Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Spending the winter at Haines Creek RV Village

Here is our winter home in Leesburg, FL. We have a nice enough site in a nice, small park that borders the Haines River. We have enjoyed our stay this far in the friendly and quiet park. Plus, we have enjoyed boating in the Lake Harris Chain of lakes, although the last few weeks have been too cold to enjoy the water. We hope this will change soon.

There are many birds around that feast on the fish and wildlife in the area. Ospreys are quite common, but I was thrilled to see this pair of bald eagles who apparently are nesting locally. These are magnificent birds and are wonderful to see as they soar overhead.

We hope to tour the local bird sanctuary if the rains stop to see if we can get a better view of these great birds.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Rain and cold in "Sunny Florida"

Wow -- not any pictures today -- the pouring down rain was not very photogenic. Florida has suffered through a very cold, and wet winter and I will look forward to spring and hopefully warmer weather. We did have a nice day driving down to Orlando in the rain for lunch with Orinda's sister who is visiting.

Rick has been able to play golf a couple times a week, but it has been very cold and he was rained out once. Somehow, golf seems to be designed for shorts and 75 degrees!

I will try to get some good photos tomorrow and enhance the blog!

Monday, February 8, 2010

"Distressed Property" in Florida

Rick joined a local golfing group in the Leesburg area and gets to go to a different course each week. Recently, he went to a great course called Sugarloaf Mountain which was built as the centerpiece of a large, high-end housing development. Unfortunately, the development just got started when the real estate market crashed and has since been foreclosed.

This is the sales center -- complete with overgrown weeds and chairs sitting on the porch. Looks like one day it was just locked up and left.

The entry gate is very nice and portrayed the kind of community that was planned. Houses were going to be quite exclusive on this interesting course.

There were two model homes that were completed and are now for sale, but are in the middle of the defunct development. Again, the yard is overgrown and maintenance is needed.

All of the roads and infrastructure is in place -- power, water, and other utilities. I would hate to guess how much this cost for the development of several hundred homesites.

An unfortunate "sign" of the times. Sad sights like this makes me wonder how long it will take for the housing market to recover enough to make such a development viable. Anyway, the course was very nice and we enjoyed playing it!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Having a great time at the Brooksville FMCA Rally

One of the many activities at the Brooksville FMCA Rally is the big parade which is always lots of fun. This year, the theme of the Rally focuses on the circus, so clowns were everywhere. Here, Cody wants to show he is ready for the festivities by wearing his Freightliner neckwear!

There were all kinds of things in the parade, but this excellent hotrod really caught Rick's eye. I suspect the owner of this transports it in a trailer behind the motorcoach.

This gives you a little taste of the parade. Literally hundreds of folks participated and to Cody's joy, several tossed out dog treats! We had a great time watching the displays and talking to the many interesting folks who were watching.

The FMCA is an organization for motohome owners and offers many benefits in addition to the rallies. This rally is considered a regional rally for the Southeast. FMCA also hosts much larger national rallies, such as the one we attended in St. Paul in 2008 (a great time as well!).

Finally, we headed back to the coach and Cody was bushed! Here, he relaxes on his pillow and prepares to dream of dog treats.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Attending the FMCA Southeast Rally in Brooksville, FL

We took the short drive over to Brooksville, FL (just a bit north of Tampa) to attend the Family Motor Coach Association Southeast Rally. The FMCA rally is held on the local airport -- literally! We actually parked, with a couple thousand other motorhomes, on the concrete runway! here, Orinda and Cody, the amazing Rally Dog, are ready to do some exploring.

This is the view from the rear of our coach -- motorhomes parked as far as you can see -- and we are near the middle of the row.

This is the view of the front of the coach and as you can see, there is plenty of room between the rigs. The FMCA is a great organization and everyone we have met is very friendly and outgoing.

Rick and Cody are having a tough afternoon. We have already been to visit the many (hundreds) of vendors who offer all kinds of RV related items. There are also many seminars on interesting topics that we will take part in tomorrow. Finally, if you are looking for a new motorhome, there are quite a few of them for sale as well!

Our electric bikes are coming in very handy since the rally is spread out over a very large area. The FMCA is also running shuttle busses between the areas, so that works out well too.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Spending the Winter at Haines Creek RV Village

We are spending the winter at a small, but nice rv park in Leesburg, FL called Haines Creek RV Village which offers some really nice features. Located fairly close (about 3 miles) to shopping and attractions in the Leesburg area, it is right on the bank of Haines Creek -- which is really a small, but navigable river. As you can see, this is a beautiful river that connects Lake Eustis and Lake Griffin and is about 6 miles long. It even has a lock controlling the flow of the water between the lakes.

The resort has a 600' long dock running along the river that is a great place to walk and watch the wildlife. Rick has tried some fishing, but not much success as yet.

Since my parents have a home in a retirement community on the river fairly close to us, we became partners in a nice pontoon boat. Here I am running the boat down Haines Creek as we head toward Lake Eustis.

Of course, Cody, the photo dog, gets to come along and really seems to enjoy the boat. There are a number of restaurants available to travel to by boat, so it is a fun experience for everyone.

We are looking forward to spending the winter exploring the Leesburg area of central Florida.

Monday, February 1, 2010

We are back online! Greetings from central Florida!

I have been pretty slack in updating the blog! We have settled into our winter digs in Leesburg, FL and have enjoyed some slow living. However, I have missed recording our adventures on the blog, so wanted to start again.

And what a wonderful event to re-start the postings! Today, two amazing aircraft from WWII visited the Leesburg city airport -- a B-17 and B-24. WOW! Rick went down to the airport (in the rain) to stand with some other stalwart folks and were rewarded with close-up views of these great planes.

After waiting a few minutes, we saw a large aircraft approach through the mist -- a B-24J. Indeed, this is the ONLY flying B-24J in the world and the first time I had ever seen one in the air. Owned by the Collins Foundation, this was a remarkable sight to see land right in front of us.

Shortly after the B-24 landed, this fabulous B-17 approached and set down. The four Wright radial engines growling as it taxied past me was a great sound!

As you can see, this aircraft was up close and you could really see all the detail on it.

This is a remarkable sight -- a 17 and 24 immediately after "engines off" and parking on the ramp. These planes will be in the area for the next three days and I look forward to seeing them in flight overhead.