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Thursday, December 21, 2017

10 Nights In Our Camper - This time it was Disney's Fort Wilderness

This is a list of the exact spots we stayed in the camper  - the date of the stay - and the reason we were there.

10 - Disneyworld FL. Dec 20 - 2107. We had just gotten done visiting Marylou and Carl. We decided to extend our trip an extra night. Lulu booked a Disney Fort Wilderness camp site on line for $96 with tax. We drove over from Tampa and arrived at around 4 PM. We set up camp - and then took the boat to the Disney Hotels the decorations. We did not into any of the main parks - but at 9 PM we did enjoy the fireworks from the top of the Contemporary Annex Hotel. After that we rode the boat back to Fort Wilderness. In the morning we swam a little and looked at the campers' decorations. then we showered in the bath house. At 11 AM we checked out and drove over to Disney Springs. We ate and shopped there. Finally around 2 PM - we got in the camper and drove home. We got home at 6:30 PM - taking turns driving. This was the first time we paid for a camp site with the new camper. Disney is a destination campground. Most people stay there for extended periods.

Fort Wilderness, Disneyworld FL
9 - Zephyrhills FL. Dec 19 - 2017. We drove south from Tallahassee on Route 27 and Route 19 to visit with our good friends - Carl and Marylou Zimmerman. They live in Tamaqua PA in the summer but snowbird here near Tampa. We spent yesterday touring the old Tampa Bay Hotel which is now the main building of the University of Tampa. Henry Plant build this palatial destination for the customers of his railroad. In the 1880's - his trains would leave New York City and in 24 hours - they would be in the warm sunny Tampa Climate in winter. Temperatures hit 80 as we toured the rooms all decorated in Christmas themes. The round trip from Tallahassee and back is 500 miles.
Zephyrhills FL
8 - Cedar Key FL. Nov 26 - 2017. Toured Weeki Wachee - Cedar Key - and Suwannee on the way home from the Gator game. We parked on the bridge over the Gulf at Cedar Key. After this trip we had 15400 miles on the camper.
Cedar Key FL
7 - Gainesville FL. Nov 25 - 2017. We went to the FSU/UF football game. Walmart.
Gainesville FL
6 - Florence SC. Oct 15 - 2017. Driving home from Duke game to Tallahassee. Walmart.
Florence SC
5 - Durham NC. Oct 14 - 2017. We camped in front of the James Duke Hotel at Duke University. We attended the FSU/Duke football game with the kids and grandkids.
Durham NC
4 - Durham NC. Oct 13 - 2017. We camped outside of Cameron Indoor Stadium. We went to a volleyball game - FSU played Duke and won.
Durham NC
3 - Walterboro SC. Oct 12 - 2017. We were on our way to Duke University to see a football game. FSU played Duke and won. Walmart.
Walterboro NC
2 - Mexico Beach FL. Oct 9 - 2017 - I was visiting my former student at his beach home. That is Peter.
Mexico Beach FL
1 - Pensacola FL. Sept 11 - 2017. We were at the Walmart near the Naval Air Station evacuating from a hurricane in Tallahassee.
Pensacola FL
We purchased our 2004 Dodge Roadtrek Popular 190 Camper in August of 2017. It only had 12000 miles on it and it was stored indoors. It was a one owner vehicle.

We bought it with the intention of mainly using it for traveling more than just camping. It cost $32000 and I figure that 320 nights times $100 a night and we would break even at $32000.

We like having a bathroom and bed on the road to use as we drive. The camper is 19 feet long and can park in a regular parking space. It is fully self-contained.

All pictures were taken with my iPhone 7. They are untouched.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Enjoying Disneyworld and All the Decorations

We just love the Grand Floridian Hotel in all its Victorian splendor. Note the band playing on the balcony. Mickey and Minnie were dancing on the other side of the tree and posing with guests. In the far left corner was a giant gingerbread house - you can see the windows brightly lit up.

The rooms in this hotel rent for around $400 a night - but anyone is allowed in to enjoy the ambiance - eat - shop - etc. We stayed at Fort Wilderness for $96 a night - and had as much fun as anyone. You can watch the Disneyworld fireworks from this hotel at 9 PM.

The Famous Tampa Bay Hotel - Now The University of Tampa

Henry Plant owned the railroad that went down the west coast of Florida. Even in the 1800s - his trains could get tourists from New York City to Tampa in 24 hours. The travelers could leave in a winter snow storm and wake up to orange juice in Florida.

The Tampa Bay Hotel was a complex in downtown Tampa where the trains would pull right into the hotel. People could sit out the winter in tropical luxury. The hotel did not have a long run of success and it fell into disrepair. then th eUniversity of Tampa acquired it and restored it to its original spendor. Today - students stay in the old hotel room.

During the holidays - the first floor is decorated in a Victorian motif. We spent yesterday enjoy the place with our friends Carl and Marylou. They live just north of town in Zephyrhills. They have spent their winters here for the last 13 years. Their daughter Christa has her family nearby.

We will drive our camper home to Tallahassee today or make another tourist stop somewhere before we get home.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Fascism - it could never happen again - and never in America.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Everhart 9 In Tallahassee For Holidays

Here comes Santa Claus

Lulus favorite time of the year is the Christmas Holidays. She loves to decorate - bake - and cook for the family.

This year the train yard will be a little bigger. The Christmas tree will seem a little bright - and hopefully we will have nice weather for travel and playing outside.

We wish all of our friends the very best times for Christmas.

Saturday, December 09, 2017

England - Almost Like Being "Bumped" On A Train

Virgin Trains refunded our train fare for being late
In November we spent 3 weeks in England. We stayed Dwight our buddy Joan in London - but Lulu had a presentation in Glasgow -for a few days. We decided to take a ride with Virgin Trains. Our circle trip was London - Glasgow - Blackpool - London.

The trains are great in Europe. They are clean - modern - and almost always on time. On the last leg - from Prescott to London Paddington Station - our train was almost an hour late. It was no big deal to us - because we were not on a tight time schedule.

All trains in Europe have dining cars. You can have some dinner and drinks. Also - a service cart comes through the aisles to sell food and beverage.

With about a half hour to go - someone came on the sound system and said - that since our train was one hour late - we would all be getting our money refund for that day's leg. It was like getting bumped - but better.

Today - back home in the USA - a check arrive for 90 pounds from The Royal Bank of Scotland. That is about $120. It is a nice surprise right before Christmas.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Enjoying A Week in Washington and Virginia With the Kids

(All pictures are taken with an iPhone 7. They are untouched - what you see is what you get.)

The African American Museum is covered with lattice.
We toured 2 of the 6 floors.
The Memorial Flame at the Holocaust Museum -
ashes from the ovens of the concentration camps
in the box of granite.

We are enjoying a week with the kids up north. First - we flew to Richmond to see our grand daughter in a play. Then we drove to Washington to spend time with our son and grandson. He asked us to help while his wife was on a trip. 

Tomorrow - we will fly home from Washington to Tallahassee - where we will prepare for the visit of all of the Everhart 9 from December 26 to 31. 

No matter how many times we have been in Washington - there are so many things to see and do. Most of the museums are free. On weekends in the winter - there are no groups of tourists. You get to see a lot more displays. 

Sunday - we went to the Washington Zoo. It is a nice one mile walk from Keith's home. Monday - we visited the African American Museum. It is new and usually crowded but on a Monday morning - we had it to ourselves. Tuesday - we walked the two miles to the Holocaust Museum. It is now 25 years old - we have visited it before - but usually it is crowded. This time it reminded me of an empty mausoleum. There are four floors but again - we had to get home to make supper for the little one - so we only skimmed 2 floors. 

We have one more day left - before we return home to Tallahassee - early Thursday morning. Starting in January there will be a non-stop flight from Washington to Tallahassee. But we will have to be content with Washington to Atlanta to Tallahassee. We have been upgraded to bigger seats. 

When the Nazis came.....the Holocaust Museum

Lions and Tigers at the Zoo
Watching the Animals in 53 degree weather
Lots of indoor displays
Daniel Webster - Massachusetts Ave 
Daniel Websters Statue as we passed by several times. He is considered one of the great 5 Senators. He was elected from New Hampshire to the House - and from Massachusetts as a Senator. He was also Secretary of State for 3 presidents. He was a strong advocated of liberty and union. 

Chuck Berry's Cadillac - African American Museum
Robert Johnson - father of rock and roll.
Jesse Owens - 4 time Olympic Champion
in Hitler's 1936 games
FaceTime with Mommy. 
Train yards around the
National Christmas Tree
More trains.

Keith has two private off street parking spots on his property. They are 20 feet long. Our camper is 19 feet long. This summer - we plan to drive our camper on a grand tour of - Richmond - Washington - Tamaqua - Knoebel's Grove. We are looking forward to having our own "little cozy condo" in Washington DC.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Cool New LED Light For My Camper

LED lights use maybe 10% of the electricity that incandescent and fluorescent bulbs do. They also last much longer.

This particular light is much thinner than the 2 inch thick one we replaced. This one is about ¼ inch thick.

In my camper - it was simple to install. The two wires were there from the old light. The new light is very bright - dimmable - and safer for your head. There are two small mounting screws that are covered by a plastic snap-on cover.

It is a 7 watt bulb - but it seems as bright as a regular 100 watt bulb.

The light - with bulb - cost $20 on Amazon. I do not hold stock in Amazon or the light company. since I published this story - the price shot up to $25 - I am not kidding.

It is installed in my 2004 Dodge Roadtrek.

Three Videos From Our Seminoles Victory Over the Gators

See the Victorious Seminoles Leave the Field with the Gatorhead

Hear the Gator Fans Sing - The Boys of Old Florida

Hear the Gator Fans Sing - I Won't Back Down - in Honor of Local Boy - Tom Petty

Monday, November 27, 2017

Camper Trip To Gainesville - Weeki Wachee - Cedar Key - Suwannee - The Seminoles Beat the Gators for the Fifth Time in a Row

Lulu and Harry wrestling the Gators

Weeki Wachee Show - really fantastic

11/27/17 - Monday - 2 PM - I am in the back of the camper - just leaving Suwannee FL. It is a small fishing town at the mouth of the famous river. Stephen Foster never visited the Suwannee River when he wrote his famous song - Old Folks At Home. It is not a tourist destination at all - it is 25 miles off the main highway on the West Florida Coast. We had lunch on the banks of the river - there were few services there - we had no ATT cellphone - no digital TV signals - no places open to eat. There was just a small market there catering to the roughly 300 permanent residents. There were lots of neat rustic homes - homes on stilts - car ports - trailers - and boats. The signs called it the Gateway to the Gulf. We walked around and then headed home. We are about 2 hours from home now.

Our trip started Saturday at 7 AM. We left Tallahassee to travel straight to the Florida State and Florida game in Gainesville. We got into Hogtown at 9:30 PM. Places were asking $20 to $50 to park. We were lucky to find a street slot about 1/4 miles from Steve Spurrier Field. We were pretty proud of ourselves and took a little nap. At about 11 AM we went to the stadium and scouted out tickets. 

Regardless the rivalry with the Gators - the University is very nice. The town has lots of nice things too. It is truly Florida's flagship college. Unfortunately - their sports teams are not doing too well against FSU. We really like Tallahassee and FSU - Nancy's alma mater. But I could see us being happy in Gainesville. It is 150 miles closer to Disneyworld and South Florida - but it is much busier too. There are also many many more scooters there. 

This is our third game trip to The Swamp. We saw Tim Tebow beat the Noles bad once - and then we went back for Jameis Winston to return the favor. This time was a toss up with both teams sporting losing records. The Seminole are in a trough - possibly having their first losing season in 40 years. They could be out in the cold come bowl season after 35 bowls in a row. Minor bowl games lose money - but they give you an extra month of practice to work the team. 

Normally tickets are not cheap in Gainesville - but this time - with losing records - we got $125 tickets for $20. We were happy and went in early. 

FSU shot out to an early lead and the game was over by half. It ended 38-22 - with a mop up touchdown for the Gators. At the end of the third quarter - the crowd sings - The Boys of Old Florida - and also Tom Petty's - I Won't Back Down. There is something nice about a big crowd singing in unison - even though they were being pummeled. We heard very little swagger. Gator fans were much nicer without all the bravado. We were nice - after all - I had a camper sitting on their streets for free.

After the game - we walked around town - and had supper at Amelia's Restaurant. One homeless guy did tell me my old lady had a nice a--. I asked her if that was sexual harassment - she said at 63 it was a compliment. Then we drove to Walmart and parked for the night. 

Sunday we woke - cleaned up - and drove to Weeki Wachee. It is a very nice old Florida attraction. It was private but now the state owns it. It costs $16 for the day. It includes swimming in the spring - seeing the Mermaid Show - a river cruise - and an animal show. The college age girls train for over a year to do the underwater show. The water slows down their motions to make a beautiful underwater ballet. During the whole show - they are underwater - taking air from hoses. That show is worth the admission alone. Everything is performed inside the 74 degree spring. 

We drove to Cedar Key for our Sunday supper at Steamers - and our camp site on the bridge over the Gulf in downtown Cedar Key. At one time Cedar Key was the hub of the cedar lumber industry - used for making pencils - among other things. The Chalet that Lulu and I built in Tamaqua PA was all cedar lumber. We had a wonderful supper at Steamers on Dock Street. We sacked out in the camper at a bridge in downtown at 8 PM. It was a very quiet - the furnace only came on 3 or 4 times all night. We had good TV reception - but cellphone service was spotty. In the morning we walked the historic little city on the island in the Gulf. It is like Key West - but without the long car ride. 

Finally we drove to the town of Suwannee on the Suwannee River. The little town  of 300 is at the river mouth. This is not a touristy town - most of the residents enjoy fishing boats and golf carts. Insurance companies have required them to put their homes up on stilts to insure them. There are lots of carports - boats - covered boat docks - trailers - and golf carts. It is 25 miles off the main highway - both TV and phone did not work there for us. We had lunch in the camper because nothing was open. Lulu took over the driving - and now we are tooling up US Route 19 home. When the trip is over - we will have gone 540 miles. 

The highlights of trip were - beating the Gators badly keeping 3 streaks alive - staying 2 nights in the camper for free - the lovely mermaid show - exploring Cedar Key - enjoying the comforts of traveling with our home on our back. 

Free parking before the game in Gainesville.

Two tickets for $20 each ($125 face)

Seminole Band in the Swamp

FSU sidelines

FSU 38 Gators 22 - 5 straight wins

Camp Walmart in Gainesville FL

Part of a wonderful show at Weeki Wachee

Parked at the front door of Weeki Wachee

Supper at Steamers on Cedar Key - Dock Street

Monday morning wakeup at Cedar Key

Cedar Key - old shipping port
off the beaten track

We spent 15 hours in that spot on the bridge at Cedar Key

The Library at Cedar Key

Downtown Cedar Key - right on the water

Cedar Key Beach on the Gulf of Mexico 

Cedar Key homes

Lulu's Dad used to deliver Tasty Cakes -
how about these caramel apple donuts

Downtown Cedar Key - a Winnebago camper

We just spent our 8th night in the camper.
312 more to break even

We had lunch in the camper at Suwannee.
Monday the restaurant was closed.

The mouth of the famous Suwannee River.

The Steve Spurrier Field runs north and south.
We sat in the south end zone - in the shade.