Category Archives: Our Adventure

Hollywood Studios

Daisy and I visited Hollywood Studios yesterday.  We got to see the Star Wars exhibits and some of the other shows.  This is another place we need to go back to.  Spent about 5 hours or so and only saw 4 shows.  Took our lunch instead of buying one so was a cheap day.

We purchased the season passes for Disney.  So parking was free ($20 a day).  Access to the four main parks is free.  This is a great way to go.  You don’t feel rushed trying to see everything in one visit.  We will schedule to go back when the weather warms up a little bit.  It got pretty chilly by 5 PM and I didn’t take a jacket along.

Will post some pictures later on.

 

VFW Dinner

Daisy and I helped the local VFW Post 5277 on Saturday host a group of disabled Veterans at Golden Corral in Clermont, FL. These fine men are all wheel chair bound and travel around doing wheel chair races.  They are in race in Ocela, FL and asked if the VFW might be able to support them.

20 Veterans and members of our VFW post met at Golden Corral.  He had a great time together.  The staff at Golden Corral was fantastic.  I wish these Vets the best in their race today.

Disney Season Passes!

One of the benefits of being FL residents is that the amusement parks offer discounted passes.  We had upgraded our 3 day Universal pass to an annual pass in December.  In January we purchased annual passes for Disney.

We have only managed to get to one park so far.  We visited Animal Kingdom and spent the day with JoAnn and Jim seeing the most important areas.  Saw several shows including Nemo.

There was a Harry Potter event at Universal at the end of the month so we went on Friday.  Found out that you had to have some special tickets ($100 each) to get into that part of the fun.  I like Harry Potter, but not that much.  The event added to the crowds so we just took our time and saw some of the other attractions.

Annual passes are going to be a great deal for us.  We can go at anytime Monday – Friday.  Parking is free.  Which means we can go late afternoon or just a few hours pretty much whenever we want.

60 years hold and going to amusement parks?  Oh well, they say getting older you revert back to your childhood.

Residents of FL

Well, Daisy and I have pulled the trigger and begun the change of residence from South Dakota to FL.  We decided this after a long drawn out process of review, budget and benefits.  What started the process was actually some benefits of being FL residents rather than cost savings.

As a Florida resident we have access to the amusement parks at a discounted rate on the annual passes.  We have friends who live down here.  We could vote.  Voting became an issue when we didn’t take the time in SD to complete the voting registration process.  SD requires a different registration process than PA or FL.  You have to go to another office and frankly, we didn’t think of it at the time.  Finally, we are thinking of getting a hand gun and to do so as SD residents we would have to return to SD to purchase and get our concealed carry permits.

Once we decided to look into FL as our residences, we also found that the tags would be MUCH cheaper after the first year.  Our drivers licenses are also cheaper per year and last for 8 years.  Insurance was a little more expensive.  But in the end the total package was less expensive.  SD increased the tags on the RV to $540 per year while FL is about $65.  When we looked at all of the cost for transferring our stuff to FL, it will save us about $350 a year.  FL does however, charge a good size fee to register the vehicles the first year.  It runs about $225 per vehicle.  So it will take a couple of years to see any savings.

Getting the Drivers Licenses was a hassle.  FL used to have County and State offices for DMV.  They both would register and issue DL to anyone.  Over the last couple of years, due to budget cuts, the County offices only issue DL to county residents.  So we took a trip to Sarasota, FL on Tuesday and got our DL.

In order to have a FL drivers license you need to have a FL address.  There are several companies in FL just like SD that offer mail forwarding services.  Choosing one for us was a matter of being able to get to that county to get our drivers licenses and the costs of the services.  At first we were going to use Escapees.  But the mail service and cost left things to be desired.  Then the time required to set it up was longer than we wanted to wait.  You have to send them via snail mail the forms then they would set up a mail box in TX for you.  Than you can use the FL address to get your drivers licenses.  All mail was received in FL, mailed to TX and then mailed to where ever you wanted it.  All at an additional cost.  I called and talked to Nato Mail and everything was done over the phone with followup via email.  Nato Mail was also cheaper to set up and on an annual basis.

So as of Tuesday, we have a FL address, FL drivers licenses and can vote in the up coming elections.  We still have to register the vehicles and get insurance.  We will do that in Feb.

We also found out that Universal Studios offers FL residents an annual pass.  But the great news was we could trade in our military 3 day pass and pay the difference for the annual pass.  So for less than $200 both Daisy and I got annual passes to Universal Studios!

Our stay here in FL is going to be longer than we expected, but at least now we have something to do while we wait for the Veterans Administration to schedule all of my appointments, make a determination as to the level of disability and then go through the appeals process.

Harry Potter!

Not much has been happening this Winter.  Christmas was spent with our friends from the military (Sandy and Ron).  News Years is being spent with Ann and Dennis from Maryland.

We also spent a day with JoAnn and Jim traveling around the Disney hotels.  Kind of neat having some ‘experts’ available that know their way around the Disney properties.  Thanks guys.

Here are some pictures of our Christmas:1 - Christmas Tree 1 - Daisy Decorated the Rig 1 - Ginger Bread House 1 - Gingerbread HouseAnn and Dennis came down from Maryland for the Christmas week.  Part of the time they stayed with us and the four of us went to Universal Studios and Harry Potter World.  Daisy wasn’t into Harry Potter but she did it for me 🙂  We have 3 day tickets and you need more than that to see all of the two parks.

Here are some pictures of the visit.

2 - Harry Potter Bank 2 - Harry Potter Bus 2 - Harry Potter Dragon 2 - Harry Potter Elder Wand 2 - Harry Potter Express 2 - Harry Potter Wand Interactive 2 - Macy Character 2 - Macy Parade Float 2 2 - Macy Parade Float 2 - Macy Parade Snow Man 2 - Macy Rockets 2 - Universal Christmas Tree 2 - Wheslies

 

No Propane Use!

We have been on the road now for about 18 months, since last October (over a year now), we have not used any propane at all, in fact it has been shut off at the tank since it was filled the last time.  How did we do it?

Our microwave is also a convection oven, which means we don’t have an oven in the RV.  So that has reduced our need for propane.  Second we purchased a NuWave PIC which is a stove top electric hot plate.  This we both love.  You can control the temperature of the PIC in 10 degree increments to to 570 degrees F.  I love gas cooking, but there is no way I can control the temperatures like that.  With the PIC, we don’t use the stove top either.  That two of the major gas using devices out of the way.

Before we hit the road, we replaced our old water heater with a dual heat model.   Our uses either propane or electric.  In the 18 months now that we have been on the road, we have always been at a commercial campground with electric hook-ups.  So the water heater is always on electric.  Third propane use device, gone.

Finally, the heater.  This one has been the easiest of the all to turn off.  We have an electric fireplace with 1500 Watt heater and both of our air conditioners have electric heat strips in them.  When we need to take the chill off we either use the fire place or one of the AC units.

Propane cost are about $2 a gallon and we have a 20 gallon tank.  Before we hit the road we would go through about $600 a year in propane.  Going all electric has saved that plus the maintenance cost of cleaning the heater.

We are adding a new appliance to our rig this Christmas, an electric pressure cooker.  Besides using less electric, it also cooks food much faster, up to 70% faster.  I can’t wait to find out how it works.

I will be posting about it on my recipe website at The Weekend Chef.

Sherwood Forest

Winter is so nice when you are in FL.  We have moved from Thousand Trails Orlando to Sherwood Forest in Kissimmee, FL.  We are here until the 20th of December.

Florida is bound to be our new home.  Daisy and I feel so much at ease here.  We have pretty much decided to change our residency from South Dakota to Florida.  It will cost us about $1000 in total as the vehicles are a little more expensive for the first year to register, but after that we end up saving money and it is easier to get here than South Dakota.  Drivers licenses last for 8 years vs 5 years for SD.  Vehicle registration after the first year is much cheaper.  Insurance is basically the same.  Plus we have friends here, can vote easier and something that has been on our minds is getting a hand gun.  Daisy has been asking questions so we have started to look into it.  Both of us will also get our Concealed Carry Permits  and a 9 mm pistol.  That would happen next year after we become FL residence.

Our new 10 x 10 tent came in this week.  They shipped the replacement next day Fedex.  We have it up.  Some changes, but our old top fits, so we will be able to use the screen room as well.  I don’t really see any difference in the frame, but it all works and I couldn’t be happier.

My Instant Pot Pressure Cooker is at Walmart, we will pick it up sometime today.  Its one of my Christmas presents.  Daisy and I were also over at Camping World and purchased a few little things.  I have to stay out of that store, too many things I would like to have.

I have been working on some of my websites.  The Weekend Chef and its sister sites, (the Dieting Weekend Chef, the Diabetic Weekend Chef and the Vegetarian Weekend Chef) are all getting a face lift, new database search engines, new cookbooks section and a few new features.  I also have someone overseas who is doing some programming for me.  He is developing a new recipe system that will allow my members to enter their own recipes and create custom cookbooks in pdf format.  I am excited for those features.   I also have newsletters all fixed up for each site.  So now if you are a member of any of the sites, you will receive a newsletter each week with the latest news and recipes.

This site will also be getting a newsletter and a new online store.  The newsletter will go to everyone who has signed up to follow us. The store will be for our Dry-Wash n’ Guard products as well as anything else we decide to offer.

Well, time for breakfast and then to get Daisy out of the house for her daily trip.  Walmart is calling her name 🙂

Great Customer Service

Daisy and I would like to tell you about a great experience we had recently. A couple of years ago we purchased an 10×10 Ez Up for use while camping. Last week the rain gathered on the roof and bent the heck out of the frame. I emailed the company asking how much a replacement frame would cost as it was not listed on the website or in our documentation. Sydney contacted us and asked us to provide some pictures of the damage. After getting her some pictures, she told us that they would be sending us a new unit free of charge and overnight it via FedEx. It seems that the frame design has had issues and they would replace it as required. Great customer support. They could have very easily “sold” us a new frame or unit and we would have been ok with it knowing we were way out of warranty. If you need or want a 10×10 ezup I would recommend contacting them.
Sydney Anstine
Customer Service
Exxel Outdoors
800-325-4124

Shorts, Flip-flops and t-shirts!

We have left the cold weather and arrived close to the perfect weather.  We are now in Jacksonville, FL at Pelican Roost.  We will only be here for a few days before heading to Orlando Thousand Trails and that general area for the Winter.

Can’t wait to see Sandy, Ron and Sam and to get some serious gaming time in.  These are the folks we learned to play Settlers of Catan with.  Daisy and I will probably play some today.  It is very comfortable.

I have shorts, t-shirt and sandals on and Daisy is dressed in caprices and a t-shirt.  Wonder what the weather is like back in PA.  When we arrived yesterday the temps were in the mid 80’s.  Actually needed both AC units on to cool down the rig.

We must have gone through a time warp yesterday.  The trip was 188 miles from South Point, SC to Jacksonville, FL.  We left at 10:30 AM and didn’t get into the campground until just about 4 PM.  Only one stop for fuel and lunch about 45 minutes or so.  We had no travel or delays and were traveling around 60-65 MPH the whole time.  I can not figure out where the extra time went.  But it was a HOT trip.  Have to figure out where all the heat comes from in the front of the rig.  Really drains the energy from me.

We ate dinner at the base golf course last night.  I had fish and chips, Daisy had a steak dinner.  The prices were good, but the food and service need some attention.  We won’t be going back during our stay.

For those of you who are able to stay at military famcamps, this one is OK.  There are only about 44 sites here.  We have a pull through with a concrete pad, FHU and 50 amp service.  Washer and dryer are free as is WIFI.  Camp Host met us as we pulled in.  He seemed pretty lonely and very talkative.  He leaves in January for the West coast and a cruise.  I would love to take another cruise.  Maybe I need to put Daisy to work for a while, hehe.

 

Lake Gaston and Who Ordered This Hurricane?

We have been on the road now for over a year.  During that time we have managed not to have any liquid sunshine (rain for those that don’t camp).  I was sure today was going to ruin a perfect record, but the Lord was watching out for us.  I got started with my tear down chores around 8:45 AM and no rain, oops liquid sunshine!  By 9:30 we were pulling out of Skyline Ranch and heading to Lake Gaston.

I drove for part of the way and it tried a few times to start raining, but then stopped.  Daisy took over driving for the last part of the trip.  This was a long day, with over 240 miles to travel.  Wouldn’t have been too bad except the route took us on all kinds of back roads.  Speed limit said 55, if you were suicidal!  We got here around 2 PM and got set up, again no liquid sunshine.  But I am beat.  Not sure what the issue is, but I feel like I was run over by a herd of buffalo.  Really beginning to think my medication needs to be thrown out the window.  I am on blood pressure meds yet, don’t have a problem with my blood pressure and never have.  When I talked to the doctor about them, he said you are on it for high blood pressure.  When I told him I don’t have high blood pressure, he was kind of stumped.  He did drop the one med down to half a dose.  But I’m still having problems.  Guess I should talk to him again.  Maybe see him when he takes a vacation in FL this Winter hehe.

Anyway we are at Lake Gaston, Littleton, NC for a couple of weeks before heading to Myrtle Beach.  We have my mother-in-law with us and we will be dropping her off when we get to Myrtle Beach.  Then we head South to FL.

Lake Gaston is a nice campground that is getting ready to close for the Winter.  Most of the activities are done and the pool is closed.  They are on a 30+ mile long lake so I am sure we can find something to do.  We managed to get a 50 AMP 3 point site near the lake.  WIFI is good for Verizon.  Will be putting up the new antenna next week after all the rain is done.  Did I mention that we are scheduled for rain everyday until next Monday!  Something about a cold front and then a hurricane coming ashore somewhere around VA/NC border.  A couple of our Facebook friends that live in the area said they are calling for 10 inches of rain.  Will have to wait and see.

Well tonight is going to be an early night for me.  Being retired I can go to bed any time I want and I am going to hit the sack early.

I will be posting a how to article soon about our antenna set up.  I need to get one more cable adapter ordered so that I can hook up the WIFI antenna to the new WIFI router.  The cell phone set up is all done.  I also moved the antenna to the front of the slide to make hook up easier and reduce the length of the cables I was using.  Hopefully that will increase the gain and improve the signals.  Article, pictures and results will be posted soon.