Breakfast Buffet & A Lot of Gators…

Today we headed out about 9:30 am to have the breakfast buffet at Whistle Junction where we had lunch with Carol and Joe on Friday.

Then it was off to Jungle Adventures Nature Park, about 15 west of Titusville, on the way to Orlando.

Although we haven’t been here since 1997, we looked forward to going back.

Jungle Adventures Nature Park

Jungle Adventures Nature Park

A Sweet Mouthful

A Sweet Mouthful !!

They have a lot of animals here – Florida panthers, deer, coatamundis, lemurs, bears, spiders, lizards, scorpions, turtles, tortoises, and of course, hundreds of alligators, crocodiles, and caymans.

Is It Dinner Time Yet?

Is It Dinner Time Yet?

Just a Big Putty Tat!

Just a Big Putty Tat!

The trainer said he had raised this panther since he was about 3 weeks old.  The cat came up and started rubbing his head all over the trainer, marking him as his property. 

Duckweed-covered Gator

Duckweed-covered Gator

Feeding Time

Feeding Time

Feeding Time Too

Feeding Time Too

They sell you hotdogs to feed the baby gators. I just want to be sure they can tell the difference between the hot dogs and fingers.

Hot Dogs or Fingers!

Hot Dogs or Fingers!

Jan makes a new friend.

Jan Makes a New Friend!

Jan Makes a New Friend!

 It’s hard to say who’s scaring who here.

Who's scaring who here?

Who's scaring who here?

 Jan wouldn’t hold this one!

A Real Handful!

A Real Handful!

 We headed back to the coach about 2:30 pm after a great time.

A complete change of subject here.  Jan and I are big Ice Road Truckers fan.  That’s the show on the History Channel that depicts the truck drivers driving supplies into northern Canada mining camps and oil exploration sites on ice roads that only exist in the winter time.

During the rest of the year, the road isn’t there.  It’s open water!

Anyway, on tonight’s 3rd season premiere episode, we were surprised to see that instead of running in Canada this year, they’re running the Dalton Highway from Fairbanks, AK to Prudhoe Bay.

We’ve been on this road.  Or at least part of it.   We took a tour that takes you from Fairbanks to the Arctic Circle, a trip of almost 200 miles. But this is not your average 200 mile trip.

Because of the bad roads and the hilly, curvy terrain, it takes about 16 hours roundtrip.  You leave at 6:30 am and return around 10:30 pm.

You stop for lunch going up and dinner coming back at the same place, the Yukon River Camp at the Yukon River Crossing. 

Yukon River Camp

Yukon River Camp

Yukon River Crossing

Yukon River Crossing

 Surprising the food was very, very good. They bring a chef up from the Lower 48 every year to work the season.

The Dalton Highway was built to support the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the pipeline parallels the highway for a good part of the way.

Yukon Pipeline

Yukon Pipeline

They have a marker at the Arctic Circle to get your picture taken.

The Arctic Circle

The Arctic Circle

 This is Jan and I with our granddaughter Piper when she came up to visit us in Fairbanks last July.

At least when we did this trip it was in the summer, and not in January.

Anyway, the show is bring back a lot of great memories. 


Chinese Food and Satellite Repair…

Today we just took it easy around the rig until about 3:30 pm when we headed out to the New Peking Buffet Chinese restaurant for an early supper and then on to Walmart for more ‘stuff’.

When we got back a little after 5 pm a guy showed up to get some help with his satellite dish.

His wife had come by earlier in the day and noticed my satellite setup and ask if I could help her husband when he got back.  I said ‘sure’.

Here’s my satellite setup.

Satellite Stand

Satellite Stand

Note the ‘visitor’ on the white rock on the dish base.

The dish is a Winegard Traveler that folds down and stows away, and the base is a Husky Workhorse work stand that I bought at Home Depot.  I like it is much more stable than a tripod, and like the dish, it also folds flat.

I don’t the stand every time,  just when I need to.  Usually I just set the dish on the picnic table (most sites have one), but sometimes the table is not in the right position if I have a lot of trees like we do here.

‘RJ” the guy I was helping had just purchased a Direct TV setup including a dish on a tripod. The night before, strong winds had blown his dish over, one of several things I don’t like about tripods.  This had bent his dish slightly, and he wasn’t having any luck getting his dish aligned again.

I showed him how to anchor his tripod better, and how to align his dish every time he sets up.

I think he’s a ‘happy camper’ now.

More tomorrow…

Old Friends & Great Memories…

Titusville has a lot memories for both Jan and I, together and separately.

Jan’s father retired from the Air Force here in 1966 and I met her here in July of ’67.

There was a amusement park here then called Florida Wonderland. It had a Western town, with stagecoach rides and gunfights, and a carnival area with a lot of rides. Across the street on the Indian River, was their Marineland ‘wannabe’  with 2 porpoises, 2 manatees, an elephant seal, a giant tortoise, and a 13 ft alligator.

Jan was working as a saloon girl in the Miss Kitty’s soft drink saloon.  I was spending the summer bumming around Florida and was hired to give tours and shows for the customers, and also take care of all the animals at the Marineland area.

I would see Jan when I went across the street to get ice and supplies. And 42 years later we’re still together.

And now both Jan’s mother and father, brother, and still-born niece are buried here.

Plus a few years after Jan had moved here in 1966, Carol and Joe Burkott, friends of hers from high school in Massachusetts, moved down here too.

And this is who we’re getting together with for lunch today.  We hadn’t seen them in years, but we had kept in touch with Christmas cards, etc.

We’re meeting at Whistle Junction, a buffet chain restaurant here in Titusville. We only have today to spend some time together because they’re leaving for Brownsville, TX  tomorrow to visit one of  their kids.

After biding goodbye to Carol and Joe, we spent some time driving over to Cocoa Beach and Merritt Island and looking around.  Even though it was pouring down rain, we still had a good time.

About 6 pm we had dinner at a Mexican restaurant called La Bamba II. Pretty good food, lousy service.

And then back to our Beauty…

On to Titusville…

We headed out of the RV park in West Palm Beach this morning about 10:30 am.  Our first stop was about 8 miles away in Jupiter, FL.

I wanted to go ahead and fill up with Diesel at a Shell station we had scouted out a few days earlier. We do it this way because it’s easier for us.

We try not to wait to fill up while we’re on the road. When we have our toad (i.e. pickup truck) hitched behind us, we’re 61 ft long, longer than some tractor-trailer rigs and we’re pretty much restricted to fueling up at truckstops.  But the truckstops are usually crowded and you often have to wait in line at the pumps. Plus the truckers seem to resent us getting in their way while they’re trying to make living.  And I guess I don’t really blame them.

We don’t have to fill up very often.  We have a 150 gallon tank that will take us over 1200 miles between fill ups.  The last time we took on diesel was April 7th when we left Old Town, FL.

So what we do is when we’re parked somewhere and it’s about time to fill up, we start looking for gas stations that will work for us.

Of course, the first requirement is that station carry diesel.  We also want a station that looks like it sells a lot of diesel.  If diesel sets too long in the tank it starts to grow algae and pick up moisture.  Both of these are very bad for your engine.

Next, we look for a place that we can get in and out off without too much trouble.  This is made easier by the fact that we won’t yet have the our toad hooked up.  We don’t want a place that we have to back out of or can’t turn around in.

Lastly, we try to find a place nearby we can park long enough to hook up our toad.  This normally takes between 5 and 10 minutes.

The Shell station in Jupiter fit all of our criteria and $297.00 later (118 gallons at $2.499 per gallon) we were on our way to Titusville.

Since we had traveled this way before, sightseeing along US 1, we took I-95 north to save some time.

About 50 miles out of Titusville we started running into heavy rain,  just what I really love when we park and it’s time to start hooking up our utilities.

Luckily the rain had almost completely stopped by the time we pulled into Manatee Hammock Campground in Titusville.

We had noticed this park several weeks ago when we drove up for the Shuttle launch and were happy to learn that it was a Passport America park which means we can stay here for 1/2 price, i.e. $15.00 per night.

We pulled in about 2:30 pm and got set up. This is a really pretty park.

Manatee Hammock Campground

Manatee Hammock Campground

I had seen the word ‘hammock’ used a lot in Florida and they didn’t seem to be talking about the one that hangs between two trees and you nap in.

It turns out that the word refers to the overhanging canopy of trees in an area. Which I guess it is kind of like the other hammock too.

More Later…

El Rushbo & Banyan Trees…

Today Jan and I drove around sightseeing in the ritzy areas of Palm Beach.

One of the places we wanted to drive by was Rush Limbaugh’s compound. 

You can’t see much from the road…

Rush's Gate

Rush's Gate

But the satellite view shows there’s a lot behind that gate…

Rushs Home

Rushs Home

Seems like I remember reading he paid $25 million for it.

While we were driving around, the thunderstorms were still rolling in, with the rain coming down in sheets.

Rain Clouds

Rain Clouds

One of the neat things around here are the banyan trees. Although normally associated with Africa and India, they seem to go real well around here.

Banyan Tree

Banyan Tree

banyan tree2

banyan tree2

We also drove by the famous Breakers Resort .

The Breakers

The Breakers

We had heard that they have a fabulous Sunday Brunch so we inquired about the price.

It was almost $100.00 per person! 

For that price it had better be goldplated and come with someone to hand feed you.

For lunch we ate at a Mexican restaurant called Amigos.

It was great. So great, in fact, we went back for supper.

Tomorrow we head north to Titusville for a few days.

More later…

Two Georges on the Waterway…

Jan and I spent all day hunkered down in the coach riding out some really bad weather coming thru.

About 5 pm we headed over to our friend’s house and then went to Two George’s Restaurant for supper. This is a really great place right on the Intercoastal Waterway.

We made a big meal of it since this will be our last time to get together.

More later…

Sangria & Roast Pork…

Today Jan and I spent most of the day around the coach just reading and watching TV

Palm Beach Gardens RV

Palm Beach Gardens RV

The park we’re in is nice, but does have a power problem. They only have 30 amp power available here and this means that we can’t run both A/C’ units at the same time. Luckily the frequent rain is keeping things fairly cool.

We went out for lunch at Deli Inn again and did a little shopping, while trying to dodge all the rain storms passing thru.

About 5pm we went over to our friend’s Charlee and Bill house for supper. She made a delicious shredded roast pork and vegetables and lots of Sangria.

Great food and Good Friends.  It can’t be beat.

Donald Trump & Too Much Iced Tea…

Today we headed out to Bill and Charlee’s about 10 am to get together for the day.

We had breakfast at the Deli Inn, a great diner that we hope we can go back to before we leave. Really good food.

After breakfast we went to Walmart for our shopping fix, then on to Best Buy and BrandsMart so Bill and Charlee could look at new TV’s.

Then it was on to Home Depot because Bill needed some 2×4’s and I picked up some CLR to clean our shower head.

After this Bill and Charlee took us on a tour of Palm Beach mansions and yachts.

We drove pass Mar-A-Lago which is now owned by Donald Trump, The Breakers hotel, and countless other places. There is a lot of money here!

Later we went to supper at the Dixie Bar and Grill and had another great meal, topped off by some guy at the bar backing into our waitress who proceeded to dump a large glass of iced tea in my lap.

Boy, that was a wake up call!

She was very apologetic, but it wasn’t really her fault, so we all just had a good laugh about it.  Luckily I was only somewhat soggy. 

Later on I asked her for some more iced tea, but preferably in a glass this time. She started apologizing all over again.

After that it was back to the coach to dry out.  And luckily, no problems with the AC today.


Turkey Lasagna & Cheesecake Tarts…

Today we slept in until about 11 am (well, I slept in until 11. Jan got up about 9).

About 1pm we headed over to our friend’s house to meet them.  Jan and Charlee headed out to shop and get pedicures while Bill and I watched the ‘Deadliest Catch’ marathon on Discovery Channel.

After the girls got home, we had a delicious turkey lasagna and salad. For dessert Charlee had also made Oreo Chocolate Pie and Cheesecake Tarts.

Great Eats!

But on a down note, when we got back to the coach about 10 pm, we found the 30 amp circuit breaker tripped outside on the pedestal that we plug into.  The temperature inside was 81 degrees.  Not good for our cats, but luckily, they were OK.

This park only has 30 amp power so we can only run 1 AC at a time, which is normally not a problem. But apparently in this park the power is a little flakey.

The other problem was that because the inverter was on, the coach batteries were drained down. This meant that with the converter/charger trying to recharge the batteries when I reset the breaker, there wasn’t enough power left over to run the AC to cool the coach down.

However we did all right by running the roof ventilation fans and opening a couple of windows.  Because it was fairly cool outside due to the recent rains, the coach cooled down pretty quickly.

Finally about 1 am the batteries were charged up enough for me to start the AC for the rest of the night.

We’ll see how this goes tomorrow…

Palm Beach

Well, we did make to West Palm Beach today with no problems except for a lot of rainy weather.

We got an early start (for us) about 8 am since we knew it would take us about 3 hours just to get off the Keys since so much of the drive is at 45 mph speed limits and even 35 mph.

We got back into Homestead about 11 am and parked the coach in the WalMart parking lot.

After unhooking our toad, we headed over to GoldCoaster RV Park where we stayed last week to pick up some mail that hadn’t made it before we left for the Keys.

After that we had lunch at Sonny’s BBQ before heading north to West Palm Beach.  The rains really picked up after we left Homestead and followed us all the way to West Palm. But luckily it slacked off just as we arrived at the park so I didn’t get soaked setting up.

We pulled into the Palm Beach Gardens RV Park about 3:30 pm and got things plugged in and set up. 

The friends we were here to see (the same ones who met us in Key West last weekend) showed up about 6:30 pm and we headed out to Riviera Beach to eat dinner at a restaurant at the marina.

After that we came back to our coach and visited for a while.