 RV Supershow - Tampa

Wayne and I love RV Shows.... what RV'er doesn't?  Yes, we've had "new coach" fever and yes, that fever's result was the purchase of our beloved Endie. We've enjoyed the new coach for almost two years now.

We've been looking forward to the huge Tampa Show and several couples from the campground have expressed an interest in going. We'll abandon our spot here at Seminole for a few nights and boondock at the fairgrounds. Ken and Nancy, Fran and Mary and Dale and Linda will caravan with us.  We left on Wednesday morning, the first day of the show.
Linda and Dale's new truck and their old fifth-wheel. 
Adding to this year's excitement, Dale and Linda are in the market for a new coach. Their 2008 Titanium served them well, but as full-timers since last August, they've come to discover a few "creature comfort" amenities they'd like to have. A few months ago, they replaced their half-ton pickup with a big new diesel that they love.  We'll see what they find at the RV Show but we've all sworn off encouraging them one way or another.

Too bad this picture wasn't clearer. The potted plan was a man covered in leaves.
Nancy and I screamed as the seemingly artificial plant spoke to us.  Love it, love it, love it. 
Beautiful, sunny but cool days prevailed all the days we attended the RV Show.  Not a drop of rain. Everyone seemed to have a good time. Nancy, who suffers terrible back pain, discovered a remarkable shoe insert vendor the first day and by day 3 most of us were enjoying less back and leg fatigue.

Wayne standing on the work step of the Little Giant Ladder. 
For the past two years, Wayne has contemplated buying the Little Giant Extreme ladder.  Last year, he came close but choked at the point of sale. As a ladder serves such an important role in an RV'ers life, I urged him to buy it this year.  It took two or three visits to the display. Finally, the vendor personnel asked him to participate in the demonstration.  In the end, the sale was made and the ladder will be shipped to us directly at the campground.  Whew! 

Checking out that half bath to see if the door can be opened/closed with someone inside.

I always tell people that three days minimum are required to really appreciate all there is to see at the RV Supershow in Tampa: A day for walking the midway to see all the RV's, a day to see all the accessories vendors and a day to attend seminars.  We don't attend the seminars, but use the additional day(s) for making the purchase or double-checking the stuff just can't forget.  This year, we returned to the Tiffin and the Winnebago displays and I thought surely Ken and Nancy were going to trade their coach but they didn't. 

Nancy with her Shelties, Maggie (left) and Max (right) 
Having one's rig on the fairground property during the show allows for getting a pass out of the show to rest, eat lunch and use your own bathroom.  While we always take Lexie and Ozzie along in their stroller, one afternoon, Nancy took Max and Maggie along too. A little timid and afraid of the crowds at first, they quickly settled into rhythm and became furry magnets for all the dog lovers.

Another enjoyable part of visiting the RV Supershow is reconnecting with friends.  Late Wednesday afternoon, we were joined by Brad and Barb who we met at the campground last year. At the end of the season, they bought a lot at Polk City, Florida for a permanent winter site. We miss them and it was good to have a visit, even if it was just for a little while.

Left to right: Wayne, Dale, Linda, Ken, Nancy, Me, Brad, Fran and Mary. Barbara took the picture.
The photo bomber at the bottom of the picture is Ozzie!
On Friday, Joyce and Charlie made a car trip up for the afternoon. We managed to find some eats..... 

Funnel cake for everyone!
That's (L to R) Wayne, Ken, Joyce and Charlie. I'm the photographer.... waiting for my funnel cake!

But wait!  What about Dale and Linda? Did they buy a new coach?  You bet and here it is.....

Congratulations Dale and Linda.  Happy travels! 

As happy as a couple of clams, Dale and Linda took possession of their new coach and have settled in quite quickly here at the campground.  Now on to more fun..... 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Settling Into "Winter Life" At Seminole Campground

By January 7th, the whole gang had arrived and we were starting to feel right at home. Other familiar faces from last year showed up and there were also new people to meet. The only thing not falling into place was the weather. We've gone from hot to cold and back again to damp and overcast.
Joyce, Nancy and Janie (standing). Donna (squatted) and her new pup, Zoey 
Before the others arrived I got my hair cut. Our friend Linda is a professional hairdresser and she gives wonderfully magical massaging haircuts. I cut my own hair with electric clippers except when Linda does it, which simply just is not often enough. The haircut made such a difference that for a few weeks, I actually enjoyed styling my hair.  I even colored it and started using conditioner.  Thanks for the inspiration, Linda. 

Our good friend and campground hairdresser, Linda. 
The group had a nice late summer reunion at Cape Cod but Janie and Mark were not there so it was especially good to see the two of them. It's hard to imagine that all these people have in common is the friendship we've made here at the campground.
Janie, Dale and Nancy, happy together!  
The first order of business for this group of friends is always food and we picked up right where we left off last spring -- with group dinners.  Within the first two weeks we had a Ham-N-Bean Dinner, Taco Night and a "Bring Your Own" Cookout.  Here are a few pictures of those gatherings...
Mary bringing a pot of deliciousness to our banquet.
That's her rig in the background.

At the ever-expanding Banquet Hall. Someone rustled another picnic table.
Dale, Mary, Nancy, Linda, Joyce and Ken preparing to eat...again. 

Wayne and Dale have a game of Ladderball before dinner. 
During the past few months, Wayne and I began discussions of activities we might like to pursue. Along with my regular walking, we've entertained the idea of taking up golf (Wayne used to be quite good), kayaking and/or biking. We came upon what seems to be a good idea and bought a pair of folding bikes that we can carry in the car. The used bikes are in excellent condition and a good deal financially. We will save the expense of buying a bike rack and having a hitch installed.
Pop, the pups and the new bike rig. 
One of our biking criteria was having Lexie and Ozzie go with us. We considered several options for carrying them and decided on a trailer designed to carry one small child since the two have a combined weight of about 16 pounds. The trailer folds to fit alongside the bikes in the car.
Lexie (front) and Ozzie (rear) in their new ride.
The final BCS Championship Game was played between Auburn and Florida State. Interesting that we're considered "Seminoles" while we're here at the campground but we're Auburn devotees.  A couple of days before the game, I carefully hung our Auburn Tiger paraphernalia all 'round the campsite.  Despite the miraculous season our Tigers had, they were defeated by the Seminoles 34-31. While a win would have been great, we're not unhappy to be second best in the nation.

We're looking forward to attending the Annual RV Supershow in Tampa during January.  Several of our group are planning to go along.  You come too, okay? 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Christmas 2013 In South Florida

During the third week of December we left Alliance Coach and made a beeline to our respite at Seminole Campground in North Fort Myers. We arrived late in the afternoon of Wednesday, December 18th. This sweet little privately owned campground served as our haven from winter's cold last year and we've really been looking forward to our time there again.
Our campsite at Seminole Campground in North Fort Myers, Florida
Before our departure last March, the staff at Seminole Campground asked us to provide, in order of preference, the sites we'd like to reserve this year. Our first choice wasn't available, but our second was and we like it very much. It's directly behind the rec hall which can be noisy, but near to our friends and the noise never goes late into the night anyway.  There's a big Live Oak tree limb that juts out into the site that causes it to be less desirable for some, but we'll use the great added length to our advantage and make a banquet hall in the space behind the rig. There's a sidewalk along the road side that serves as a good dog walk for Lexie and Ozzie.
Charlie, Joyce, Linda, me, Wayne and Dale (Left to right) sitting in the banquet hall area.
Linda and Dale had been here for several weeks already.  Charlie and Joyce arrived a day or two before us. It was especially nice to have this small welcoming committee who greeted us with hugs and smiles.  So very much appreciated after the headaches of the "repairs gone wrong" at Alliance Coach.

Linda and Dale have a new Smart Car. I couldn't resist getting this "illusions" photo.
The weather was warm when we arrived and we enjoyed days horsing around in the sparsely occupied campground.

Wayne with Lexie and Ozzie.
The odd, twisted Live Oaks make an inviting arch of Christmas lights. 
Those who follow our travel know that we're not particularly festive when it comes to holidays. Being with friends and having Seminole Campground's Christmas decorations everywhere provided a good bit of holiday spirit though.  It's made this holiday season quite memorable. A potluck dinner was held Christmas Day and a good crowd attended.
Beside one of the many Seminole Campground Christmas trees with Joyce.

On the Saturday before Christmas, Linda and Dale flew to Ohio for a family visit. Charlie, Joyce Wayne and I went to Carrabba's for Christmas Eve dinner.  The food was good and being with friends was great!

My Christmas Eve dinner of planked salmon and asparagus.  Delicious! 
The weekend after Christmas, our friend Donna (manager of the Nashville Tennessee campground where we stay) arrived with her husband and some friends for a few days in Key West. Lexie, Ozzie, Wayne and I played host to Donna's young puppy, Molly, for three days and two nights while they are away.

To our surprise, Donna brought Christmas gifts for Lexie and Ozzie from Molly.  Ozzie's J.Crew box and Lexie's Victoria's Secret box contained beautiful monogrammed blankets that Donna had made specially for them.
Lexie and Ozzie's new Christmas blankets.
Thanks Molly!  xoxo 
After Christmas our beautiful (albeit humid) South Florida weather turned bad as cold air came in with a vengeance.  Fears grew for our friends who would be driving in snow and some blizzard conditions.  Finally they began arriving just after New Years Day.  Rick and Louise pulled in and got their rig set up but left the  next morning to visit with Louise's aging parents in Tampa. A day later, Fran and Mary arrived with their OSD (Obsessive Squirrel Disorder) Cocker Spaniel, Zoey.  Mark and Janie pulled in as a caravan with truck, fifth-wheel, golf cart and Janie in the car. Ken and Nancy pulled up the rear, getting in way after dark on one of the coldest days we've had so far this year.  Burrrr.