Wednesday, March 30, 2011

When Fire Ants Attack

Did the ants attack or was Ed just playing with them?

There are several big colonies right outside our rv.  I don't know if you can see them in the picture but they are there.  The area of dirt is full of ants.

Ed was curious just how bad can they be.  He let a couple of them get on him just to see what they would do.   He said when they got on him they just kept biting and wouldn't let go.  He had sandals on, so more than a few got on him.  That night the bites didn't look that bad.  But later in the middle of the night  his feet were itching so badly he had to get up and put something on them.

 I think there must  have been a better way to see what they do.  How about searching the web?  Well, anyone who knows Ed, knows he likes to experience things first hand.

We are still at Peace River Thousands Trails.  We will be leaving here on Friday.  In January, February and March the park was packed.  Rv's started leaving a couple of weeks ago.   The snow birders are starting to go home. 

We are heading to Orlando Thousands Trails where we will be meeting up with Tracy and Bill.  We are looking  forward  to spending time with them.  It has rained the last couple of days.  I hope the weather will be nice when they get here.  I am sure it will  be better than Indiana.

Happy Trails     Ed and Lyn

Monday, March 28, 2011

Passion Play and the Holy Land Experience

They have a unusually large passion play for a town the size of Wauchula.  This play has a cast of 200 people.  A lot of them are young people.   It has 150 animals, a lot of  them were sheep.  The set was 250 feet long.  Very impressive.  It was set in a cattleman's arena.  The set was built up on mound of dirt so it could be easily seen.  The drawback were the beams, that sometimes blocked your view.  But they said since they held up the roof they were necessary.  We also sat on bleachers for 3 hours, that is a long time sitting on bleachers.

The play was outstanding.   The following pictures probably don't do it justice.  They even had angels flying thru the air. 

I wish everyone could have seen this play.  Except for the bleachers, it was fantastic.

Then another thing we went to see was the Holy Land Experience in Orlando.  I had heard about it some years ago and thought it would be neat to see.  I was a little disappointed in it.   Maybe I was expecting too much. 

The buildings were  interesting to see.  But I think I was expecting more people walking around dressed up for the time period.  There were very few cast members on the outside of the buildings.  I am sure there are budget restraints. 

The buildings were impressive and I did enjoy walking around seeing everything.  There was a model of the boat of disciples, a replica of the remains of a boat found along the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

The acting was good but the one theater didn't have enough seating.  Another area the seating was up higher than the stage so it was hard to see.

Some of the figurines were a little more glitzy then I think they would have been back than.  These were a couple of the scenes.

Well, I hate to be down on it too much.  It was interesting. 

I liked the Jerusalem model and the man talking about it was worth listening to.

All in all in was worth walking through, I am just not sure about the price to get it.  It was $35 at the door, and I got my online for $30.   But on the other hand I think you should support christian things.  So I guess I am glad we went.  Boy is that confusing?  I think I confused myself.

HAPPY TRAILS    Ed and Lyn

Friday, March 25, 2011

When Gators Come Knocking

This post is by Ed (with a little editing by Linda)

I never seem to have my camera on hand when I need it.  Thus I don't have any pictures to show you this time.

I was in bed, taking a nap and I heard all these people talking under my window.  Wondering what is going on, I raised my shade to take a peek.  I asked, "what's going on?"  I made one of the boys jump, he was that close to my window.  They said they were trying to catch a gator. 

One ranger was taping him, with a stick, on the snout, while another ranger was trying to lasso him.  He must have done this before because he lassoed him on the first try.  Looked like Roy Rogers, he did that good of a job.

Than the gator was flipping and flopping like a bass thrown on the ground.  First he tried to go left and then right and then he headed toward the ranger.  Then the Ranger starts  jumping.

So I leap out of bed, trying to find my glasses, pants and the camera.  By the time I get outside, there are about 15 to 20 people watching the show.  I am out there with no shoes, no shirt, only my pants on.  Than I see 3 or 4 guys out there with no shirts on either.  They must have rushed out also.  If I could have got out sooner, I could have taken a video of it. 

When I finally did get out there, the rangers were dragging him down the trail to the river with the golf cart.  Someone said that was the second time they had caught him in that spot that week.  They try to keep them away from the RV's.  They probably don't want them snatching someone's dog.

That was today and than I had another encounter 2 days ago.

I am sitting in the river looking for shark teeth.  That has become my favorite pastime at Peace River.  Looking up I saw an alligator crossing the river to the bank on the other side, about 50 yards from me. 

I was thinking  "how cool is this, sitting in a river with gators roaming free around me."  I was also thinking about  the gators in this area. They must have a hard time because there are people in the river all the time looking for fossils.  We are invading their territory.  Also in this area are two otters, which I have seen several times. 

I was savoring the moment when I realized there were some people on the other side of the gator that hadn't noticed him.  I hollared a couple of times to tell them.  One girl about 13 or 14 said, "Are you serious?"  I don't think they believed me. 

Another woman joined the group.  She started walking toward where I was.  I looked up and the gator was off to the right of her about 20 yards. So I hollar at her to get her attention.  She says, "What?"  I say, "Gator!"  She says, "Where?"  I said, "Off to your right."  She says, "Oh my God!"  I told her the gator wouldn't hurt her, they are docile.  She says, "You could have told me."  I said, "That is what I am doing."  duh!

The RVers and tourist are scared of them, yet fascinated by them.   When there is a sighting everyone in running to see them.

Experiencing Nature first hand  and loving every minute of it !     ED

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Update on our Breakdown

Fixing a motor home is not cheap.  But than we knew that when we bought one.  But the good news is, it is fixed.

The main problem was the alternator, and the good news on that one is, the extended warranty will cover all but $50 on it.  Some of the other things we had done were maintenance, which we knew needed done.   A little more than we thought, but they won't need done for a long time.

When we parked last night,  the living room slide went out part way, the bedroom slide wouldn't go out at all.  This morning the living room slide wouldn't go back in.  It was a good thing we didn't have far to drive to the bays.  The guy sort of pointed at the slide and laugh, like he thought we had forgot to pull it in.  We had electric the night before but once we disconnected we still weren't getting any power from the house batteries.  And even with the electric connected, the slide wouldn't come in.  Well we sort of knew what the problem was.  The morning the rv wouldn't start, Ed had started the generator and than he hit the switch that allows the coach to start with the help of the house batteries.  That was when we had lost the house batteries. So Ed knew he had done something but he didn't know what.  They had to track it down and the labor for that was $220 and the 300 amp fuse that was blown was $90.  That was one mistake that I don't think Ed will repeat.  But it is nice to have everything working.

We just hung out today and did some mall walking.  They finished the coach about 4:30 so we decided to spend another night in their parking lot.  We don't like driving after dark or setting up in the dark, so it seemed like the wise thing to do.  Everything seems to be working fine and we will be on our way to Wauchula, Florida tomorrow.  We will be there almost 3 weeks and than come back here to meet Tracy and family.

Well  as my sister said the next time I can say "been there, done that and just chill."  Oh yeah I have the T-shirt.

HAPPY TRAILS    Love Ed and Lyn

Monday, March 14, 2011

One of my Greatest Fears of Going On The Road

One of the things I feared about going on the road was the break downs.  I had read stories about rv's breaking down on the road.  I knew that eventually it would probably happen to us.  I hate car breakdowns esp. when the car won't run.  But what about when it's your home and it' big.

Well yesterday it happened to us.  We were ready to leave the Orlando Thousand Trails at 11:00.  The rv wouldn't start.  Ed thought he may have left the auxiliary on, so we figured the batteries were dead.  We have a road side plan for the rv,  so we called them.  Because it was Sunday morning, it took over 2 hours to get a tow truck there to give us a jump.  It was hard starting but they finally did get it started.  Everything seemed to be ok so we took off.  We were about 6 miles down the road and Ed noticed  the battery light came on, than he saw we  had lost the back up video camera, than all the gauges were dead.  My first thought how are we going to make it 70 miles without any speedometer.  I didn't realize how bad it was.  We were stopped at a stop light and when it was time to go we had no power.  The coach wouldn't move, than it started moving very slightly.  Since we were at the intersection I told Ed to try and turn and I figured maybe we could get off the road.  We managed to get in the turning lane and that was it.  It wasn't going to move. 

There we were, my worst nightmare coming true.  It had already taken us 2 hours to get a tow truck the first time.  Now we are stuck on a highway.  How long will it be this time?  I called the road service.
So at least they are there to find  someone to tow us.   She asked if we are in a safe place, I tell her we are on the road but in the turning lane so we weren't completely blocking traffic.  Ed had put our orange triangles out and everyone seemed to be going around us ok.  No one was honking, so that was a good sign. 

Someone going by in a truck offered to tow us.  They couldn't haved towed the rv so they must have meant the trailer.  We bought the Jeep knowing it could tow the trailer.  So we had to take it off the trailer so when the tow truck got here we would be able to use it to tow the trailer.   So we waited 1 hour, 2 hours, 3hours, sometime in the 4 hour the road service called to say they were having a hard time finding a tow truck.  In the meantime the sheriff's office called to say they were sending out a police car to make sure we weren't causing a traffic hazard.  I guess the road service had called them to tell them we were stuck in the road.

Oh, I didn't tell you there was another MH on the opposite side also broke down.  It looked like he had been able to get off the road.  Well their tow truck had come and towed them away and we are still waiting.  We thought about it after the fact that we should have went over there to see if he could come back and tow us.  But he was gone and it was too late.

The one good thing was we had food and we had a bathroom.  Since it was Sunday the traffic wasn't as bad as it could have been.  Well after close to 6 hours the tow truck finally came.  It pulled us off to a mini mall around the corner.  I had went over earlier and asked if we could park there for the night. 

Earlier when Ed had tried to start the MH at the campground he did something and we lost power from our coach batteries.  We just figured we would get them working when we got to where we were going.  So when we got to the parking lot we didn't have power of any kind.  The refrigerator won't work on gas because you need some electric ( I didn't know that), no lights, no nothing.  Anyways we went to a pizza place and had pizza and than went to the grocery store (all there in the plaza) and bought water, and ice.  I figured we could put the ice in the frig. to keep it cold and we could use the water to flush the stool. 

So we were there for the night.  Ed went to bed (nothing to do) and I stayed up and read (I had a book light.)  Actually it wasn't bad.  I guess I was really tired because I slept pretty good.

The road service called the next morning.  They were looking for another tow truck for us and they had found a service place to work on the rv.  It was about another 2 hours but he finally showed up.  Talk about doing nothing but waiting.  

We were following the tow truck to the repair place and about 5 miles down the road there is smoke rolling out of the tires of the rv.  My first thought was there goes our tires.  Ed pulled up beside the truck and honked.  He told the driver the rv tires were smoking so he pulled over.  We pulled over in front of him.  There was enough space on the left side to get off the road.  They discovered the rv's brake hadn't completely released.  So they were able to fix it.

We got to the rv service place and it's all about waiting again.  They did start working on it right away, but it took them awhile.  They did find out it was the alternator, which is what was suspected.  We were planning on doing some service work when we got back to Elkhart so Ed decided we might as well get it done now.  So we are having the belts replaced, the transmission flushed, air filter changed and new starting batteries.  So we sat in the waiting room all day, about 4:30 they come in and tell us they won't finish until tomorrow.  So here we set in their parking lot tonight.  But they actually have 50 amp service and water hookups for their customers, so it's not so bad.

So here I am having lived through one of my greatest fears.   During this time, I was trying to put my trust in God but sometimes when you are in the trial it can be hard.  But having come through it, it wasn't that bad.

HAPPY TRAILS   Love Ed and Lyn

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Kennedy Space Center

I showed you some of our pictures from the animal rescue center a few days ago.  But you don't have to go to an animal preserve, just go to Lowes.  This guy wasn't in any hurry to leave.
                      Sandhill Crane    

But back to my reason for the Blog.  The Kennedy Space Center.  It's a little expensive but than everything in Orlando is.  We actually took a tour bus.  A deal I found on Groupon.  So we didn't have to drive.  I was surprised with how much I didn't know about the space program.  Did you know we have had 12 people walk on the moon?  I didn't.

 The rockets are huge.  You don't realize that until you are up close to them.

                      This is just the 4th stage of the rocket.  There were 3 more stages in front of this. 

This is the Vehicle Assembly Building.  These are 2 large doors.  I think the bus guy said they are the largest in the world.

                                                              They have a garden of rockets.

Another fact I found interesting is that more than 300 men and women have taken the journey. Where have I been?                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              &

The Kennedy space center occupies over 400,000 acres.  A lot of it is kept as a natural preserve.  You start at the tourist part and they have buses that take you out where the actual space center is at.  It is like a small city.     That is where the workers are and the launch site.                                                                           

  Well we did enjoy  ourselves and I do appreciate the space program a little more now. 

We have found a town that really likes purple.  They have purple telephone poles, fences, stoplights, and trucks   
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  We found these buildings.  They are all boarded up.  They were really nice and they are right on the water so not sure what happened.  With all the tourist you would have thought they could have made it.                     

Than our final find is a building dedicated to our granddaughter Calypso.

We have one more thing to do and than we are leaving Orlando and heading back to Wauchula for 3 weeks.  It feels like we have been going non-stop.  We are ready to do nothing.                                  

HAPPY TRAILS         Love Ed and Lyn

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Snorkling with the Manatees

It has been a busy week, or two.  Where has the time went?

On February 28 we went snorkeling with the Manatees.  I was excited and scared, because I am not much of a water person.  I was expecting the clear water you see in the ads.  Well it was disappointing in that the water was really muddy.  So you could only see the manatee when it stuck it's head out of the water.  There wasn't much snorkeling.  All you could see was muddy water. 

There is  a manatee in this picture, it was up against the wall.  You can see how muddy the water was.  That is me on the right side.  I floated on a life vest. 

I have to say I did enjoy it even though it was a disappointment.  The wet suits really helped.   I think I could get into this snorkeling thing.  I was just glad we hadn't paid the full price of $110.  We got it through Groupon for $50. 

We drove to Crystal River on the west side of Florida to do the snorkeling. It was over 80 miles from our campground so I thought we should do something else in the area.   On the way home we came across Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.  So we decided to check it out.   A boat took us back to where the animals are.  This park has over 3000 volunteers. 

very nice boat ride

This is a house built for the wood duck to build their nest.  The duck flies in, hits the back wall, falls down and stays there until her babies are ready to leave the nest.

Most of the animals in this park had been hurt and could not live in the wild except for the vultures who come in for the food.  There was not much they could do about them.
I've never seen so many Flamingos in one spot except maybe in someones yard.  There were so many I couldn't get them all in the picture.

Greater Flamingo

 Sandhill Crane

         I thought this one was esp. pretty.   Roseate Spoonbill

     Osprey "Fishhawk"
Needless to say we had a very nice couple of hours.  We also got to see some Manatees.  The ones here were huge.


The Park had one honarary state citizen

The hippo was here before it became a park for only native Florida wildlife.  It was going to be transfered, so the locals took up a petition and  he was made a honarary citizen so he could stay in park.