Let’s Speak Spanglish!

Hey Everyone,

Just a quick blog from sunny Florida.

Sorry…The video today is not the best as I didn’t have time to edit it or to do another one last night.

Went to my first of what I hope to be many meetups social groups that I plan to get actively involved with in the Tampa / Saint Petersburg, Florida area.

Last night I attended the Spanglish meetup group. It is made up of a group of folks from all over the world that desire to converse in Spanish as a way to improve their language skills. Thought it would be a good way to brush up on my Spanish.

The people I met from last night’s event were from different parts of the world to include Columbia, Spain, Argentina, and even one girl was even from Revere Beach, Massachusetts (about 15 minutes from where I grew up). The organizer (host) from last night’s event was actually a pharmacist.  My old profession. There was even a guy on active duty from the Coast Guard and another guy who works for the Department of Defense right here on MacDill AFB. What a small world ! So i can relate to many of these different folks.

These different meetup groups will be an excellent way for me to continue to meet and to make new friends while residing for the next 6 months on the west side of Florida.

Have a great weekend. Happy Easter!

Luv, Gary

I Picked The Right Day to Workout At The Gym!

Hey All

Getting back into the routine of things over here at MacDill Air Force Base.  T am trying to get to the MacDill Gymnasium on a regular basis.  Since arriving back to the RV park here on Friday, I have gone to the gym every day except for Monday (long story why I didn’t go that day…will explain why another post).  My goal is to do a workout at least 6 out of 7 days each week.

Today after finishing my workout as I came to the main lobby to my surprise there was all kinds of complementary food and drink.  So, for one who likes free stuff, I went ahead and tried everything.  Apparently, the new health bar/bistro had just been renovated in the gym and they were promoting their new place and letting the patrons sample some of the new items that they will be selling.

Of course, my favorite dish was the cake (I had two large end pieces!). Unfortunately, that item won’t be on their menu.  I felt a little bit guilty about eating two pieces, but the cake did have fruit on it and I deserved it since I just worked out!  That’s how I justify eating junk food.  Okay…I’m weak!!  No will-power.  What can I say!

Luv, Gary

 

Broke My Legs and Had to Alter My Movement Plans to Tampa, FL !

Hey All,

I bet the title of my blog shocked you all a bit !  If  you recall, I was scheduled to depart the RV Part on Patrick AFB in Cocoa Beach on March 23th. I intended to put my RV in storage for about 10 days, then travel via my truck for a 7 hour trip up to Fort Walton Beach to see my younger brother and mother. Then on Wednesday or Thursday of this week I was planning on driving  back down to Orlando to stay thru Easter with my older brother and sister-in-law. On April 4th, with the help of my older brother Jan,  I was going to move my RV to Tampa and stay on MacDill AFB for the next six months.

Sometimes things just do not go as planned !.  On Thursday March 22nd, with the help of one of my RV neighbors, I was trying to get my RV 5th wheel hitched up to my truck so that on Friday morning, I could just move it to the storage lot with assistance of my neighbor.  Then after the RV was moved I could be on my way up to Fort Walton Beach for the visit with Mom and my brother Randy.  However, all that can go wrong went wrong !!

First I had problems getting my back stabilizer legs in the upward position. I ended up having to use a manual jack as there were problems with that rear electrical switch.  Then after doing that work around, I spent about an hour or so with my neighbor Mike trying to get the hitching pin on the RV locked into the hitch mechanism in the back bed of my truck.  When trying to do this, I was running into constant problems with my tires digging into the loose gravel that makes up the parking pad. This required my neighbor to carefully move the legs in the front of my RV up and down as needed to help to get the RV into the proper height position so that I could properly hookup. Then wouldn’t you know it,  the mechanism that hydraulically allows the legs of the front of my RV to move up and down stopped working and we weren’t sure what was going on.

 

My brother Jan in Orlando being a former engineer and maintenance test pilot is extremely knowledgeable and mechanically inclined, not like me who knows very little in this area. Thus, I often call my brother Jan with technical or mechanical questions and he usually give me pointers on what to do.  I truly respect my brother’s ideas as he usually knows how to resolve mechanical or electrical issues or to find some form of a work around alternative to make things work.

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This was such the case.  When I spoke to Jan and thru his advice and with the help of my neighbor,  we removed some wiring from a the battery in the front compartment of my RV and used a portable battery as a alternative source of power in order to get the front legs to move up and down.

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Eventually we got the RV hooked up to the truck, but I still had the issue of having to deal with this issue to get it into the storage lot and then eventually to Tampa.  My thoughts at this point due to all the issues I was having was to just get my RV over to Tampa now just to have peace of mind that at least it was safely in place over there.

My brother came to my rescue!  On short notice he drove from Orlando to my place in Cocoa Beach late last Thursday evening and then on Friday he devoted his entire day to follow me all the way to Tampa, to ensure that I got there safely. Then thru his work around and a little rewiring, he got my front RV legs back down again, then helped me to level the RV before assisting me to unhitch it from the truck once again.  He even was successful in fixing the back switch to my rear stabilizer bar so that it would  work again electrically.  Then after a little bit of exploring he identified the problem for the front legs not working which appeared to be a hidden fuse near the battery. My  brother also confirmed that the front switch mechanism for the legs was faulty and that a replacement part would eventually have to purchased.  However for now at least I am safely in place once again on MacDill AFB in Tampa for the next six months!

So my “broken legs” resulted in me having to alter my original travel plans and move over to Tampa 10 days earlier than planned !

In some ways, I’m sad leaving all the friends I had met in Cocoa Beach (especially Beau), but I am excited that once I am completely settled here in the RV park with Cable, Internet, etc, I will begin to venture out and to hopefully make new friends in and around the Tampa / Saint Petersburg area.

Wouldn’t you know it, the spot that was available to me in the RV park was just one parking space to the left of where Terry and I resided last year and where Terry took his last breath on this earth.  At times when I look out my window around the grounds where Terry’s left this earth for heaven, it sometimes gives me a moment of sadness as naturally, just the site of this sacred spot make me think back to my time with Terry (and Roxy) and everything we went thru together to try to combat his illness.  At other times as I look to the sacred grounds next to me it gives me a feeling of comfort that his spirit feels even that much closer to me and that I know that he is at peace.

I have included a couple of photos.  One of my RV in my new parking spot and the other of my neighbors RV in the “sacred” parking pad and grounds.  I have not actually met my neighbors as they have apparently been away (I assume).  The place next to me have been very quiet ever since I arrived here on the past Friday. However, you will notice in the picture of my neighbors RV spot, a nice planter with beautiful flowers.  In many ways it brings me joy that Terry’s sacred spot has beautiful flowers in his area.  All weekend, even though I haven’t met these neighbors, I have been proudly keeping their  plants watered and alive as I felt it was the right thing to do especially because they are located on “Terry’s Sacred Spot” and he would expect me to keep his gardens in bloom!!

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Sorry, you may have to enlarge the right photo to see the nice flowers on my neighbor’s spot.

With Love,

Gary

 

 

What Month Is This? Too Many Winters in Florida! Let’s go to Tiffany’s!

Hey All,

I know this is a crazy title for this blog, but Florida is a crazy place. I constantly forget what month it is down here since the weather is so temperate that often times in the middle of winter I get confused and think it’s the middle of summer. When temperatures are in the mid 80’s in January thru March, it’s hard to think about snowy cold winter weather! 

To make this even more confusing… around the Orlando area there are so many cities that begin with “Winter!” There’s Winter Park, Winter Springs, Winter Haven, Winter Garden, Winter Beach. I often mix these cities up. Way too confusing for my simple mind. Then there’s a town called “Christmas” around here as well, but that’s another story!

Okay, so what the heck is this blog about? On Sunday, March 18th Beau and I decided to meet up with my brother Jan and my sister-in-law Gail and go to go to brunch. They live in Oviedo which is about 20 minutes northeast of Orlando and about an hour and 10 minutes drive from Cocoa Beach. After brunch, we all went to Winter Park where there was an on-going arts festival occuring. The day was beautiful, sunny and the temperature was ideal.

While in that area, Beau mentioned that the Morse Museum that day was open to the public and the admission was Free! Who doesn’t like free stuff. So we took a little side trip to explore this wonderful museum.

Below is a brief description of the Morse Museum:

The Morse Museum is known internstionally for its collection of work by American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1833). Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen, curator of American decorative arts at the Metropolotan Musuem of Art, has called it “the most comprehensive and the most interesting collection of Tiffany anywhere.”

I have included a selec number of the wonderful pieces of art in that museum for your enjoyment, as well as several outdoor photos from the arts festival.

All in all a wonderful day spent!

Luv, Gary





Shrimp and Craft Beer Fest in Sebastion, FL

 

Hey Everyone,

The events continued on for Beau and I on St Patrick’s Day. After attending the St Patrick’s Day activities and parade in downtown Melnourne, Fl and then continuing on for our “picnic lunch break” (see previous posts I already published over the weekend on those 2 activities) we continued on our adventures that afternoon and drove down to Sebastion for the “Shrimp and Craft Beer Hallabalo Fest”. Including a few photo and and short video clips in this post on that event for your enjoyment.

Have a great week. I will be busy this week boxing things up in preparation for moving my RV on this comming Friday (Mar 23) into storage for a couple of weeks. On Friday I will depart Patrick AFB and drive 7 hours in my truck to Fort Walton Beach, FL to visit with my Mom and younger brother for a few days. Then in the middle of next week, I will drive south again to my older brother’s house in the Orlando area where I will stay thru the Easter Weekend. Then on Mon or Wed the following week, I will return back to Patrick AFB, pick up my RV and then get on the road again to relocate back to MacDill AFB in Tampa, Fl where I wi stay for the next 6 months thru end of Sept and then decide what’s in store for me next. Time will tell.

P.S. if you haven’t had the chance to check out my other posts, videos and Pics from my Alligator and Bike Week excusions from the prior weekend be sure to check them out. Took some really good photos and videos from those two events that you might enjoy.

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Hey Big Spender: I’ll Take You To Lunch…My Treat!

After taking in all the Saint Patrick’s Day events in Melbourne, Fl on Saturday morning until early afternoon (see the post I published last evening with some great photos and videos from that event), Beau and I were a bit hungry.

Although there are so many food venders at these festivsls, because of the the magnitude of people attending, the lines to  purchase food items are so long and the food is usually  (in my opinion) not at optimal temperatures, the portions tend to be a bit small, the prices are usually inflated and the areas to sit down to enjoy the food is often limited. So you end up just eating what you purchased on the run while standing. Not the most enjoyable conditions.

So, we decided that after getting a couple of warm glass of  beers (at $ 10 a glass) while we simultaneously enjoying the day’s festivities as I continued to take videos and still photos so that i could share them with you all in my blog, we decided to go somewhere else after the festival to get a nice meal.

So I asked Beau, where she might like to go for lunch and I insisted that it would be my treat since she bought the beers while wewe at the festival.  Beau being a somewhat easy going and practical person said that she would take me to one of her favorite places to eat. Keep in mind that both of us went out to a couple of 4 and 5 star restaraunts earlier that week with some friends from some of the groups we belong too and both of us felt that the roughly $ 150 we each spent for those over-priced meals and drinks werely were actually not all that great.

So, to my surprise when we arrived at today’s eating establishment, it was a bit different from the places we went out to earlier in the week!

There was such an unusual selection of food items to choose from at this establishment.

Pigs feet, fish head, turkey necks, you name it they had it there! Also, being so close to the ocean, they had all kinds of fish. 

However, as we approached the back area of the market there was a cafe, with all kinds of food to choose from…

Although all the above stuff looked interesting,,,we ended up with rice, beans and a hefty portion of pulled pork, with chocolate cake for desert. When, I went to pay for the meal the cashier stated (in Spanish) $ 6.19 please. Wow what a small price to pay for all the food we got!

So we then continued on to The Turkey Creek Sanctuary (a natural preserve park that Beau knew about in the local area) to enjoy our lunch. We stopped by a 7-11 shopette along the way to pick up a few beverages as well. What a nice feast, at such a reasonable price in a great atmosphere! 

It doesn’t fet better than this!

P.S. If you get the chance, check out my posts from last weekend’s adventures as well, especially the Alligator trip excusion and impromptu trip up to Bike Week in Daytona Beach.  I captured some great pictures and videos from those events, but had a little techical difficulty initally in posting the ohotis and videos but they are good now so enjoy them as well.

Have a great rest of your weekend.

Luv, Gary

Saint Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade in Melbourne, FL

Hey Folks,

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Beau and I went to dowtown Melbourne, FL to participate in all the Saint Patrick Day activities and the parade. We had a great time. I’m going to post a lot of photos and some very short videos below (if they download successfully) for your enjoyment.

The day didn’t end there, but more about the other day’s activities in a separate blog in the forthcomming days.

Have a great rest of your day. The luck of the Irish!

Gary

o

BW ! What Is This ?

BW=”Bike Week” in Daytona Beach, Florida! This is an annual event.

After wrestling with Alligators on Sunday morning, Beau and I decided to take a drive up to north to New Smyrna Beach (about a 45 minute drive from where we were at) with plans to check out a car show. After arriving there, we were surprised to find out that the car show was canceled! So we decided to pick up one of our friends (Dan who lives in that local area and who is a retired police officer) and the 3 of us decided to drivr about 45 minutes north to Daytona Beach to check out Bike Week. Fortunately, Dan knows the area very well. I was excited about taking this impromtu trip as I have never experienced this event and it was a chance to check off another item on my bucket list!

Bike Week started on that past Thursday, so Sunday was the 4th day of this annual event. Bike Week is still on-going thru this comming weekend. Friday’s and Saturday’s are probably the craziest, but from what I saw on this past Sunday, there was still alot of people at the evrnt and plenty of interesting things going on to keep me amused.

Bikers come from all over the world for this annual event. Contrary to what people might think, for the most part bikers are very docile people and come from all walks of life. They are lawyers, doctors, teachers, corporate CEO’s, artists, engineers, housewives, clergy and also biker “wanna-a-bees” (see first photo below)! It is a hobby for many of these folks and a way to get away from the normal stresses of life and to bond with folks with similar interests. 

Yes, being it was Sunday, you even have groups of bikers who attend church services and do good things for the community as seen on the sign below.



Pretty extravagant bikes!

The bar below is a Biker Week landmark, so I took a photo to document that I was there!

An iconic photo!

Okay…for you bloggers who don’t want to see a few select photos I am attaching below…Close your eyes and look no further! The photos are a bit riske’ but I wouldn’t fully be able to give you the chance of experiencing “Bike Week” if I didn’t include just a few of these. Hope nobody is offended.

You are probably wondering what this pretty kitty in the last photo has to do with Bike Week. Actually nothing! I just saw it as we were walking back to our car to depart for home and I couldn’t resist taking the photo! So cute!

This officially ends this past weekend of marathon events that we attended.

There’s always this comming weekend to keep me amused and to keep the momentum goinh. Stand by for future blogs!

Have a great evening!

Luv; Gary

See You Later Alligator In A While Crocodile! 

Hey All.

This post has nothing to do with crocodiles, but it has everything to do with Alligators! I just like this catchy phrase so that’s what I used as the title for this blog!

On this past Sunday morning Beau and I drove to a place (a restaurant) called “The Lone Cabbage” right on the Saint Johns River. Our mission today was to meet about 30 friends of ours from one of the meetup groups we belong to and to go out on Twister Boats to hunt for Alligators (no weapons of course!). I just wanted to wrestle with an Alligator or two to show who’s the boss and to check off another thing on my long bucket list. Each boat could hold 11 passengers, so the group had to go on several boats to accommodate us all. We saw about 25 Alligators in all throughout the trip and fortunately we all made it back successfully with all  legs and arms in tact! The photos and other videos that I will try to incorporate in this post tells it all! As they say…pictures speak a thousand words! Enjoy the show! Luv, Gary

Hey all… Had several other videos that I wanted to incorporate but they were much too long to upload. At least I got one to download of me making the $100 wager to wrestle the largest of all Alligators and the other is a short video of Beau having a good time enjoying the music and food back in the restaurant after our adventure. Don’t worry….the day didn’t end here. I have another item that I got to check off my bucket list that afternoon, but I will save that blog for tomorrow. Any guesses?