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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Her Dog is Her Brother?

We have interesting neighbors at our park. There are three generations, grandma called Red because she loves her red hair, Nicki, who is mentally slow but warm and friendly, and then Marie, almost twelve and delightful. Well Red takes her dog for a walk every night. Seriously. She carries it. It's a small breed and I guess they just get air together. Not sure. Marie told me she can't pet her grandmas dog. Um. Ok. Red also walks her cat. Again carrying it. They have two cats.  Then they have another  Dog. Kind of a mid size terrier kind of dog. We think its name is Brother. They refer to it as Brother. "Take Brother out to poop" I just heard and the bigger dog came out with Nicki. Now she did tell him to not hump, just potty. Good to know. So after Nicki gets back inside Red yells "Brother look what you did!" I am assuming Brother was embarrassed. And Nicki explained, " I watched his butt and I thought he was done." Yeah, I love sitting outside and enjoying nature. ---Penny

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wild Life

We visited Blue Spring Park and saw manatees and a couple of alligators. It is a spring-fed pool of water and the day we were there they recorded over one hundred manatees. The spring flows into the St. John's River. Below are two photos of manatees and one of one of the alligators. Wow!! Florida is cool. ---Penny


We have been investigating and exploring the area around where we are camped. We are in an RV park with our 30 foot motor home (Class C) that is getting smaller and tighter as each day goes by. So, we have to get out and explore!!! Yesterday we drove our car on the beach at New Smyrna and enjoyed the ocean view from the front window of our car. It was chilly and windy so we just rolled down our windows and were amazed at the tide, the birds, the smells and the sounds. Then we drove to Ponce de Leon Inlet to see a famous lighthouse. John was able to walk halfway up the lighthouse and I stayed below. There were several out buildings to explore and it was great reading the fascinating history of the area. We enjoy lighthouses so I bought a map of all the lighthouses in the United States. We have seen ten in Rhode Island and several in other states. Below is a photo of the latest lighthouse in our collection.---Penny

Cottage on the Coast

Dear Sweet John arranged for two nights at a cottage on Ormond Beach for my birthday. What a gift!!!! The ocean!!! Below is a photo of our cottage and the second photo is the view from the picture window in our living area looking out over the beach. The third photo is of the sunrise the first morning from outside our door. Now, how can you top that next year, John???

Monday, January 7, 2013

The leader in the clubhouse is .....

John here.

We started our trip this year on Christmas morning. It was a good thing, too. If we had left a day before or a day after Christmas, we would have been in trouble, weatherwise. Poor Penny was sick with a bad cold all the way down, but made it down here in one piece. The park we are at, High Banks, is a very nice park in Debary, Fl., which is about 40 minutes from Daytona Beach and 1 1/2 hours from Tampa. It has a nice restaurant and a boat dock, with fishing available on the St. John's River. I would say we might be here at this park the entire stay unless something really attracts us.

Park activities, so far has been a dud. We went to an ice cream social and only five people showed up and that included the activity director. In Texas, the number would be 40-50 easy. They play poker here, but like in Texas, women are not allowed. The people are friendly though and the huge majority of the folks here are full time residents. There are several golf courses nearby and one, Glen Abbey is only $26 for 18 holes.

We got over to Daytona Beach Kennel Club last Thursday to play in a poker tounament. All of the dog tracks in Florida have an Off Track racing facility and a poker room. The one in Daytona is fairly large. We didn't cash as Penny finished 10th and I went out in 9th. Went we left the Kennel Club and got on the main highway heading back to Debary, we looked up and there was the main grandstand of Daytona International Speedway. Hopefully sometime on this trip, we are going to take a tour of the Speedway.

Today, we met up with our good friends from Decatur, Barney and Margaret Foster. Penny said I was so exited, I was chattering like a little kid. I guess so, since I was exited to see a friendly face from home. I was happy to see barney, also.

So far, I would say that Texas is in our rear view window. There is so much to see and do here. We are looking forward to the rest of our adventures here in Florida.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Snow Delivery and Jessica

Today is Sunday and we decided to attend St. Anne's Catholic Church in DeBary, Florida. It is a five minute drive from our RV and very beautiful. There are two priests. After mass a lady sitting in front of us stopped to talk to us for several minutes. She is originally from New Jersey but has lived down here for a lot of years. She told John he should join the choir! As we walked out together she introduced us to the priest from Nigeria. He has only been a priest for less than six months and has spent four of those months in this parish. When we told him where we were from he understood we were from Chicago. After several attempts to explain we just said, yes, close to Chicago. He relayed a story of some parishioners who traveled to New York for the holidays. They brought him a gift of a bag of snow! He had never seen snow in his life and was thrilled to touch it.

The other priest, Father Peter, was born in Belfast. When we introduced ourselves and when he heard the last name Barry he was thrilled that it is such a good Irish name. We chatted for several minutes....okay John started talking for several minutes....and finally Father Peter said, oh, yes, the Irish love to tell stories. We laughed and left. Luckily John can take a hint.

We decided to stop at Steak and Shake for a quick lunch. Wow, it was crowded with a line to be seated. Luckily we were seated fairly quickly and our waitress was Jessica. We had no problems getting what we ordered although we tried to make it complicated. She kept checking on us, putting her hand on johns shoulder and asking if everything was ok. He finally asked why he was getting so much attention and she said, well, you ordered a lot of food. Lol. No, just a sandwich and fries and a drink.

She stopped again and asked how we were doing. John mentioned we were here for the winter months from Decatur, Illinois. Oh, I have an uncle who lives in Springfield. Is that close, she asked. At least she knew we weren't in Chicago. Then things became strange. She said her uncle lived by some fields and there were things growing in them, like maybe corn or something. John said, Jessica, that is called a farm. Then she said he had a long path to his house. John explained it was a lane. She really had no idea that she had visited a farm. John told her next time we eat there we will ask for her again and explain to her about farm animals. We were laughing, all three of us, she was enjoying the banter. Such fun we are having in Florida.

Oh, and it was 81 degrees. Whew. This is the sunshine state!

A Merry Denny's Christmas

Our grand plan this year to escape from Illinois for the winter months was to leave Christmas morning. We had a great family celebration on December 22nd with all our children and grandchildren. We had so much fun that we will do the same thing next year! So Christmas Eve we spent undecking our halls. It was sad but we didn't want to undecorate when we returned in April.

Christmas morning we planned to leave at six am. Getting John out the door on time is mostly impossible but we got on the road at 6:45! For John that is close enough to six.

We started down the road each driving a vehicle. I selfishly drove the RV and John rocked in the car with his Sirrus radio playing too loud. We stopped in Effingham to eat breakfast. What was open? Only Denny's. okay. They are breakfast pros. We ate and drove on, heading to Florida...that magical place far, far away. When we decided to stop for lunch, what did we find open? Um...only Denny's. so we had lunch there and took off again. We decided to stop for the night in Columbia, Tennessee. We stayed in a motel as it was still chilly for the RV. They were having storms, tornadoes, snow.....yikes. And, of course, there was a Denny's close by. But also an Arbees so we were saved from another meal at Denny's!

We spent an anxious night, not knowing if we would be able to leave or have to spend another night because of the storms and snow. We got up, watched the weather and took off! We drove through some rain and one snow squall but basically the roads were fine.

The next night we spent in Dothan, Alabama. Still in a motel but getting closer to warm weather.

John and Penny