Winter in Florida

[NOTE: I am so sorry I have been negligent in my blogging. We just haven’t done much of anything very interesting. Now that Jack and I (along with MANY Americans!) have gotten our covid vaccines, we hope to get back to many more “sight-seeing” adventures as we travel.]

THIS PAST WINTER:

We arrived in Florida January 5th. Our plans were to stay until April 1st, but I’ll tell you about that in a later post.

We had reservations at Orange City RV Park, Orange City, FL. We chose this park for a couple of reasons: 1) It’s not too far south from where our oldest son lives; 2) It was near some friends of ours from Dexter, MO who moved to DeLand, FL, about the same time we started RVing.

The park itself was just ok. It’s an old park with very narrow roads. They are gradually upgrading the sites by pouring new, larger concrete pads.

We did the appropriate “stay away from people for several days” to make sure we hadn’t picked up any illnesses as we traveled. After we cleaned the coach, restocked our cabinets, did laundry, and relaxed for a few days, we were READY to visit our son and friends!

We visited with friends, ate meals together (we found a Mexican restaurant we loved called Mi Tierra), and enjoyed playing a new game called Sequence. When Jeff came down to visit, we taught him how to play that game, and he really loved it. We really didn’t do much more than visit, play games and eat out the whole winter.

However, Jeff has started giving “experience” gifts. He told us when we came to Florida this year he wanted to take each one of us separately to do something with just him. We loved that idea! We were to pick something we thought we might like to do.

I chose to go to a mystery dinner theater in Orlando called Sleuths Mystery Dinner Shows. They perform a variety of hilarious mystery plays where the audience participates in figuring out “who dun it.”

During the play, the actors took breaks while one of the courses of the meal was served (the meal was delicious). At the end, each table had to decide who they thought committed the murder and then report their findings to the cast. The improvisation and ad lib during this part of the show was OUTSTANDING!

The whole experience was very nice and a memory I will cherish forever. On the way home, Jeff and I both admitted that we couldn’t remember the last time we laughed so much or so hard. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

Jack decided he would like Jeff to take him on a tour of the Daytona International Speedway and Museum. Nowadays you have to have an appointment to tour the speedway, so they got an appointment and planned their visit.

The tour started out on an open air tour shuttle with a guide. They drove all the way around on the speedway. They were allowed off the shuttle on one of the turns to experience just how steep the 31 degree pitch is. They also stopped at the winner’s circle where flags outlined the area. Others stops were the infield and pit row. Their tour guide was very knowledgeable and shared a lot of interesting information about the track and racing.

After the shuttle tour, their guide dropped them off at the museum. Jack and Jeff toured the museum at their leisure where they saw this year’s winning car signed by the driver. They also saw race cars from different eras all signed by the drivers, photos, and all kinds of racing memorabilia accompanied with historical information.

After seeing the museum, Jack and Jeff left the speedway and headed to Daytona Beach. They had lunch at a beachside cafe and watched the waves roll in before heading back home to the RV.

A couple of nights before we were to leave Florida, Connie and I had tickets to a local theater (The Athens Theater) that was performing “Momma Mia.” The performance was very good as well as entertaining (no taking of photos was allowed during the performance).

The Athens Theater is in historic downtown DeLand. The theater was designed in 1921 with an Italian Renaissance style and opened its doors in January 1922. Originally a vaudeville house and silent movie palace, the Athens Theatre featured live stage shows by touring performers, as well as films of the day that were often accompanied by the theatre’s Wurlitzer Pipe Organ. Its history is quite detailed and a simple internet search will give you more information.

Here are a couple photos of the theater.

Just for fun – Here are our “kids,” Ricky and Lucy!

We had a wonderful time this past winter in Florida. We headed back north to Missouri April 1st to visit with family in the St. Louis and Springfield areas.

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

February and March in Florida – Part 2

We made plans a long time ago (some time last fall) to fly our grandchildren to visit us in the RV in Florida for a week. Since our grandkids are all homeschooled, they can take their Spring Break when they choose. Our RV park is about an hour and fifteen minutes or so from the Orlando airport.

Along with their parents, we decided the oldest, Jade, would come visit first. Then, the day she flew home, the other two, Kylee and Jackson, would fly in for their week with us. As Christmas approached, our oldest son, Jeff, decided to give his nieces and nephew a “once-in-a-lifetime” Christmas gift: an all expenses paid day at Disney World with Uncle Jeff! Our three grandchildren were SO excited on Christmas Day when they opened that special gift.

We videoed their reactions but the video is somewhat blurry. I took some screen shots of the video, but the quality isn’t that great. However, I think you can see their sheer joy and excitement.

It all started with a gift box with a stuffed Disney figurine (Mickey for Jackson and Minnie for the girls) and a $25 gift card for a souvenir. However, at this time, they still did not understand the gift.

Then they were told to go get their iPhones and read the text message Uncle Jeff sent them.

It was at this point that we discovered that they could not access the link for the message because of the security restrictions set on their phones by their parents (good parents restrict their minor kids’ access to the internet on their phones!)

We all got the same text, so their dad read the message from his phone as they all looked on.

And NOW they realize what the gift is and the excited reactions begin!

They are all VERY excited! However, Jade was SO excited she shed “tears of joy!!”

The funniest part was when the parents admitted to them that they HAD ACTUALLY kept that secret from them for DAYS!!!

Then Uncle Jeff got big hugs from all three.

Jade arrived first on Tuesday, February 26th (just three days after we moved into our new RV (see previous post). The plan was for her to go to Disney with Uncle Jeff the next day. However, Uncle Jeff, the weatherman, had been in touch with Jade and her mom for a couple of days because it looked liked that Wednesday was going to be stormy enough to shut down rides and have the potential to make their day quite miserable. Through a series of phone calls, the decision was made to postpone the Disney adventure until Sunday. I could tell Jade was disappointed (as ANYONE would have been!), but she handled it VERY well. I was so proud of her maturity in this situation.

The day finally arrived for Jade’s Disney adventure. We drove north to Kissimmee to a spot to meet Jeff that was close to Animal Kingdom. When Jeff arrived, Jade went with him and we returned to the RV (we didn’t have a day planned that was as fun as Jade’s day; we had housecleaning, laundry, and grocery shopping chores to attend to). Here are some photos of the fun and sheer joy Jade had with Uncle Jeff.

Jade used her gift card to buy her first pair of Mickey ears.

Jade and Uncle Jeff are in the very back row.

Waiting in line for the Avatar/Pandora ride.

Waiting on Fantasmic nighttime show to start.

While Jade was with us, she decided she wanted to go visit Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL, which was only about a 20 minute drive from us. This is a contemplative garden and bird sanctuary consisting of a 250 acre garden and a 205 foot tall tower with its carillon bells. It is located on top of Iron Mountain, one of the highest point of peninsular Florida (approx. 295 feet above sea level. It is a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Here are some pictures of our visit to Bok Tower Gardens.

As I said earlier, Jade came the first week and the day she left, we picked up Kylee and Jackson for their week with us. We were staying at Rainbow RV Resort, Frostproof, FL. This RV park was really nice! It had a lot of things to do with the grandkids and many activities planned. We spent a lot of time both weeks swimming (and sitting in the hot tub!) as well as playing bocce ball, shuffleboard, pickleball, and horseshoes. We played numerous games of Skip Bo and taught the grandkids to play Gin Rummy. They had never played that game before, and they caught on quickly. They became really good at it, and we played it nearly every night. All in all, everyone of us had a wonderful time both weeks.

The week Kylee and Jackson were with us, the weather was great. They were anxiously waiting for the day to “cash in” on their Christmas gift from Uncle Jeff. Finally the day arrived to go to Disney World! Jeff wanted me to go along this time because their was only one of him and two of them! He even offered to pay my way, so I got to enjoy the day with them, too. The weather was PERFECT; it was a little cool in the morning then warmed to the low 70s in the afternoon! Even though it was a spring break week and there were a lot of groups of kids there causing the lines to be somewhat long, we had so much fun! The pictures tell it all.

Silly grandkids! They’ve learned that from Papa Jack. 😂

Waiting in line for the new Avatar/Pandora ride. The wait was THREE HOURS! The ride was: FANTASTIC!!!

This view NEVER ceases to excite me … and EVERYONE ELSE!

Mickey shaped food was EVERYWHERE!

Uncle Jeff, Kylee, and Jackson rode this ride. I did NOT! They are on the back row on the left side.

Waiting for FANTASMIC nighttime show to start. It was FANTABULOUS!

We really had a great time while the grandkids were visiting us. We were sad to see them go. After they left, we had a couple of naps to rest up from all the fun!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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