Sunday, February 26, 2017

Wandering With The Wrights

Since the last blog we have finished up our last NOMADS Project in Crystal River, Florida, Visited Key West and the Everglades.  It has been a busy two weeks.

The Methodist Church that hosted us in Crystal River has a lovely old chapel and the pastor held our closing morning devotions there.  We always end with a communion service and it is always lovely and this was no exception - it is also a little sad as we know we are all heading separate ways in the morning.  We left and headed south to Tavernier, FL in the Keys. 
It was to long of a trip in one day so we stopped of at the "Wright Campground" in Punta Gorda.
We had visited earlier and they were gracious enough to have us back for a night.  We had a fun evening, and shared ice cream with Becky Wright, Dorothy Wright, Anne Miller, and Lulu - thank you ladies!!
We were fortunate to get an RV site at the ELKS Lodge in Tavernier - this was our view from the front window.
The view at sunset - even Teddy was amazed
The next morning we headed to Key West - very crowded and commercial which isn't our thing but we had to be able to say that we had been to the end of U.S. Highway 1

Now we can say - Been there done that :-)
1945 image, much larger than life, of a sailor planting a kiss on a nurse on the day most Americans learned of the Japanese surrender in World War II
Sponge Bob??
Streets were crowded and narrow - we were very happy we were in the Jeep and not the motorhome
Also visited Mallory Square which has always been the hub of Key West's social and commercial life since the city began in the 1820's.  It is where ships laden with goods from shipwrecks would dock and the goods stored in warehouses on the waterfront.  Where town people came to exchange news and shop.  Fast forward a century and a half and it is still the place to come eat, enjoy, and be entertained.  The "party" starts every night 2 hours before sunset.  There are musicians, jugglers, acrobats, etc.  The place is packed with performers and tourists.

Mallory Square was fun but by this time we were exhausted and we still had a two hour drive back home.
Beautiful architecture in the Keys and vibrant colors
I loved the looks of this home

You didn't think you would get through a blog without a picture of our grandson did you?  This is Vincent at one week being held by his great-grandma, my mom - she still has the touch at 93!!
How about that another picture of Vincent slipped in!!
We were particularly pleased to find this home - 1112 Southard  -  it is where Jerry's folks rented an apartment shortly after they were married during WW II when Tom was stationed at Boca Chica NAS Naval Air Station.
Truman's Little White House  We visited here our 2nd day in Key West.  Had a wonderful docent.  The house is located in a lovely part of town - very interesting tour

Hemingway's Home was also very interesting to see and to learn about the man

While Hemingway was away on a trip his wife had this pool put in with her own money and removed his boxing ring that was there.   That did not make him happy so - - 
In retaliation he went to an old bar and got the urinal that is laying on the ground and had it surrounded in tile and made a foundation out of it for the cats to drink from.  The story of Hemingway and his six-toed cats began in the 1930's when he was given one as a gift.  Sailors favored these cats believing they were good luck.  Today decedents of that first six-toed cat still roam the grounds.

One of my memories of Key West will be roosters and cigars.  Roosters all around crowing and many many men and women smoking cigars!!

We left the Keys and headed to The Everglades and stayed at a campground right in the middle of Big Cypress National Preserve.  We drove down Hwy. 41 known as alligator alley as one can see alligators and many different birds along the highway in the canals.  We had to be careful even in the campground with Teddy as there was a lake that had alligators.  Very unique experience to be taking a picture of an alligator swimming by and you look down and there is one sunning itself just 12 or 15 feet from where you are standing.  Upon arriving at the Midway Campground we couldn't get our water pump to work - it is shot but fortunately Jerry did a work around until we get to someplace that has the controller we need.  So grateful for how handy Jerry is!!!!

Went to this restaurant in Everglade City

It was outdoor dining and this was the view from our table.

another view from our table

These heavy metal boxes were at the campground in the Everglades.  They are for tenters to use if they don't have a vehicle to lock their food in - many come in by bicycle or motorcycle.  They are supposed to be bear proof.

Our campground was in an area called Ochopee.  No town but they did have a post office - the smallest in the world. 

We bought stamps there and the post master has worked there 11 years

This is an Anhinga.  It has its wings out drying as they don't repel water like a duck and they would drowned if they didn't get them dry.


We took a two hour tram tour in the Everglades and climbed to the top of this structure to get a great view of the area.

From the top of the tower

Another Anhinga

Wish I knew the name of all the birds - they were beautiful and it was so great seeing so many different species in their natural habitat.
We had a 2 1/2 drive to the ELKS Lodge in Sebring, Fl  Feel like we are back in civilization after more than a week in the Keys and Everglades.  Keys has lots of people but very little shopping - Everglades are just totally remote.

Our view from the motorhome in Sebring at the Elks.  Tonight is the end of our second day here.  It has been so peaceful and beautiful - sorry to leave.

Head out in the morning for Sanford, Fl and will be in one place for a week!!!  Until next time - - - - - - 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Wandering With The Wrights

I usually try to keep the blogs in date order but this past Wednesday February 8th was such an exciting day I had to put it first.  Our grandson, Vincent Michael Kimmel, was born:  8lbs. 14 oz and 20" long.  

My son holding his son!
Vincent in a sweater my mother knit.

Vincent's ride home from the hospital - not such a happy camper.
I will do my best to not go overboard on baby pictures but be patient with me please :-)
We are so happy that he is here and healthy - God is so Good.

Okay now back to the regular blog:  We left Wauchula, Fl February 17th and spent the next 11 days in Clermont - just west of Orlando.
Saw lots and lots of these trucks hauling huge quantities of oranges
One of the highlights of our time in Clermont was visiting with my cousin Wendi who lives in Orlando.
We drove a long way through lots of heavy traffic in Orlando to Titusville as they were  doing a night launch.  We had a wonderful view from across the lake.   Many people were gathered there to watch.  3 minutes before lift-off an airplane flew into the flight path and they scrubbed the launch!!  They rescheduled for the next night but we couldn't make it.
Oh well someday!
We spent the day in Tampa at a huge RV Show.  We bought this sign to put in front of the motorhome.  We were both very pleased that we didn't see anything we liked better than the motorhome we have.

This is the team - there are 10 of us working the projects and another NOMADS couple who are helping to coordinate  things and make sure we have supplies.  As usual they are a great group of Christian people and we have enjoyed working with them so much.  The couple to the left of me holding the dog you might remember from a year ago when we did our fist NOMADS project in Buckeye, AZ.  Sandy and Steve are a great couple and Sandy has taken me under her wing and taught me so much.  Gabriel is Steve's service dog.  When Teddy and Gabriel saw each other when we arrived they were so cute - it was like they remembered each other and just ran around and played.
Gabriel & Teddy - happy to be back together again!
The cross at the Crystal River United Methodist Church that is hosting this NOMADS project.  They have a wonderful worship band and we have truly enjoyed worshipping with them.
All of the rigs are parked at the church.  
2 couples and 1 single man have stayed at the church during the work week and replaced an old fence with this beautiful new one.  It surrounds the churches pre-school.

The other 7 of us have been traveling to an unincorporated area called Ozello about 20 minutes from the church.  The owner, a widow, had a 9 foot storm surge that put 4 feet of water into her trailer and huge addition.  Another group came in and pretty much gutted everything from 5 feet down and we have been repairing the flooring which took a hit from the water but also had a lot of termite damage, installing insulation, drywall, etc. even making the front of the house look much better.  There is a long way to go yet - another team from Canada comes in when we leave to install lower cabinets, flooring, etc.  
The front of the house when we arrived 2 weeks ago
How it looks today!

What was underneath the flooring in the kitchen - not much.
Sometimes one just needs to sit and study a problem to figure out what to do

Where we get to sit and have lunch everyday - the back of the house is on a canal - it so beautiful and peaceful.
Wayne tries fishing at lunch but hasn't had much luck yet
Jerry hard at work

The floor issue kept growing and growing but if you are going to do it might as well do it right.  They ended up tearing most of the flooring and replacing.
Everything had to come out of the bathroom to work on the floor in there.

When we get home after a long day the ladies from the church have fixed us dinner - how awesome is that!

Our NOMADS group outing the first week-end.
We were on a pontoon boat and learned a lot about the eco system and saw a few things that made us very glad we were in a pontoon boat or any boat and not in the water.

Gabriel found a whole in the side of the boat so he could look out and see what was happening too.

After our boat ride we went across the street to the Blue Gator for lunch.  Seafood, hush puppies, coleslaw - hard to beat.

Back at the work site things are looking up - this is the awful floor in the kitchen and the new drywall - all mudded and ready to prime.
At lunch one day Gabriel found a small lizard and they had quite the staring contest (it is about 1/3 of the way down on the light colored strip of wood.
I have spent a lot of time putting in insulation.
The last section we had to do we were out of strips so I cut up many scraps and just made it!!
Debi the homeowner insisted on making us lunch last Thursday.  She has been cooking outside for months under a large covered patio.

Delicious Shepherds Pie

We were all jealous as Jerry couldn't eat the Shepherds Pie so she made him a wonderful shrimp cocktail with fresh caught large shrimp.

We all also enjoyed a wonderful fresh salad

This weekend on Friday we visited Homosassa Springs to see a lot of Florida wildlife.


This is a pelican nest - mom is sitting on her chick

Thought it was cool that they put the American Flag in with the Bald Eagle

On Saturday we visited Three Sisters Springs
This guy is in the wild - see how close he is to the shops?

Manatee - hard to see in the pictures but there were many mom's with their babies

Last night we had a bonfire - it was a beautiful evening with a gorgeous moon.  (Teddy is in the lower right hand corner)

We will finish our project here this coming Thursday and all head our separate ways - some are going to various other NOMAD projects and others, like us, are going to do some sightseeing.  We will be heading to Tavernier, FL just south of Key Largo in the Keys.  Until next time - God Bless