This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Tuesday 31 December 2019

From Christmas to New Year’s Eve

Blue Jay MH & RV Resort, Dade City, Florida

On Christmas morning Benno was the first one out of our door as usual. First Reggy and then Elsa take their morning walk with Benno while I start making breakfast. So it was Benno who discovered that Mrs. Santa Claus, I suspect her first name is Eileen, had been visiting our trailer during the night leaving a pretty little stocking filled with chocolates hanging by our door. What a lovely surprise.

At breakfast on Christmas morning Benno broke off a piece of a tooth. I swear I had nothing to do with it. Actually it was an old fix of a prior damage that just didn’t hold any longer and can be fixed again. Christmas day pretty much then revolved around talking to family, noshing on some German chocolates that have been a tradition at Christmas with us ever since we were kids and later on feasting on our special dinner, which this year consisted of Angus Ribeye Steak with sides of Brussels Sprout Salad, Mushrooms with Onions and a good part of a bottle of white Spanish Muscat wine.

On Boxing Day Benno suggested we take a drive to the Brandon Mall by Tampa to participate in the Boxing Day hype. Of course he didn’t mean that but I was ready to walk off all that good food from the previous day so agreed to check out that shopping mecca but I could not shake off the feeling that there was a hidden agenda or mission involved. I mean my husband willingly wants to go to a mall, and on Boxing Day? The I-75 toward Tampa had almost bumper-to-bumper traffic and the north lanes experienced a terrible multi car accident, which turned them into a gigantic parking lot, but our south traffic lanes flowed like thick molasses toward Tampa. At the mall we even managed to get a parking spot in the shade. It’s a huge mall with plenty of stores to peruse but not before long we strolled into an Apple Store. 

"Honey, this is the one that I really want"

Aha, I should have known, because of no surprise to me, they had the famous new DJI Mavic Mini Drone in stock. Benno had been talking about this particular drone a lot lately. Many years ago Benno had a fascination with helicopters and was going to purchase a building kit to build one by him self. Back then I was able to talk him out of it by redirecting his interest from flying into boating. However, this time I have to wave the white flag and surrender. Thank goodness this thing is little and you don’t have to sit on it or get onboard. 

"Please, please, can we buy this aircraft?"

"Thank you! I'm so happy now"

Last winter in Yuma, Arizona, our friend Bill, from "On Our Way" had shown off his DJI drone and this put Benno on fire. On top of that, one of our sailing friends David, from "Just A Little Further" got himself a Holy Stone HS 720 drone and this just added oil to the fire. I have to admit, it’s a neat toy. Another good feature is its weight. It only weighs 249 grams and can be flown without a pilot license as per current regulations. Nevertheless we think it is a good idea for us to enroll to get the basic drone license to learn and be informed of what the regulations are, when we are back home in Canada.

Travel case and view what is inside

Folded Drone, battery charger, remote control

When Benno opened the box of the DJI Mavic Mini Fly More Combo back at our travel trailer I was impressed by the DJI’s compact travel case. The contents are so neatly packed and there was the aircraft with spare batteries, remote controller, extra propeller blades etc. According to the manufacturer it can fly a maximum of 30 min. on a battery charge and some folks have flown it up to 5km/3miles range and a return and in addition it has a fantastic camera for pictures and movies. 

DJI Mavic Mini Drone with unfolded motor arms

DJI Mavic Mini with optional mounted propeller guards, below
is the Flight Controller with our Samsung A20 home phone
with the DJI Fly app

Weather-wise the temps this past week were up and down here in central Florida and a couple of days the sun was totally absent with rain off and on but warm and humid. I spent a few hours of my time at the puzzle table where Eileen joined me and together we managed to finish one 1000 piece puzzle and started a new one, just because we can.

Benno and I would like to wish all of our family members, friends, acquaintances, and blog readers a healthy and happy 2020!  

Tuesday 24 December 2019

Merry Christmas to our family, friends and all our blog readers

Blue Jay MH & RV Park, Dade City, Florida

Benno and I are grateful to be spending another Christmas south of the border in our travel trailer. This year we are in central Florida in a lovely RV Park with just a small group of RVs but a larger community of snowbird residents in park models that have been coming to this place for many years. 

Most days we drive into the town of Zephyrhills, a trip of about 8 minutes to do our purchases. A little closer is the town of Dade City, which also hosts a lot of stores but on a smaller scale and then there are the shopping malls closer to Tampa along the I-75 that offer more of the same.  It seems we always find something to do but I don’t mind to just hang around the travel trailer with something to read or to walk with our two Dachshunds around the complex.

The Florida weather has been a bit of a letdown in the last week with a lot of rain pounding our trailer all day long and even beating down through the night. It’s still overcast today but it looks promising for tomorrow with warmer temperatures and maybe some sunshine.  In-between showers the sky displayed a double rainbow but by the time I found my camera and had rushed outside to take a quick picture they started to fade.

picture of the gopher catcher taken from inside through the fly screen

The maintenance crew in this park has a tough time keeping the resident gophers at bay so they hired a cat to help them out. Actually, Elsa and Reggy volunteered too, but I would not let them get involved in the digging. 

By the way the RV parking spots on the street ahead of our row of RV parking is under construction. All concrete pads had been removed, the ground was leveled, gravel and more dirt were added and interlocking stone is now in place for the RV parking. It looks nice already and that will probably be the end for any gopher’s living quarters. Our RV parking in this street is also being scheduled to receive the same treatment and renovation.

I blame this shot on my camera ;)

Two nights ago our RV Park joined up with two adjacent RV parks for a Christmas theme decorated golf cart parade. Sadly the imminent rainstorm made all the participants race at top speed through the park so that my pictures were a total loss. I was just not prepared and could not find the proper setting for my camera in the dark.

With the cooler weather I had been creative with my dinner creations but will only post the BBQ pork loin pictures for now so you can tell we wont go hungry.

Oh, and before I forget, those Croc shoes finally showed up in our mailbox and Benno didn’t loose any time to put them on, but somehow I think there is something wrong with them :) 

I leave you with a nice sundown picture taken from our travel trailer and tonight's gathering around the fire pit at Eileen and Don, our neighbour's site. 

Thank you for hosting this Christmas Eve gathering

I would like to wish everyone a joyful Christmas. And to our son Dominik, a Happy Birthday, good health and happiness in the coming year.

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Some good deals and a break from the heat

Blue Jay MH & RV Resort, Dade City, Florida

After two days of hot temps here in mid Florida, we cooled down today to 76F/24C. There was even a shower here at the RV Park but we were away at the time shopping in Zephyrhills where it stayed dry.

I had found out that Bealls, a department store, carries Benno’s favorite style of Crocs shoes. On Monday we had gone to the Aldi Store in Lakeland where I took advantage of some great food deals, like a dozen large eggs for 78 cents and family packs of pork loin and chicken breasts and many more good deals. However, there was also a large Bealls store close by. Of course I combined the outing to pop into Bealls to see if they had the elusive Crocs. They had, but wouldn’t you know it, not in his size 10.

Baked parmesan crusted chicken breast and green beans
we ate on Monday (Aldi foods)

So today while we were in Zephyrhills where there is also a Bealls store, I gave it another try to find those Crocs.  Yes, they had that style and color, but just as I had feared, only in sizes 12, 11 and 8. Darn! Not to be defeated I talked to a store sales associate and found out that they cannot order any more shoes in but I could order them online for the same store sales price to be shipped to the RV Park, which I did right there and then. I got a confirmation of my order by email but it did not say when they would be shipped. We’ll see what happens but my hunt for the shoes has stopped. For now.

Tuesday dinner of Lake Erie Pickerel fish filet I had in the freezer from home
with a herb cream sauce

Another first for us was a visit to the “Rural King” store. We weren’t familiar with this kind of a chain farm store and found that it is like a TSC (Tractor Supply Center) but five times or more the size of a TSC. They had several varieties of live chicks in the store, which I found most interesting. Honestly, I didn’t know so many different kinds of chickens existed. However, Benno found a good deal for a Hitch Ball and I thought to give the package of “Amish Kluski Noodles” a try. They look like “Spaetzle” and I will report once I cooked them. Oh, and a new pair of jeans landed in my shopping cart as well.

How about:
Columbian Wyandotte, Egyptian Fayoumi or
Black Australorp Chick?

Out in the parking lot there were several unique motorbikes parked close to our truck. Haven’t seen any like these back home in Canada.

You must think we are out shopping every day, but we do get restless sometimes and you can only do so much reading and relaxing, so a little window shopping and browsing of stores that are not familiar to us, is kind of interesting too. 

Tonights dinner we had Cordon Bleu pork tenderloin
I stuffed the pork with Prosciutto and Jarlsberg Cheese

These two signs we spotted here in front of two mobile homes and they made us smile.

Thanks everyone to visiting and I hope you all had a good day as well. 

Sunday 8 December 2019

I have to get used to the heat!

Blue Jay MH & RV Resort, Dade City, Florida

As I am writing this post in the late afternoon it is still way over 80F/30C showing on our outside thermometer under the sun awning.  Since we settled here and try to relax, there are not too many exciting things happening. Benno had a problem with his nautical crocs shoes. The anti slip sole had come off and we didn’t have glue to put it back on. That necessitated a trip into town. After visiting several stores that we though would perhaps carry it, but they didn’t and we got sidetracked by looking at other merchandise we finally got exhausted and went back home empty handed. Made a barbecue of smoked brisket hamburgers with bacon and other fixings and then called it a day. 

That crocs shoe (I almost wrote c..p shoe) dilemma was still there the next day and we decided to go to a Crocs shoe outlet store. One is located at the Tampa Premium Outlet Mall next to the I-75 on the northern area of Tampa. Wouldn’t you know it, the Crocs store had all kinds of neat looking shoes in sizes 9 and 11 but Benno has a shoe size 10 and there were no shoes in that size. Go figure. We may end up by digging up some contact cement and fixing the problem. However we walked a bit through the pedestrian streets in that mall before heading back to the car.

As we were leaving we noticed a HUGE Costco store on the other side of the road and in-between that and the mall there was another mega store called: “At Home” a home decor store. Benno was thinking it could be something like an IKEA and encouraged me to go in to just have a look and browse. My goodness, this store is a kind of “Hobby Lobby” style and has 108,600 square feet (I had to look that up) with probably more than 50,000 home d├ęcor items. To say I was overwhelmed is an understatement. 

I tried to take some interesting photos but because the store is so large you really have to concentrate on specific items or it’s just a blur of long corridors. What did I come out with? Empty handed but with two blisters on my toes from walking!

Back at the RV Park there was a Craft Show and fundraiser with baked goods at the main community center. Lots of neat looking homemade things, but I don’t know what I would do with them so left them for someone else to take home.

As the hunt for the shoe or contact cement continues, I’ll be reporting of the outcome. Thanks for everyone checking in and I hope you all had a beautiful Sunday.

Thursday 5 December 2019

So it turns out Willi is a Gopher!

Blue Jay MH & RV Resort, Dade City, Florida

Wouldn’t you know it; Willi woke up today and decided to work on another tunnel system. The previous opening had been closed up and had laid undisturbed for a couple of days. But behind our trailer there was some activity just as we came home at lunchtime from a shopping trip. A new mount was in progress and Willi proceeded to pile more dirt onto it. At the same time two RV lots to our left there was another mount just being created. Wow, Willi has a Missis or Buddy and they are in competition which one makes the biggest mount the fastest! I went to investigate and to capture their doings. I haven’t figured yet out how to put my video clips into the blog, as it seems to be too big in bytes. However a few photos might do.

Willi labouring away at the mount

Willi's buddy or girlfriend

When I asked the Internet for information on Willi and his family I discovered that he actually is a pocket gopher and not a mole.  I’m not sure which is worse for the garden. Moles, I learned, can dig a tunnel 15-18 feet long in an hour and move really fast in them. They eat earthworms and insects while gophers eat plant roots, shrubs, and other vegetables such as carrots, lettuce, radishes etc. they also may gnaw on electric cables. Their tunnels are more in a straight line and they move backwards in them. One thing is for sure; those rascals will be a nuisance to the park management and an entertainment to us.

While we were in town today to pick up a few items at Walmart, a visit to Lowe’s which is next door, yielded two flower pots that are now holding down our outdoor carpet. Hopefully their weight will be enough so that the carpet will not flap or sail away should we get some strong wind. We’ll see.

Benno unpacked his package this afternoon and I can report he is a happy camper. It had been a replacement for our weight distribution hitch. The following is Benno’s words as he can explain this better than me.  

We noticed that our hitch system which we had since 2013 showed seizing marks where the spring bars mate the hitch head. On top of this it gave strange sounds from it while driving around corners. (It moaned and groaned) We inherited this hitch as a freebee when we bought our first trailer to live in while working on our house. Our present trailer’s tongue weight was close or right on the border of the hitch’s limit. Short story, we needed a new weight distribution hitch and got a Curt #17062 hitch system which has a grease jerk fitting at the critical parts where the spring bars meet the hitch head and the hitch specs can easy handle our 1000 lb. tongue weight and the trailer’s GVWR of 6500 Ib. I think the grease fittings at the bushings, which house the fitted spring bars, are the major plus of this system.

A nice gathering of our neighbours

We ended our outdoor activities this afternoon at a nice happy hour gathering at our neighbor’s porch area where we had an opportunity to meet lots of nice and friendly residents here. We are looking forward to many more gatherings.
Hope everyone had a good day too and thanks for visiting again.