Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sunday Drive

We decided to listen to a sermon this Sunday and did that instead of going to church.  After that we took a Sunday drive over to the other side of Tampa Bay.
It was a beautiful morning for a drive and our first destination was Fort DeSoto Park Pinellas County Park.  It cost $5 for entry but what a great place!

We drove over to the campground to see if our motor home would fit into the campsites.  Looks like there will be no problem.  Sadly, I did not take any pictures of the campsites.  Although I got a shot of some folks a little way down from the campsite where we stopped.
Next we went over to the historical area where they we saw old ruins and the fortification that grew into a Fort in the early 1900's.
After walking through areas of the bunker and revetment, we walked around and on top of it for a scenic view.
The County Park will definitely be on our 'return to' list as a place to camp and stay a while.

After the visit and tour of the park, we stopped in St. Petersburg at a street fair.  It was quaint and small and fun to see.
After grabbing some lunch, we returned to our campsite in time to see some football.  It was a good day.

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

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tampa RV Show

We have wanted to go to the Tampa RV show ever since we heard about it.  That was probably back in 2008 while we were still researching the lifestyle.  We organized our travel this year to attend the show which began on Jan 16, 2013.  It ran for five days and we attended Thursday and Friday.
One great thing is that the FamCamp Office (Morale, Welfare and Recreation Department) here at MacDill AFB was given tickets to the show.  We lined up about 9:30 and got our free tickets about 10:15.

Another bonus was that good friends Tom and Cathy drove up from Fort Meyers to go to the show and spend some time with us.

We had a few things on our list in addition to trying to "find something we couldn't do without".

  1. Outdoor patio rug/floor mat 6' x 9'
  2. Collapsible hose 50'
  3. Party lights (not sure about this one but we thought we'd look)
  4. Cummins Generator info
  5. Good give-aways
The RV show was held at the State Fairgrounds parking was $6 which I thought was reasonable.  We entered near the Prevost Motor coach area and had to take a look at those.
They were magnificent.  For $1.8 million we probably could have our pick.

We also saw some entertaining entertainment walking around
And my favorite
We spent a lot of time walking around and seeing some rigs.  We saw some new Winnebago trailers
And hundreds of others…walked through a lot of them.  In the North Trails RV area, we took a look at the new Tiffins and saw this:
It looks like they are doing well in Class A's for both the Diesels and the Gas Rigs.

We did not see any patio outdoor mats that hit our fancy so we didn't pick one up.  Some of those were more expensive than we figured.  We are looking for a small 6' x 9' size.

We also didn't see any party outdoor lights we wanted to buy.  

Then the best purchase of the day for us: a 50' collapsible hose.
We saw these earlier in the week at the Wagon Wheel Flea Market in St. Petersburg for $45.  We decided to hold out for the Tampa RV show and it only cost $40!

Oh wait a minute.  Yesterday at Walmart we saw this:
We could have saved $.12 but not really because we'd have to pay tax.  On the other hand, if something were to go wrong with it, you could always return it to Walmart.

One of the great benefits of going to the show was speaking with a Onan generator person at the Cummins display.  He gave us a lot of good info and said when we are dry camping, we should run the generator (Onan 7500 w) long enough to get the read out to show "float charge".  We have been running for about 1 1/2 hours at a time and leaving it at that.

I was expecting a little more of the give-aways with T-Shirts and such but saw very few of those.  I think the down turn in the economy has put a crimp in most company's marketing budget for things like  that.

All in all, I am glad we went.

Until next time, --thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Time in Tampa

Last Friday we left Camp Cloverleaf 4H Campground near Lake Placid, FL for the short drive over to MacDill AFB, FL FamCamp.
It was an uneventful drive and we avoided the major highways until we got near Tampa.

The campground is a large one - It has 252 campsites with full hookups and another 36 sites with electricity and water. But this is the busy time of the season with a lot of visitors from the north who are in Florida.

I expected the campground to be crowded and busy.  It is -- but not overly so, and the campground is a nice one!  It is very organized, the sites have enough room.   We spent 1 night in overflow before we were called to move to full hookups.

While in over flow, I used the campground showers which are co-located with the laundry.  Both the shower rooms and the laundry are very well laid out and are large.  They have more than enough toilets and stalls.  The washers and dryers are the commercial variety and Pam loves them.

On Sunday we saw a sign for a campground church service in the community building.  We thought about attending and decided to check it out.  One never knows what you are walking into at these things.  It was great!  They sang some great old hymns and the preaching was the best we have heard in a long while.  An 82 year old was in the pulpit and spoke on Prayer.  The place was packed and most came from the campground.  There must have been 100- 120 people there.  It was a great morning.

I have been 'heads down' doing my online gig for the last few days and finished up yesterday.

In a little while, we will see Tom and Cathy who are here for the Tampa RV show.  We are looking forward to attending and, "Seeing if there is something we can't do without?".

Hope you are in some good weather and enjoying your week.  That's all for now on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thanks for joining us!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Few Days in Sebring, FL

We left the Keys a few days early in order to "drop in" at a Habitat for Humanity build in Sebring, FL. We were scheduled to got there with the Care-A-Vanners last year but it was cancelled.

We stayed at the Cloverleaf 4H Campground near Lake Placid, FL which is about 10 miles from Sebring.  We set up in the parking lot where they have 25-30 hookups. The accommodations were very adequate.
For $12/night we got water/electric and have a dump station and a Blue Boy.  We were all set.

The affiliate has been very active over the last few years but this past year, they have been affected by the downturn in the economy.  The main activity for us was getting ready for the foundation pour on the newest home.  Pam and I showed up on Monday and went to work.

Pam is getting something off the back of the truck and to the side are Jennifer and Allan.  Jennifer is the Volunteer Coordinator and Allan is the Construction Manager for the affiliate.
One of our tasks was getting the rebar set up.  We made some grates by twisting wire ties with a handy little twist tool.  Then we set the grates in holes under the foundation.
We also set up a couple of leveling pipes and put them at an even height with the top of the forms around the foundation.  And we adjusted rebar that was down along the walls and made sure it was a couple of includes off the ground.

Tuesday was the big day for pouring.  This was my first time helping on a foundation pour.  We had plenty of help with the 'cement crew' of about six retired concrete workers who ran the operation.
I actually got to drag some cement around in my loaner cement boots.  It was hard work but went pretty quickly.

The guy running the 'whirley bird' thingy after the concrete set up, has done a few of these before.  Like 123 homes before this one.  He has been doing it here for Habitat since 2000 or 2001 and helps out on when they pour the foundation.
It turned out well and we got it all leveled and cleaned up around the site.

The next day we went over to the ReStore where they have been working on apartments for visitors.  They can host 20-30 kids with Teen Challenge in the facilities.  

They had to put in a fire sprinkler system a few months ago and were cleaning up.  I took some photos at lunch time.  Frank and Jim were the two guys I worked with all week.  Pam came down with a cold she hasn't been able to shake so she is working through it...
Yesterday I helped Frank work on the front of the ReStore and Habitat Offices where the fire sprinkler systems meets the street.  The knobs, gauges and connections were installed but needed to be covered up a little bit.
So Frank and I spent the day working on it.  It was a short day and I returned to the coach.  I dumped the tanks using the Blue Boy and we got things put away.  We will be heading for Tampa next.
Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Eating Places in Key West

We didn't eat out a lot while in Key West but we did manage to go out a few times…

Last year we found Sandy's Cafe.  They have FANTASTIC Cuban sandwiches.  And Cuban coffee.

Downtown off Mallory Square we had lunch here one day.  It was OK.  Not too memorable, not sure even what I had.

Our Christmas Lights Tour on the Conch Train took us right by El Siboney.  We asked around and it had very high recommendations.

 The meals were outstanding!  And the prices were surprisingly reasonable.

The day before we left Key West we went to the Rooftop Cafe on Mallory Square.  Pam had blacked a Mahi Mahi fish sandwich and I had the special which included Conch fritters, a Cuban sandwich and Key Lime pie.  It was all very good.

Our last meal in Key West was spent with Marg and George at Hogfish Grille on Stock Island.

I had fried Yellow Tail and Pam had the shrimp Caesar Salad.  They were great.  It was a bit pricey but it was a restaurant we heard about last year and were glad we went.

There are a whole lot of other places to eat in Key West, these were just the one's we tried out this time.

Hope you all are having a great New Year.  Thanks for joining us on the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Until next time...

Friday, January 4, 2013

Fishing in Key West

We don't fish much but it seemed like the right thing to do.  We got some advice from the lady at the campground check-in desk who said, "My husband always takes the Tortuga IV and likes them."
Since we didn't have any better tip, we took that one.
Jon and Kelly were here for Christmas and we picked Monday to go out on the boat.  Jon called and found we could just line up at the dock and buy our tickets.
After we got some Cuban coffee.
 The ship mates were cutting up bait which Jon and Kelly were looking around the boat.
We claimed a spot off the stern and put our tickets onto a fishing rod.
 As we left the harbor, you could see a couple of cruise ships docked at Mallory Square.
Then we talked with our neighbors and had our picture taken.
We went out for about an hour and stopped at our first area.  It wasn't too long before Jon caught one!
I tried to hold it while Jon took the hook out.  Kelly wasn't too sure she wanted anything to do with it…
Then I caught a grouper.  It was the biggest fish I've ever caught.  But at 14", it was a full 6" too small, so it went back into the Straits for Florida.
A little later and Kelly hauled in a Yellow Tail Snapper.
And so did Jon.
They sure are pretty fish.  This little guy was too small so he went back in the water too.
We fished for about 2 1/2 hours and it took us about an hour to get out to our first spot.  Then we moved around a couple more times.  We got 7 or 8 keepers of yellow tail snapper, grunt fish, mackerel and a porkie.

So it was a good day.  The weather started out a little cool but it was only cloudy for a little while.  And we all had a good time.  We didn't get skunked, we caught some nice fish and no one threw up.  Yep, that is the first thing I think about when we talk about going out on a boat.  We weren't deep sea fishing, but we had enough waves to get a couple of guys on board looking a little puny.  But I took some Dramamine and it work.

The trip was a little less than four hours and at a great price ($44/each) so it was well worth it.
 After we got back to our slip, we waited for our fish to get cleaned.  And we weren't the only ones.
It took about 20 minutes and we were on our way with a mess of fish for dinner.
I cooked them on the grill and we had a nice meal together.
So that was our first and only fishing trip in Key West.  We had a great time!

That's it for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles ~ thanks for joining us!

Until next time...