Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Hot Time at Lake Rosalie Park

Here it is another beautiful day in the 'Sunshine State'. We're supposed to get some rain as a front passes through on Saturday night, so we have decide since we are paid through Saturday we'll leave Sunday.

Yesterday we finished the day with drinks around the campfire, after a great meal cooked over the campfire. The park is almost empty except for the three of us and some tenters.

Friday Linda & I had bagels to tie us over until breakfast was decided, since no plans were made Thursday night. Della & George announced they needed to go home as they had a seviceman coming Saturday. We all decided to meet for lunch in Lake Wales, good thing we had a bagel!

Before headin' off to town it was decided we had to have a return game o' washers. This time I teamed with George, Linda with Noel and Della with Barb.


Della gettin' ready to pitch one.


An' Barb lettin' 'er fly.

Seems George & I won the first and second round, so we were declared the victors today. Then the underdogs played for second place, which went to Della & Barb. Then it was off to town for lunch at the Chinese Buffet, not to bad. When we returned to camp from late lunch , stuffed like a bunch of ticks, we settled in for 'Happy Hour'. We made a nice campfire and just sat talking into the night, although Linda had to go watch Grey's Anatomy during the evening.

Saturday started with eggs over easy, hash with potatoes, toast, OJ & coffee at Noel & Barbs cause the wind has really started to pick up to the 25-30mph, with the approach of the cold front. Noel & Barb have decided to come back to Vero with us to see our son Jason for the day, so this morning was spent breakin' camp somewhat in preparation for our departure Sunday morn. In the afternoon we went to town to fill a propane tank, the store was closed. Saw Barb's brother and wife, who are leaving for Michigan on Sunday, then returned a campfire fireplace we've been using to friends in Babson Park. Then it was back to camp cause us fella's needed to get in our nap before 'Happy Hour' & dinner. As Noel & I are restin' we smell smoke, nothin' too unusual since we have some new folks upwind of us. Turns out it's not a campfire as we spot this as were eatin' dinner.


A bit of smoke over the bath house.

As we watch the fire we're wonderin' if the fire fighters are gettin' a handle on it at all, cause remember them 30 mph winds, they're still blowing. Well we figure that we're due north of the fire, it;s movin' northeast, so we're in a good position even though the only way out is south through the fire. The fire is still a mile away, the smoke is going diagonal to us, so we sit and wait keepin' an eye on it. Some folks tried to leave the park , only to be turned back by officials that had the road closed. We watched and figured the fire should have crossed the road from west to east by now, so we're hopin' we are in a better position now. Then folks start comin' down into the park, one after the other, being evacuated by the fire officials & sheriffs department.


Fire's gettin' bigger & closer to us.

The folks that are comin' in say the Forestry department has got it under control and have started a back fire to try and starve it out. All this while there's a helicopter buzzin' around the fire, which we figure is a news chopper, then we hear a different helicopter.


And this guy appears over the lake.


Now we feel that they'll get control of the fire.

The Forestry chopper kept makin' repeated trips to the lake or to the lake adjacent to us, Tiger Lake, for water. we watched the smoke plume as it seemed to dissipate then billow in great clouds. After about an hour a sheriff's deputy came down and told us the Fire Marshal recommended we evacuate in the next 20 minutes, cause the fire was burning in a horseshoe and after this we might not be able to leave. We decided to go. Thank goodness Noel had hitched up when we returned from town, but there was still much to do. water & electric lines started flying along with outdoor furniture, rugs, get the slides in after the inside prep. We were a bunch of flyin' maniacs. we got everything under control then hitched up Noel's boat and we were off.

We made it up the road about a mile then came to a stop with fire burnin' on both sides of us. great Noel can't turn around here, I'm startin' to wonder if one hand knows what the other is doin'. Well we get movin again and as we move up the road we realize the fire is a lot bigger than we thought. It extends way back on both sides of the road, several homes are completely destroyed and fire and emergency crews are everywhere. Maybe leavin' aint' such a bad idea, better safe than sorry. So we're headin' home to our house, 80 miles down the road.


This was our last view of the lake at sunset.

Hope to see ya down the road, on another less exciting day as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.

For more pictures of our short reunion and the firey exit visit our Picasa album.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Camping Reunion

We made it to Rosalie Park to meet our friends. Noel & Barb have been here for the past week and decided to extend, since we could come over, before they start making their way back towards Wisconsin. We arrived and set up in an adjacent site, next to them.


After chattin' fer a bit George & Della came pullin' in so we tried to get them over with us but the host would only allow one unit per site. So they're one site over from us. There were hugs all around and BS'n fer the next few hours. We all got together for a nice spaghetti dinner, Linda did spaghetti & sauce, Della did three cheese bread with garlic and Barb did a nice salad and dessert. The meal was great, we all ate to much, the company of friends was great as well. We all have not been together since last winter for a shuttle launch in Titusville, FL.




Here we are for dinner!





After dinner the mosquitoes drove us inside so we passed the night watchin' American Idol. Then we broke up, Linda went for a shower and we called it a day.

Thursday started with coffee in the fresh early morning air. Noel went for his shower, I followed when he was done. Della had snuck off earlier so we were all smellin' good fer the day. All got together for a wonderful breakfast of Sausage gravy & biscuits, Fried potatoes, Scrambled eggs, Sausage patties, fresh squeezed OJ, and everyone's favorite mornin' beverage( some tea, some coffee). If we keep consumin' vittles at this pace we'll be hard pressed to get through the door in the Lance. After Breakfast we men settled down to some serious contemplation of global troubles.




We're 'Hard at it'.





In the afternoon we all got together for a game of Washers', Three teams of two, Della & I rose to victory. Followed by a game of 'Bean bags', same teams where Noel & George were the victors.




This is the view out front, It's tough to take.




Well dinner is planned and will be a group effort and I'm sure it will be great, I'll let you know next time.

Until then we hope to cross paths sometime runnin' down the road as we're

Dancin' on the Wind.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Road Trip!!!

Looks like we're headin' out for a few days to visit with some friends. Got a call from them wantin' to meet them at a lakeside campground in central Florida last week. We haven't seen these folks since last year, when we watched a night launch of the space shuttle & then they stayed with us at home (Click for last years entry).

Linda's Aunt & Uncle are pullin' out in the morn & we'll be on their heels, I hope. We've had a great visit with Aunt Jessie & Uncle Don but it's time for them to head back home till next year. Gonna miss you guys.

Got to get the Lance loaded on the truck, fill the water tank, throw in some clothes and we're off. All the vittles are already onboard.

See ya tommorrow as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gears 'R' meshin' No smoke yet!

Well after much plannin' & measurin' I couldn't find any place to mount a second battery on the Lance, but I did find a spot fer one in the truck bed. Because we have a Fifth Wheel we have mounting rails bolted through the bed of our truck when the hitch is removed. So when we use the Lance I place a frame I've constructed of 2x4's turned flat, in the bed to clear the 5ver mounting rails. To this frame I've added a rectangular piece of plywood, in the front right corner of the bed to mount the battery on and a strap to secure the battery.


Then all I had to do was run some #8 wire from the battery compartment in the left rear corner, into the bathroom, under the vanity, along the wall past the furnace, behind the oven, into the kitchen base cabinet, across the water tank in front and out at the front right of the rig. I would have run #6 wire but I already had lots of #8 and figured I'm not going to be pulling a heavy amperage load from that battery. I use a 400 watt inverter to run the TV, Digital box and the DVD. Of coarse I'm not runnin' everything at once, it's the DVD & TV or the TV & Digital box. I use a 150 watt inverter in the truck to charge the laptop, which works out well.

I did an experiment one evening to test our one 125 a/h battery. I turned the Digital box & the TV on and left them on to see what kind of battery life we could expect. This battery is only 2 months old so it should be capable of 125 a/h, although I don't want to draw it down more than 50% to extend the batteries life as long as possible. Well at the start of the experiment the voltage on the battery, after disconnecting the shore power and allowing it to rest for a few hours, was 12.89 volts. After drawing from the battery for 5 1/2 hours, the voltage read 12.67, again I let the battery rest with no load for an hour. Doesn't look like I used much juice during the experiment. The TV is a 20" flat screen that might draw 50 watts and the Digital converter box, although I haven't checked it, I'm sure is a whole lot less. I realize this was not a true representation of 'Dry Camping' cause there was no lights, occasional water pump or other electrical draw, but it did give me the confidence that we can safely watch TV for 3-4 hours in the evening without killin' the battery. Let's face it when your pullin' an 'Overniter' at Wally World, you need somethin' to pass away the evening hours, so convincing the boss that it's OK to watch TV and carry on life without being in the dark all evening was a major accomplishment. Now with the addition of a second 125 a/h battery there should be no arguments. Our old battery just couldn't provide the power we needed for an evening of Dry Camping', even being extremely conservative on power.

To recharge the batteries for now we'll use our 2000 watt inverter generator, and shore power when were at a campground with hookups. Until I can make up my mind "Yea" or "Nay" on a solar setup for this camper.

Well that's all for now, until the next episode. Who knows maybe we'll see ya' down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Gears 'r' Turnin', Smell any Smoke?

Well here it is the end of the month already. I swear the older ya get the faster the time seems to go. Sorry I haven't posted in so long, Just didn't seem to have it in me, it's been a long month.

When last I left ya we were bouncin' along the road headed south. We made it to our girlfriends home in Kissimmee, had a great time with her & her daughter. Thanks for all the hospitality Rose & Courtney and thanks for makin' my girls birthday so memorable. We had a rip roarin' time at 'Wisperin' Canyon', boy if that aint an oxymoron.

Well we came home to find the fridge' in the house had decided to take a vacation while we were out ramblin' round the south, it just decided it wasn't workin'. Luckily our son discovered it the day it quit and transferred all the frozen stuff to their freezer, lost some stuff but not to bad. It was smellin' like a critter got up in there and died so we worked at cleanin' it over & over with everything under the sun to get the ' aroma' out. We did cleaners galore, bleach, bakin' soda, Oust', put charcoal, bakin' soda, even damp newspapers in there for nigh on two weeks, all the while livin' out of the frig' in the 5'ver. You know what a pain it is to get up to your mornin' cup 'o' joe only to have to go outside to get some milk to lighten it up a tad? Almost force a fella to drink it black! Well everything is fine now, whatever that critter was he must a vamoosed.

One evening our daughter & Grand daughter showed up with pillows under their arms. They have been sharin ' a house with our other daughter and decided they couldn't get along anymore. So they're litein' here till she can get on her feet an get their own place. A week later Linda's Aunt & Uncle from Pennsylvania come for their annual pilgrimage to soak up some sunshine. Just like we predicted when we we were up visitin' them this past summer, they have had an extremely hard winter. Snow, snow, snow, ice and temps in the -20's, Brrrrrrrr. Well they're here now soakin' up the winter warmth of Florida. So right now we have a house full and things are a mite busy round here.

I've been strainin' my grey matter a mite kickin' round some idea's to make our dry campin' easier. First one is. I'd like to add a second 125 amp battery to the Lance, somewhere, and maybe a 100 watt solar setup. There is no place to put a second battery anywhere in it, so it's gonna take some plannin'. I'd like the solar rig but I know down the road we'll have to give up Lance to fulltime in the 5'ver, and I hate to invest the money cause I know I won't get it out. Then again maybe I'll just take the solar panel off the roof addin' it to the 5'ver's system and leave all the rest of the system installed.

Next I'm pricin' out components for a solar system for the 5'ver, probably 400-500 watts to start. I know 6 volt golf cart batteries, like Trojan's T-105 will have more longevity than 12 volt deep cycle batteries, but at twice the price I haven't decided.

That's a project for the future but a fella's got to start plannin'. I've found a source for 100 watt solar panels at a reasonable price, so I have to come up with some funding while the deal is there. Even before that, I have to see the specifications on the panels,. Not buyin' a 'Pig in a Poke'.

Well got to get outside an' do some measurin', plannin' & cypherin'.

Until the next time. Hope to see ya down the road as we're,

Dancin' on the Wind.