Coshocton County – off the beaten path

Today’s adventure was George’s first time driving in 3 months, so the back roads of Holmes and Coshocton County were a safe bet till he got his drivers skills back in order.

First on the google maps list was Mohawk Dam.  For those of you who followed my Facebook Lives this summer during high water, you heard me talk about this dam.

Mohawk Dam is located past the confluence of the Mohican River and the Kokosing River creating the Walhonding River. The Walhonding creates the Muskinghum River which eventually dumps into the Ohio River.

This dam was built in 1935 and put into service in 1937. The dam was built because of the Ohio’s Great Flood of 1913.

Next on my list of Off the Beaten Path in Coshocton County was the Old Stone Fort.  Only 7 miles from Interstate 77 off of St Rt 751, this fort is believed to have been built in 1679. The thought is that it was built by the French explorer, D’iberville, one of LaSalle’s aides. It’s believed to be the oldest building in Ohio, and possibly the Midwest.

Back onto St Rt 36 heading back towards Coshocton and Roscoe Village .  We drove through there remembering 35 years ago it being bigger then it is now.  If you are into history this is the place to go.

Heading back out of Roscoe Village we stopped at React Park – Triple Locks Park.  The only 3 lock system in the Ohio – Erie Canal System.

On to the Gospel Hill Lighthouse that sits 65′ up to the top of the dome .  Open Monday-Friday 9-3 and sits above the Heritage Vineyard Winery. Neither were open but it is very scenic and I imagine has quite a beautiful view.

Last on our tour of Coshocton County is the Helmick Covered Bridge.  This bridge was originally built in 1863 at the cost of $2107.  The bridge was closed in 1981 due to decay but was restored and reopened in 1996 to the tune of $250,000.  It is one of the oldest covered bridges in the State of Ohio.

 

Lots of history in the Coshocton Area. Our memories of Coshocton is the Hot Air Balloon Festival.  Not sure if it still goes on but again we are talking 35 years ago since we explored this area.  All of these ideas came from VisitCoshocton.com website.

Do you have an off the beaten path idea in your county? Email me from our website www.3smiths.com

Posted in In our Backyard 2019/2020 | Tagged , , , ,

Cleveland Aquarium

A couple weeks ago on a Sunday the Cleveland Browns had a food drive at the Cleveland Aquarium

With George snug at the house, our granddaughter Marissa and I googled the directions and off we went.  It is has been a long time since I have been in Cleveland and never in the Flats. Luckily it was a Sunday and traffic was light as I listened to left turn here, right turn there in a very old use to be industrial area. Then BAM we were there!  The building was not what I was expecting but a fantastic renovation of the “historic FirstEnergy Powerhouse on the West Bank of the Flats, just a short walk from Shooters on the Water, the Nautica Queen, Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica”.  I can only imagine how busy this area is in the summer.

They have very cleverly incorporated the tanks into the brick areas of this very old building.  Marissa and I enjoyed lunch in their cafe before we ventured into the tunnels of the aquarium.

Upon leaving we decided to drive down St Rt 3 from it’s beginning in Cleveland back to Loudonville. I explained to her about the 3 C highway.  The 2nd longest state route in Ohio venturing into all 3 major cities of Ohio – Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati.   Marissa and I decided we were going to have to drive from Columbus to Cincinnati sometime on St Rt 3 so we can say we have driven all of the 3 C highway!

A very nice enjoyable afternoon!  Enjoy the pictures! (Marissa is a budding photographer she took WAY more then me)

 

 

Posted in In our Backyard 2019/2020 | Tagged , ,

In your own Backyard

This winter our travels will be in Ohio.  George’s knee is doing great but he is still battling heart and appendix issues! More doctors/surgeries to come.

Today as we were driving home from Mansfield after his knee rehab, I told George let’s drive through the state park’s.  You forget about the beauty that is in your own backyard.

60781529_2478537315498113_6706391905703297024_n

At the beginning of November I went to the Smoky Mountains/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg to a trade show I have been trying to get to for the last 3 years.  With a George babysitter in hand at home, my friend Jeanie, her service dog in training Reba and myself, we took off to see the sites and vendors!  As we drove through the Smokey Mountains all I kept saying was this looks like home, just taller hills/mountains.

I think the funniest story while in the Smokies was while we were driving through Cades Cove.  This beautiful valley, we would see cars parked along side the road and people in chairs out in the field.  We came upon a truck with Florida plates on it with 2 ladies sitting in the back.  I stopped the car and asked “what are you all looking for” – thinking bears. – DEER they answered back all giddy.  I looked at Jeanie and said you have got to be kidding me, Deer. We laughed thinking of all the deer and eagles in our beautiful river valley.

fb_img_1570582515574

With the sun brightly shining and 55 degrees, our first stop was Malabar Farm State Park. Now please understand we were doing the handicap version of sight seeing.  A drive by with an occasional get out and stretch the knee for George.

“This other war, the war upon destruction of natural assets is one that will never be finished.  Our weakness in this vast war is largely ignorance, that most of our citizens do not realize what is going on under their very feet.”
-Louis Bromfield  November 1942

Across from Malabar Farm is Mt. Jeez  which stands 1,310′ feet above sea level, making it one of the higher “peaks” in Ohio. OK, that is taller then the 6300′ we were at in the Smokies! At least my ears didn’t pop going up the “hill”.

Next we drove across the dam at Pleasant Hill Lake, then onto Mohican State Park.  First we drove to the Covered Bridge, back through the Class B primitive campground which is right beside the Clear Fork of the Mohican River.  We watched people doing photo shoots, fly fishing and hiking, probably over to the dam.

Next we drove to the fire tower and Gorge Overlook.  The memories of 30 years ago of me falling out of the car at the fire tower always consumes me when we drive by there!

Next we drove down to the visitors center at St Rt 3 & 97 to see the work that is being done on the new archery range that is being built this winter.

img_20191125_145327

Then on down the Wally Road Scenic Byway to home.  Looking for the eagles that own the beautiful Mohican State Scenic River.

76762653_2831324140219427_2530640528039477248_o

Always remember to look in your own backyard.

Posted in In our Backyard 2019/2020

Mohican River Report

Is the Mohican River technically closed?

The Governor of the State of Ohio is the only one who can “technically close” the river. But what does it mean when the businesses who utilize the Mohican River as part of our livelihood – say the river is CLOSED?

Mohican Adventures in one of the premier livery operations in the United States let alone being the top livery operation in the State of Ohio.  They have the experience to back this statement up.

During the “canoeing season” April 1 through October 31 Mohican Adventures runs a River Report on their website.  They have a gage that shows green, green/yellow, yellow and red.  Each color has a meaning as to what type of rentals they are allowing on the river that day. They are NOT trying to ruin your fun by limiting what type of rentals, they are concerned about your safety.  Mohican Adventures has the experience and the knowledge of this watershed.

History:

We – Smith’s Pleasant Valley Family Campground – bought our campground August 26, 1992.  George, Amy & Kim Smith had camped on the Mohican River at various campgrounds in the area for the previous 10 years. We like so many of you LOVE the Mohican River and camped multiple times a month/year.

Our personal experience is 37+ years on the Mohican River.  Scott our son in law was born and raised in Loudonville.  Scott worked for Mohican Canoe Livery & Pleasant Hill Lake Park starting at age 14. He has worked for at least 30+ years on this river, including being a Watercraft and ODNR Parks Officer for the State of Ohio for 5 years.

Over the years we have had flooding at the campground, minor and major.  On July 11, 2006 we had a catastrophic flash flood.  The campground was closed for over a month. Other campgrounds in the area were able to open back up, but we lost everything. Not just the campground and all our business in the month of July/August but everything in our home.  What did we do? We pulled up our bootstraps and with the help of friends (camper and personal) and family we were able to get the campground back in order and we opened back up for Labor Day Weekend.  We had to replace all the “guts” of every electric pedestal and lots of picnic tables and fire rings.

With every significant rain fall or calls of flash floods or warnings we are on top of what is going on in the area.  All the businesses who deal with the river work together.  We may all be competitors, but we all work together for the greater good of the Mohican Area.  We know that we are “Ohio’s Largest Outdoor Recreation” and we have great pride in what our area has to offer. That is our history on the Mohican River.

Now let’s look at Mohican Adventures history on the Mohican River.  The patriarch of this operation, Doug Shannon has been either working or owning this operation for 50+ years.  His wife Patty and him have owned and operated the livery for 45+ years.  Their depth of knowledge and expertise of this watershed is the highest of anyone in the area.  Doug started his career on the Mohican River the year of the July 4, 1969 flood.

Their son in law Josh Gray, who is their General Manager, has 30+ years’ experience.  Their other son in law Matt Carr has 15+ years working with the canoe livery.  These men are also “local” boy’s like our son in law who played in this river long before they started working this river.  Their history and experience run deep in this watershed.

Now a little bit of information about the Muskingum Watershed Basin. You must understand it is not just this little section of river that you ride your canoe, kayak, tube or raft on. This watershed is the largest in the State of Ohio that drains 8000 square miles in 27 counties.  The lakes and dams were all built for extensive flood control in the state of Ohio.  Our watershed drains 20% of the state of Ohio. There are 14 reservoirs in this system. 10 are recognized for the outdoor recreational opportunities, with over 5 million people visitors annually utilizing this system. We need to remember flood control is the number one responsibility of these rivers, lakes and dams.

We are very fortunate on our little stretch of river that we have the experience and knowledge of Mohican Adventures to make the safety calls for their operation.  The other canoe liveries in the area also recognize their expertise.  Who does not seem to recognize their expertise? Some of the private canoer’s, kayaker’s and tubers who still decide to go down the river anyway.

In the past 2 weeks there have been 2 drownings on the Kokosing River, outside of Mount Vernon. One was a private tuber and the other was a young man swimming in the rain swollen river.  Our prayers go out to both of those families. One thing that we have on the Mohican River that the Kokosing River does not is a network of businesses who work together trying to inform our visitors of the conditions of the river.

Yes, we know it looks like it would be so much fun kayaking down the Mohican River when it is high remember this. Yesterday, (Sunday) as we were watching the river rise (we didn’t crest here until 8 p.m.) we watched 20’ trees breaking lose and floating down the river.  We watched debris getting caught up in the trees that are tangled up alongside the bank’s getting bigger and bigger.  We worried as we watched people in kayaks with no life jackets on float by.  In the last week we watched people with no life jackets on with children in their kayaks. At least the children had life jackets on.  What is going to happen to your kids when you flip, and you cannot save yourself.  Or the tubers going by with no life jackets.

Remember that your fun is also putting our first responders, who many are volunteers, in danger also.

8 years ago, during high water Memorial weekend, my son in law had to rescue 12 tubers who decided to tube down the river. Not knowing that the river was blocked right before our Landing at the campground.  Our campers were screaming at them to get over to the side of the bank.  The profanity that those individuals were shooting back said that they knew best.  If it had not been for Scott jumping into the river getting onto the trees that were blocking the river and plucking them out one at a time onto the trees, there would have been 12 people who would have died that day because they knew better than everyone else.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE we ask everyone to abide by the Mohican River Report. We do not want you or your family be the one going through what those families are going through from the Kokosing River.

Just ask us or go to https://www.mohicanadventures.com/river-trips/

 

Posted in 2018

Nashville Tennessee

Grand Ole RV Resort

img_20190314_154045

As our adventure comes to a close this winter, we were suppose to go to Missouri to see George’s family before we came home.  But as I stated in my last blog, George had a MAJOR gout attack.  That is what happens when you run out of medicine for 2 weeks!!!

If you have never gone to Florida via 71 to Louisville to 65 to 231 and come out near Tallahassee you will have to try it.  Missing Atlanta is wonderful not as much traffic as 75.

I was trying to find a campground on the north side of Nashville and stumbled on to Grand Ole RV Resort, which had pull thrus available for Wednesday night.  The gentleman that I spoke to on the phone said come on in we will save it for you.  If you will be past 8 p.m. just call. We rolled in about 7:15 p.m. in the dark (central time). I walked in greeted immediately by these friendly people.  Full hook up for $37 per night – couldn’t beat it.  The lady then had a gentleman take me over to the site and he hook up’ed all of my utilities.  Thursday morning we got up to there will be upto 50 mile an hour wind gusts from Tennessee through Ohio.

Into the office I go at 8:15 a.m. is there anyway we can stay one more night on the site we are on,  Site 40, I ask the young lady at the desk.  There is a gentleman sitting at the table behind me and he says, “you must be Amy Smith”. I looked at him and smiled and said “You must be the gentleman I spoke to last night.  I want to Thank you so much for having a site and the gentleman helping me hook up my utilities”!  He got a great big smile and said Thank you that was my son.  Got the site for another night and went back to fix some breakfast for George and I. Found out later he was Mr. Tommy Sr, the owner.

I went back up later to the office to get something to drink and started talking to the young lady and another gentleman.

Her Papa – Mr. Tommy Sr. owns the campground. Papa is the young ladies grandpa! He bought the run down park in 2013 after being a premiere home builder in the area for years.

They offer great gravel full hook up sites, wifi, bathrooms, laundry, a cafe, with free coffee and a small store.  But the most important this is that these people know Hospitality.  They also have music on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

I so enjoyed talking to them and learning about their adventure into campground ownership. The one thing she told me was that people who are taking their children to Vanderbilt Hospital for treatment all he charges them is the electric that they use.  What a great philanthropist for their community – Tommy Sr.

I walked around the park and it is mostly gravel but the sites that do have grass are all flooded with all the rain they have been having.  Boy do we know what that is like! They have playground and no pool. There is a train track that runs past the campground and you can “hear” the train but what is the difference between that and traffic noise.  They told me they are 11 miles from downtown Nashville.  Uber/Lyft all will come and take you there and pick you up. They have a gentleman who has tremendous knowledge of the Nashville area will take you on private tours.  $37 for a full hookup site!!!!

Their season is basically March 15 through the end of November but are open year round.  What a great place to stay at a great price very close to Nashville.

If you are ever thinking about going to Nashville please stay at Grand Ole RV Resort  and support this fine family operation who offers Southern Hospitality at its best!

 

 

Posted in 2018/2019 Winter Travels

Gulf Islands National Seashore

img_20190311_173338

Ending our winter with another one of our grand National Parks.

Gulf Islands National Seashore stretches 160 miles along the Gulf of Mexico in Northwest Florida and Mississippi.  Barrier islands, forest, historic forts and much more to see and do.  We stayed at Fort Pickens National Park Campground outside the town of Pensacola Beach on the Santa Rosa Island.

Since we have done the Canaveral National Seashore and Everglades National Park this winter, I thought it was only fitting for us to finish our trip at the most western National Park – Gulf Islands.

The first time I came to this area was about 14 years ago.  The Amish ladies that worked for us at the time wanted to see Florida. We started our trip at Pensacola and drove around the whole state of Florida coming out 10 days later in Jacksonville.  When we drove over to Santa Rosa Island/Pensacola Beach and into this National Park, I couldn’t believe the natural untouched beach coast line.  Then about 5 years ago I brought Kim and the girls here on our way home from Florida that winter.  We drove the whole coastline on 98 looking for the beautiful scenery!  HMMMM where did it go. From Panama City, I kept telling Kim it was beautiful now all we saw were high rises along the coast line.  I kept telling here it is here somewhere.  Then we finally came across Santa Rosa Island and we found it.

 

George was having a major gout attack so walking around the fort was not an option for him. So we first went to the Discovery Center and he was able to watch a 15 minute video about the history of the fort!  We then drove over to Fort Pickens I and took a few pictures.

Luckily for us I was able to get reservations for 2 nights in the campground there.  Lifetime National Parks Senior Pass got us 50% off of our camping.

The Blue Angels Practice here.  You can view them from right there. (didn’t get to see them) There is the National Naval Aviation Museum located here and so much more.  You are only 2 hours away to Biloxi MS if you want to go gamble! (not me)

There is so much to see and do in the area.  Definitely a go back and to see The Pensacola Experience

 

 

 

Posted in 2018/2019 Winter Travels

Kindness is a gift anyone can afford

Last night we were at a restaurant here in Florida that we eat at quite a lot. They have All You can Eat wings!  (no we will not be implementing that at the campground! LOL)          George and I are big wing fans. We eat here weekly not just for the wings!

Over the years this restaurant has struggled with staffing issues. When you go in there weekly you can see new staff almost every week and they are always busy. We don’t get too excited about hurry up and eat, so slow service doesn’t really upset us.

As usual when we walked in at 6 p.m. the place was packed. 6 p.m. to close is all you can eat wings – not like most senior specials where they want the Old farts in and out before 4 p.m.! Most of the tables where groups of 8-10 people.  We got our table for 4 and was seated right away and were told “Robbie” would be our waitress but it might take her a few minutes because she was taking care of a table 10.  We said no problem.

When Robbie got to our table to take our drink order we could tell she was visibly shook up. She starts apologizing to us that she has only been a waitress for 2 weeks and this was her first week on the floor by herself.  We told her not to worry she is doing fine. With that she then proceeded to tell us that the table of 10 were being awful to her. She had explained to them at the beginning that she was new but they started on her from the get go.  We could see that she was almost on the verge of tears.  The 4 of us continued to talk to her and reassure her that she was doing fine.

The kitchen was slow getting food out (we found out later they had a fryer go down) but Robbie was keeping us filled with water as we watched this one “lady” in the group return every plate that was brought out to her.  We could hear them asking for the manager. He would go over and they would just blast him. 2 times he went over there. Then the next table of 8 started on the manager (different waitress) and then the next table of 16 started on the manager.  It was like a virus was running through this restaurant. He even sent out 2 orders of fries to the table of 8 and they refused them and told the wait staff to take them back or give them to someone else. Of course none of this was done in a kind tone.

I stopped the manager and told him that Robbie was doing great.  He was rattle and said he had to try and make the “locals” happy because when the snowbirds leave these were the people who came to the restaurant. So these “locals” knew that this was not normal. We also determined it was “full moon”!

We just sat there watching people being horrible to this wait staff/kitchen staff for the slow food coming out (wasn’t their fault – broken fryer), even when they knew why the kitchen was slow.

The table of 10 left and gave the poor girl a $15 tip.  That was it.  How do we know because poor Robbie was again just rattled beyond rattled.

We continued to try and calm Robbie everytime she was at our table.

When we were ready to leave Robbie told us her story of how she got to 4 Corners Florida from RURAL Arkansas. How her mom, her 3 year old son and her had picked up and moved to Central Florida.  She had never in her 30 years of life been out of rural Arkansas and then moved to Central Florida.

She then told us if it had not been for us being so KIND to her she would have walked out of the restaurant because of the way those people treated her. We hugged her and told her we would see her next week!

KINDNESS IS A GIFT ANYONE CAN AFFORD

act

Posted in 2018/2019 Winter Travels

Gator Girl

I first met Chris Gillette in January 2014 at Everglades Holiday Park.  EHP is outside of Fort Lauderdale at the edge of the Everglades where they offer airboat rides and alligator shows.  I had found out about this place because of a tv show called the “Gator Boys” on Animal Plant back in 2012.

These young men and women went out and rescued nuisance gators in Miami/Dade County Florida. These were no kill trappers and brought the gators back to EHP or to the Everglades Outpost where these gators lived out their lives.

FWC – Florida Wildlife Commission hires trappers to remove nuisance gators.  I say they hire them, but they do not pay them.  Trappers receive payment when they remove a gator by selling their meat and hide.  There are not a lot of “no kill trappers” because there is no payment for their time to go remove a gator.  If you ever watched the show, Paul one of the trappers, always kissed the gator when he caught it.

I was completely obsessed with the show so bless my poor husbands’ heart we went there while waiting to go out on a cruise out of Fort Lauderdale back in 2014. We rented a car to go for an airboat ride and see the gator show. Low and behold the day we were there (January 28, 2014 Facebook remembers these things) they were shooting an episode.  Double exciting!

Chris Gillette was performing the gator show that day. I got to hold “Snappy” the baby 3’ alligator and I got to have my picture taken with Chris.  Chris talked in his show about his passion for reptiles, poisonous snakes, alligator wrestling and photography. With over 15 years’ experience handling reptiles and snakes, he also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of Florida. The passion he shows to educate people about these creatures can be seen and heard when you talk to him.  Chris has an Instagram and Facebook page that I started following his photography and adventures almost 5 years ago.

This past February I saw a post from Chris about how he was trying to help raise money for the Everglades Outpost.  They are a 501c3 non-profit that is a wildlife refuge in Homestead Florida. What a unique way to raise money for this non-profit offer gator tours that you can take your own photos or Chris who is a professional photographer can do it for you.

Bob and Barbara’s story is unique on its own (George and I spoke to Bob) in how they started rescuing animals in South Florida, back in 1991. Everyone is a volunteer that works at the Outpost.  They are all there for the love of taking care of the animals they have rescued.

After I read Chris’s February post about the gator tours, I told George I wanted to swim with Casper the gator.   George never knows what kind of hair brained idea I might come up with, but he always supports me. Thank you, George.

All summer long I would see Chris posting the different times he would be offering the tour and it just reinforced that I really wanted to do it. Finally, this fall I emailed Chris wanting to get all the information and hoping that his schedule and mine would match.  Sure, enough he was going to be offering a tour while we were heading to the keys!  Sign me up!!!!!

When we got to the Everglades Outpost, there were panthers that somebody had owned and had all their claws removed. A Bengal tiger, baby cub lions, camel, zebra, wolf’s, birds, lizards, snakes, a HUGE crocodile plus more alligators beyond your imagination that call this place home. Bob said they probably take in 1000+ animals a year.  They rehabilitate and release what they can.

The pond that Casper and 5 other gators call home is 30,000 gallons of water that it replaced and cleaned every week.  Chris has been volunteering here for over 10 years. Being the alligator wrestler that he is, he would get into the pond with the gators and work with them.

One thing Chris explained is that gators, snakes etc. cannot be domesticated like dogs and cats, they can be habituated.  These reptiles are not like trained monkeys. He said so many gator attacks are because people feed the gators, so the gators then expect food when they see people or people flail in the water like an injured animal, so the gator will attack. It is their instinct.

These 6 gators are not threatened by people being in their pond, but they are curious and will get into the water sometimes with Chris and his tours.  Don’t get in the other pens with the other alligators and Don’t try this anywhere else in Florida!!!!

There was one other young man who is getting ready to go to college for marine biology and myself on today’s tour.  After our informational and safety talk, we each had 2 – 20 minutes tours in the water with just you, Chris and Casper.  There was one other gator who came to the side of the pond and laid his head on the edge “watching”. The rest of the other gators were to busy sunning themselves to even pay attention to us.

The young man went first while I went and put my wetsuit on. Once his 20 minutes was up it was my turn to get into the water.  I had to put the 2 weight belts on to try to sink below the surface to get pictures.  I had the underwater camera with me and George was on top taking pictures.  I hired Chris to take pictures of me also.  (Those pictures will be a separate post.)

One of the things that Chris said in the safety talk was don’t flail around because it could arouse the gators, so of course what did I immediately do, I start flailing because I can’t sink.  It has been 20 years since I went scuba diving and I don’t remember a thing about snorkeling, breathing or sinking. Chris said scuba was like a riding a bike – wrong!

Chris helped me across the pond to where Casper was at. I am fumbling around with the stupid camera. I am starting to panic inside not because there is a 250# 10’ gator 4’ away, I am panicking because I can’t figure out how to use the stupid mask and camera. Off goes the mask as I keep floating up even though I have on probably an extra 50# of weight on the belt.

Finally, I just decided to relax let George and Chris get the pictures and enjoy the experience. When my first 20 minutes was up, Chris suggested I get out of the wetsuit and see if I can sink in my next session with just my bathing suit on. Nope, 50# of weights and I still can’t sink – George says it is because I am full of hot air.

I was able to get somewhat under water. Casper swam over top of me somewhat. He swam right at me trying to get to his hidey spot under the one tree. I just stood still, and Chris guided him away and congratulated me for not panicking. Never once was I scared.  I would not ever do this kind of experience with anyone but Chris Gillette.

It was just an incredible experience that I had today. This is a new kind of ecotourism with the money going towards the greater good.  Helping animals that have been victimized by people. People who believe they should own a wild animal and then realize that wild animals need to stay wild and then don’t know what to with them.  Thank you, Everglades Outpost.

For lunch then we stopped at the little diner – Gator Grill –  just down from the Outpost and had gator fajitas.  Yes, even though I love that these guys are no kill, I still love to eat gator!!! Fried bites, jerky or tenderloins.  I love it!

If you are ever in South Florida stop for a day or two.  Visit 2 of our greatest National Parks – Key Biscayne and Everglades.  If you are camping, go to Flamingo Campground in the Everglades. 45 miles down into the Everglades where there is no light pollution and you can see the stars. Visit Everglades Holiday Park on Griffon Road outside of Fort Lauderdale and watch Chris or Paul do their gator show.  Then please stop at Everglades Outpost and help support their cause rescuing and rehabilitating wild animals.

ALL the photos taken by George

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in 2018/2019 Winter Travels

Merry Christmas

We wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

wdw2018347149777117_414920627548_dsnyRes-base_dsnyLoc-reg

 

Here are some pictures of Christmas decorations that we have seen in the last couple weeks

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Posted in 2018/2019 Winter Travels

Baby it’s cold outside

Yes, I know it is all relative but 39 degrees is cold in Ohio or Florida.  Now I know it has been 7 degrees in the morning in Ohio, so I am sure 39 feels would feel like a heat wave. Today it is 31.

img_20181211_055928

6 a.m. 12/11/18

The past 2 weeks the weather people have been calling this weather here in Florida “winter”.  50’s & 60’s some days. Sunshine all day and others have been completely cloudy like Ohio. But what has been wicked around here is the wind! I don’t remember the wind being this bad down here.

We are in the “Four Corners” area – Hwy 27 & Hwy 192 – we feel like we are home when we are in this area.  We have been staying in this area for over 10 years.  We are 8 miles from Disney, 1 1/2 hours to either coast, 20 miles to Sea World and every store or restaurant that you can imagine and then some are around here.  Of course that also involves traffic. Every year that we come down here we talk about how bad the traffic is.

George and I were reminiscing Monday as I was driving down Hwy 192 going back to Thousand Trails Orlando campground about the first time we camped in this area.

It was back in the early 80’s. 1982 to be exact, Kim was 4 years old, we owned a Ford Thunderbird and a 19′ travel trailer, with no bathroom.  George was so proud of getting the hitch put on the Thunderbird.  He didn’t know at the time that you needed sway bars not just a ball hitch.  We were so excited to head to Florida for our 2 week vacation.  A week near Disney and a week on the beach.

Off we go headed down I-75 on our way for our “dream” vacation.  See it was my idea to buy the trailer because we could go on economical vacations. I had wanted to stop in Knoxville TN to see the World’s Fair. NO! George says, we don’t want to go through Atlanta GA during the day. By the time we made it to Chattanooga TN , George was ready to throw me and the car and trailer over the side of the mountain – NO SWAY BARS. So of course in true family vacations, we find ourselves going through Atlanta at Noon. No sway bars, new to this whole pulling a camper thing, 6 lanes of bumper to bumper traffic, but we are on our family vacation.  Grumble Grumble goes George.

We don’t remember where we stayed that night but I am pretty sure we didn’t camp and got a motel. George was not sold on the camping idea and I had NEVER camped as a kid so I am not sure how I came up with this idea, except there was so much to see in the USA that we could do it from our camper.

We were getting so close to Disney, heading down Hwy 27, orange groves on both sides of the road when whoosh goes the car and trailer.  George almost lost control of the car and camper as a Bus blew by us – remember no sway bars. Somehow we made it to the Yogi Bear Campground on Hwy 192 about 4 miles from Disney World.  The check in building is still used to this day. It has been a restaurant, used furniture store and many other businesses over the years. Now I think it is a place to buy CBD oil and “stuff”.

Our week at Disney World was incredible.  My dad had gotten us some kind of passes (he sold balloons to Disney – National Latex). We had dinner at the Contemporary Hotel in the “fancy” restaurant one night.  George was so nervous when Kim knocked over the salt shaker on the table cloth! But we survived.

All we remember is the Magic Kingdom.  We did get the 3 day pass at $32 per person so I am sure we went to Epcot also. These were the only parks available in 1982.  Kim was so excited to see Cinderella’s castle and ride the Dumbo ride.  Ahhhh, the Dumbo ride.  The only thing George remembers about the Magic Kingdom – the Dumbo ride.

Kim and I are high in the air in our Dumbo car, Kim pulling the levers to move us up and down!!!  George is frantically waving at us, we just wave back thinking he was getting upset over us going up and down – he was/is overprotective of Kim.  Kim and I excitedly get off of Dumbo and race over to George so she can tell him all about pushing the levers, but George is stammering on asking me did you see that.  No George, what did you want me to see. George tells me he was pointing at the lady I needed to see. Didn’t you see her?No George, we thought you were waving at us. No the lady didn’t have a shirt on under her rain poncho and you could see her chest. “HER CHEST” you could see it.

OMG, George seriously!  To this day he gets upset when we tell the story because he was so OFFENDED by the lady walking around Disney with no top on!  Really!  Ok George whatever you say! I did find some of the pictures from that trip this past winter. After Dad died we were sorting pictures from his closet and we found all kinds of pictures when Kim was little.  Why do we do that, take all of those pictures then but them in a box and forget all about them. Hummmmmm

Now 2018 – 36 years later – we can still drive Hwy 192, that was all farmland back then and have one little spot that still invokes a memory that was so precious to us. Our “first camping trip”.

The rest of that “first” camping trip, we then headed to the beach.  We drove straight across Hwy 192 to A1A and headed south to a campground (now called Outdoor Resorts) that stretched from the Banana River to the Ocean. We had a campsite right on the river, an honest to God river not a Mohican River river.  We had a fishing dock right on our campsite.  George was in heaven until he caught his first walking catfish.  As the creature started walking down the dock, he cut the line and that was the end of his fishing from the dock.

Later that night we were sleeping and all of a sudden we were all itching really bad.  That was our first experience with noseeum’s!

We never did that traveling around to see the country with our camper, we always headed back to Florida. Mid Florida from the Space Coast straight across through Orlando to the Tampa area.  This is where we have always gone back to.

We debated heavily this weekend do we like it better on the Space Coast vs “Four Corners” with all of its traffic.  We like them both but we did decide we probably do like it better here in Four Corners despite the traffic. There is always something to do.

We have figured out it is cheaper in the long run even if we are only here for a month to buy season passes.  SeaWorld always runs a Blue Special over Thanksgiving weekend. Then we only go for a few hours to see something specific and then leave.  That is what we did on Sunday at SeaWorldSeaWorld Christmas

Their O Wondrous Night show has to be the best non traditional Christmas Show telling the birth of Jesus that we have ever seen.  We love SeaWorld going to music shows – Travis Tritt, Larry the Cable Guy, Lynyrd Skynyrd to name a few that we have seen at SeaWorld.  This past weekend we went a did a meet and greet with Guy Harvey – the renowned marine artist.

Not much else is happening around here. I did go to Lakeland on Saturday and took my CEU class for my massage license and we had lunch with some very dear people who moved from Ohio to Florida.

It doesn’t matter if we are in Ohio or Florida, if Keoni it cold we all know where he wants to be, his momma holding him when he is cold

.img_20181211_143032

Stay Warm wherever you are!

Posted in 2018/2019 Winter Travels