FLORIDA!

I am SO sorry I haven’t published anything on this blog for a while. I guess some times we all just need to take a break from everything and just relax. That is exactly what we’ve been doing: relaxing and resting.

We have been in Florida for about eleven weeks now. We haven’t done a lot of “exploring” per se because we have visited and vacationed in the state numerous times. We have explored the city of Ocala, taken walks around the RV park, and generally just spent some time relaxing. Also, we have spent some time with our oldest son, Jeff, who lives about 45 minutes from where we are staying, as well as visiting with some Missouri friends that moved to Florida about the same time we started RVing.

We spent Thanksgiving weekend with Jeff and had a traditional Thanksgiving meal. Don’t get too excited…he didn’t cook; I did! 😂 That’s OK; I enjoyed fixing the small feast for the three of us. We also attended a truly wonderful benefit concert, “Stop Children’s Cancer – Holiday Traditions: A Musical Celebration,” that our son co-emceed. The concert featured the Alachua County Youth Orchestra, several area high school choirs and ensembles, and featured soloists who were childhood cancer survivors. It was truly a blessing to all who attended and raised a lot of money for children’s cancer research.

That is our son, Jeff, on the far right next to the Christmas tree.

After the concert we went with Jeff to his work Christmas Party. It was nice to meet his coworkers and the students/future weather casters he is mentoring.

Around the middle of December we visited our Missouri friends, Bill and Connie, who had moved to Deland, FL. We attended Bill and Connie’s community choir Christmas Concert, their church’s Christmas Cantata where they were in the handbell choir, and numerous neighbors’ “block” parties. Their neighborhood likes to get together and have parties! What fun!! It was a wonderful weekend filled with meeting new friends, listening to beautiful Christmas music, delicious food, and A LOT of laughter.

The Vee Gees’ (stands for Victoria Gardens, the name of their community) Christmas performance.

Bill and Connie (on the end of each row; right side of picture) ringing their bells at their church’s Christmas program.

Their church choir performing their cantata.

December 22nd we headed out in the car to what I affectionately call our “Christmas Tour.” We drove two long days to get to Edmond, OK, for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with our youngest son, Mike, and his family. As always, we attended Christmas Eve church service and had a wonderful Christmas Day with the grandkids and family.

Jackson has discovered the photo “effects” button! 😂

The day after Christmas we headed to Missouri. We stopped in Springfield to visit with Jack’s mom and his sister and her husband.

Then it was on to St. Louis to see my folks and wait for the rest of the family to come in the next weekend so we could have our Christmas with them. After a busy, hectic, but fun weekend, we all met Sunday morning at McDonald’s for breakfast and our final goodbyes. It is always bittersweet lining up at McDonald’s and hugging every one, saying good bye, and watching them all depart for their homes in Indiana, Oklahoma, and Florida.

I’m not too sure these two are enjoying each other’s company. 😂

After shopping and spending all our Christmas money, it’s time for a nap!

Grandpa Gary and all his grandkids with spouses and great-grandkids!

Jeff flew home to Florida the day everyone else headed home because Jack and I were staying for a few more days in STL before driving back to Florida. I visited mom at Sunrise of Des Peres several times, helped dad get out his “Holiday” photo card, and even squeezed in some “girl time” with my younger sister, Lisa.

We headed back to Florida January 4th with a planned stop in Dexter, MO. We took our cute little Shih Tzu, Zoey, to her former groomer while we visited with some close friends for a couple of hours. Then we made a stop at the veterinarian’s office for Zoey’s annual shots. Needless to say, she was not happy with us after that. Then we really got “on the road” back to Florida. Our goal was to make it to the other side of Chattanooga before stopping for the night.

We made it, but it was a very long, exhausting day and evening of driving in a slow drizzle of rain and mist. We got up the next morning for the final leg of our 2700+ mile “Christmas Tour.” By the time we made it back to the RV at Silver Springs, FL, we were tired and so happy to be home. Yes, the RV truly feels like home by now!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

Brrrrr…….It’s Getting Cold Outside!

Our basic plan of travel is to go North in the summer and South in the winter.  Neither one of us likes the cold much anymore, and I totally despise the summer mega heat and humidity I have lived in all my life.  When your home is on wheels, you can follow the nice, moderate weather all over the country.

We have been making our “south for the winter” plans these last few months. Because we wanted to stay within a reasonable driving distance so we could spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with family, we looked at some RV parks in the northern part of Texas.  We found several places on the internet that looked really nice that were around the Dallas/Fort Worth area.  We wanted to arrive around Nov. 15-16 and leave around January 10-11.  However, when we started calling around, we were having trouble finding a place that had any class A motor coach RV sites available (next year we will have to call earlier).

A little over a month ago we finally lucked into a place called Wagon Master RV Resort in Sanger, Texas. THIS IS WHERE we are right now! Sanger is a little northwest of Dallas (approx. 50 miles). This location is about a two hour drive from Moore, OK, and the grandkids (and Mike and Jennifer, too!). We drove up to Moore, OK, in the car for Thanksgiving.

Jennifer is a great cook, and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings. At the end of the summer, Mike got a smoker, and he wanted to try cooking a turkey in it. Jennifer decided to cook one turkey the regular way in the oven, and Mike would smoke one outside. BOTH were absolutely delicious! I didn’t get any pictures of the full meal, but here are a couple of the turkeys.

The smoked turkey BEFORE and AFTER:

When we arrived Wednesday afternoon, the grandkids had started working on a 1,000 piece Christmas puzzle. It was a pretty hard one in my opinion. We all worked on it at one time or another. Some of us were better at finding pieces that fit; others of us were frustrated at times and had to leave the table. We finally finished the puzzle about an hour before dinner was ready. Here’s a couple of pictures:

We are not big on Black Friday shopping, so we stayed at Mike’s house and watched a “traditional” movie then helped decorate their Christmas tree. Can you guess the movie? Actually, we watched Christmas movies all day long while decorating!

Yes, that’s the Griswald family in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation!

Yes, that is the movie The Elf on the television!

Last Christmas while we were at my parents’ house, Mike found an old train in mom and dad’s mega collection of Christmas decorations. Mike told my dad (unknown to me) that he had always wanted a train set to go around the Christmas tree. My dad said they had not used it in years, so he gave it to Mike. Mike was like a little kid when he got the box out to set up the train around the tree! Here it is in all it’s glory (click the picture to watch):

I think the video was turned when I uploaded it. Hmmmmm? 🤔 I have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA why that video turned sideways. Maybe some day I will actually figure it out. Oh, well…..

We will drive up to Moore, OK, in the car again for Christmas, and our oldest son, who lives in FL, will fly to OKC to join us. After Christmas Day we will all drive on to Springfield, MO, to have Christmas with Jack’s family, and then on to STL to have Christmas with my family.  Jeff will fly home to FL after the New Year, the grandkids and family will drive to OKC, and we will drive back to Texas.  It will be a long drive back to Sanger, TX, but it will be worth it to see all our family at Christmastime.

Back in June (while we were still living in our house in Dexter) we discovered that some friends of ours who had just purchased an Airstream trailer were going to spend two months in the Phoenix, AZ, area this winter.  They asked us what our plans for the winter were, and when we said we weren’t sure, they asked us to join them there.  So we called the same RV Resort where they had their reservations and made our reservations. Therefore, we will be in Buckeye, AZ, from Jan. 15 – Mar. 15. Starting Mar. 15, we plan to spend about four weeks exploring New Mexico.  Then we will be coming back to the STL area some time mid-to-late April to stay another month.

St. Louis is kind of going to be “home base” for us.  I can help with my parents, and Jack can run down to Springfield to spend time with his mom.   Then, some time in late May, we will be heading north for the summer.  Exactly where we will go up north hasn’t been decided yet. We are thinking Michigan or the Wisconsin Dells.  We will need to get busy, make our plans, and get reservations real SOON! I’ll let you know where we decision in the near future.

So, for now …. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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