This was our 2013 Jayco Flight Swift 198 RD


Wednesday 29 December 2021

Picnic at Lake Alto Park

What a wonderful day we had. Our longtime friends Linda and Ed, that we met while we were all cruising with our yachts in the Caribbean and beyond, met us today at the Lake Alto Park here in Florida. 


Ed had been sourcing a new lake to take his kayak for a paddle around and asked us if we wanted to meet up there. Linda and Ed live in Jacksonville, FL, so it was half way for both of us. The day was beautifully sunny, temps I think were 28C/82.4F but underneath the trees in the picnic areas it was slightly breezy and cooler. 


It had been several years (5 I think) since we had seen each other in person, so there was a lot of catching up to do and I have to admit, I never took the walk around the park and to the lake itself as Linda and I were engrossed in talk ;-)


However, we all agreed that the area deserves another visit so I am hopeful that next time that we will venture there I will have lots of photos to show.  Benno brought our BBQ from the Travel Trailer and I had packed Smoked Brisket hamburger patties and condiments while Linda contributed scrumptious coleslaw with some chips. There were adult beverages and soda. 


Lunch tasted great and we were all stuffed. Linda loves to cook and bake and she gifted me with a couple of preserves that she made and that I am sure we will love. She is also into crafting many things that you can admire while reading her blog: We Two Travellers Living the Life. She brought along a bag full of homemade bookmarks that were very unique and I got to pick some for myself. Thanks for the gifts!

Our dogs stayed mostly in their net enclosed tent while we sat at the picnic tables and foldable chairs, but loved the walk in the forest with me later on and all the smells they could sniff, for sure a reason to come back to.


It is only two more days to the year, so lets hope next year will be good to all of us. Should I not going to post until next year, y’all have a Nice and Happy New Years’ Eve! 


Saturday 25 December 2021

Merry Christmas!

A very Merry Christmas to our family, friends, acquaintances, and blog readers around the world. May this time brings you peace, happiness and good health.


Benno and I are happy to be spending this winter in our travel trailer here in Florida. The weather forecast for today called it “mostly sunny and pleasant with a daytime of 25C/77F.” Sounds perfect to me. Our yesterday’s Christmas Eve dinner consisted of a warmed up pre-roasted turkey breast with whole cranberry sauce, yams in brown butter and brussels sprouts. Today’s dinner will be Ribeye steaks cooked on the BBQ accompanied with fresh asparagus. German white wine goes with everything!


As a German tradition that we have kept in all of our married years is to have a “Bunte Teller” for Christmas, translated to a plate heaped with Christmas cookies and goodies. Our plates were not big enough to fit everything and we didn’t include mixed nuts or fruits. So if we look a bit chubby cheeked in future photos, you know we are still working on finishing those Bunte Teller!!


Have a wonderful time everyone and I will report soon again.


By the way, look at this flowering Christmas cactus.

Friday 17 December 2021

Getting lost in the woods

The weather here last week in Central Florida gave us a mix of hot sunny days, rain that lasted a few hours, fog in the morning and a windy day where we had to roll in the awing because of it. All in all not bad and we take every day as it presents itself. 


So last Tuesday our Reggie had his 6thbirthday for which we presented him with a large, warmed up sausage. Elsa helped him to gobble it up. Now both of them are hoping another sausage will appear on January 6thwhen Elsa turns 6 years old. 


There is a CVS pharmacy located adjacent to our RV Park. They offer free Pfizer-Biontech Covid-19 vaccination booster shots. We took advantage of that and both of us got the booster shots. No prior appointments were needed.


Yesterday was a beautiful day, lovely 30C/86F and it was decided to venture into the forest with nature trails next to our park. Maybe it should have been anticipated that after the rain that we have had a couple of days ago that the trails would be still a bit damp, and they were. In prior years we walked allover those paths so we thought we knew our way. 

Well, after deviating from the trails and descending into the canyon, stumbling over boulders and traipsing through undergrowth it became apparent that none of us knew our way, but the dogs had a blast sniffing through the brush. We found ourselves contemplating the steep ruts left by 4x4’s and ATVs to get back up to the trails but giving up after some slipping and sliding in our crocs quicker down instead of getting up to the higher grounds, Benno ended up in a prickly bush on the slippery sloop. After that mishap we noticed we were truly lost like in the movies and had to reconsider our navigational skills. 

Benno mentioned that a work camper saw a bear on the garbage bin and they still have the Florida Panther in this state. All that did not help me in the moment other then that I had the urge to get back to our trailer quickly. In the end another path leading uphill mysteriously appeared and after taking it we had our bearings again. It was fun though! Once back at the travel trailer both dogs needed a bath and Benno was picking the thorns out off his socks!


By the way I noticed berries growing wild in the bush that I have not seen before. I tried to identify them using the Internet and came up with Beautyberry or Mulberry for those red ones. The purple bunches I still don’t know.

Thanks for visiting my blog and I hope you continue to do so. Stay tuned..


Saturday 11 December 2021

Two more weeks to Christmas

A week flew by and we have hardly noticed. I can’t complain because the weather had been great since we arrived here in Florida. Yes, there was an evening shower a couple of days ago, but daytime temps have been in the lower 80ties, which is quite nice for this time of year. 

Of course we have been to town to do some shopping and yes, Harbor Freight (A chain retail store for tools and equipment that we don't have in Canada) had a visit from Benno not only once, but twice. We needed to restock some of our food and as usual I visited several grocery stores in the area just so I could get my bearings, so to speak, of what kind of merchandise the stores carry and to compare prices. I am so glad we have two of the Aldi chain stores here (which we don't have in Canada). They stock a few of the German type foods that we appreciate and their prices are very reasonable.


A web search for a specific product for "Albatross" that Benno was looking for pointed us to a Home Depot in Crystal River, Florida. The city is known for being the manatee capital of the world and a National Wildlife Refuge. We had been there a few years ago to watch the manatees and plan another visit this winter. However, this trip was a short one and we also spotted a West Marine store on the main strip that we quickly browsed through. Before leaving I quickly snapped a few photos so you see the touristy side of the place.

Many RVers have Christmas decorations out and at night the various colorful lights and displays look very nice. An end unit RV on the opposite row I remember from previous years has a whole lot of displays. I include some photos.


What I really like are the lush vegetation here around the park and the Spanish Moss hanging from the Oak and Pine trees is evidence that it must be very humid here for most parts of the year.

And to close out today’s blog I have included a photo of a little pine branch for Nancy that fell from one of the pine trees in our park where whole grassy areas are covered in needles! While I took that photo a lady from our park drove up and asked me why I took that photo. I then explained what I had learned reading the post at “Kissack Adventures – Trying New Things” read here. Nancy, if I sweep the ground I could mail some to you, ha ha.


Thanks for dropping by again until my next post.

Sunday 5 December 2021

We are at our winter spot

Yes, I know you have been wondering if we got away or where we are and I had promised to blog from underway. Things don’t always turn out the way you thought they would. First of all, we are here in the south. Here is the Wandering Oaks RV Park in Ocala, Florida. We’ve been at this park before a couple of times and liked the area, tranquility (except for the occasional revved engine at a traffic light close by) and the friendly people here.

We are parked and set up

Why is everyone driving on the left lane?

just a scenery along the way

This time it took us three full days to get here. No breakdowns, the trailer and truck worked fine, but traffic jams and lots of construction along the way. Add to that coffee breaks and short days because it gets dark at 6 PM we had some rain on Wednesday and on top of that we dislike driving in the dark. In the end it doesn’t even matter because we sleep in the same bed every night, just in different locations. The first night we stayed at a Lowes parking lot, the second night we choose to stay at Home Depot parking lot and the third night it was the parking lot at a Camping World in Georgia close to the border of Florida.


I thought this was a beautiful tow truck 

He got a customer a little bit further ahead

So to back up we left Canada last Wednesday. The previous Saturday the boat got shrink-wrapped. The guys that did it called and asked if they could come a day ahead of schedule and we were glad they did, because a couple of hours after they were done we had snow flurries and frost overnight. Our local bird population I treated to my last three suet cakes but I only had two wire-mesh holders so I resorted to an onion net to improvise. 


The birds are going to miss us

Hope this net worked as a substitute

Albatross was wrapped up nicely

The guys put a door with a zipper in the shrink-wrap 

Monday and Tuesday we spent packing the travel trailer. There are so many things we don’t bring along but just the essentials alone seem to be turning into many trips back and forth. Finally after all the chores we left on Wednesday morning thinking we did good time wise. After 5 minutes on the road I remembered that I hadn’t opened the doors of the fridge and freezer and didn’t empty the full icemaker reservoir of the ice cubes. The power was off for the fridge, so just imagine the mess it would create on the floor with the ice melting but the water not evaporating. Yep, we turned around to take care of the matter.


At the Ambassador Bridge Border Crossing in Detroit there was only one car in front of us. Our papers were in order but after being asked if we brought any fruits and vegetables I admitted to have two already peeled Clementine’s in a small container in the fridge for a snack later on. BTW they were grown in the USA, but apparently not allowed back in, so they were taken from us and disposed of. After that we were free to leave and bonus, the toll bridge collection booths had a sign saying: “FREE - Welcome back Canadians.” That was nice!

Very friendly neighbours 

We are parked just behind the flagpole

Now in real time, after setting up here at the RV Park we are acclimatizing to the enjoyable weather here. We already met two of our really nice immediate neighbors. This is Ralph, who retired from the United States Marine Corps with a Purple Heart.


Our neighbour Ralph

I hope everyone back home is happy and healthy and I thank everyone for dropping in again. I’ll post some more photos of this park and area next time.


Thursday 25 November 2021

Dreaming of someplace warm

With today’s overcast sky and drizzle rain we are having the hitch itch. Some friends are already at their destinations either in the southwest or southern places for the winter season, which makes us a little bit jealous.  

The last fire of the season, reducing the scrap pile

What is holding us back, you ask? Well, yesterday I got my second shingles vaccination shot that I though was important to get. Our two dachshunds Reggy and Elsa had their rabies shots on Tuesday. Those are repeated every three years and this was their renewal date and the vaccinations are required to cross into the USA. The crew that is supposed to shrink-wrap our boat for the winter time is pretty well working overtime with all their bookings, but promised us to come this Sunday, fingers crossed.


For all the people that head south and are not full-timers, they know that packing the RV for travel is somewhat of a chore. Many things that go into the RV we still use on a daily base so that eliminates pre-packing until the last day or so. And then there is the food planning. Some food items are not allowed to cross the border and our fridge/freezer in the travel trailer is much smaller than the one we have in the house, so we have been cutting down on new food purchases and eating up what we can’t take or what doesn’t fit. Benno is a good sport by helping to reduce the contents of those unopened ice-cream containers from the freezer that I had been hoarding for special occasions ;-)


The now empty engine bay

The old engine in its bay

That brings me to the boat activities he has been involved in since my last posting. Since the old engine came out, he had to strip and take out much of the interior and wiring, because things will be a bit different once the new engine goes in. And yes, if you were wondering if we made a decision on the new replacement engine, we have. Last week the rep for southern Ontario, Mr. Craig Morley of Beta Marine Canada, a marine diesel engine supplier, came by and left later with an order and down payment for a "Beta 38" diesel engine, which will go into “Albatross’s“ engine bay when delivered coming spring next year. The “Beta 38“ base diesel is a 38 hp 4 cylinders Kubota diesel, which is marinized at Beta Marine Ltd in the UK. 


Until next spring time the boat will just hibernate here on our property before Benno will get to work on her again. In the meantime Benno greased the wheel bearings and suspension on the travel trailer to make sure it is in good travel order. He also turned the travel trailer around for easy hookup (we could leave in a hurry without a sweat ;-) 


So I leave you here with a couple of photos of Reggy and Elsa, who have been brave in this miserable weather staying indoors because Mommy didn’t want to go out with them for their walk!


 Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends and readers from the USA. Thanks for dropping by and hopefully the next update will be from the road!