Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Back home in Florida

We are back in Florida at Debbie's brother Ernie's ranch in Webster.  Ernie recently purchased the ranch next to his, adding another 20 acres.  Debbie and I are staying in the 2,200 square foot, 5 bedroom house on the new property.  It is like living in a mansion after 3 years of life in our 35 foot RV.  There is a pool and lanai out back and cows, horses, donkeys, and goats galore to play with.  Our RV is parked next to one of the barns.
Debbie is preparing for her first of two hip replacement surgeries and if all goes well, we will be back on the road in September or October.  The first surgery is February 13th and she should be there 3 to 5 days, and the second surgery will probably be 3 months later. The surgeries are at South Lake Hospital in Clermont, Florida.  Now I'm helping out on the ranch and Debbie helps wherever she can. You can't keep a good woman down, as you can see by Debbie's wide smile.

Ernie, Debbie and Vince relaxing out back ready for the evening bonfire.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lake Seminole, GA.

We are in the Eastbank campground, on Lake Seminole, a Corp of Engineers (COE) park near Bainbridge, Georgia (just a few miles from Florida).  It is one of the many COE parks that we love.  They are the most beautiful parks, always on the water, either on a lake, river or at a dam site.  They offer wide sites with great views.  When ever we are near one, we are sure to stay.  Since I am 62 or older, I qualify for the U.S. government's Senior Pass, which allows free entry for me and anyone in my vehicle, into all U.S. National parks, monuments and campgrounds, and it allows us to camp for half price.  So, it only costs $10.00 per night for electric and water.  While we are here, we are just relaxing, not going sightseeing, just chilling out and enjoying the view and the breeze.  Tomorrow we go to Camping World in Tallahassee for repairs to our toilet and a light switch, then we head for the Chonko Ranch in Webster, Florida for a stay with Debbie's side of the Family.  While there, Debbie will see two doctors, one in Clermont and one in Tampa concerning her upcoming hip(s) surgeries.  Once she has the operation(s) we will recuperate at the ranch until she is ready to get back on the road again.  Debbie has made it very clear that back on the road, seeing the U.S. is where she wants to be.
Debbie relaxing at our campsite on Lake Seminole, Corp of Engineers park

Debbie setting up to finish a puzzle and some snack on some Cheetos

A beautiful campground with lots of space between campsites
Sunset over Lake Seminole

Debbie enjoying the campfire

Friday, January 11, 2013

Fort Pickens National Park, Gulf Breeze, FL

We are camping at Fort Pickens National Park in Gulf Breeze, just south of Pensacola, Florida.  We are awed by the long, pure white, sandy beaches and the light green tinted clear water.  It is a really beautiful beach.  We visited Fort Pickens while we are here, this fort built in 1834 was built to protect the Pensacola Harbor.  It is a huge fort with 4 foot thick brick walls, built with slave labor.  This fort was built between 1825 and 1834, finished 31 years before Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation.  One part of the fort's walls and a munitions storeroom were blow out by a fire that ignited an explosion in 1898. The U.S. stopped using the fort in 1937, when it became a Florida State park, and now is back in the control of the U.S. as part of the Gulf Island National Seashore.
Our campsite at Fort Pickens National Park
The moat around Fort Pickens
The windows where 10 foot above the ground before the area was filled in
Each one of those arches had a cannon pointed toward the sea
One of the smaller cannons used

This is a rear view of one of the batteries down the road from the fort
The entrance to one of the shore batteries
The long, white sandy beaches
Debbie is enjoying the beach
We drove over to Pensacola Beach
No, we didn't take a ride
Debbie preparing to shop on the boardwalk


Sunday, January 6, 2013

San Antonio, Texas

We are in San Antonio, Texas for 5 days on our way back to Florida.  We spent the afternoon of the first day at a timeshare type presentation for Wyndham Vacation Resorts.  We were told that it would be 90 minutes, but it ended up another hour after that.  Needless to say that we did not buy a membership, as we didn't have an extra $88,000 + $181. a month.  We did go to the top of the Tower of the Americas, which was built in 1968 for the World's Fair.  We had some great views of the city.  We also had a nice lunch at the Guadalajara Grill in the La Vallita section of town.
One day we also visited the Cathedral of San Fernando, and saw a wedding in progress.  It is quite a beautiful cathedral.  We also visited the Mission of San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo in San Antonio, built in 1720, which is like a church and a military fort.  There are 100 rooms for the Indians who are learning to become Catholics, high walls protecting everyone inside, the mission and all the quarters for the mission's priests and staff.  It is quite a large place.
Finally, we took a tour of SAS shoes. (San Antonio Shoes)  This is the only brand of shoes Debbie will wear because by wearing them, Debbie no longer has back problems.  She had 7 pairs and purchased another pair after the tour.  What would a visit to San Antonio be without visiting the Alamo and the Riverwalk.  We visited both and had a great time while in San Antonio.
Our campsite at San Antonio KOA
The Tower of the Americas
A view of downtown San Antonio
A Mayan sculpture believed to be 750 years old
Debbie was pooped, so we hired a rickshaw to take us to La Vallita
Everyone likes Tequilla
Inside the Guadalajara Grill
The Cathedral of San Fernando

The Wedding inside the Cathedral
Inside the Cathedral are the remains of the Alamo Heros

The walls surrounding the Mission of San Jose y San Miguel de Aguayo

The rear view of the mission
One of the four areas where the Indians resided
The front of Mission San Jose
One of the many stoves used by the Indians
The Altar inside the mission

The view from just inside the front door
A barge on the San Antonio Riverwalk
One of the many restaurants along the river
A Christmas Tree on one of the islands

Going under one of the many bridges
Just a beautiful 45 minute ride
Debbie at the Alamo
One side of the Alamo Monument
Another side of the Alamo Monument
The front of the Alamo Monument
The SAS Shoe factory store & Debbie with her new shoes
This is one large store
The SAS kitchen, warm cookies, free coffee & 5 cent popcorn
The Studebaker is part of the interior of the SAS store
They sell SAS clothing too!
The SAS Ice Cream Parlor
So many wonderful displays
A Studebaker truck just inside the entrance

SAS Shoes, just a great nostalgic place to visit