I set my iPad alarm clock last night for 5:30 AM. As soon as the alarm went off Jasper got up next to me on the outside edge of my side of the bed, snuggled in by chest, and wanted to be petted at great length. I obliged him for as long as I could and was rewarded with his loud, resonant purring, which I could feel as much as hear. I still managed to get out of bed by 5:45, feed the cats, get dressed, and be on my way by 6:08.
It’s only 75 miles from Williston to Suncoast Designers in Hudson, but the first few miles were a slow roll through the RV resort to the front gate followed by the short trip through downtown with a 35 MPH speed limit and several stop lights. After a short distance on US-41 south I picked up FL-115 heading west. A few miles past the airport it made a large sweeping turn to the south and continued on that heading for about 17 miles at 60 MPH until it joined up with to US-19. I continued south on US-19 at 65 MPH for another 20 miles. At that point it felt like I was making good time but I knew what was ahead as I had driven this route several times when we were here in 2014.
US-19 gets closer to the Gulf of Mexico the farther south you go, and with that closeness comes an increasing presence of people. The first population center I came to was the charming little “Suncoast” town of Crystal River, followed by Ingless, Homosassa Springs, Weeki Wachi, and then finally Hudson. These towns all have much lower speed limits and stop lights, and they get larger and closer together the farther south you go. The side of the road changes from forest and farm to intermittent small businesses, then continuous shall businesses, and then suburban commerce that extends back from the main road until you reach Hudson which is a far northern suburb in the greater Tampa / St. Petersburg metropolitan area. From Weeki Wachi on south US-19 is six lanes with a median, is lined with commercial properties, and has lots of traffic.
I arrived at Suncoast Designers a little before 8 AM so the trip took about an hour and 45 minutes. I checked in at the office and they had someone meet me at the factory door to take the window and label it with my name. We had this thermopane window repaired in April 2014 but the new seal did not hold. Getting it repaired was one of our reasons for returning to Florida this winter. Not the main reason, of course, but a factor in our decision. I was back in my car and on the way home by 8:20 AM. I will have to come back tomorrow to pick it up.
On the drive down I spotted a Dunkin Donuts about 10 miles north of Hudson on the west side of US-19 so I stopped there on the way back for a large coffee. I had also seen quite a few filling stations between Crystal River and Hudson, many of them Shell stations, so I picked one that had easy access and regular gasoline (10% Ethanol) for $2.03 per gallon, cash or credit.
I remembered seeing an Office Max and pulled in when I spotted it. By now it was well after 9 AM and businesses were open. They had several different weights of expensive color laser photo paper but nothing like that in 8.5×14 (legal) size. I did not need to have the paper today so I did not buy any. I really do not want to redo our Holiday Letter for 8.5×11 paper so I will check online and see what I can get. There was a Rural King at the same mall complex as the Office Max so I bought two bags of Spectracide Fire Ant Killer. I also got a bag of free popcorn, which is available at all Rural King stores. More places should do that, I think.
It was going on 11 AM by the time I got back to the coach. Linda had been up since 7 AM and was ready to set her cross-stitch project aside and go for a walk. I had been sitting for the better part of five hours so that sounded good to me. We went for a vigorous stroll through the resort and arrived back at our coach ready for lunch. Linda heated up a couple of vegan hot dogs and served them on the large whole wheat buns with mustard and relish.
After lunch I installed updates on the FMCA Freethinkers chapter website, the FMCA GLCC chapter website, and our personal website. I then took snapshots in Adobe Reader CC of the covers of the BCM issues for July through December 2015, post-processed the covers, and uploaded them to the BCM page on our website along with brief descriptions of my articles that appeared in each issue. I finished inserting photos into the OASIS Combi article I’ve been working on for BCM and will upload it to our Dropbox and e-mail Butch this evening.
It was a gorgeous day so we sat outside for a while and I worked on this post. That is one of the things I really like about my iPad. An earlier e-mail from Gary indicated that my package was out for delivery today. I was about to get in my car and drive to the office when Joe and Teresa from Brighton, Michigan stopped in their golf cart to chat. When they went on their way I dropped off the recyclables on my way to the office, picked up the box of magazines (which was heavy), and returned to the coach.
I worked some more on this post on my iPad but by 5:30 PM I had been up for 12 hours on too little sleep so I took a nap until 6:15 PM when Linda woke me up to have dinner. For dinner Linda made a green salad with fresh blueberries and strawberries and made black bean smothered sweet potatoes. Besides the black beans, the topping had tomatoes, scallions, cumin, and coriander and was finished off with a dollop of vegan sour cream. Yum, yum, yum.
We watched the PBS NewsHour, another thing we typically never do, but then we do a lot of things differently when we are away from home. We then watched our usual Monday night TV programs on CBS. Even when we are away some things don’t change. We are not “on vacation” after all. We don’t go on vacation to get bus windows repaired. In fact, we no longer go on vacation, we simply blend new experiences into our everyday lives. Such is the nature of retirement as extended-time RVers in a converted bus.