Sunday, December 30, 2012

Home Again

It has been over a week since our last posting.  During that time we’ve been traveling: by airplane, van shuttles, car, and RV.

Last Thursday we left Orlando very early for an uneventful flight to Minneapolis, followed by a dangerous shuttle van ride to Duluth to get Paige’s mother, Joyce, and to drive back to the Twin Cities for the Christmas festivities.  The week went by in a blur visiting family and friends. We spent time baking lefse and shopping with the granddaughters. We had a Riewe family dinner and gift exchange at Brett’s home.
Christmas Eve was spent at a nephew’s place in suburban Wayzata. All six of Joyce’s Great Granddaughters were there.
Christmas Day we enjoyed going to the first showing of Les Miserables with Dave, Valentina, and Grandma Joyce followed by dinner at a deli.  What a great movie!  On Wednesday Aunt Lu/Uncle Clark had everyone to their house for lunch so we were able to see cousins also.  We also were able to get a dinner out with the Gunderman's - we hadn't been able to connect with them last summer so it was so good to see them!

Friday was another travel day: getting Joyce and her car back to Duluth, followed by another (safer) shuttle ride back to the Minneapolis airport, followed by a late return to Orlando (touching down after midnight) and finally arriving back at our RV about 2AM.  Now that we are back in the land of shorts and sandals, we can confirm the weather here is much nicer (but we won’t irritate our readers with details) and we can confirm that airplanes are a horrible way to travel.  Their only advantage is when traveling great distances in a short time.  We much prefer traveling shorter distances over much longer times.

While it was wonderful to be in Minnesota visiting friends and family, it is great to be back home in the motorhome resting and relaxing.  We’ve moved to a new location, a very nice commercial RV park outside of Mims, FL.  We plan to do more exploring prior to the start of our next project on Jan. 7th.  

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Christmas Spirit - Florida Style

On Monday we had a day off to play tourist.  Based on a Groupon offer, we had a reduced cost admission to a National Historic Site called Bok Tower and Gardens about 60 miles away (see ).  This place is also nicknamed “Florida’s Taj Mahal”.  There is a carillon there that plays a concert of Christmas music twice per day as well as a brief tune each half hour.  We enjoyed one of the concerts from a bench in the garden.  It was a very pretty, quiet garden designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.  Also on the site was a historic house decorated for Christmas.  It was beautifully done with a million Christmas trees (actually, the docents didn’t know the actually count but there were a bunch!).  We had a very good day!


Tuesday we moved the motorhome to the church in Rockledge.  The trustees have allowed us to leave it there while we’re in Minnesota.  One of the couples on our project in Satellite Beach is working at this church for 3 weeks, so they are going to serve as “guards” for our rig.  He is actually retired police from Hawaii, which eases our minds.

Today we left Rockledge early to meet a group for breakfast outside of Epcot.  We have belonged to this “Friends of the Mouse” group for a few years now but have never been able to attend one of their functions until today.  There were about 30 people attending and great conversations around the group.  After breakfast, some of us walked/boated around the area looking at all the wonderful decorations at some of the hotels. 
Disney sure knows how to do it!  We even got to stop at Downtown Disney and get Paige’s favorite treat – the ice cream “Mickey”.

Tonight we’re at a hotel near the airport so we’ll be able to get up early, drop the car at long term parking, and catch the plane for Minnesota.  It was in the low 80’s here today so we know it’s going to be a shock to our systems tomorrow!  But we’re looking forward to seeing the family!!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Back on the Mainland

We have moved; all of 5 miles across the Banana and Indian Rivers, back to the mainland of Florida.  By road, this move took about less than 15 miles and less than 20 minutes. 

Wickham Park is operated by Brevard County and has recently been re-opened after being closed for upgrading.  There is plenty of space between sites and quite a bit of shade.  Sunday was our first cloudy day in a long time, but temperatures still made it to the mid-70’s. 

When setting up our utilities, we realized that a water connection had been left behind in Satellite Beach.  This was not a problem, since we are still close by.  When we returned to pick it up, we happened upon a big group of carolers from the church who asked us to join them. 
Then it was back to the mainland for a dinner at home for a change.

We will hang out here for a couple of days and play tourist for awhile.  Then, on Tuesday, we plan to move again, about 16 miles to our next project (at this rate, we don't need much fuel).  We won’t start working there until early January, but they have given us permission to park the motorhome there while we fly back to Minnesota for Christmas.


Saturday, December 15, 2012

Winding Down

Another project is over.

Our project officially ended on Thursday with another group dinner, this time on the mainland.  Friday was a time for unwinding: sleeping in, starting slowly, doing our own things.  One couple left mid-day, but the rest of us are taking our hosts up on their offer to let us stay until Sunday.  We got some laundry done, and will finish it up on Saturday.  We had a good lunch and conversation with the minister, his wife, another couple from the church, and Judie from our project.  We also did a little shopping, trying to re-establish the feeling of Christmas-time.  For a couple of former Minnesotans, this is difficult when the daytime temps are in the 70’s.  

While at lunch on Friday, we saw the TV with Breaking News.  We are so sorry to hear of the awful school shooting!  Our hearts go out to that community! 
The past 3 weeks has been different from earlier projects, since we were the primary contacts with our hosts, and provided direction to our team members.  Since this was our first time in this situation, the weeks seemed to be more intense, and the time off gives us noticeable relief.  We plan to take another day to wind down and take a walk on the beach while we can.  The forecast is for partly sunny and highs in the upper 70’s.  Have to soak this in before going to Minnesota!

We’re so anxious to see the family next week!  Only 5 days until our trip back!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Another week behind us

Once we get into our work mode, we put in a lot of effort, doing whatever needs to be done.  Our workday ends at 4:00 and we are usually too fatigued to write blogs.  That’s how it turned out this past week. 

The painting of the classroom areas was completed and moved into the office area.  The guys in our group worked in some local houses where people need help maintaining things. Thursday night we celebrated the end of our work week, and the birthday of one of our members, with a dinner at SquidLips, a local seafood grill. 
On Friday we all did our own things. While others did laundry and relaxing, we went sightseeing to Daytona Beach:
It was high tide with a strong wind off the Atlantic, so not much beach activity was going on.  A pretty dreary, gray day.

In the evening, we took a walk to a neighboring chuch’s live nativity scene, complete with a live baby, and a cast of dozens.  We kept on walking to a neighborhood known for their lighting displays, then returned to our RVs.  This walk added up to about 5 miles, so Saturday we stayed off our feet.  Paige did laundry, Bob took a quick motorcycle ride, and then we spent some time at Barnes and Noble – one of Paige’s favorite stores – on Saturday.

Only 4 work days left!!  We’re ready for a little break and a trip to Minnesota for Christmas. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Week’s Work with a Field Trip in the Middle

On Wednesday we took a field trip to have a guided tour of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, not to be confused with the Kennedy Space Center which is on the mainland.  Our tour started in the Air Force Space and Missile History Center.  This place was active with rocket launches in the 1950’s, before NASA was created and before manned space shots took place.  Launch control bunkers originally had to be within 400 ft of the launch pad because many control signals were hard-wired DC and the signals were lost if the cables were longer.  The old computers were museum pieces. 

     There are many different launch pads, each unique to the type of rocket that was used. 

The rockets became larger and more complex with each new generation.  It was a very educational way to spend a whole morning.

We went to lunch nearby, at the Port of Canaveral, where many cruise ships load and unload.

During the rest of the week we were able to complete most of our high priority jobs around the parsonage and the classroom buildings.

The weekend came along just in time to allow us to recuperate.  We had enough energy for a walk along the beach to watch the surfers and pick up seashells on Friday evening.

 Saturday, we went sightseeing and stopped for lunch at a highly recommended seafood shop.  We will be back there again, Count On It.