Sunday, March 30, 2014

Last Day at MacDill Air Force Base

March 30th - Sunday - Sunny 70 degrees

Yesterday was a rainy day, so I spent the day the cleaning and getting things ready for the trek home.  It is with heavy hearts that we leave, as we have made friend here and the weather has been great and supposed to get better this week.

As we were going to the post office yesterday we went by where Chick-a-fil was serving free meals to all of the service men and women.  I can't imagine how many they would have served, they had huge tents set up for folks to eat in and we saw many carrying bags back to their work places.
Some of the tents
As far as we are concerned, they can't do enough for these folks, they are hard working troops and certainly a large amount of troops.

We had our last walk out to Lewis Lake and I finally got to see the Spoonbills, I love to watch them and hadn't seen them this year, so on my last walk, got to see them.
Spoonbill feeding
We took some pictures of the wildflowers that we hadn't seen in our last walk, thought they were interesting and pretty.  Before we come back next winter, want to get a wildflower book for Florida so we can find out the names for the different flowers that we see.
This reminds me of half of a pansy

Some of these actually grow in the water
Today after the church we went to Mama's for breakfast, a favorite place for breakfast and instead of going for a scenic ride, we came back to the base, so I could do the laundry and get the sheets hung on the line to dry, wash up the rugs and such.  Lou got the RV cleaned up a little, so we are ready to roll in the morning.

I had fixed a roast pork dinner last evening, so had left over pork and made pork barbecue and a tossed salad for dinner tonight.  

Tomorrow night, we should be in Leesburg, FL and Tuesday and Wednesday night at Live Oak, FL, Thursday and Friday at Kings Bay, Saturday and Sunday in Savannah then on to Charleston, SC for a few days.  Plan to be home around the 15th, depending on the weather, it may be later.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Another Rainy Day in Tampa, FL

March 27th - Cloudy 10% of rain, that fell all over our RV!!

We had decided before we went to bed last night that today would be a good day to spend in the sunshine, as the weather man stated that it would be 76 degrees with only a 10% chance of a shower, well we woke up to all overcast and that 10% of rain all over our windshield and roof.

So we had a leisure breakfast and decided we would take a drive back to Plant City and pick up some more strawberries and go to Lazy Days and look at the new RV's have lunch out.

Once we got down town, we found the traffic very light, so I snapped a few pictures as we drove through the down town area.
Modern Art Flower
I am not sure what it  is supposed to be, but it looks like a flower, that we drive around when we are in Tampa getting ready to to get onto a road to get outside of Tampa.  Can you see the street car up ahead?
Tampa would not be a city that I would enjoy driving in, but Lou tools around in the entire city like he had lived here his entire life.
Some of the buildings as we drive along.

I wish I could identify them for you

This one identifies itself
The next few pictures are from along Bay Shore Drive.  I love the drive along this area and Lou and I have talked about when the time comes and we can't drive the RV to Florida any longer that it would be nice to rent an apartment along Bay Shore Drive for four or five months of the year, as the view is just wonderful and great places to walk and enjoy the water.  We checked into the prices this year and found that most of the Condos are on a for sale basis and the ones that are for rent are just beautiful and the ones that we would want rent for approximately $3,000.00 a month for a years lease.

From this Condo you can see across to St. Petersburg.
It is hard to show the beauty of Bay Shore Drive from pictures on a rainy day, you will just have to trust me that it is beautiful.
How about the view from up there?

There is a boulevard between the streets
We found that Lazy Days had filed for bankruptcy in 2012 and at that time Camping World separated from them and moved to Dover, FL which is one exit up from their prior location.  This is where I had talked to Brian that have been such a help to us with our electrical problem.  We stopped at Cracker Barrel for lunch and used a gift card that Krista and Steve gave us at Christmas time and we enjoyed a turkey dinner which was delicious.  Then we drove up to Camping World and talked to a delightful salesman that showed us the new 2014 Suncruiser.  We were delighted to find that they had lowered the ceilings, making the cupboards lower, which would elevate the need for a stool every time we needed to get into a cupboard.  Other than that nothing much had changed.  We picked up a few items that we needed in the store and got a griddle for our outside grill making clean up a little easier.

We were then off to Parksdale for a strawberry milkshake, this time we didn't have to stand in line, like last time.  We decided we would drink them in the car, as it was cold today and we both had to wear jackets and we still wanted to buy strawberries from a stand up the road, and what a surprise that was, we purchased a whole flat of berries for $5.99.  When we were up two weeks ago they were $8.99.  So guess I will make another pie.  Lou and I eat strawberries three times a day while we are here and the fresh tomatoes also.

We got back to the base at 6:30, in time for Lou to go the the Six Store and for me to go to the PX.  I needed to pick up some lipstick and nail polish. We also needed to go to the commissary, but they close at 7:00, so will have to do that tomorrow.  80% of rain tomorrow!!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cold Morning in Tampa Bay

March 26th - Wednesday - Beautiful Sunny Day, Cold morning 45 degrees

We woke up to a cold morning and turned the heat on.  When I went to the computer and turned it on I found an e-mail from Krista showing snow at home again, with a temperature of 16 degrees.  I tried to call her and she later called me and told me that she and Steve had been at our house shoveling snow and told us that they thought we had better reconsider our starting home date, so Lou and I looked at the calendar and readjusted our schedule and have decided to make some changes.

We did solve our electrical problems thanks to Brian at Camping World in Tampa.  He had suggested that we have MacDill check our electrical connection on the post and sure enough a circuit breaker had blown.  They replaced it and the problem was solved.  They were so good about it and told us anytime we had a problem to always check with them first.  We felt like yesterday God certainly was shining down on us in many ways.

We went for a two hour walk and had a great time.  Our family of Ospreys are learning to fly and they are fun to watch.  I was watching cardinals fly back and forth across our path when Lou pulled me to a stop and in our path was a Copperhead Snake.
Copperhead Snake (diamond shaped head)
I had never seen one before, although Lou had told me he had seen them here before.  I will be more watchful in the future.  There is always something to see when we go for a walk and I always enjoy our walks.
Coot Ducks

Something new to Lewis Lake is Disc
Golf, and we watched a family play this one evening and we understand this is a very popular sport in Fort Lauderdale.  In fact, we were told they have lighted courses there.  You use a frisbee type disc to toss into the receptacle and you have so many chances to reach the receptacle.  Each one is a different Par, and you have a cement pad you stand on to throw from.  The sign tells you what par each one is and the path your disc should take.

Par Marker
We walked by some Bass beds and I snapped a picture of a huge bass, but don't know if you can pick out the bass.
Can you pick out the Bass?
The bass bed is the brown spot to the left and the bass is above it in the blue area.

Part of Lewis Lake
This is part of the Lake that we walk around, this is like a little island within the lake.

A flock of the Coot Ducks along the sidewalk
Today we washed the sheets and hung them on the line, ironed the pillowcases and made the bed up fresh.  Lou is grilling a London Broil on the grill for dinner tonight, along with baked potatoes, fresh green beans, garlic bread and wine, and strawberry pie and coffee.  Here comes the chef with his part.
Looks good enough to eat!!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Making the Best of Two Rainy Days

March 25th - Tuesday - Rainy and cold

We have extended our time at MacDill Air Force Base, due to an electrical problem in our coach.  Our outlets on our galley side of the coach do not work, nor the ones in the bathroom.  The rear A/C unit does not operate.  We called a tech to come to our site to look the situation over and he gave Lou some pointers to check out on Friday and he did all of those and all of that was fine.  The Tech was going out of town and wouldn't be back until Wednesday.  We called two RV repair places and they do not have any openings for two weeks.  One tech told me that it might be as simple as the electric coming in on the pole outside our unit; however, with all of the hard rain yesterday no one wants to work with it then.

We found out on Sunday that we can have our taxes prepared on base at the Retiree Activity Center free of charge, so we went yesterday to find out about it, and sure enough we can, so I worked on all of that yesterday, as I had brought all of the information with me, thinking if I got a secure site, I would do it on line, but I would still have to pay to do it on line.  That is how we spent our morning, we had our taxes done this morning and it was absolutely free and a very pleasant experience.  Last year an attorney did it for us at the expense of over $300.00. and before that H&R Block and the cost was always way over $300.00.  Prior to my marriage to Lou, I had always done ours and made out fine.
Really feel great to have that all accomplished and it has been e-filed and we don't  have to worry about getting home in time to get it done.

Now if we can just get the electrical problem solved, we will be all set.  We did get the laundry done yesterday, but it wasn't a satisfying experience, as here I like to hang a lot of my laundry outside on their big lines, as due to the steady rain, we couldn't do that.  I still want to wash my rugs and sheets before we leave here, as we will dry camp at my sister's house.

Yesterday, I baked a fresh Strawberry pie using my recipe from my Hobby Farm magazine.  It uses Jell-O that I cook to make the glaze.  It turned out really well and we had it for dessert last evening along with pork chops and escalloped potatoes.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Air Fest - MacDill Air Force Base - Tampa Bay, FL

March 23rd - Sunday 82 degrees - Partly Cloudy

Yesterday was the first day of the Air Fest at the Base and Lou and I had made plans to attend.  It promised to be a warm and humid day, but teemed with excitement we were ready for the day.  We met the shuttle bus at the marina here at the RV park and arrived at Hanger 5 about 9:45 am.  The work that went into getting the base ready for the event was certainly evident at first sight.

There were events set up for the little folks, medics for anyone that might need them, water, food and drink available wherever there might be people.  Airplane of all kinds available for people to view, walk through, kids were encouraged to ask questions, get aboard, dress the part and just enjoy the day.

Those of you that know Lou know that he enjoyed every minute of it, we talked to many of the service men, and found one helicopter pilot from Patrick Air Force Base, that knew all about the C-124 (Ole Shakey's) that Lou flew, as his father had also flown them, so they had a nice chat, what a nice fellow he was, we talked many things, heard about his family and his plans for his life, his children and his faith in God.  One of the highlights of the day.

The Air Fest opened with jumpers jumping with the American flag and the National Anthem, always giving me goose bumps with the Military present.
Just before he landed on the tarmac.
I am going to post some of the pictures we took of the various planes and try to identify them for you.  I know Matthew will enjoy looking at the pictures.

C-130 J


C5A and Lou





C-17  Globemaster 3

Of course, as we toured the planes, the air show was also going on and we watched it as it appealed to us.
Planes flying in formation
Then there were the stunts pilots that captured your attention.
Sometimes you held your breath!
The event of the day was the Thunderbirds, which are the F-16 that the Air Force flies throughout the United States for the air shows.  One of the Majors that flies is from Downingtown, PA.  They travel at 1000 miles per hour and before they could fly the run way had to be swept and hand walked to make sure there were no small stone, screws or metal pieces that could be sucked up into their engines.

The Thunderbirds

The Thunderbirds

It was a long, hot day enjoyable day, we got back to the RV about 5:00 pm, both of us were ready for a shower and ready to sit and relax.  I fixed us a grilled chicken salad for dinner last evening and that tasted really good.  We had company last evening, one of the men Lou to fly with out of Pittsburgh, he and his wife have been spending some time here at the RV camp.

We have been having an electrical problem in the RV and want to call Winnebago tomorrow, we called a tech on Friday and he told us several things to do, and have done all he suggested with no help.  We have decided to stay here longer to try and get this problem taken care of and we may try to get our taxes  done here and delay going home, as the weather up north doesn't look very encouraging.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Catching up with Old Friends

March 21st - Friday - Sunny and Beautiful 75 degrees at 10:00 AM

On Tuesday, we packed up and drove nearly two hours to meet up with five other couples from our SMART group from Pennsylvania to have a picnic at Dick and Pat Tracy's home.  It was really great to be able to catch up with everyone and hear all the news that had transpired in the last few months.

We missed Bernie and Betty Brown, as Bernie had recently  had open heart surgery and was at home recuperating from that, but promises to be ready for the  upcoming Muster in May.  A couple of the  folks have given up their keys to their motor home and no longer travel, but do make a point of attending some of the Musters during the day and going out to eat with us for an evening meal.

Fred and Joyce Winner have purchased a home in Frostproof and will no longer be driving their  RV south in the winter, so many changes have occurred this winter in our group.

All in all it was a wonderful afternoon and before we knew it our time together came to a close and we needed to head home.  We came home a different way and was through a rural area and many many citrus groves.
Citrus Grove
With each nice day, it is getting harder and harder to think about leaving here, and with listening to the weather reports up north, I just don't know..... I told Lou we needed to make some plans this morning, I turned off Fox News and put the calendar in front of him and said it is time, we made some decision, we talked a little and then the airplanes started practicing for the airshow for tomorrow, and he said "I am closing up shop, I can't stand to be inside when all of this is going on outside".  So I still don't know what is happening.  I may do out income taxes on the 14th!!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St. Patrick's Day

March 17th - St. Patrick's Day - Rain

What a better way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  We fixed corned beef, potatoes,  parsnips, carrots, and onions in our crock pot this morning and let it cook all day.

Lou wanted to bake a cabbage the way Scott does them when we visit them, so we tried it and it turned out delicious.  Scott takes a whole cabbage, makes slits in it, inserts, slices of bacon, a stick of butter and adds Everglade seasoning and then he bakes it for three hours in his smoker; however, he assured us that we could bake it in the oven, and we did that today, it turned out great, just like Scott said it would.
Making the slits into the head of cabbage
Adding the bacon and butter along with the Everglade seasoning
After all of this is done, we wrapped it in several layers of aluminum foil ready to insert into the oven.

Ready for the oven
We baked it in the oven at 350 degrees for three hours.

For dessert, I fixed strawberry shortcake and after the dishes were done we watched The Quiet Man, the perfect movie for St. Patrick's Day.  I can thank Sue and Tim for the movie.  I told Susie that one St. Patrick's Day we wanted to watch the movie and couldn't find it on television and our DVD was at home, so that year she got me a new one for my birthday, so we keep this copy in the RV and each year after that we have enjoyed it at this time of the year.

Tomorrow we are going to drive to Frostproof, FL to meet up with four other couples that we know to have a picnic with them.  I made a strawberry pie to take with us and we are all looking forward to this time of fellowship.

A Visit to Brandy's Bridal Shop in Winter Haven, FL

March 15th - Saturday 78 degrees - Beautiful Sunny Day.

My niece, Cheryl Schoonover, had asked us if we would like to drive to Winter Haven and meet my up with my two nieces and have lunch, so Lou and I made the hour and half journey and drove to the designated place which was my great-niece's bridal shop.  Brandy is the daughter of my niece, Rexa.  Unfortunately, Rexa was sick and couldn't come, but the rest of us had a wonderful lunch and visit.

This is an interesting story, as my sister, Daisy has the gift of sewing and sew she does and has done all of her life by machine and by hand.  She had her family had a costume shop in Winter Haven for years, went into Bridal wear, crafts and anything that could be done in the way with a needle and thread, or by way of crafts.  This talent was passed along to her daughters, Rexa and Cheryl and both of the girls still use their talents daily to create beautiful gowns, quilts, dresses, aprons, pot holders and as I said before, any thing a needle and thread can do.  I have many gifts that they have made for me that are beautiful and one of a kind, the ideas that come to their heads are just not seen other places.

Cheryl has painted murals on church walls, any blank wall that needs a lift just beacons to her and she is on it.  Her quilts along with my sisters have won many ribbons and cash rewards.  Rexa's wedding gowns are a sight to behold, along with her prom dresses.  My granddaughter has enjoyed wearing them over the years, along with a couple of her girl friends.

When my kids were growing up, my sister often sent Halloween costumes to them and later when I came back to Pennsylvania and we dressed up at the office, she sent me costumes that we so much fun to wear.

Lou and I have a quilt in the RV that my sister made for us that is all hand stitched and it is just beautiful and since our electric blanket bit the dust, we have been using it every night.  She has an eye for color and the colors are beautiful and go so well with the RV.
Cheryl, Kathy, Lou and Brandy
We are all standing outside the old post office that dates back to 1926.  It is a beautiful building where all of these little shops are located.  We ate lunch in a restaurant across from the post office.

The Ballroom
I snapped this picture of the Ballroom, they were getting ready for a wedding in their, but I thought it was a beautiful room, this was also located in this old building, where these shops were.

I took this of Cheryl at the rear entrance of the building.  It was a really interesting building and we certainly enjoyed our afternoon with all of the Cheryl and Brandy.  We will get to see Cheryl at my sister's house in the middle of next week in Live Oak on our way home.

When we left Winter Haven we drove home a different way so we could stop in Plant City to get a strawberry milkshake for me and for Lou strawberry shortcake and strawberry jam to take home to our kids.  We stood in line for 35 minutes to do so.
The line at Parkesdale
But, it was worth it and we know at least Matthew and Krista will enjoy their strawberry jam.

I had forgotten to mention that on Friday we drove to Riverview to visit friends from Wellsboro, Larry and Marie Packard for the afternoon.  I was amazed that I remembered their address from talking to them last winter.  They live above Shawn and Maegan and we square dance with them, so they were surprised when we showed up, as we didn't have their phone number.

Sunday we went to church here at Fam Camp and had a wonderful sermon by a retired Methodist pastor on the topic of the cross.  Scripture from  Mark.  It was very good and I made a lot of notes, after church we went to Mamma's for breakfast with George and Joyce, a retired Army Col. from Virginia.  We had a nice visit once again and enjoyed our breakfast.  Joyce has recently broken her right arm for the second time so we have a lot of sympathy for each other.

Today it is raining and we have extended our time here at MacDill, we will now be leaving next Monday; therefore, we will be able to see the Air-Show, which delights my husband to no end and I will also enjoy it.