Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Snorkeling Day

Captain Buddy took us out on the boat to explore and snorkel. Day started cloudy but cleared off nicely. So far we have seen 3 sea turtles and I found a huge red star fish about a foot across! Buddy took under water pictures with his Go Pro camera so if they turn out well I will post them. Bye for now we are off to our next anchoring point!



Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Still in The Keys!

Only in the Florida Keys would I have chickens in my campsite (no we are not camping on a farm!) and the rooster crowing! Yeah, Mike and our son Buddy are loving that - I told them it was time to get up!!!! What makes it better is that it's 78 here at 9am and it's 28 up home and snowing!!



Monday, December 24, 2012

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Still in Wauchula!

Pam- I'm still here! Jeep guy called this morning and said when they took apart the rear end they found the spider gear was damaged due to all the shaking. That means more parts and he promises to have me on the road by noon tomorrow. That means I won't be able to check in at Sugarloaf Key KOA tomorrow. I don't want to drive the keys and park the rig in the dark so we will check in on Friday! Mike has been having a grand time biking- after leaving his buddy's place he rode to Fort Lauderdale and now he's in Miami! He says he is taking lots of pictures so I'm sure he will have a lot to post when we hook up tomorrow. Wait til you hear his stories!

Hopefully we will all survive December 21 so we can keep posting for you all! Take care!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Still in Wauchula/Zolfo Springs!

Pam - Don't know if we mentioned it before, but we have been having trouble with the jeep.  Sometimes it shakes and shudders - Mike thought it was the transmission - and it really was a rough ride to Kennedy Space Center.  So we went to the jeep dealer in Wauchula and asked them to take a look.  Not good news!  Every U joint is a mess, the rear end is in bad shape (I feel its pain!) and the shop manager told us not to drive fast or far because the steering could go at any time!  And our plan was to pull out of SKP Resort today so we could hook up with Mike's old roommate (who lives in Jupiter) on Saturday. Wrong!  The jeep parts were ordered yesterday with hopes that they will all be in by Monday, then two days worth of work (and LOTS of $) and the jeep should be ready to roll sometime Wednesday.  So, after much discussion, we settled on Mike riding his bike to Okeechobee today, staying in a motel tonight and then riding on to Jupiter tomorrow.  He's going to spend a few days with his friend and then start heading south on Tuesday.  I'm staying at the campground until the jeep is ready and then I will roll Wednesday afternoon (I hope), go as far as I can before dark, and then Thursday I'll roll on down to the Keys.  Hopefully, I will pass Mike on the way!  I'm going to check on the jeep on Tuesday just in case so maybe I can hook up with Mike early.

Only one more week until Buddy flies into Key West!  I'm looking forward to seeing him and celebrating Christmas in the warm sun!

Oh!  And tonight I baked Christmas cookies!  Thank heavens for cookie dough in a tub!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Two weeks in zolfo springs

Now that time at SKP Resort is drawing to a close, I would like to summarize the "highlights" of our stay here. It seems as though I did very little in the last two weeks except ride and lay around the pool.
Late afternoon at the pool.

High noon at the pool.

Mike at the pool!

 Weather has been great and our tans are coming back. Pam aerobicsized in the pool (every morning for over an hour, thank you very much!) and I rode about 400miles over the area in different loops, trying to never cover the same course twice. My longest was 71 miles, and shortest was about 32. I had one flat, which I patched, and the valve went bad, so after riding 20 miles practically flat, I stopped and changed out the tube. I know better than to patch a tube., I always just pitch a flat tube and put a new one in, but I tried the patch. I have noticed that the tubes with Slime are prone to have the valves leak, so I may not buy them any more.
I rode through towns with names like Frostproof, Fort Meade,Ona, and Arcadia. I saw one alligator, and startled a lot of cattle. It seems a cow will stand near the road and the tractor trailers that fly by don't faze them. When I go by, however, these cows really get startled. I stampeded about five herds of cattle as I went by them and watched them run like hell. Sometimes a cow would hear me and snap its head around, and I wouldn't have been surprised to see it have a heart attack and drop over! But it hasn't happened yet.
As I traveled the back roads, I have had no traffic problems, but I had a multitude of dogs come out to the road and give me a run. I have outrun each of them, some easier than others. I carry a car antenna, taped to my bike, in case I fear the worst, then I can whack him in the head. I haven't had to do that yet. There was one dog though,that I couldn't outrun, even though I got up to 23 mph. I was impressed. I knew that he was working harder than me , and wouldn't be able to bite, so I took no drastic measures. There was another dog that came flying out of his yard and tripped over a ditch and did a total spin, crash and burn. I've never seen a dog wreck before!
We took a day and drove to Cape Canaveral and watched an Atlas V rocket launch. Now that was cool! We actually watched it take off, but we were inside a tour bus about one minute from the area we were trying to get to, to watch the event. Even though we couldn't disembark, the thunderous vibrations we felt were awesome, and we were five miles away from the launch pad!

After the launch, this is the steam left behind!  At lift off, tons of water are dropped to dampen the sound.  Without the dampening, the sound could kill people and wild life!

This is the launch pad after the rocket launched.

This is another launch pad with a rocket.  It's launch should be this weekend if all goes well.

Pam participated in a craft sale, making Christmas wreaths and decorations out of pine cones. Sales didn't go so well and she was disappointed, but we have a lot of Christmas decorations now. She also put outdoor lights around a dead tree on our lot, so we are ALL decorated up! To make up for the lack of sales, she took up bingo and won $40.00!

My table at the craft show.  Unfortunately there were very few attending and there were very few sales.  The only person successful was the lady who made cookies!  She sold out!  Go figure....

Our outdoor Christmas tree!


 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Another day in Paradise!!!

PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU GO BACK AND LOOK AT THE LAST 5 OR SO ENTRIES THAT MIKE POSTED A FEW DAYS AGO.  I JUST ADDED THE PICTURES THAT GO WITH MIKE'S BLOG.  HE IS WORRIED THAT YOU WON'T SEE THE PICTURES!

Pam - Now that that is covered.....I have been enjoying the time that we are spending here at the SKP Resort.  Every morning I have been going to the pool and doing an hour of water aerobics. (Jennie, aren't you proud of me?)  Today I spent alot of time making Christmas decorations for the craft fair that is this Saturday.  I enjoy making wreaths so I might as well make some money (I hope).

Mike went for a ride today and took some pictures.  I'm posting them now and he will add info tomorrow (it's 11:21 pm so forgive us if we are tired!)




Monday, December 3, 2012

SKP Resort, Wauchula Florida

SKP resort, Zolfo Springs, Fla  This is another campground that is part of the Escapes Parks program.  It is a beautiful campground with lovely people.
Nov 30. I took a day off and laid around the pool. I did learn something today though. I was out walking the perimeter of the campground, and I had an orange that I had picked. I stopped to talk to a milk cow, and about 20 cows started walking towards me. As it turns out , they wanted the orange I was carrying! Cows love oranges! It must be the forbidden fruit. I picked about a half dozen and fed them to different cows. They snarfed them right up and wanted more. I figure that the owner of the orange tree and the owner of the cows wouldnt see how the cows enjoyed them, so I stopped short of giving every cow an orange, but it was a learning experience!
   
 Dec. 1 I went out on an easy ride and explored the two towns in the area as well as some country roads. Idid about 32 miles, not always knowing where I was, but I successfully navigated a loop course that I invented as I went.  That evening, we watched the Christmas parade in Wauchula in 70 degree temperature.
The Grinch in the Christmas Parade.
    

Dec.2 I took a ride  today on a loop course through Ona and Arcadia  that went about 54 miles and took about 3:45, just cruising thru the countryside. It was very uneventful, lotsa orange groves and cattle ranches. The most interesting thing I saw was the Limestone Country Club. It was a shack out in the middle of nowhere with outdoor tables and motorcyclists were hanging out there drinking on a Sunday afternoon. It reminded me a little of Shuba deer shop, and was a very unexpected sight. I waved to everyone as I went by, and no one waved back, because I think I was also a very unexpected and unusual sight.

Our campsite at the SKP Resort

Vero Beach to Zolfo Springs Florida

Vero Beach to Zolfo Springs/Wauchula Fla- Nov 29 Today I continue zigzagging across the state of Florida. Our next campground is an Escapee place 50 miles from Bradenton on the Gulf Coast.  The campgrounds on the Atlantic side are more than twice as expensive as this one, and we are planning on being there a while, so its worth the trip.  I rode 110.8 miles in beatiful sunshine, with a cooperative wind in about 7 hours. My century was in 6:28, which is pretty good for an old guy. My odometer also turned over 1500 miles since I left N Carolina. Wildlife was the theme of the day, as I saw my first live armadillo (Ive seen dozens of dead ones), another alligator, this time from more of a distance, and 8 wild pigs. My camera foiled the attempt to get a good picture of the pigs, as I accidently turned it off while I was trying to zoom. I hate when that happens!
View from the motorhome.  These are trailers loaded with oranges!



Look on the right side - wild pigs are between the trees.

Armadillo




Much of the trip was watching for the dozens of loaded and unloaded orange trucks flying by, and startling the many cattle who were close to the road on their ranches, but were not used to being talked to by a bicyclist in neon orange.  They ranches were unique to me in that many of the cows were shading themselves under a palm tree that was growing on the range. What a life!
     One mistake I did make was not stopping for water in the one gas station town of Yeehaw Junction.

 There was much desolation on this trip, and I have to be more aware of taking advantage of opportunities on these 80 degree days. By the time I got to Frostproof, Fla, I stopped at the first little store I saw. It was a dive run by a very talkative Hispanic lady, who was impressed by my story, so she gave me a free Moonpie to have with my Poweraid. After biting in to it I realized why she gave it to me. The freshdate had expired 6 months ago. It was very chewy and dry, but I ate it, which just proves that I have never met a Moonpie that I didn't like!

Cocoa Beach to Vero Beach

Cocoa Beach to Vero Beach- Nov 28  I had a significant tailwind and rode 77 miles in 3:43. Thats about an hour and a half faster than the similar distance that I rode to days ago. Iguess it was the wind, not the five days off! A1A was beautiful, of course, with the smell of the ocean, thru Melbourne Beach and along Patrick Air Force base. I rode about 10 miles with a guy from Canada, that had just bought a house in Vero, and he was missing the snow. I've gotta admit that the 80 degree, partly sunny days, and the 60 degree nights are beginning to get repetitious, but I'm gonna give them more of a chance to grow on me before I start wishing for snow!

Kissimmee to Cocoa Beach

Kissimmee to Cocoa Beach- It was back on the road to work off the 20 pounds I put on, and back over to the east coast. US 192 ran through Kissimmee and St Cloud. The trick, however, was getting through south Orlando.  There was NO accurate maps with the back roads that I needed, so I left the KOA with very little idea of where I was going.  I tried to parallel I-4, and used the sun and the wind to tell me if I was on track.  It was an adventure that I enjoyed, as Im not real big on planning every mile out in advance. I knew I was gonna hit one of several familiar roads at some point, I just didnt know when. It all worked out well, of course, and I found US192. It was pretty busy with lots of businesses,  and when I needed to find the road to Cocoa Beach, the maps again were no help, but I went into a body shop, and the guy there was no help, but a little old black woman who was waiting for her car to be finished, gave me great directions, including distances and landmarks. Many of the roads out that way are dead ends because of marshes and lakes, so I really didnt want to go 20 miles the wrong way, and end up on a sandpacked road. Many of the roads, even mapped ones do that down here, in the marshy areas
     Once I got on the road to Cocoa, about 10 miles out of St Cloud, I saw my first wild alligator under a low water bridge on county rd. 532. Now, that was cool! I stopped and visited with him for a while, including a photo session.


  There was no traffic on this road, just 30 miles of marsh and lots of cattle ranches.  The wind was in my face for most of the trip heading east, so when I got to Cocoa,my knees hurt a little and my average mph was worse than it has been. I was hoping it was the headwind, and not five days of glutony and laziness in Orlando!
     We planned the trip toCocoa, because it is close to Kennedy Space Center, and when I looked a week ago, there was a cargo rocket scheduled to be launched. We thought it would be cool to see a launch, but of course it was scrubbed at the last minute. We settled for doing the tour, which was interesting, with lots of actual equipment that will be detailed pretty well in the photos we post. Another benefit of being in this area, is the orange trees, right in the campgound. They taste great right off the tree!

Garden of the Rockets

This is where they assemble the rockets.

Saturn rocket - this is the type that took the Apollo flights to the moon.

Saturn rocket



Well, that's how the astronauts ride in the capsule!
 
Hanging with my buds!  These are the original 7 astronauts.  Their starting salary was 30-40K.  Really!

Beautiful monument and fountain in memory of our lost astronauts.


Mike and space bear....

Mural of international space station with the flags of all the participating countries.  With a little Christmas lights thrown in!


Space suit that Alan Sheppard wore on the moon.  Darkness on bottom part of legs is moon dust!!!

One of the launch pads (on the left)

The white plane looking thing in the building is the Atlantis, the last space shuttle.  The building is being built around the shuttle and it will be a new exhibit that will open the summer of 2013.

 

Bushnell to Kissimmee Florida

Bushnell Fla to Kissimmee- we spent one day at the Bushnell Escapee park just hanging out and letting my legs regroup a little. The highlight of the day was discovering what sandhill cranes are. They are four foot tall gray birds with red and white markings on their head, with the loudest mouths I have ever heard.
Sandhill cranes - they are huge!!!

  On Nov 20, a tuesday, it was time to arrive at our first scheduled stop of the trip.
I rode 62 miles in about 4 hours on the west side of Orlando, to the KOA where. we were reserved to spend the Thanksgiving holiday .  I rode on great roads (US 301, FLA 50, and US 27) with great shoulders, warm sun, and a cooperative wind.  FLA 50 ran east to west through the  Acoochie wildlife refuge, then towards the end it got downright hilly, which I wasnt expecting. I met US 27 in Clermont and the hills got bigger, and it was nice to run some hilly terrain. The hills were big enough that I hit 40 mph going down one of them without really pushing too hard. Along with the hills came orange groves on both sides of the road, which I have never seen before, so that made it seem as though we were really in Florida.
     The next five days were spent doing the Orlando/Thanksgiving thing, and for the first time since I retired, I was off the bike for five days straight. Wednesday, the 22, was spent at Epcot Center.  I think I have been there, but I didnt remember a thing. Once we figured out the schedule of events in all the 'countries,' it was interesting enough for me, but Pam really enjoyed it.
Pam - Epcot is divided into sections such as the future and inventions, but the sections around the lake are different countries.


No caption needed!!!

Entering Epcot...


Drummers in "Japan"

 Dancer in Morocco
 Good luck statue in China.
Acrobats in China


 
Candlelight procession is the most fantastic Christmas program.  Hundred plus choir with candles, 50 piece symphony and Geena Davis narrating the Christmas story with matching carols.  KUDOS to DISNEY for producing a beautiful Christian Christmas program!


"Illuminations"

The closing program was about world peace.  The fire in the middle was actually on the lake!  It was huge and you could feel the heat on your face.  Note the fireworks too!!


Disney is always over the top!

 Thanksgiving day and Friday were spent at the Old Spice Basketball tournament at ESPNs Wide World of Sports facility, which has venues for baseball, soccer, basketball, and many other sports. It is the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves, and there were youth soccer and baseball tournaments going on, which meant that the place was packed. WVU pretty much stunk up the place, but they had all the other schools outnumbered fanwise, even if you added all the other fans together. The other teams were Gonzaga, Oklahoma, Clemson, Marist, Texas/El Paso, Vanderbuilt and Davidson.


Mountaineer fans waiting in line.  Let's go!


      On Thanksgiving, Pam cooked a Turkey breast and we had a great away from home feast.
Cooking Thanksgiving dinner in a motorhome is challenging!!


 On Friday, we ate at the grill at ESPN, watched the WVU football game, and ran into John Travanti, my college roommate at my fraternity. We were supposed to hook up in December, but it was a huge coincidence that I sat down at the table right next to him, and that I even recognized him.
     Saturday was Universal Studio day and a wonderful time was had by all standing in all the lines and riding all the rides, and trying to eat enough food to make the meal plan we bought into a value.  Sunday was the final game of the basketball tournament and we watched two games, WV and Oklahoma, and the championship game between Gonzaga and Davidson.


For all you Harry Potter fans, yes, we did that part of Universal - no I did not ride my broom!





Yes, we did this ride.  You get shot straight up and then you hang up there!  Sometimes we forget that we are 57!



Night time at Universal Studios


Mike poses with Bob Marley.