This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Saturday 28 January 2017

Yard Art

Occasionally it gets cold here in Florida, too. On those days we choose to go grocery shopping. However, there is only so much food one needs so we have to think of other things to do or see to pass the time.
When we went to the National Navy SEAL Museum a week or so ago we passed by what looked like an interesting outdoor art collection market.  It looked huge, bigger than anything we have ever seen. An eye-catching place with a life size buffalo sculpture out in the front.  We noticed it on the return trip, but it was late in the evening and the place was already closed for the day.
Yesterday, being a bit more chilly but sunny, we thought we drive back to that kind of artsy place we had seen to have a closer look.  I am always interested in yard art to beautify our garden and here in Ocala I had been to the “Moon Tide Garden Escapes” who sell beautiful garden ornaments.  They are located at 5581 S Pine Ave., but although I very much liked many of their creations, they were too pricy for me.

So yesterday morning off we went to see this other yard art place. We both remembered vaguely having seen the art displays on State Road 40 on our right hand side close to an intersection on the return trip, but we were not sure exactly how far away it had been.  We followed SR 40 into the famous Ocala Forest and kept on driving.  The SR40 is a beautiful scenic road but after each bend and mile after mile we thought that surely we must be almost there.  When we passed the Fire Lookout Tower on our right neither one of us could remember having seen it coming home last week, but it was dark then. 

We drove 10 miles further and another 10 miles and I thought we are like the “Energizer Bunny” that keeps on going and going indefinitely.  When we crossed over the St. John River I was ready for a coffee, but Benno was hopeful we would be almost there or we would end up at Ormond Beach.
Finally, we saw what we were coming for. Yes, I couldn’t believe it, but we had driven close the 50 miles to get here!  You couldn’t miss the place either, because some of the aluminum animal statuaries are HUGE that are lined up outside the fence.  There, close to the intersection of US-17 and SR-40 in Barberville, is Florida’s Largest Outdoor Unique Hand Made Yard Art Emporium.  Just picture two acres full of thousands of authentic, one of a kind Mexican Talavera pottery, figurines, lamp posts, fountains, wrought iron trellises, windmills, planters, teak wood furniture and carvings, local chainsaw wooden art and so many other souvenirs.  In addition they were selling local pure raw honey, boiled and roasted peanuts and fresh Indian River fruit.

We were overwhelmed to say the least.  It’s a place worthwhile to come back to and I couldn’t possibly have taken pictures of all the things on display. Here are a few…

If you ever come to this area, put this must see place onto your bucket list. The address is:  Barberville Roadside Yard Art Emporium, 140 West State Road 40, Pierson, FL 32180

Wednesday 25 January 2017

Museum of the Navy’s Finest

Last Thursday Benno, the Doxies, and I did a 637 km/approx. 400mile round trip from Ocala to the National Navy SEAL Museum in Fort Pierce and back to Ocala.  A visit to this museum was on Benno’s bucket list and I came along because Navy Seals were the heroes of many novels I have read and several movies come to mind where they were the stars of the plot, so I was intrigued to find out more about these men.

A little bit of a background on the history of the SEALs you might not know.  It all started in 1942 in Fort Pierce as an Amphibious Scout and Raider School that developed into Underwater Demolition Teams, which were sent into action to the Normandy Beaches and to the Pacific Theater. During WWII the Navy had more than 30 UDT (Underwater Demolition Teams), commonly known as “Frogmen”. During the Korean War the Navy had 300 men combined in 3 Underwater Demolition Teams doing all kinds of commando jobs. President Kennedy recognized 1962 the need for a special operation group to fight unconventional warfare at Sea, Air and Land (SEAL) The UDT’s integrated into the new SEAL teams with special training in demolition, high altitude parachuting and hand-to-hand combat.

The building of the museum is located right across the seashore in Fort Pierce (the parking lot is shared with the beach going crowd) and next to the entrance on the property is an obstacle course with all kinds of exercise equipment installed which you are free to use to show off your skills or, to make a fool yourself by trying to master them.  In any case, the visitor gets a glimpse and appreciation into the tough training of this special operations force.  We picked up a brochure of the museum and it read: “If you got any closer, you would have to enlist.”  Generally what these Seal’s are doing is highly classified!

While we were cruising with our motor vessel we had the opportunity to observe some of the training of the SEALs while they were tirelessly jumping out of helicopters time after time into the frigid water of Willoughby Bay close to Little Creek in the Norfolk area.  And then we came across the special operations craft of the squadron of the “Riverine” in the Intracoastal Waterway. You can read up on it in our blog at Diesel Duck by clicking  this link.

Most pictures speak for themselves. 

 It was interesting to view the model of Osama Bin Laden’s compound
 that was used to prepare the special operations team for the takedown.   

Way too many of the brave Warriors died fighting

Monday 23 January 2017

After the storm

It sounds like a movie, doesn’t it? You probably all know that we had a terrible weather forecast here in Florida for yesterday with high winds, storm cells with lightening, nasty downpours and a tornado warning. Yep, it happened, no tornados but during the night the rain drummed a staccato on the trailer’s roof and the wind gusts buffed the trailer.

That storm here in Ocala brought down quite a few branches from the old Oak trees that adorn our RV park.  I kept my fingers crossed that our trailer would be spared of any large branches that kept crashing to the ground all around us.  Thankfully they all landed elsewhere with only a couple of lightweight branches landing on our roof.

So today Art, our RV Park host, and Bobby, his right hand man, had their hands full to clean up the aftermath of debris. It appeared that there was a stubborn branch dangling precariously over a parked fifth wheel by just a few strands.  Just recently the RV Park had acquired a new bucket truck to use throughout the park.  That bucket truck came in handy today to hoist someone up into the trees to remove that branch. Okay, lets stretch the name “new” a little; it was a new addition to the park’s inventory, but a well used utility bucket truck from the state of New York and not a spring chicken anymore.

The lucky guy to get the job was Art, the RV Park host.  The bucket truck was driven into position and in short order Art, now in the bucket, hoisted himself up by activating the lever in the bucket.  But wait, not all the way up, because all of a sudden the hoist stopped.  Now what?  When I passed by the bucket truck quite some time later, three guys were desperately pooling their brain power together trying to fix this problem.  Soon they had more onlookers and RV residents trying to help with suggestions, but apparently fuses in the truck kept blowing out.  After a while standing there I decided to go home to our trailer to make lunch thinking that the guys had this in control. 

After eating our lunches we were surprised to hear the siren of a fire truck coming into our RV Park yet again (they were here a couple of weeks ago) I went to see what was happening.  All the while we were having lunch at our trailer, poor Art had been stuck up there in the bucket that wouldn’t budge.  I was told that there was an attempt made to get him out the bucket by telling him to rope down, but Art himself as well not a spring chicken anymore, did not like that at all, it could have ended in a disaster and the idea was abandoned. The truck’s electrical issue stayed persistent and Art was getting itchy so someone suggested calling the fire department to get Art down but he wouldn’t hear of it.  However, dark ominous clouds were appearing in the sky and it looked like it could be raining soon. Art noticed them too and said: “Ok guys, go and call the fire department.” 

The pictures should describe the whole event.  Once Art was safely down with the assistance of the nice fellows from the fire department you should have seen his smile.
And the guys got the job of cutting off the culprit of the dilemma done too!