Friday, May 30, 2008

Kennedy Space Center

On Wednesday Jenn, Mark, Gary and I went down the coast to the Kennedy Space Center. Gary and I had been a couple of times in previous visits to Florida, but it was all new to Jenn and Mark. The weather was but not "roasting". They have a pretty good thing going on. Very interesting and fun place to visit. Especially since there was a shuttle flight scheduled for Saturday. We were able to see part of the shuttle from the observation tower. There was so much to see and do that Jenn and Mark returned alone on Thursday. We spent the day with Mom and Dad at the pool. It was tough but someone had to do it. :)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Beach Fun

We've spent quite a bit of time in the sun. Both condos we've been staying at have had great pools and both are right on the beach front in New Smyrna. Doug, Sherry, Todd, Donna, Jessica and Lily stayed at the Islander Beach Resort. Bob and Bev came over each day. Cricket and her son Kyle and his girlfriend Jennifer came over on Sunday.
Mom, Dad, Jenn and Mark stayed at the Coconut Palms Resort just down the road(beach). We've been parked at the New Smyrna Beach RV Resort about 5 miles away. During the day we've gone over to the beach or pool. The beach here is in best shape it has been in since the 2004 hurricanes. "They" have been rebuilding the beach since a lot of the sand/dunes were lost during the storms. That process still continues today.

Note...if you look reallll closely you'll see that Douglas is wearing a UNC t-shirt!!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Ponce de Leon Lighthouse

On Tuesday we went to the Ponce Lighthouse. There are over 200 steps to the top of the lighthouse. Gary, Jenn, Mark and I climbed them all. Mom and Dad cheered us on from rocking chairs on the porch. It wasn't too difficult. There were landings occasionally where you could stop and rest. The worse part was the paint smell coming from new paint on part of the staircase. I definitely do not want that job. It was a little bit disconcerting to look up or down the staircase as we went round and round. The last set of steps was almost straight up (almost a ladder). The view from the top was worth all the effort. Awesome!!!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Family Visits in Florida

For the past week we've been in New Smyrna Beach visiting with family. Mom, Dad, Jennifer and Mark arrived on Saturday. Sherry and Doug's son Todd, wife Donna, daughters Jessica and Lily also arrived on Saturday. We have had a great time visiting with everyone.
On Monday we celebrated Bob's birthday with a cookout at Tommy and David's house.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Alls Quiet at Thousand Trails

We moved back into Thousand Trails in Clermont (outside Orlando) on Friday. This place is very different now than during "the season" as it is called down here. During Jan, February, March and April this place was packed. First with us snowbirds..then in April some snowbirds along with families enjoying their spring break vacations. Now the park is almost empty. Lots of the staff have gone also. Some areas of the park are closed since they just don't need all of the camping spots. It is very quiet.
And did I mention that it is HOT!!! It has been in the 90s most every day until today. We had a bit of rain today and temps in the upper 80s instead. However, the heat is coming back starting tomorrow. 90s for the rest of the week. The humidity level has been up to about 71% today. Air conditioning is our friend. We have 50amp service and both ACs have run constantly. We plan to stay here until Friday.
We'll move to New Smyrna Beach Campground then. Mom, Dad, Jenn and Mark are coming down and we're going to have a week at the beach. Doug and Sherry are already in Florida and hopefully their sons and families are coming down too. reunion time. Yeah!!!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Back in Florida

We had a very good visit in North Carolina. We saw most of our family and some of our friends. If we didn't see you, sorry we missed you. If we was great. We will be looking forward to our next visit (probably sometime next fall).
In the meantime...all are welcome to visit us where-ever we are.

Which presently once again is Florida. We left last Thursday and came on down to Daytona Beach for the weekend. I needed new lenses for my glasses and wasn't able to get them made in NC before we had to leave. So we came to Daytona Beach and ordered them from a local shop. $459.00 for new lenses. I'm using the same frame. It sucks to have "old" eyes. What a racket!!!
I learned when I saw my regular ophthalmologist that the prescription I've been living with for over a year is wrong. In Jan 07 I made the mistake of going to a optometrist's office in a certain big box store to have a quick eye check for new glasses. Big mistake. I should have gone to the ophthalmologist that I've been seeing for over 20 years. I found out I was being "over-corrected" and it is causing eye strain..which is causing daily headaches. So, I am looking forward to the new lenses next week or so. Hopefully, it will be better.

On Tuesday morning we moved to Lazydays. We needed the house worked on. It had a spider web shaped fiberglass crack on the back. We stayed at Lazydays until Friday while the repair was done. This picture shows the crack before the repair. Its a little hard to see but look right in the middle of the picture for a spider web. That is the crack. They called it a "Stress" fracture. The Lazyday body shop did a great job. We were told they ground the crack and re-fiberglassed. Then paint and polish. It looks awesome.

On the way down to Florida, we stopped at the Swan Lake and Iris Gardens in Sumter, SC. The gardens began in 1927 as a private fishing retreat for Hamilton Carr Bland, a local businessman. At the same time he was developing the 30 acres of swamp on what is now West Liberty Street, he was landscaping the grounds of his home with Japanese iris. They failed miserably, and after consulting expert horticulturists from as far away as New York, he ordered his gardener to dig up the bulbs and dump them at the swamp. The following spring, they burst into bloom. The accidental garden, referred to by Southern Living magazine a "lovely mistake," has since been developed into one of the finest botanical gardens in the United States. In 1938 Mr. A.T. Heath, Sr., deeded additional land to the city with the stipulation that Mr. Bland develop this part of the gardens. Today, the Heath Gardens encompass most of the park's 120 acres. Mr. Bland deeded the Bland Gardens to the city in 1949. The two gardens are joined by the McDuffie Overpass, a gift to the city from the McDuffie family in 1994.

The swans were gathered from all over the world, representing Australia, North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Originally imported by Mr. Bland in the late 1920's, the Australian
Black swans have been in residence the longest, and some of the birds living in the garden at present are their descendants. Other species were added over the years, with the donation of Bewick swans in 1997 by Yuasa-Exide Corporation completing the collection. Visitors are permitted to bring bread or crackers for feeding the swans, who are usually friendly. Canada geese, mallards, egrets, herons and anhingas also call the gardens home. The swans and geese were quite friendly and would walk right up to you (looking for that bread or cracker handout).