Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sushi and Sake

Going out on the town and treating yourself to great food is an added bonus to living in the city. Since we have been in Florida, we have had wonderful and exciting meals. Sushi is one of the treats we seldom shy away from. With sushi we often order a glass of plum wine. Its sweet robust flavor is a refreshing cleanse of the palate between succulent bites of seaweed, rice, and crab laden with bits of crunchy tempura and eel sauce. We enjoyed the plum wine so much we wanted a bottle for home.  Good help being hard to come by, the attendant at the liquor store placed a bottle of Sake in the bag. The bottle looked right at a glance so I didn't think a thing of it. We got home to find our plum wine was in fact Sake! Ahhh, Sake. That's not bad. I like Sake. It is often served warm in a set of crockery shot glasses and decanter that would remind you of a teapot. We marveled at the bottle for a few days and then forgot about it. Then as fate would have it, I noticed the bottle setting next to the computer while I was having a late night mahjong contest. As I went about matching tiles, I ventured to sample the nectar. The night sailed by and the samplings grew, as regular as the tiles disappeared from the mahjong board. I lost track of time and games played, all the while the Sake bottle grew lighter and lighter until only one last taste remained. I turned up the bottle and let the last remnants wash down from the far reaches deep within. After a long moment it was clear the bottle would yield no more. Another dead soldier. As I ventured on with play, it grew nearly impossible to find the most obvious matches. After some time I realized the futility of my efforts and put the computer to rest for the night. I cleaned up the table and kitchen in preparation for bed. Nothing seemed out of the norm and I went about my work feeling the warm glow of the Sake. Everything was ready except a final outing for Prin and Sugar. Leashing them, we ventured out into the night. After the dogs had done their business and walked around to their satisfaction, we started for the door. All at once the world rocked up on one side like a great earthquake was tearing the world apart and I was thrown nearly 6 feet from where I had been standing. I was bracing myself against the back of the pick-up truck, as the world reeled around me. Suddenly the truck rose up, as if annoyed at my presence and tossed me back the other way. I was able to catch myself just before losing my footing and remained upright. The dogs were looking at me now, wonderment reflecting in there eyes. We struggled about for a bit, making our way to the door. The ground buckled and heaved at every step, and threatened to undo my efforts. Finally the door reached out to me and played at my attempt to find the latch. I was quick to outsmart it and in no time the door flew open and dogs, needing no encouragement, jumped inside. Just then my mind turned up a memory of a TV show I had seen long ago of a man making his way down the streets of Tokyo after a night of merriment drunk from drinking Sake. He was falling down as much as possible all the while slurring out some old Broadway show tune. I briefly thought about singing at that moment. Still having my wits about me, falling through the doorway I elected not to sing, as the hour was wrong. I had great fun getting ready for bed and as my head hit the pillow the world slipped away. As suddenly as my eyes shut, they opened to the sunshine of the new day. My head was awash with a dull thud of numbing pain and confusion. Oh, the misery of it all. I can tell you that I have indeed learned something I could not have learned any other way. I never would have believed a little Sake could take your feet out from under you. I would like to tell you that I have laid in a case of Sake and will be sampling it from time to time, but the truth is I do not think I will ever drink it again.

RJ over morning coffee :-)

Saturday, February 27, 2010


My fitness program is either making me healthier or killing me! Everything hurts! I suppose it takes a while to break all the corrosion off the joints and stretch out contracted muscles. All I have to say for now is Ow-ee. Marilyn

Thursday, February 25, 2010


It was a dark and stormy night, when we heard shouting and multiple slams of doors from the couple next door! Threats of leaving were heard and a car started. Ultimatums of if you leave, then don't come back were made. As all calmed down and visions of sugarplums returned to our heads, round two began. Once again near sleep, round three. Someone was banished to the car for the night, and was heard to pace. Being up through the night, Monday was a sleepy day! We decided living in an apartment or condo could be worse, as we'd be stuck next to the battleground. The male of the household left Monday and hasn't returned. Should the battles resume, we can move to a new lot or down the road! All's been quiet to the east of us, but now the battles have begun to the west! It seems like trailer park argument protocol requires lots of slamming of the trailer's door, as well as, the cars! I hope we're not next!!! If so, we'll know what to do! In the trailer park there is a rule to pick-up after your pets. A lady a few lots away follows through during the day, but is sometimes derelict in her duties at night. She lets her three small dogs out to go where they will before letting them in. They sometimes choose to visit our dogs area, and I get to do the clean-up. I guess being in a camper in an RV park doesn't end neighbor problems,but it sure can shorten the duration! Despite the drama, we've decided to stay here for two more weeks. Getting our first two weeks rolled into a monthly rate, rather than start fresh on a weekly rate elsewhere, is like getting a two hundred dollars savings. Roy has our bikes ready to ride and we can add riding to our health plan. Roy mentioned today about seeking out some paved pathways. We both want to settle into reading and projects. In two more weeks, we'll either be more settled-in or ready to roll.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It's So Easy!

Yesterday was day 42 of our adventure, and I got a surprise. During a conversation with Roy he says,"I don't know what the big deal is about living in an RV. It's so easy." I agree, but has he so quickly forgotten our initial concerns? Here's a list of some of our prior worries: Downsizing possessions and living space, heat during cold weather, getting medications and mail, taking the cat, finding places to stay, boondocking, servicing the holding tanks, computer connections, and budgeting. All's good!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dog Park Fun

Here are Prin and Sugar at Mango Dog Park meeting a Pug named Napoleon.

Below Sugar is checking out some more playmates. Prin and Sugar enjoy each other the most, but sometimes seek out their own friends. We encourage time apart.

Look how confident Sugar is looking! She enjoys any dog that will give a fun chase and gentle play. It's fun to see her exploring on her own. She's a good girl and minds very well!

Below the daring duo are checking out the action!

Prin loves puppies and smaller dogs. They must feel comfortable around her, as they seek her out, as do timid dogs. When not with them, she seems to hook-up with Boxers, Rottweillers, and Pit Bulls. Scary for Mom!

Below the pup seems to be saying, "Hey, Where are you going?"

It's been another fun day at the park! We'll all hate to leave it behind, when we move on. I want to find a list of dog parks across the country. A community having one will definitely influence where we stay. The dog park is not only a great place for dogs, but a nice way to meet people, too.

Renaissance Fair

After reading Roy's Sunday blog, me thinketh he dranketh in too much of the fair atmosphere!!!

The fair was nicely done, and it was easy to get absorbed in the portrayal of the period. There were lots of venders, as well as, fair attendees dressed in the garb of the time. All gave their best Old English renditions. Stages were at every turn with presentations of comedy, music, acrobatics, etc. All were in keeping with the time period. We learned that it was okay to stand and watch awhile before moving on, but if you sat to watch the show you would be solicited to make a donation comparable to the value of the show! Rides such as the dragon seen at the left side of the picture were suspended by heavy rope cables and literally operated by the push and pull of the ride attendant! Foods were presented in a way to have one use their hands as much as possible.

I encountered this mythical tree creature and Pan-like elf upon first entering the festival. I have to admit it was a little scary, but I had to get my picture with them. Note the money basket in her hand for donations, and also my emerging tan!

Here's a closer shot of his face. It was a great costume! There were other great plant creatures, but they all required money for a picture.

One of the great events of the day was the full body contact joust. This was the opponent, Sir William.

Here is our winning knight, called Sir Oren.

The costumes, weaponry, language, food, bawdy behavior, mythology, and combative events pulled our imagination into the rawness of the times enough that I felt I could now understand how people found entertainment in human combat. I never saw that coming! Catch a festival, when you can. Next time Roy and I may show up in costume!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


This morning I awoke earlier then usual by 30 minutes. The sun's rays illuminated only the eastern sky. I thought the day would be overcast and threatening of rain. As I opened the blind, I was suprised to see a bright blue sky tarnished only by a very tall "Live Oak" that stands guard to the west. The top was awash in the golden rays of the rising sun. Each morning strange birds gather at its upper most limbs to bask in the morning light before taking up their days work. This morning the park's residents are active earlier then usual getting ready to head out to work at the Renaissance Festival. They are dressed in the colorful wardrobe of the era, high topped boots, and perhaps a dagger or sword about their waist. Yesterday we ventured out to the festival, spending the day wandering about the grounds. We saw several people from the park engaged in shows or vending items at the many booths. I was happy to watch the throngs wander endlessly about, while sampling a turkey leg and goblet of ale. We arrived back at the camp, as dusk descended quitely around us, tired from walking in the warm breeze and sunshine. Waking this morning after a long and sound sleep we settled into our reading of Thoreau's Walden and the endless contemplation and marvel of his wit and humor. Sometimes I feel like I was there in the cabin while fixing our break from fasting through the night before: strong coffee, fried potatoes, bacon and eggs. A breakfast small in proportion, but adequate to hold us for the bulk of the day, only bolstered by a light treat as the afternoon threatens. If you haven't read Walden it may be different then you think. It is hard to believe it was written in the mid 1800s. We may have to reread it and take notes on every referance to ancient text in order to fully appreciate just what he was trying to say. Mostly I find humor in the way he masks his love for spending the day relaxing and doing as little as possible by claiming how wasteful it is to put much effort toward mantaining the status quo of the working world, even though he could only live that way for 2 years before returning to the life he so deeply deplored. Today is laundry day so we are off to the coin op with a brief stop at the dog park.

RJ over morning coffee :-)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Home Life

Thursday was decision day for staying put or moving on. Although I was ready to get out of the city, part of me wanted to stay put in our rustic campground just to settle into some home life. Both Roy and I couldn't seem to make a decision, despite knowing staying for awhile longer was what was needed. For fun I flipped a coin for a 2 out of 3 decision. The coin confirmed staying where we're at was the best decision. We've paid our rent for another week. The manager is willing to convert our weekly rental into a monthly rental rate, if we choose to stay the month. That would mean that after this week, we would get the 3rd and 4th week for $60 each. The monthly rate is $435. That includes water, electricity, sewer, wi-fi, and trash pick-up. The monthly rate breaks down to $14.50 per day. I don't know if we'll stay beyond this week, as I'm anxious to head west into a more rural environment. We'll see where we're at mentally next Thursday. Today I did a bit more camper organization. I emptied two totes into cabinets making for a little less clutter. I gave myself a pedicure, listened to cds, started my new walking program, exercised a little, and read a frivolous magazine. These are strangely familiar activities that I haven't partaken in for a long time! How can one not get a bit younger with these types of activities. Roy took the day to seek out some beaches to metal detect on and a book to read during his breaks. Tomorrow it's off to the Renaissance Fair. I've never been to one. That should be interesting! Marilyn

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Life In The City

Here in Tampa we are seeing an excess of street corner beggars at the exit ramps of the overabundant highways. It's disturbing for two reasons. It's sad seeing so many in need, if it's true, but awful feeling distrust and a sense of living in a scammy world. From what I'm seeing none look poorly clothed, dirty, or underfed. We've also encountered a number of grocery store parking lot beggars. This has happened after dark and is unsettling as a safety factor, as well as, for the previously mentioned feelings. Getting back to the country is looking good. On the upside we've rediscovered the joys of Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors, Dunkin Donuts, and sushi restaurants!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Are We Doing?

Roy and I are doing exceptionally well. We're dealing with unexpected cold weather, boondocking, locating reasonably priced RV parks, camper organization, filling prescriptions on the road, and mail forwarding as just part of the challenges of RV living. Roy's health is improving and he's been able to reduce one medication and stop another. I'm working on my health issues and making some headway. The strangest thing I've noticed is that my hair seems to be less grey after 46 days on the road! I'm watching the progression closely to see if I'm fooling myself! Is it a less stressful life, the One-A-Day Women's Vitamin I started taking before we left, eating better, or my imagination? It seems Roy's hair is getting less grey, too, though! We both are getting a little tanned and losing some weight without trying. We both want to pursue losing several pounds. We're enjoying listening to music, reading for entertainment, and more fresh air and sunshine than we have in years. That's got to do something for a person. Life is good!

Monday, February 15, 2010

What Are We Doing?

We've been asked what do we do now that we're living in the camper. I'm sure there is some belief that people do something different then they would normally do on the day to day. From what we've read in the RV books and our experience so far; other than being in different locations and seeing different scenery, our activities are much the same as before. The wonderful exception is in the amount of home and yard maintenance! Despite the bad weather we've encountered, the one aspect of camper life that I'm really enjoying is opening the camper to the sunshine and fresh air on the pleasant days. It's like living with nature yet having the comforts of home. Hopefully if one coordinates their travels with the seasons just right, they should have lots of sunny warm weather to enjoy! We enjoy each others company, the pets, home cooked meals, sushi restaurants, movies, reading, and time on the internet. I even have my sewing machine. I hope to make valances for our windows, and cat hammocks to donate to local shelters. With traveling there is the fun of exploring new stores, but so far Wal-Mart seems the same everywhere! We're discovering some local food differences in the grocery stores that are fun to try, but nothing so different. I can see where camper life wouldn't be to many people's liking, but then what is there that suits everyone, eh? Marilyn

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Good And The Bad Of It

Well, we have free internet at Amy's Wigwam RV Park, but so far it has operated like slow dial-up to not at all. It's very frustrating. One of the joys of being in a full hook-up park is relaxing with time online. This will be a bug to workout. Roy has begun checking into different options. Other than the internet problem, we are super pleased with the central location of the RV park to everything a person could want from a city, and yet have the feel of being out in the country. Our rent for the week is $157.50. That breaks down to $22.50 per day. I'll let you know the monthly rate when I find out what it is. We got set-up here just in time for another cold and rainy few days. It's good to be plugged into electricity when the temperatures drop into the 30s at night. The ceramic heater and electric blanket do a great job. This morning we had frost! Since discovering that keeping the dogs out of the bed has eliminated the grit from the sheets, they are now sleeping on the couch. They seem content with the arrangement. The only problem is that on the cold wet days when we are all locked inside, not having the bedroom to send them to defintely creates a feeling of overcrowding. We may have to make exceptions to allowing them in the bed when we're in for the day. Camper life is best when the sun is shining in and the door and windows can be left open. Our living space seems to increase tremendously. As if the weather hasn't been enough of a challenge, we've been invaded by ants! The lesson learned is that all foods need to be in plastic containers. I had repackaged most food items for more concise storage, as the RV living books had suggested, but hadn't done it with breads, syrups, peanut butter, or honey. These items need to be placed inside plastic containers or wrapped with plastic wrap. They are now! We waged war with ant traps and a super hand vacuum called a Retriever. I highly recommend this hand vac. as it comes with attachments and has super suction. It appears that we've won our battle. We've been storing our dishes in the microwave, as we don't use it, but the weight of the dishes jiggling as we go down the road has started causing the microwave to pull away from the ceiling. Roy will work on a new support system for it. We have a big closet that we are looking at building shelves in. That will make for a lot of storage. Most of our organization is working very well, but it's time to take it to the next level. I emptied out our shower today and gave it a try. I like our little shower! We've been out touring the area, and like it except for all the major highway driving. We located the library today. I need to check into their internet. I wanted to post a blog about seeing the space shuttle launch when I could post a picture, but with our internet service the way it is, pictures are nearly impossible. We got a good view from nearly 200 miles away. We couldn't see anything of the shuttle itself, of course, but the flames from it were huge and bright enough to hurt our eyes, if staring directly at it for very long. It moved slower than we thought it would, and Roy probably could have tracked it with his telescope. As bright as it was, though, I'm not sure we would have wanted to look at it that way. We could tell when the shuttle turned away from us, as we could see the shape of the flame change and the red from underneath. All in all it was worth getting up at the 4:14 a.m. launch time two days in a row. The dogs are enjoying their daily trips to the dog park. Their romping and running early in the day makes for dogs that sleep all afternoon! Roy and I think we may gear some of our travel to going to communities with dog parks. It's a great way to meet people, too.


Friday, February 12, 2010

February 1st-12th

We had a great time at East Bay Raceway Park during our stay from February 1st-10th. We got to spend time with June and Earl, as well as, make some new friends. The races were late model stock cars. YouTube may have a good video of a race. Roy and I hadn't seen that type of car race before. The cars slide sideways through the turns! Races were going on every night, but we attended only one due to the $35-$40 per person per race entrance fee! During the day we got out to see other sights. We went to a manatee viewing station. It consists of a boardwalk and pier overlooking a waterway by a power plant. The manatees just show a small hump of their bodies at the top of the water, and therefore, at a distance look like smooth rocks in the water. We did get to see the full body of one that was close to the shore. The stingrays put on quite a show jumping out of the water and doing belly flops. Some were quite large, and if their bodies were angled just right could be seen in full form. It was very impressive. An observer said that he felt the behavior was very odd, as stingrays are bottom feeders. I'll have to research that. Another day we took in a mega-flea market. I hit the jackpot when I found 8 books at bargain prices that are part of a series Roy is reading. We had planned to leave the area around the tenth, but discovered a magnificent dog park right before our departure date. We've decided to stay in the area at least one more week so the dogs can play at the park. It is soooooo much fun! As before, breaking camp was a bit stressful. We haven't found a good system for researching campgrounds yet. Our drive around the area didn't yield any leads. We must be being watched over as newbies, as our weak search landed us a reasonably priced RV park in a country setting within just a few miles of the dog park close to all the amenities of Tampa!!!! We're feeling right at home here and are contemplating a months stay! We're not quite ready to commit yet. More later. It's good to be back online! Marilyn

Monday, February 1, 2010

Monday February 1st One month on the road !!

Today is the first of February and we have been on the road for a full month. It seems like only yesterday we were in Michigan and it was winter. Life on the road goes along at a leisurely pace. The days are filled with laid back activities and the nights quiet. The sunset signals the end of the day and if we stay up late it is 9:oo. We have found a few special places to eat along the way. For the most part we enjoy home cooked meals. We listen to more of our music CDs then in the last 10 years. I get more exercise then I ever got while driving truck. I think it is going to be good for my health. I may even lose a few pounds. It's 10:15 and the day is calling. We will move down the road a few miles and get a change of scenery. So this is my last cup of coffee for today and I need to get the camper ready for boondocking. We may be offline for a week or so. Take care
RJ over morning coffee!