2016/01/01 (F) A Short Move
We got to back to our coach around 1 AM last night but I did not go to sleep until almost 2 AM so we slept in a bit longer than usual this morning. The rally ended at midnight so there was no breakfast or organized activities this morning. I wandered around the rally venue taking pictures of buses as they pulled out or were now easier to photograph because adjacent buses had moved out of the way. The departure of rigs from a rally is always interesting. It is an asynchronous, unmanaged event that is none-the-less generally very orderly. There is never a rush for the exit as RVs leave one-by-one except for occasional groups that are traveling together.
My wandering eventually took me to the north end of the venue where Dave Aungier’s 1977 MCI MC-5C bus conversion was parked. As I had expected the local NAPA store was not open today so David was unable to get the new oil pressure gauge he needed. He did not plan on sticking around until tomorrow to get the part and was basically ready to leave as soon as I photographed his coach. After a brief discussion we agreed that he would pull it out onto the main exit road facing south so I could photograph it in good light and without a lot of clutter around it. I went back to my coach to get my wide angle lens and additional batteries while he moved the bus. After shooting the exterior, bays, and interior we exchanged contact information and Dave was on his way back to his home RV park in Zephyrhills, Florida.
After I was done with Dave’s bus I captured a few exterior images of Ronnie and Diann Mewbourn’s 1969 Model 07 Eagle that I was not able to get yesterday. I sat and chatted with them for a bit and gave them my contact information. Although they were not leaving until tomorrow they were getting ready to go explore the area and check out several options for where to camp next. At this point I had taken all of the rally photos I was going to take and went back to our coach to help Linda prepare it for our departure.
After having a light lunch we finished prepping our coach to travel and pulled out at 1 PM for the short trip to Big Tree Carefree RV Resort (BTCRVR) in Arcadia. Linda drove the car and followed me over. Once we were in the resort she went ahead of me to find the office and get us registered. While she was doing that two guys showed up in a golf cart. They made a phone call and then had me follow them to the office. From there they escorted me to site #K-2 and got me parked. It was a somewhat narrow back-in site but they got me positioned just right.
Linda went back to the office to finish our registration and extended our stay until March 7th. The Holistic Holiday at Sea cruise returns to the Port of Miami on March 5th and we have to pick up Michael and Mara and then get him back to the Tampa airport and get her back to the resort. We will have the 6th to visit with Mara and then be on the move.
While Linda was taking care of our registration I leveled the bus and shut it down. I got the shorepower connected but was surprised that the no load voltage on L1 was only 115 VAC and that L2 was even lower at 111 VAC. It was warm and humid but running our air-conditioners with those voltages might be a problem as our Progressive Industries EMS might cut off the shorepower if it dropped any lower.
When Linda got back we deployed all of the awnings. A frog dropped from the driver side forward awning onto the grass when we opened it. It was unharmed and hopped off somewhere. While we were setting up we met Ron and Vera, who have the site just south of ours, as they were out washing their trailer.
With the voltage at our site lower than I liked I decided not to run the air conditioners. We opened all the windows and roof vents and turned on all three exhaust fans plus an inside fan. We endured a rather warm/humid afternoon with just the natural ventilation, helped a little by a southwesterly breeze coming in the driver side windows. Our coach is parked facing southwest, so we are getting the afternoon sun.
Lots of residents walked or rode their bikes past our site. Most waved and/or said “hello” and a few stopped to chat. Conrad and Bonnie visited for quite a while and shared a lot of information with us about the resort and especially its activities, which are apparently numerous. Big Tree RV Resort is a Carefree Resorts property and promotes itself as an active adult community. Early evidence suggested that this might, indeed, be the case.
By late afternoon I was tired and uncomfortable so I took a nap. Once the sun dropped below the trees it cooled off enough that we took a leisurely stroll around the resort to get a sense of the layout and the people. We almost always do this when we arrive at any new campground, even if we are only going to be there for one night. Lots of folks were out walking or riding their bicycles. More than a few had strong French accents and we noticed quite a few license plates from Quebec Province in Canada.
Back at our rig Linda made vegan pancakes for dinner and served them with fresh blueberries and real maple syrup. We had pineapple later for dessert and a small glass of wine while we watched the first episode of the new season of Sherlock on PBS. Linda went to bed as soon as the program was over. Since I took a nap earlier I stayed up for a while, checked us into the resort on RVillage, and tried to fill in missing information for my blog posts from December 30th and 31st. Eventually I was unable to keep my eyes open and went to sleep.
2016/02/02 (S) Big Tree Carefree RV Resort
It was very foggy last night by the time I went to bed but had dissipated somewhat by dawn. We slept in and got up at 8:30 AM. Linda got a shower while I made coffee and then I got my shower and trimmed my beard shorter than usual. We had coffee, juice, and granola with blueberries for breakfast and split a banana.
After breakfast we drove to downtown Arcadia to visit the farmers market. Although rain was not forecast for today it was misting when we left so we took our rain coats. It was a good thing that we did as the mist got heavier as we got to downtown. There were only a few vendors in the square and none of them were selling fresh produce so we did not buy anything. There was a vendor with lots of pickled products that looked interesting so we may buy something from him at the next farmers market in two weeks. We walked around the block and back to our car and then drove back to the resort on the east edge of town about two miles from downtown.
We lost a decorative lug nut cover off of the passenger side of the coach yesterday just after I turned onto eastbound FL-70. Linda looked for it as we drove by but did not spot it.
Back at the coach Linda vacuumed the interior, wet mopped the floor, and then went for a walk. I decided to get a short article written about the Arcadia Rally 2016 for Bus Conversion Magazine while it was still fresh in my mind and before we got busy exploring this part of Florida. First, I transferred my photos from the last few days to my computer and organized them. Next, I set up the folder and sub-folders for the article, opened my article template (Word), and wrote a page of text. I then started selecting and processing photographs and, except for a few breaks, that is what I did for most of the day.
When Linda returned from her walk she made a grocery list and then took the car to Walmart. The Walmart is directly opposite the entrance to the resort on the south side of FL-70, which is the main east-west highway through Arcadia. FL-70 is a divided road at this point so to get to the Walmart we have turn right and go west on FL-70 and then make a U-turn, which is legal here, or make a left onto southbound US-31 and then go in the west entrance. To get back to the resort we can exit the Walmart at a traffic light and turn left onto westbound FL-70 and then immediately turn right into the resort entrance. If we are coming east from west of the resort entrance we must make a U-turn at the traffic light in front of the Walmart of a little farther to the east. The traffic signal also serves a much larger residential development just east of the resort and there is a crosswalk, so we can walk to Walmart if we do not expect to have a lot to carry back.
When Linda got back and had the groceries put away we had chickpea salad on greens for lunch. During the afternoon I took a break from working on my article to hook up the water softener. Back inside I wanted to back up my most recent photos but my computer could not “see” the NAS. I ended up shutting down everything and restarting it a particular order: WFR, A|W router, NAS, and lastly computer. That reset the connections (IP addresses) and I was able to get back to work.
I had been sitting most of the day so we went for an evening stroll before dinner. Back at the coach Linda made a zoodles “pasta” with mushrooms, onions, garlic, broccoli, turmeric, and flax seed. After dinner we decided to do our laundry so we gathered up clothes and bedding, loaded the laundry into the car, and drove it to the resort laundromat, which is located in the same building as the office, library, and activities/meeting room. We loaded four washers and then four dryers. We took our iPads with us and doodled while we waited. There was a good, free Wi-Fi signal at the building so we may take advantage of that while we are here.
After the laundry was done, folded, and hung up we watched America Reframed: A Will To The Woods on PBS/2. It was a program about the “green burial” movement and one man’s determination to have a green burial if/when he succumbed to non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He did and got his wish. It was a well done documentary.
2016/01/03 (N) Another Article
A cold front drifted southeast through our location yesterday afternoon bringing with it cooler temperatures and an increased probability of rain. We left the windows open just an inch but I closed all three roof vents before we went to bed. We slept in this morning because we did not have any pressing reason to get up. When we did arise I made coffee and Linda eventually fixed toast and grapefruit for our breakfast.
Linda needed something that she forgot to buy at Walmart yesterday so she walked there to get it. When she got back she headed out to continue her walk in the resort but the rain finally came and she quickly returned to our coach. Once it started it was persistent and heavy at times. We eventually discovered that the skylight in the hallway was leaking which did not make either of us very happy.
I settled in early and spent the whole day working on projects related to the Arcadia Rally. I processed all of the photos of Dave Aungier’s 1977 MCI MC-5C bus conversion and inserted a few of them into a Word doc to serve as an example. I uploaded the photos and the Word document to a folder in my Dropbox and e-mailed Dave the read-only link. I selected and processed a few photos for rally organizers Bill and Brenda Phelan, uploaded those to another Dropbox folder, and e-mailed them the read-only link. I then focused on my article about the rally for Bus Conversion Magazine (BCM), finishing the draft of the print version around 9 PM. I uploaded it to the BCM folder in my Dropbox and e-mailed the publisher, editor, and layout technician. I still need to upload cover and centerfold photos and then select, process, and upload photos for the bonus content section of the digital edition.
During the course of the day I took breaks for lunch and dinner. Lunch was a really tasty cannelloni bean salad with capers, olives, lemon zest, raw garlic, and other tasty ingredients. Dinner was a salad of power greens with couscous, cooked beets, blueberries, and orange segments.
I also e-mailed Pat Lintner and texted Chuck Spera to see if they had arrived at the Florida destinations. Linda was playing online word games with her sister (Sr. Marilyn) and with Karen Limkemann, and thereby learned that Karen and Steve had arrived at their new place near Venice, Florida where they were busy assembling furniture they just purchased at IKEA. She also exchanged text messages with both of our children regarding our mailing address while we are at Big Tree Carefree RV Resort (BTCRVR) and a few items we needed them to forward on to us. When we checked out the mail room yesterday we discovered that every site at the resort has a cubby and management had already placed a tag on ours with our last name on it. That was a nice touch and made us feel just that much more welcome even though we will only be here for a little over two months.
After dinner we turned on the TV and tuned in Part 1 of Ken Burns’ film on Prohibition on PBS/World. We switched to PBS/main and watched the first episode of the sixth and final season of Downton Abby. At the conclusion of the episode we switched back to Prohibition. There was still a chance for rain through tonight, and overnight low temperatures were forecast to drop to around 50 degrees F for the next few nights, so we left the roof vents closed and the windows barely open and went to bed.
2016/01/04 (M) Unblocked
The overnight low dropped into the upper 40’s last night and made for nice sleeping conditions. As sometimes happens with me when I do not have a clock-regulated schedule to keep, my awake/sleep cycle slowly shifts as I stay up a little later each night and get up a little later each morning. I did not go to sleep last night until after 1 AM and we both got up this morning between 8:30 and 9 to pleasantly cool temperatures in the coach and bright, sunny skies outside.
As we were getting dressed we discovered that an old leak in the bedroom was still leaking. The wall just below the front corner of the passenger side window was wet. Linda’s house slippers were stored on top of the OTR HVAC duct cover and also got wet. That’s how we discovered that we still have a problem. Like the other leaks around windows I am convinced that the problem is the way the awnings were originally installed by Royale Coach. They were mounted to the hinged body panels that hold the windows and I think the gaskets for these panels were damaged in the process. Whatever the reason it is very discouraging that we still have leaks in the coach. The other possibility was that the water was getting in around the Fan-Tastic roof vent/fan and then running through the ceiling to the side wall and down.
I got our Verizon Mi-Fi/WiFi-Ranger combo online and then made coffee while Linda cooked oatmeal for our breakfast. We doodled on our iPads for a while and I renewed my subscription to the RFinder World Wide Repeater Directory. It was only $9.99/year and they had a holiday renewal special extending it to 18 months. I have this app on my Android-based Samsung Galaxy III Smartphone.
My focus for today was to work on the FMCA Freethinkers Chapter website and then unlock the public pages. I received an e-mail from chapter president Bob Pelc recently that prompted me to take care of this and it took most of the day except for beaks to eat and go for a couple of walks, one after lunch and one after dinner.
It was a beautiful, sunny day with lower humidity, a light breeze, and a high of 69 degrees F. While walking, we met Gary and Pat a few sites down from us. They came in yesterday and have a house back in Michigan about three miles from ours. It’s a small world.
We stopped in the office so I could see it and Pat greeted me by name. Since we had never met that caught me by surprise. She recognized/remembered Linda from when she registered us and made the assumption about who I was. She and her husband, Jim, manage the park. Jim was one of the two guys who led me to the site and got us parked. Pat said she wanted to see our bus and we invited her to stop by anytime. We have overheard a couple of comments and had a few conversations that suggest folks are curious about our bus and word of its presence has spread through the resort.
Lunch was hummus and dark leafy greens sandwiches with oranges and grapes. Dinner was pan-seared tofu slices on a bed of dark leafy greens with Asian peanut sauce and apple slices. Both meals were very tasty.
I got an unexpected call from Kathy Dewsbury-White, executive director of the Michigan Assessment Consortium. We had not spoken it quite some time so it was a pleasant surprise. After our evening walk we settled in to watch our usual Monday evening TV programs. Having worked all day at my computer I was not in the humor to even doodle on my iPad. We watched the 11 PM news long enough to known the world is falling apart, and switched to the local weather channel (same station) which forecast sunny days ahead. There wasn’t anything on any of the PBS channels we wanted to see so we were in bed and asleep by 11:30 PM.
2016/01/05 (T) 1969 Model 07 Eagle
We were up at 7:30 AM this morning. The temperature overnight fell into the upper 40’s and it was 64 degrees F in the coach so we put on our sweats. I made coffee and turned on the Aqua-Hot long enough to raise the temperature to 69 degrees and take the chill off of the interior. We had granola, blueberries, and a banana for breakfast, along with juice, and then doodled on our iPads while we finished our coffee. I renewed my subscription the RFinder World Wide Repeater Directory yesterday and reset my password this morning so I could use the website and Android app on my phone. I searched for repeaters within 20 miles of our location. There appeared to be two in Arcadia but many more west and south of us in Punta Gorda, Murdock, Venice, and Port Charlotte. At 10 AM we took showers, got dressed, and then got to work.
Linda was checking e-mail and noticed that the PayPal receipt for the RFinder annual subscription had been processed as a monthly payment. It’s only $9.99, but yikes! just the same. I e-mailed the folks at RFinder (Suffolk Systems) and also filed a complaint with PayPal. I knew the folks at RFinder would straighten it out but my complaint was really with PayPal. Their e-mail had instructions for dealing with this that did not correspond to their website. Not helpful.
The first order of business for me was dumping the holding tanks and filling the fresh water tank. Once that was done my main focus today was roughing out a featured bus article for Bus Conversions Magazine on Ronnie and Diann Mewbourn’s 1969 Model 07 Eagle bus conversion. They had their bus at the Arcadia Rally last week and I was able to interview them and photograph it. They were there two years ago but I was not able to do an article on their bus at that time.
Linda took her exercise walk in the morning. When she got back we had mock deli sandwiches for lunch and then went for a stroll around the resort. After our stroll we drove to the Joshua Citrus Company location a couple of miles south of the RV resort. We bought a few things for ourselves and picked up a brochure describing the assortments of fruit they package and ship. We want to ship some fresh citrus fruit to our family members back in Michigan while we are here.
While we were at Joshua Citrus I got a call from Bob Greenberg, W2CYK, at RFinder regarding my e-mail and PayPal complaint. He explained what I needed to do to correct the error. When we got back to our rig I canceled the PayPal complaint and then cancelled the subscription (recurring payment). RFinder will e-mail me in June 2017 to remind me that I need to renew. I can set up an annual subscription at that time if I want to.
For dinner Linda made black-eyed peas with celery, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and hot pepper flakes. She served it with open-faced Boca “burgers” (vegan) and corn. We went for another stroll after dinner. The high temperature today only reached the lower 70’s, and cooled off quickly after the sun set, so we each bundled up a bit (me more than her) to avoid getting chilled. When we got back to our rig I was done with computer-based work for the day and settled in to watch our Tuesday evening TV programs. After catching a little bit of the local news and weather we both went to sleep.