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Saturday, March 30, 2019

Springtime Tallahassee Parade

Charlie Ward

It was a pretty sunny - breezy day - excellent day for a parade. Springtime Tallahassee has been going on for about 40 years. Clubs work all year on their floats - representing different periods of history in the town. The parade used to honor Andrew Jackson - but that has become politically incorrect.

Lulu and I drove our scooter to the 10:30 parade - that ended at noon.

Heisman Trophy Winner Charlie Ward led the parade in a red Corvette.

Formal wear

China Association

Florida American Territory

Pirate Ship

Float riders threw beads like Mardi Gras

Cute little golf cart fire truck with pump

Swat Team

Cool hotrod announces car show next weekend

Friday, March 29, 2019

Dumbo - One Of Our All Time Favorites

40 years ago - we had just gotten our first VCR - a betamax. $999 at Hess's. We recorded the movie Dumbo off the TV. Our kids would watch that movie almost every day.

Today was the premier of the new version of the Disney Movie. We went to our local movie house - and had a theatre to ourselves - to reminisce about the times when our kids were small.

"Baby of Mine" can still turn on the water works.

Take the grandkids and enjoy.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Our 2004 Dodge Roadtrek 190

2004 Dodge Roadtrek 190
This is our 2004 Dodge motorhome. We bought it in August of 2017. It had 12,000 miles on it. We made some improvements on it - new tires - new batteries - new brakes - new shock absorbers - new inverter - new television - new serpentine belt.

It weighs about 8000 pounds - and is 19 feet long.

It is now March of 2019 - we have had it for 18 months. We have put 11,000
miles on it - the odometer says 23,000 miles. We have taken it on trips to Georgia - Alabama - South Carolina - North Carolina - Virginia - Washington DC - Maryland - Delaware and Pennsylvania. In Florida we have taken it to Jacksonville - St Augustine - Daytona - Orlando - Gainesville - Tampa - St Petersburg - Sarasota - Fort Myers - Lakeland - Sanibel Island and Ocala.

We paid $32,000 for it.

We have spent 23 nights in it.

We have gone 11,000 miles.

Do the math.

It has cost $1391 a night.

It has cost $2.90 a mile.

Those figures assume it has no residual value.

The figures do not include cost of depreciation - maintenance - fuel - insurance - sales tax - or license fees.

Most people that have campers brag about their MPG - miles per gallon. Gasoline does not even make it into the top three for costs of having a camper.

Our Spring Break in the Camper

Upham Beach
Palma Maria
Lulu had a week off for spring break. So Monday morning - we headed south from Tallahassee. We take turns driving - while one drives - the other can rest in the back. Our 2004 Dodge Roadtrek has a king bed - toilet - refrigerator - generator - stove - sink - AC - TV - and shower. On this trip we used everything but the air conditioner - the weather allowed to sleep with windows open.


After about 250 miles - our first stop was St Pete's Beach. We had smelled something burning - like brake fluid. The brake pedal was little mushy - so we stopped to look. The right front wheel was so hot - I burned my fingers. We were at Upham Beach in a nice parking lot - so we stayed there for the night. Rick's Reef was nearby - a nice place to eat. We walked the beach - and went to bed - not sure what our brake problem was.

Holocaust Museum

In the morning I called a local brake shop called Dan's Brake World. They said it sounded like a brake caliper was stuck - it heated and boiled the fluid. If we got it to their shop 8 miles away in St Pete - they would order parts and fix it right away. We got there - they examined it - and said it was a stuck caliper. I chose to replace both front calipers and hoses.
Hofbrau house
Hofbrau House
It would take a day for the parts to come. We toured in downtown St Petes. That night we stayed right at the lot at Brake World.

Dans Brake World
We visited Pipo's Cuba Cafe - the Holocaust Museum - Hofbrau House - and the harbor.

The brake calipers were replaced and we were on the road the next day.

Sunshine Skyway

Ringling Museum


Sanibel Shell Beach


Walmart Fort Myers Beach
After the camper was fixed we headed south to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. This is where the circus used to stay for the winter. There were 5 Ringling Brothers - but John Ringling became the leader and had his home here. This is a fantastic stop - especially because FSU owns it and lets Lulu in for free. $23 for senior citizens - me.

We next went to Sanibel Island Beach known for its shells. What was a bummer to me was nowhere to park out there. Tow trucks loved the place - illegal cars and campers disappear. We parked in a public park for $5 an hour - but it closed at 8 PM. The beach is nice - except sand fleas - remnants of red tide - and you are far from town. It turned cloudy so we did not see the sun set and full moon rising thing. We left the island after a couple hours - agreeing that our beaches in the Panhandle are way nicer than this place.

Just across the bridge from Sanibel is a Walmart in Fort Myers Beach. We had a very nice quiet site there - and spent night 3. We slept - shopped - showered. Then we went to Fort Myers Beach. I parked illegally and stayed with the truck while Lulu enjoyed two hours of sand and surf. Again - it smelled a bit from red tide. This was as far south as we went.

At Fort Myers Beach - I showed the camper to a white haired couple. They were from Ohio. They stayed at a beach front condo - nothing fancy - for $7000 a month for 3 months. They loved our camper and our "free" spot.
Lunch in camper
Illegal parking Fort Myers Beach

Punta Gorda is a neat port on the Charlotte River - which is very wide here. We ate at Harpoon Harry's in Fisherman's Village. This is a gray head mecca - loads of license plates from the Midwest and Canada.

BARTOW - night 4

John Ringling Home
The most pleasant driving was the evening drive on US 17 north to Bartow. It is a beautiful 4 lane divided highway with very few cars. It is surrounded by circus trees. We got to Bartow - the county seat of Polk County - and stopped at a Walmart. We shopped a bit and then watched an FSU game on TV. We slept like 12 hours - and headed to Disneyworld.
Animal Kingdom Lodge

In Disneyworld - we visited Animal Kingdom Lodge. It is a beautiful pseudo-African hotel - that costs about $400 a night. We drove right in - parked free - and had a picnic lunch on the premises by the pool. The place seemed empty - the guests must have been in the parks.


Our last night was spent at the Palma Maria. It is about 30 miles north of Disney. From 1950 to 1980 - the Palma was in Tamaqua PA - and was the hangout of our youth. In 1981 - it moved to Casselberry - and its second life is almost 40 years. The same "kids" cook and run the place. We enjoy our time with - Anna - Parm - MaryAnn - Pete. The food is excellent - like eating history for us. After dinner - we stayed the night. Too much wine - and I "refused" to drive.

Peanut Butter Pie by Anna
Parm - MaryAnn - Pete - Anna
We woke up at 9 AM - and Lulu and I shared driving duties home - getting back to Tallahassee at 3 PM. 6 days - 5 nights - 960 miles - $500 brake job - and so much fun. Shopping - museums - eating - drinking - laughing - and loving old friends. We hope to do it all again soon.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Reading Eagle Newspaper in Trouble

READING (AP) — An effort is underway to try to maintain local control of the company that publishes the Reading Eagle newspaper, following its filing for bankruptcy protection.
Documents filed Thursday in U.S. bankruptcy court revealed that the Reading Eagle Co.’s chief financial officer is seeking to put together a group of community investors to make a bid for the media company.

Shawn Moliatu said he wants to maintain the traditions of a family-owned newspaper that has served the Reading area for over 150 years.

The company’s other properties include news-talk radio station WEEU and a weekly newspaper. It announced Wednesday it will continue to publish and broadcast under Chapter 11 bankruptcy rules while it seeks a buyer.

The company listed assets at just over $15 million and liabilities at just under $38.5 million, and reported a sharp drop in ad revenues.

News from the AP.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

And David Slew Goliath With a Stone

Terrance Mann - if you built it he will come - Zion. 

David replies: "This day the Lord will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down; and I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, and that all this assembly may know that God saves not with sword and spear; for the battle is God's, and he will give you into our hand." David hurls a stone from his sling and hits Goliath in the center of his forehead, Goliath falls on his face to the ground, and David cuts off his head. The Philistines flee and are pursued by the Israelites.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Walking and Shopping Cairo

Our guide Mohammad - I asked him - what did Jesus say in this Last Supper picture? He was serious and did not know. I said - COME OVER ON THIS SIDE OF THE TABLE - WE WILL TAKE A PICTURE. He laughed really hard. I said he can use that joke. He said - never. :-)

Saturday is the sabbath in Muslim countries. Our guide chose this time to take us to the bazaar because they would be empty. We walked thru the old downtown streets of Cairo - a strange and beautiful city. I got to visit in my first mosque.We enjoyed some of the strangest traffic ever. We had a nice lunch - and to to mix with locals. They were very sociable and wanted to visit with Americans - and Lulu's golden hair. 

Lulu prides herself as a bargainer. She walks on this guy. He follows us up the street a block - and settles. In the  video the guy says he is not Ali Babba.

I loved these little Suzuki trucks. It was explained to me that they can be used in Japan for 40,000 miles - then they must be exported - due to pollution laws. I would bring home a dozen if they let me. 

This is the oldest Christian Church in Cairo

These tiny Suzuki vans could be covered by a 4 x 8 plywood board. We have seen them with 10 people in them. They are used in a thriving gypsy taxi black market.

Lulu loves shopping bazaars.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Sears Had Everything

Our Sears store is closed. 

71 years ago I was born in a farmhouse on the side of the Appalachians in Pennsylvania. We didn't have indoor plumbing but we did have the Sears Catalog. It sat between the two holes in our outhouse. It is probably the first book that I got to read. Christmas was planned around the Wish Book. I learned all about shipping fees and sales tax from Sears.

When I was 6 - we moved to the big city of Tamaqua PA - and we shopped at the Sears Catalog Stores on Broad Street and Railroad Street. I had my first revolving charge credit card from Sears.

In the 1960s - it was a trip to the Whitehall Mall in Allentown - where Sears had a store you could shop - choose - pay - and take things home with you.

There was a house on Rowe Street in Tamaqua that was purchased by mail order from Sears. Lulu and I bought a mail order house in 1973 - not from Sears - but we lived there 30 years and the house is still going strong.

In 1980 - the Frackville Mall was built and Sears was an anchor. Just last year that mall was torn down and so went the local Sears.

We moved to Tallahassee. The Governors Square Mall is really nice and is only one mile from our home. We use it as our personal gym and walk in air conditioned comfort for 2 miles almost every day. Sears was one of the four cornerstones.

Today - Sears is closed forever. It will always leave an empty spot in my heart. Satisfaction guaranteed or your money cheerfully refunded. Craftsmen. Kenmore. Allstate. Diehard.

Sears had everything.

It anchored one of four wings
The mall in its wisdom - doubled the rent
Empty shopping carts. 

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Belly Dancers On The Nile

We just completed a very interesting trip in Egypt and Dubai. It was fun seeing how different and alike the cultures are to us. Wed had a packaged that included - hotel - meals - tours - guide - driver - van - and a Nile dinner cruise.

This video is just a little snippet of the show - the part I liked best. The dancer was very talented - her costume very pretty - and the music fun. We cruised about 10 miles down the river and back.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Our Food in Egypt

One of my favorites is yellow custard
Our hotel with gate and wall
We love to travel. One of the worst things about travel is the food. When at home we are on a diet - Lulu makes great meals - and I lose weight. When we travel - there is so much food usually involved in the deal - and this human vacuum cleaner has no will power. He simply must get his money's worth. 

On the trip to Egypt - most of our meals were included in the travel package. In one case the hotel packed us a hamper to keep us on schedule. 

We stayed at the Steigenburger Hotel on the main square in Cairo. We had breakfast there every day and twice we had our evening meal there. There was such a large variety of food - and I just could not leave every morning without the full monty. On the streets there was also plenty of American chains. During our touring - around lunch our van always pulled into a nice hotel - and a meal was waiting for us. 

I am not a food tourist. I am not a food snob. I like simple stuff - Pennsylvania Dutch (German) food as always as acceptable as cash. Meat and potatoes - beef - chicken - ham - bacon - sausage are favorites. Please leave out anything with the word fish anywhere near my nose. I wish I ate fish - but can't get the smell past this big nose. Fishing would be like - catching steaks - and I would have all the equipment. 

After breakfast - it would be into our waiting van - our guide and driver would greet us at the door. As you can see our hotel was fenced and gated. Egypt had a period of unrest - from car bombs - so our hotel had its own detectors - detectives - sniffing dogs. Lulu had given the guide a list of things we wanted to see - he organized them - included the lunches. We even had supper the second night on a dinner cruise on the Nile River. 

Here are some pictures - and this was just breakfast. It was in the deal. Our whole 5 days in Egypt package included hotel- airport transfers - guide - van - driver - admission - dinner cruise - meals - $1100. It was highly rated on Trip Advisor. 

Our guide - driver - van
Eggs to order

Lulu an nth suppler entres

Our flat iron hotel pointed at
the Egypt Museum 

Our three bags at the last breakfast
before going to the airport
The bags at the airport -
Sahid our driver 
Egypt costumes at airport