Saturday, April 21, 2012

Mark and Dean-na's Wedding

Last weekend we flew to Houston for nephew Mark and niece-to-be Dean-na's wedding.  We flew out from Orlando around noon on Friday and had an uneventful trip to Houston.  Finding the hotel was a bit of a challenge because of a lot of construction but we got there in mid afternoon and hooked up with  other attendees.
It was a fun time to get reacquainted with Mark's relations on his mother Sue's (nee Cannon) side of the family.
Kelly and Jonathan are chatting it up with my twin brother Reid.  Amy has her back to the camera and my brother Marty is showing some teeth.
Later in the lobby Reid, Mark's uncle Arden, nephew Matt and girlfriend Sierra, Matt's brother Rob and Marty are hanging out in the hotel lobby.
Kelly's college roommate Megan and husband Mark met Pam and I along with Brad and Sue (father and mother of the groom) in the hotel lobby where a lot of folks stayed.

We all broke up in the early evening and went out to eat while the wedding party was at the Reception Dinner.  After that, Brad arranged for a hospitality suite in the hotel so we could all sit and gab for a while.
On Saturday morning we met Megan and Mark for breakfast and got to hear what they have been up to since they got married in Jan 2011.
They now live in Austin where Mark is a youth pastor.

Then the big event - the 2:00 PM wedding!  Brad arranged for a shuttle bus to pick up all that were staying at the hotel.  We got to the church without getting lost.
That was a great idea.
We got there early enough to take some pictures and look around at the displays.
And the reception was already set up in the foyer.  The First Baptist Church in Houston has a big foyer!
And we had a chance to meet some more folks.

Then what every one was there for - the Ceremony!
Then, while the groom and everyone watched…
Dean-na was escorted down the isle by her father
And they said their vows
And Dr. and Mrs. Mark Warner were announced
And down the aisle they came!
After the ceremony we went back into the sanctuary for pictures.

This is one of the couple with Mark's brother Drew next to mom and dad Brad and Sue.
The reception was great.  Plenty of food, everyone mingled and talked and congratulated the happy couple and joined in the wonderful time.

The cake cutting -
And the crowd lined up, plotted strategy, grabbed some rose petals,  to 'tossed' them at the couple while they made a dash to the waiting car
 We felt like we gave them a proper sendoff…

It was a happy time with lots of chances to talk with folks we don't see often.  I think everyone was exhausted from staying up late, getting up early, traveling long distances and taking advantage of our time together.

Perfect moments for making some great family memories.  And an exciting time for us to help celebrate Mark and Dean-na's new life together!

That is all for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles - Thanks for joining us!  Until next time...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Dolphins, Gators and other Friends

We have spent most of the winter in Florida and really like it here.  We had a great time in Key West and we have been spending the last few weeks at Patrick AFB near Melbourne, FL.  Except for some day trips around the area and a 'short' trip to the Tiffin factory, we have been content to hang around our campsite.

I spent all last week working online and was able to put in over 40 hours which was nice.  And I have cleaned and given the Roadrunner its annual wax job.  But all days are not like that.

Some days we go over to the fitness center for a workout or swim.  Other days we bike along some of the paths on base of which there are many.
But one of the neat things has we have done is hang out and watch the birds and fish and dolphins (and turtle) on the water near our campsite.  Amazingly, the dolphins keep coming back for a little show. Or a pack? of 5 or 6 of them circle the waters and corral some of the small fish for dinner.
(In order to see some dolphins in these pictures, you really have to WANT to see them).  Unfortunately, most of my pictures are of the tip of their fins…  Where is that expensive high speed camera when you need it?

Along with the dolphins, the birds (egret, pelicans and ?) are usually not far behind.  I can't tell you how many times I have sat outside the back of the campsite on the water and watched the birds circle and circle then dive bomb into the water after fish.  What sight!
This is probably the best shot I got of our dolphins
And another shot of an osprey
Then too, we have seen a couple of alligators. (This was during one of our day trips and thankfully not anywhere near our campsite).
These bad boys were healthy!  So we didn't stay long or get too close.  They are interesting creatures.

The other day we saw a turtle sunning himself on our little kayak excursion.  Bonar and I were in one boat and Tom and Cathy were in another.  This was my first kayak experience.  It takes a little coordination in a two-man boat.  If you had been anywhere near me, you could tell it was my first time in a kayak.
We kayaked from the Rec Center to our campsite to see Pam and Christa.  We took it easy for a while before heading back.
We are really loving our time here.  We don't leave Florida for another 10 days or so.  But our friends left yesterday.  It was sure great to spend time with them!
Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Hope you have a great weekend!  Until next time...

Monday, April 9, 2012

Windy Grilling

Sometimes when we grill we have to come up with creative ways to keep the wind from blowing out the flame on our grill.

Ever had that issue?  What do you do?  How do you cook outside when the wind is blowing more than a gentle breeze?

We love to grill but if it is windy out side it makes it tougher to get the job done.  Sometimes I put the grill down on the ground, or behind the Roadrunner to block the wind.  Sometimes I open two of the bay doors on the RV and set it between them to get out of the wind.  I have also tried taking plastic covers from our storage bins and placing it in strategic positions near the grill in order to block the wind.

Then we parked near Bob and I saw how he did it.  Looked almost too easy.  So here are my 5 easy steps to successful grilling in the wind:

1. Get package in the mail and confirm it is not bent.
2. Use pliers, screwdriver (if needed) and knife to open package and remove staples from card board.

3. Read instructions and product information of The Grill Guard.
4.  Use encolosed safety pin to score protective cellophane around rivets and remove cellophane.
5.  Unfold, insert cotter pins along the bottom sides and place grill inside.
My operational test and evaluation of the Grill Guard was a success!  It worked great and I am sure we'll be doing a lot more cooking on the grill in windy weather.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Roadrunner Financials - March 2012

Roadrunner Recap
During March, we Red Bay AL at the Tiffin Repair Facility and made our way over to the eastern coast of Florida to Cocoa Beach/Patrick AFB.  While there I had a big 'oops' and caused some damage to the PS front side near the front door by running over a post.

We loved our time at along the water near Cocoa Beach and Patrick AFB:
Manatee Cove
Here are the spots where we stopped along the way in March:
  • Tiffin Allegro Campground, Red Bay AL
  • US Army Recreation Center Campground, Destin FL
  • Fleet Diesel Repair Center, Fort Walton Beach FL
  • Stagecoach RV Park St Augustine FL
  • Manatee Cove FamCamp, Patrick AFB FL
Here's an interactive map of where we camped during the month. Click on the letters (waypoints) to see locations:


Or if you prefer, a static map of travels during the month:

Good News Areas We Are Under Budget
Here's a snapshot of our spending for the month:

Biggest Expenses
Aside from the repair bill in Fort Walton Beach we spent $404 for new glasses.
We continued to be over budget on our TV/Internet costs.

Large One Time Cost Item
Our big repair was on the diesel gasket repair job we had to make in Fort Walton Beach.  
We also needed to replace our six tires on the Roadrunner.  That cost us $4275.
We also spent $60 on our Escapees yearly membership and another $80 on a yearly National Parks Pass.

Monthly Average

We spiked again this month with our $5000 repair which blew our monthly average to almost $2000 more than our budget on average. But its not something we chose to do like buy a new car or take a cruise.  We'll have to absorb it somehow.

I have often said this is more of a tracking tool and an estimate than a budget -- this month's spending proves it.  That's what our spending looked like for the month.  Thanks for taking a peek.  Hopefully they provide help or entertainment of some sort...  If you'd like a free copy of the spreadsheet I use, drop me a note and I will be glad to send it along.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles!