Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Other Florida

The past week was spent in central Florida, surrounded by orange orchards and cattle farms (both beef and dairy).  Our motorcycle rides were on back roads with very little traffic.  All that changed yesterday when we headed for the Gulf coast and the city of Naples.  Friday’s traffic was horrible, and this is where the upper crust lives.  The affluence here makes Scottsdale seem like a country town.  So many expensive cars and huge, almost castle-like houses.

Where we are parked is called a "motorcoach resort", certainly not a "campground".  There are only motorhomes here; no trailers or 5th wheels.  It's not a place we would normally stay, but it does give us a taste of what another type of camping is.  Here is what it looks like:

We walked the downtown area yesterday, and found a farmers’ market this morning.  After shopping we found access to a beach where Naples' pier into the Gulf of Mexico is located.  While walking on the pier, Bob saw a dolphin.  Here is the beach, complete with sand castles:

Friday afternoon was a slow time, followed by another quiet sunset.  This was the view from our front window:

Tomorrow we will leave for the Everglades and points south from there to continue our "vacation".

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Quiet Times

We have been enjoying our restful time here in Wauchula, with nothing to do and lots of time to do it.  We were able to get together with Chuck and Debbie who live in the nearby St. Petersburg area.  They try to get to their family cabin right next door to us in Minnesota, but they can only spend about a week there per year since they still work for a living.  We met them on Sunday at a power plant on the eastern shore of Tampa Bay.  This time of year the manatees come into the shallow waters near the plant because the water temperatures are warmer than the Gulf of Mexico or Tampa Bay.  The power company has provided an elevated viewing platform for visitors to watch the “sea cows”.

We happened to find a nearby marina with an excellent dinner menu and later caught the sunset.
On Monday, Paige felt the need for a quiet resting day, but Bob had the chance to sightsee with Ron as a tourguide.

Yesterday we took the truck for a long, wandering, trip to Ft Myers, playing tourist both to the city and back.  While there, we found a nature preserve with a wooden boardwalk over a Cypress Slough.
Today was another quiet, sit-around day. We did our laundry, did quite a bit of reading, and enjoyed sitting outside in the great sunny weather. 
Tomorrow we have another motorcycle ride scheduled with Ron and Audrey before packing and loading stuff for a morning departure on Friday.  We will be heading toward Naples and the everglades for a couple of days. 


Saturday, January 24, 2015

Our Work is Done

We finished our third week at Community United Methodist with some carpentry in the playground and another classroom primed and painted.  When we arrived we were presented with a long “wish list” of items to complete, and completed most of them.  The church is happy with the work we’ve done and are making plans to host Nomads again next year.  They had a “Thank You” lunch after church last Sunday and presented each of us with a basket full of goodies.  We continually hear members praising the work we did and we all agree that we get more out of our involvement in these projects that we give. 

                                                            Painting Complete!!
Thursday night we all went to dinner; all of the Nomads and many of the people we worked closely with.  Lots of laughter and fun.   After a last quiet night in the parking lot, we packed up our RVs and pulled out Friday morning, all of us headed in different directions.  We are taking the next three weeks off and heading south.

Bob packing up all our tools
Jeff got all set to leave early Friday morning.
 After a short drive of less than 100 miles we are back at an RV park where we stopped 2 years ago.  We got parked and got our lawn chairs out and met some neighbors, then looked up some other residents across the park that we met when we were here 2 years ago.  They are also from Minnesota and have a motorcycle so we spent a couple of days riding with them.  When we got home, we both took naps.  It is good to be “off the clock” for a while and retired once again.

Today is a day for errands: laundry and groceries and watching ice skating on TV.  It’s rainy here but not too cool.  Good day for taking it easy.



Saturday, January 17, 2015

Getting There

We have completed a lot of painting during the past two weeks, but there is still more to do here at Community United Methodist Church.  The chapel and three classrooms are complete with one long hallway left.

We created a little excitement on Tuesday: one classroom got a new wall which had been taped and sanded.  The sanding put a lot of drywall dust on the floor which we attempted to vacuum with a shop vac.  We didn’t realize that the filter was missing so the vacuum picked up through its hose and immediately blew the dust out of its exhaust.  When the air conditioning came on a sensor in the air ducts considered this to be smoke and tripped the fire alarm.  The in-house daycare had an unscheduled fire drill and the children did everything expected of them.  The fire department came to silence the alarm and verify there was no actual emergency and we got an unscheduled break.
In spite of all this excitement, the church would like to have Nomads back again next year and they are providing us with a luncheon tomorrow as a thank you.   

Yesterday Mike and Ruth went with us to meet Dave and Nancy for lunch.  We’ve missed seeing them!  Mike, Ruth, Dave, and Nancy worked a Nomads project in the past so they all knew each other.  We had a great time visiting with everyone! 

Last night everyone met for game night.  They tried to teach Bob and me the Mexican Train game.  It was a good time.  We’ve so enjoyed everyone on this project!  It’s been a hardworking, fun loving group, and we still have 4 days left.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Checking In

I just realized that last week's blog was drafted, but not posted.  Guess it has been awhile longer than planned since we last checked in.

We have been busy here at Community United Methodist Church in Casselberry Florida.  It is a large facility with many programs going on; one of the most impressive being their music activity.  They have a 12-piece orchestra for a single service every Sunday.  They have a lot of programs for adults and children here.  We have 7 Nomads in 3 motorhomes and one travel trailer parked in a back lot.

The original sanctuary is now their chapel, which has now been almost completely re-painted, including the entry.  Meanwhile, a new wall has been studded and drywalled in a nearby classroom.  We still have a lot of painting to do this coming week.

A little taste of winter came to central Florida last week when the overnight lows dropped below 40 degrees.  There was a food truck/music event at the park near the church on Friday evening.  Some of us walked over there.  There were about 10 food trucks with a huge variety of good food.  The music was great too, but the cold kept many people away. 

The cooler weather carried over to Saturday, when we used light jackets to visit a nearby farmers’ market.
On Sunday temperatures got back to normal so that we could watch the NFL playoffs on our outdoor TV.