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3.23-3.25.2010- Heading home…

March 27th, 2010 No comments

3.23-Up early to get ready to leave. Walked Webster extra long- don’t want problems in Scooter. Gracie came over and helped by watching over the pooch while I got everything ready to go. Had a somewhat emotional good-bye with Gracie…  we had a lot of fun together and she is very special to me. Here she is saying good-bye, holding Webster.

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Of course, I pull out with my coffee cup still in the microwave and a little further down the road the leveling system, which has not worked from day one, alarm goes off. Jump out, open the electrical box and pull the fuse- problem (noise) solved. Proceed for a ways when I hear a yipping from the cage. Pull over to give the pup a walk and discover that he has tossed his cookies, some in the cage and some out. Stanley Steamer, where are you? Get it all cleaned up, as best as I can, and proceed down the road. Stop for fuel at the entrance to Rt. 95… whoops, there’s some more. Well, I figure that he is on empty so I put some food in the cage for him. After seven plus hours and 300 plus miles, I decided to stop at a Wal-Mart outside of Savannah. That’s where he lost it for the third time, just as I was coming to a stop. I have since put his cage up on the passenger seat (seat belted and well tied in) so he can have a view.

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I know that when I was boating, the only times I ever got seasick was when I could not see out, preferably having a view of the horizon. Hopefully the plan will work. He has shown no bad after effects… ate another dinner and drinking a lot of water. Hopefully, a better day tomorrow.

3.24- Did slightly under 500 miles in about 8 hours and am now in residence at the Wal-Mart on Brook Road in the northern suburbs of Richmond, VA. Today was MUCH better than yesterday- no signs of Webster getting sick. Did have a number of “no performance” stops for his highness… at least I got to relax a little while he frolicked, trying to sniff or eat everything in sight.

Talked with Gracie this afternoon. She and her step-daughter entered a petanque tournament held at Gulf Coast today. Gracie’s team came in first out of 23 teams. AMAZING!!!  :-)  And, I missed it…  🙁

3.25- Left Richmond around 8:15 and , other than a two mile backup on the outer loop in Washington, made good time, arriving in Avalon around two in the afternoon. I plan on leaving Scooter parked in front of the condo until all is unloaded, toting a load every time Webster is walked.

The trip lasted for five months and five days. It was an incredible experience… saw many sights and met many wonderful people. I am rethinking my original thoughts about how I use Scooter… I can easily envision using her as my home in Florida every winter and taking shorter trips on occasion during the summer. A major “around the USA” venture is looking less likely… time will tell.

Post Script- Fuel Usage

Scooter travelled 3,395 miles, using 329.8 gallons of diesel fuel which cost $938.05. The miles per gallon was 10.32, costing $2.844 per gallon.

Toad travelled 3,705 miles (plus being towed), using 164.04 gallons of gas which cost $434.72. The miles per gallon was 22.59, costing $2.650 per gallon.

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3.17-3.22.2010- Too busy!

March 27th, 2010 No comments

3.17- Usual early walk, no #2 performance by Webster. Constipation? Will keep a watch on it. Played petanque, not great at it today. Jackie, the regular cook, prepared Ruebens for lunch at $4 each. Had a huge run on them… two extra trips to the grocery for meat and one for bread and cheese, from what I hear.

Ended the day with Gracie… she put on another fantastic spread- smoked pork, beets and baked potato. A very imaginative chef- everything she prepares is different and delicious. No way have I lost any weight recently!

3.18-Back to Gracie’s for breakfast before Petanque. Eggs Benedict, no less. I am spoiled rotten!!

Around 10:30 we took off to do some shopping and visit a local winery. Webster was well fed, watered and walked- he lasted the duration of the trip with hopefully minimal separation anxiety.

At 4 we went to the weekly jam session. Reid (guitar) and Margaret (vocal) entertain the crowd every week. Today they were joined by Howard (guitar ) and Diane (bass guitar). It is a free, BYOB function and a lot of fun. Afterwards, Gracie and I watched TV for a while.

3.19- Amazing… I was able to sleep from 10:30 until a little after 7 this morning. Things are definitely looking up with the pup. Played petanque- won one and lost one. A fun game… I am surprised that it has not caught on in the north (or maybe it has but I haven’t found it).

I had heard that Tarpon Springs has a Greek section that offers fantastic food and wine along with tourist style shopping. Gracie and I decided that today was the day to explore. I asked Jerry and Barb if they would walk Webster once or twice… well, I think they tried to have adoption papers drawn up! Took Webster over to their site and planted him near Sadie. All was so blissful that Barb and Jerry were able to go to the pool and enjoy the day. It took about an hour to get to Tarpon Springs- Gracie knew the way so I did not have to GPS it. The street where the Greek businesses thrive is Dodecanese Boulevard- we parked at one end and walked to the other end and back. Gracie must have had a plan… she introduced me to a man who sells Greek and related (Cyprian and Cretan) wines. Well, numerous bottles later we hit the road for home. Being in her car (convertible top down, you know) she dropped me off to walk Webster. The wine went back to her place where she is now holding it as ransom. I have to return to Gulf Coast Resort (or her summer home, White Tail Resort in Ivor, VA) to enjoy it. And I paid for it! Ah, the devious and wily ways of the fair sex!   😉

On returning to Gulf Coast, we had a wonderful “stoup” for dinner, neither soup nor stew, yet it must be served in a bowl. A wonderful seafood concoction that she brought back from her trip to Venice the previous week. Jerry surprised us with a wonderful dessert… I don’t know the name but Barb made it and it was ridiculously sweet (i.e., fattening) and therefore delicious!

3.20- Today is the date that I had originally planned to be back in Avalon. It is the end of the fifth month on the road. I left on October 20th and set my goal to be home by the 20th of March. Back on February 19th, I arrived at Gulf Coast Resort (yes, it is nudist) with the intention of a one week stay. Well, it ended up being over four weeks. I have NEVER met a more likeable bunch of people… three were outside my RV door to welcome me before I turned the key off (I am not kidding).

Now, here is the kicker. Gracie, Barb and Jerry, and Bobbi and Dave gave me a farewell dinner at Gracie’s home. Cocktails with all sorts of marvelous hor’s doerves (sp?) followed by two casseroles (fantastic pasta with chicken and a broccoli creation that was wonderful), another wonderful salad and Brandy Alexanders (a lot of ice cream in these beauties!) for dessert. (Susan, if you are reading this, I need the recipe!) I can’t tell you how much the friendship of these people (and many more at the Resort) has meant to me. This has been the most outstanding and memorable part of my trip and, to anyone who wants to leave the “textile” world and become a nudist (highly recommended), this is the place to be.

3.21- Fortunately had a chance to relax today, petanque, etc. The big responsibility for the day was to pick up Gracie’s step-daughter Susan at the airport.

Susan and…                                           …Gracie and I at dinner.

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She was due in at 6:02 but was delayed by about 20 minutes. No problem- we were there in plenty of time. Hoards of people were sporadically coming out of the exit ramps and no Susan… had she missed the plane? A cell phone call resolved the concern- she was at the back of the pack, delayed by the transit system. It was very nice to meet her. She is the daughter (by a prior marriage) of Gracie’s husband Reed, who passed away last year. We offered her options for a meal on the way back to the Resort- picked Beef O’Grady’s, a place I had heard about from Tom (famed for his sinicism concerning the purchase of a dog). Well, the only “beef” of any stature on the menu was a sirloin… no prime rib, filet, etc. What, there’s no beef here! Had some kind of shrimp wrap, not bad actually, and brought the girls back home.

3.22- Last full day here- feeling kind of sad, has been most enjoyable, especially getting to know Gracie. A wonderful woman who lost her husband too soon. From all I hear he was a wonderful guy and a friend to all. Gracie has told me that they never argued and that it was a 50-50 marriage in every way. As I understand it, he was the only love of her life. Oh, to be so fortunate! Finished the day having a burger and salad with Gracie and then watched some TV.

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3.16.2010- Laundry, lunch, pool, dominoes and a party = BUSY

March 17th, 2010 No comments

Woke to take Webster out, came back and dozed with him on the bed. Reawakened to the feeling of a soft, warm tongue licking my bald head. Cannot get over how much I adore this little animal. He is very intelligent, reacting to me in a most positive manner. The only problems- he only likes to be held in a certain way (I am sure that will change) and he hates to be combed (he will have to endure that once I can figure out how to hold him still).

Normal day after being washed. Did my laundry (three loads, [15 shirts and this is a nudist resort] meant no petanque), lunch at the restaurant with Gracie, then to the pool.

At 1PM we went to the community room with Barb, Jerry, Bobbi and Dave for some dominoes. We played a new game… Chicken Foot, named because each double has to be satisfied with three “toes” before any other play can be made (see picture below). Fun game with rules much simpler than Mexican Train. Mid-way through the game we were joined by a wonderful woman named Joan who asked to watch the game. She is physically disabled but mentally at the top of her game. We enjoyed her immensely and she will be called to join our next game.

Joan                                                           Gracie and Bobbi

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Bobbi and Jerry                                           Barb and Dave

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At 5:30 we went to Bob and Richard’s place for a party. Most enjoyable… met some new folks and enjoyed Richard’s lasagna. Bob is a Lutheran minister (retired) and he has offered to hold the service at the local church this Sunday. Gracie and I plan on being there. After dinner, it was back to Gracie’s for NCIS .

Picture of the day- see any thing under the bus?

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3.9-3.15.2010- Lots going on but VERY tired!

March 16th, 2010 No comments

Please be advised that there is a very good reason that I have not blogged in the last week… when I am not tending to Webster, I am sitting in a daze, eyes generally closed, wondering where I will find the energy to do anything productive. I am still able to feed myself and perform other basic types of personal hygiene, but that is about it!

All kidding aside, it has been a wonderful week. Webster is showing huge improvement is his deportment and learning skills. In fact, we are now down to getting up once during the night; last Wednesday night it was four times (and I was happy to do it, I think!). I am getting a good picture of the times necessary for a walk… there have only been two accidents in Scooter (she said she didn’t mind), two pees on the vinyl tile floor, nothing on the carpet (yet). I actually think I am losing some weight or maybe I just am feeling better. The little guy is adding both a measure of responsibility and a much larger sense of enjoyment. And I know things will only get better as Webster matures!

To summarize the week, I will note significant happenings and then post some pictures and videos of my new friend.

3.9- Played petanque while Webster slept. Bobbi and Dave Baker, friends I had met at SunSport, arrived for a stay. They are good friends of Barb and Jerry Parsons (they toured Naples via Segway earlier this season). Later Barb served up a wonderful dinner for all. Webster, who the Parsons adore, was invited to give their Bichon Frise, Sadie, company.

3.10- Petanque again. Had dinner at Gracie’s… hamburgers on the grill a la Chef Skip and a wonderful salad. Webster was very playful and “barky”… I don’t mind unless it is at 2AM! Tried only a little water during the late daytime to see if it made a difference at night. Well, of course, he drank like a fish before bed time. Water goes through in a flash… the result was multiple calls during the night. Now I am going to limit the H2O at the very end of the day. Hopefully soon won’t have to worry at all.

3.11- Jerry was kind enough to loan me a 9’x12’ polystyrene carpet to put outside the door to Scooter. It has greatly reduced the amount of sand, leaves, branches, etc. brought into the bus by myself and Webster. Also, Dave loaned me an electronic device to hopefully reduce the amount of barking while I am gone (my next door neighbor had complained, in a nice way). I can’t really tell if it works- when I leave I hear one or two barks, then it is quite. Others have told me that they hear barking after I leave. The jury is still out. Maybe a bark collar will be necessary at home.

3.12- Played Mexican Train Dominoes with Gracie this evening… we had played previously and she was modestly in the lead after a few rounds. Well, it is amazing how being ahead can boost both your confidence and your skills of expressing how truly horrendous my ultimate defeat would be. I have promised that I would not reveal how badly she lost this evening… truly a humbling experience I am sure. I have heard very little about dominoes since. 😉

An experiment- would Webster like to sleep with me? Started out the night with him next to me. Unfortunately the CPAP machine I use for sleep apnea has an air exhaust that blew on Webster… he felt compelled to move down near my feet. Of course I worried about kicking him off the bed during the night so I spread all of my dirty laundry around so as to soften any possible fall. There was one tumble though I am sure he tried to jump. We took a walk and then tried again. He was still on the bed in the morning.

3.13-3.15- Things are getting better every day with Webster… getting regular with the elimination issues, lately have been up only one time at night.

Saturday was a horseshoes tournament- I did not go, tried to nap when Webster was quiet. Sunday was a beanbag tournament (teams of two, four bags each, throw through hole 25+/- feet away, on board = 1 point, through hole = 3 points, first to 21 wins. Able to spend some time watching the competition. Monday morning I played petanque and our team beat Larry’s (he is notoriously good) 13-12 and 13-6 (started at 6 for short game… zapped them!). Felt good and had fun!

Late afternoon was a birthday party for Dale Schad (we have an excess of Dales here, must define the correct one). His wife Diana threw an excellent bash, lots of presents and a beautiful cake. Much fun.

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Now, a video of Webster and Sadie, Barb and Jerry Parson’s Bichon Frise.

 

And some pictures, two with Sadie…

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3.8.2010- Webster arrives!!!!

March 12th, 2010 3 comments

There is a huge (someone said 40 acres) flea-market held every Monday in the town of Webster, almost an hour north-east of Gulf Coast Resort. Gracie, Jerry and Barb, Tom and I decided it would be a fun day trip to go.

Well, I fell in love, big time! Gracie and I walked by a stall where puppies were being sold, took one look at the cutest pup I can remember,,, a 4+ month old (born on November 30, Gracie’s birthday) 7 1/2 pound Brussels Griffon, bred by the seller’s daughter. Love at first sight but, being very aware of my penchant for impulsive spending, we walked away. Did some more looking around/shopping and finally rejoined the others. Had lunch and could not stop thing about the pros and cons of having a pet. We all decided to go back and let me check out the fur-ball another time. Well, we all ooh-ed and aah-ed (Tom kept muttering common sense arguments in my ear- lack of sleep, expense, carpet stains, etc.). Very impressed with the seller, very caring about the animals and willing to spend time with me. Cost was very, very reasonable- so low I wondered what may be wrong with the dog. Physically, he has an under-bight, no concern to me in that showing him is of no interest. Paper work and payment completed, we headed to the car, Tom still muttering. 😉

A video taken by Jerry on the way. That is Gracie pushing the cart and Webster leading me. I had thought about a name during lunch, landing on Pepper, the name of a Cairn Terrier I had many years ago. Realizing that my son Rob may have a problem with that, I decided on Webster, a name that I consider dignified and yet cute. And I will always remember where I bought him.

Some better pictures of my pooch…

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My blogs have been delayed by the time it is taking to take care of and get used to my new friend. For this I apologize. I am definitely sleep deprived, TV deprived, food deprived (excepting Gracie’s wonderful meals) and, most assuredly, credit-line deprived (the pet store loves me)! There have been a few short moments of second-guessing but one look at the face and all doubts fly away. I have a friend and companion for which I am responsible, something I have been missing for quite some time.

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3.7.2010- Pot luck dinner

March 12th, 2010 No comments

Played petanque again and won both games.

Later in the day, at 4pm, I went to a pot luck dinner. Fortunately, I had made and frozen a batch of Train Wreck, that world renowned concoction formulated by Cookie during my college days at the ADP fraternity. Basically a goulash of hamburger, tomatoes (diced, sauce, V-8 juice), elbow macaroni, onions, peppers, mushrooms), all spiced up with garlic, pepper and Tabasco. I had two 4-cup containers that I defrosted for the cause. Fortunately I had not over spiced it- it was palatable and appreciated by all. Sure glad I went to college!

Afterward, Marygrace Ellis, aka Gracie, invited all at our table back to her place for socializing. After taking my dishes back to Scooter, I headed over. As I approached, I realized that I was the first on the scene. Being the newbie on the block and having an almost immeasurable amount of shyness, I watched bean-bag and horseshoes competitions until others had arrived at Gracie’s. Had a very nice time talking with all… Gracie, Jerry and Barb, Bob and Jean, Dave and Mary Louise.

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3.6.2010- Petanque Tourney

March 11th, 2010 No comments

When I realized that I was going to stay longer, I bravely signed up for the annual petanque tournament here at Gulf Coast Resort. through a random selection, I was partnered with Bob, from Gulf Coast, and Carolyn, from Paradise Lakes. It was double elimination, that is if you lose twice you are out. We won our first match and then had to wait quite a while… it seems that the losers play first to reduce the ranks. We then went on to lose the second, win the third (the theme from “Chariots of Fire” kept playing in my head), and then lost the fourth. Drats, we had been doing fairly well! ;-(  In any case, we came in 6th out of 23 teams. I guess the placing for #5 back depends on how long you last on the court, the first four being determined by the semi-final two matches and the final match. In any case, we dun good!!!

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3.5.2010- A Decision and Chili’s.

March 10th, 2010 No comments

Another very cold morning. Up very early and found water slow at the tap. Brought the hose inside, then opened outdoor spigot and icy slush emerged. Turned water pump on in Scooter and ran water through the lines. All is OK.

                                                  Are we having fun yet?

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Did the wash in the AM, then to the pool. Thought a lot about my plans… this was supposed to be a trip of discovery- did I do enough? Am feeling very happy here and don’t want to risk a cold trip north. The fact that I am  happy here has led to the decision to stay until the 19th (two more weeks) and then head straight home… no more sight-seeing this trip (leaves some for the next trip.

While at the pool, Jerry and Barb Parsons asked me to join them for dinner at the local Chili’s.  A great time spent with very nice people.

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3.4.2010- MOSI and Souix City Steakhouse, again…

March 10th, 2010 No comments

Went to petanque at 10am and did OK. Got talking with Bob about my wanting to go to MOSI (Museum of Science and Industry) at some point. Agreed that today was the day. We met at noon and off we went. The attraction was a display of DaVinci’s inventions (All reproductions, obviously) as described in his drawings and writings. It took about an hour to get there… well worth the drive… it was fascinating.

After MOSI, Bob and I met Richard at Sioux City Steakhouse and I again had a two-fer, this time a sirloin.

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3.3.2010- Another day…

March 7th, 2010 1 comment

Another cold morning. Played petanque and went to the pool. While there I came up with my plan for the rest of this winter get-away. I have decided to spend two more weeks at Gulf Coast Resort and, on March 19th, start directly home. This has probably been my most favorite nudist park… the people here have been exceptionally welcoming and friendly. I have really enjoyed the petanque, so much so that after making my decision to stay, I signed up for the annual petanque tournament to be held on Saturday, the 6th. My only real concern in staying was that I would love to change the site for Scooter. I have not been able to level the bus (the hydraulic system is still not working, hasn’t from day one) and I have had to use my neighbor’s waste pipe to dispose of “all things bad”, an inconvenience for him. So, when Susan, the owner, is back in town, we will hopefully hash out the details of my staying. Will also probably book some time for next year.

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