Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Baking, birds and sunset


We leave Friday for the Naples area to celebrate Thanksgiving with the friends we made while Workamping.

Lou baked a coffee cake to share at the church tomorrow while we help “Hanging the Greens.”


I busied myself baking two loaves of a crusty French country baguette. Actually I did my own thing adding some whole wheat flour and some flax seed.


We had visitors again, about 24 Ibis.


Another day in paradise draws to a close.


Sunday, November 18, 2012


We have been at a Samboree at Southern Palms RV near Eustis, Fl. We were early birds by arriving on Tuesday, November 13th, when the Samboree officially started on Wednesday. We will head out for Okeechobee on Sunday morning after striking camp. I do not have good Wi-Fi at the motorhome so this will be about a week’s post in one.

What is a Samboree? It is a gathering of members of Good Sams Chapters. This Samboree is the fall Florida Samboree. We have three a year. There is a winter and a spring Samboree. The weather in summer is not conducive for such an event. Some states have only one Samboree. We attended the South Carolina’s only Samboree on the way south to Okeechobee this year. It was held at an RV Resort on the beach at Myrtle Beach. Maybe more about that in another blog.

This gathering at Southern Palms has attracked about 400 RVs. There are Class A, B and C Motor-homes. There are fifth wheel units and travel trailers. There are units costing $10k and others that are other $2 million. But the owners all have several things in common, a love of travel, fun, meeting fellow RVers and raising money for charities.

What these people do for the four days is centered on the four traits they have in common. They meet old friends and make new friends. They share events from there lives with others. Comparing campgrounds and adventures is a common topic. Old friends catch up on what has transpired since the last meeting. There are seminars on topics of interest to RVers. One that I enjoyed at the South Carolina Samboree was put on by “Geeks on Tour.” I will share what I learned there when I write about that event.


Some of the memebers of our chapter waiting to play bean bag baseball.

DSC07387Another shot of the members  of our Chapter waiting to play.

At a Florida Samboree we have a very full agenda for the four days. There are outdoor games such as Bean Bag Baseball, Holey Board and Bocci. These games are played as team sports. Quite often the clubs form teams. The bigger clubs enter more than one team. A lot of good fun and good natured kidding takes place. You always cheer for everyone, even members of the opposing team. The reason for being here is to enjoy and all are here to enjoy themselves and have fun.

DSC07389Lou throwing a bean bag at the  baseball board.


Bob, chapter president, throwing a washer at Holey Board.


A chapter member, Fritz, throwing a washer at Holey Board.

The indoor games are Hand and Foot, Euchre, Wizard, Chicken Foot Domino, Pinochle, Cribbage, Trivia and Skip-Bo. These are run by the various clubs. First and second place pins are awarded. I was fortunate enough to get cards to tie for first place at euchre. (Probably helped that Lou and I play euchre a lot.) I finished third at cribbage.


The indoor games are played in the main assembly area.

Breakfast is served to start the day. One day is a sausage biscuit. Two days are donuts. the other day is my favorite, sausage gravy on biscuit. Of course there is plenty of hot coffee, regular and decaf. Lunch one day is hot dogs and an ice ream social.  There is a catered dinner one evening. Our club has a potluck one night. We all go out to a local eatery another. The other night is on your own.


One of the clubs is selling lunch to raise money for a charity.

The stated purpose of Good Sams is to help those who need help. Every chapter has one or two charities that it supports. The charities are varied. Dogs for the deaf, Boggey Creek which is a camps for terminally ill kids and their families, battered spouses, and many more, The monies are raised in many different ways. A portion of chapter dues is one way. The most money is raised by holding a raffle at the Samborees. 50/50 raffles are one way. Raffles with prizes like charcoal grills, $100 worth lottery tickets, boards to play corn-hole, baskets of food and wine, a wagon full of goodies, just about anything that the imagination can come up with.


This is the wagon loaded with goodies raffled to benefit Dogs for the Deaf.


Mother and daughter selling tickets for a chinese raffle on various items. (I didn’t win, again.)

At one chapter’s table you pay for a rubber duckie. Your registration number is written on the bottm with water proof ink. On Saturday the ducks are dumped in a stream or pool. The first duckie across the line is the winner. They have so many ducks that they have to run preliminary heats then race the fastest of those heats in the final. The prize is a share of the take.


The ducks as they start their race across the pool helped by wind and fans.


Ducks as they approach the finish line to snatched on order of finish.

The Chapters set up tables for a flea market. Again some of the money goes to charity. The same is the same for a craft show.


Our chapter, Good Time Sama, setting up for the flea market.

Nearly $10,000 was raised for Dog for the Deaf and Florida Guide Dogs. Over $3,000 was raised for Boggey Creek which is a camp for kids with all sorts of diseases like spina diffada, cancer, MS, and many others. Families are at the camps with these kids. Also more than 50 special balnkets and over 80 homemade “bears” were donated for the kids and there families.

There are evening meetings at the fair grounds building where people are recognized for various reasons such as out-of-state dignitaries, volunteers, game winners, etc. Raffle winners are announced. There is entertainment. Two nights a week the hall is filled for Sambo. That is Good Sam Club’s version of Bingo. Cards are bought by the players and money is paid out. A good percentage goes to a charity.

There is a theme for the Samboree, PIRATES. there is a parade where golf carts are decorated and riders in costume. Some chapters dress up and walk handing out candy. It is another fun event.

DSC07428Notice the dog. RVers are big dog lovers. They have all breeds as travel companions.

There was a special event held for couples who celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 2012. We received a hand delivered invitation. This event was very nice as we renewed our vows. (We were married on August 26th, 1962. Fifty years later to the day, we were in Ashtabula attending church services in the church where we were married. )

Sorry this is so long but it is a weeks worth of blog. Tom.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Okeechobee visitors

Today is Sunday and it was a beautiful mostly sunny day. This is the end of the "rainy season" and dry clear skies are just around the corner. The temperature got into the low 80's toady. We still have a lot of wind ans mainly from the north. The reason for the blog today is not for a weather report but to show a couple of snapshots.
Shortly after we arrived home from church I noticed a large brown bird visiting in my boat. They like to look for left over bait or any tidbit they can find. By the time I grabbed the camera he was on the railing for the finger dock.

The limpkin is an unusual bird of southern swamps and marshes. The Limpkin reaches the northern limits of its breeding range in Florida. There, it feeds almost exclusively on apple snails, which it extracts from their shells with its long bill. We find the apple snail shells and fresh water clam shells in our yard. The birds catch them and fly up onto our grass for a picnics. The shells have to be removed from the lawn before mowing. They are large and hard. Its screaming cry is unmistakable and evocative. Sometimes they scream like a baby all night long. Someone said that was breeding time. Who would want to breed with a screaming creature?
The limpkin was not alone on the finger dock railing. He was accompanied by four ibes (singular is ibis). They are  a wading bird. They all have long, down-curved bills, and usually feed as a group, probing mud for food items, They probe our lawn for grubs and beetles. This makes them an asset as cut worm grubs can ruin a lawn in short order. They nest in trees. We can watch them and herons nest in a stand of live oaks across the river from us. There are too many leaves on the trees now. Yes we have a winter also. The ancient Egyptians worshipped the ibis as a god. Moses was supposed to have  employed ibes against flying serpents during a desert campaign into Ethiopia in his early life.

The first pix I had to sneak around by the motorhome so as not to frighten the limpkin. This second picture was from the other side. The Limpkin did not spook.
Lastly I shot a quick view out the window in our south room where we were eating. It was 5:30. Some times we get very nice sunsets across the river. Enjoy life.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Our Home part 2

I had two people comment via email that we were very close to the water. That wateer is a river, the Kissimee River. On the map you can see how the river snakes around. That is what the locals call the "old river". On the left you can see a wider straight waterway. That was dug by the Corps of Engineers in the 50's. Locally known as the ditch. A long story about mismanagement shortened to they dug knowing it was wrong and are now, 50 years later, filling it in. Anyway, we walk a few feet to our boat and can go looking for gators, birds, fishing or just relaxing. The pin is where our home is located. Drive by and you get wet as we are at the end of the street.

Map picture

Living on the river has some interesting sites. I’ll include a few pix here but will do a blog just on wildlife later. First a couple of shots of our ever prowlers. We have to take great care with Tanzy when she is out. She runs free when we can be with her otherwise she is on a wire run.


Taken late in the evening, a popular time to go visiting for Mr. Gator.


Mr. Gator seems agitated about something!


A look across the river from our home.


Our dock and boat where the previous pix was taken.


A great blue heron on our seawall about 10 feet from our home. We get many avian visitors.

Hope that you enjoyed these few pix and follow along to see more. I was asked after the first post if I was going to post regularly. I enjoy sharing our life with our friends. I will continue as time and travel permit. Signing up to follow would encourage me to keep at it. :-) Thanks. Tom

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A beginning look at our home

I thought that maybe I should give you some info about the base that we travel from.
Our house was built by Lou's dad in the late '70s. It is what the locals call a stick house. That means the walls are wood studs as opposed to the cement block construction used by some. With the threat of hurricanes, block and brick houses are preferred by some. Also the thermal properties of the two types are quite different.

 We are adequately anchored (metal roof not shingles to blow off). We have taken pains to see that we are well insulated. While replacing the siding we installed additional insulation and airflow barriers. Another method not often used was to lay a layer of a special sandwich of pure aluminum on both sides of a Mylar film. This reflects heat up on hot days and keeps warmth in on cool days. (We do have a few in Florida.) Our efforts seem to paying off. Electric bill last month was $48 and ac was set at 75.
These are some early morning visitors at our home. They are cattle egret, so called because they follow the cattle around and eat the bugs that are stirred up. I guess we have bugs in our yard. You can see in the through the window view we are close to the old Kissimee River. More on that later.
Tale care and pray that our elected leaders can put aside differences and work for the good of our country.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Daytona Beach Visit (Daytona 2)

On Sunday, we decided we had had enough seminars and crowds of people so the three of us headed for the beach. Did I say three? Yes, our trusty friend and travelling companion Tanzy went with us.
Let me introduce you to Miss Tanzy. (Odd name for a dog. I think Lou got it out of a seed catalog. I have seen a vocalist listed by the same name.) Tanzy is a Beaglere. That is a cross between a beagle and a King Charles cavalier spaniel. She is a very lovely girl and travels well. When inside she thinks she is a lap dog and a lover. Outside is a different story as she becomes a hunter. Her nose is on the ground most of the time. Her favorite prey seems to be anoles (geckos to some).

On to the beach, we discovered that the public beaches in Daytona did not allow dogs so we headed for Ponce Inlet Park where canines are more than welcome. They receive a biscuit on entry to the park. (Cost $5 for the people in the car.) It was a great place to spend 3 hours. A nice view of the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse.

While Tanzy hunted in the rocks of the jetty, I watched the surf boarders. They had a nice surf if they waited for the right wave. The slope of the bottom caused the waves to curl high before breaking. There were many shore birds to observe. The yellow footed Snowy Egrets with their black bills.

Enough for now. I hope you enjoy the pictures.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Daytona 500 Raceway Rally (Daytona 1)

We have just returned from 4 beautiful days of dry camping on the infield at the Daytona 500 Racetrack. The weather was perfect Florida wall to wall sunshine, a nice breeze and cool dry nights. GREAT!
There were more than 1,000 RVs of every description and price range. A lot of friendly people from all over the east coast as it was a National Good Sam Rally. There are 3 held this year, west mid-west and east. Cost of fuel was a factor in splitting into three Rallies.
The were seminars on many of the topics of most interest toRVers. I attended two by "Geeks on Tour".  As you might guess they dealt with Blogging. :-) That is why I am starting. They also covered cell phones, Facebook, Internet-on-the-Road,Picasa3 and more. Very knowledgeable people and able to get the information across.
I was impressed with the race track. It is quite narrow on the straight aways, maybe 3 cars wide(?) but the banked turns... It looked like an angle of 60 degrees and only 2 cars could travel side by side. At 200 mph, scary!
I have more to share but this will do for tonight. Thanks for looking and I would appreciate any comments.
May God Bless you and yours and our country. Tom