Sunday, November 28, 2010

#137 'Tis The Season

Well I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving. Ours was terrific not just for the food but because of the family & friends around the table. Now I am not knocking the food, our daughter Jessie has taken over Thanksgiving Dinner for the last few years & has made it her own & has done it in style. For family, friends, & food we all are thankful.

On to the Holiday Season part II. With Thanksgiving out of the way we are now focusing on Christmas. We actually are in good shape as far as gifts go. We know our kids & grand kids pretty well & have been shopping for a while. Most of the gifts are bought & paid for so we can concentrate on other matters. There are decorations to get out & put up, plans to get together with family & friends need to be made, & something we like to do is find ways to help others who are less fortunate. This goes back to giving thanks for all we have & trying to give back where we can.

We have several charities we like to give to & they are just personal choices. We like to help those who are least able to help themselves like kids, older people, & animals. Today we joined in the Marine Toys-For-Tots motorcycle run in Tampa. Toys-For-Tots has been going on for more than 60 years & is dedicated to bringing the joy of Christmas to needy children. With well over 200 motorcyclists each bringing a toy & a donation today there will be a Christmas for many children. The ride was coordinated by several groups & was escorted for the first time by off-duty Hillsborough County Sheriffs. A thanks to all who participated & a special salute to the officers who gave their time for all to have a safe & enjoyable ride.

There are 27 shopping days 'til Christmas but more important there are 27 days to think of ways to give back to the community. We have several more functions we will try to participate in while getting ready for our own holiday celebration. We are also starting to volunteer at the grand kids school this week. The past weeks have been filled with scheduling, background checks, & planning. We are finally going to get into the volunteer/mentoring program & looking forward to it.

Well it is time to put the old sleigh into gear & get the season going. Mary has put pictures from today's ride on FB so you can check them out. So good night from our holiday home in Largo FL because ......

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

#136 Procrastinate No More

We have been back in Pinellas County for 3 weeks now & I have put off figuring our driving costs for the past 7 months. Well the numbers have been added, divided, & analyzed so without further ado, the envelope please....

During the 7 months from April 1st - Nov 1st we traveled over a 7000 mile loop. Once all the side trips to the store, laundromat, & commuting to our job were added in it came to a grand total of 13333 miles. This doesn't include the approximately 3000 miles we put on our motorcycles. I'm tired just thinking about driving all that way! Now we don't just drive, we have to stop periodically to put fuel in the truck. This is the part I was trying to ignore. Again this does not include the motorcycle so it is diesel fuel only. In 7 months we stopped for fuel 34 times for a total of 1372 gallons of diesel. Prices for diesel varied from state to state from a low of $2.75 in Goshen IN to a high of $3.23 in Cooperstown NY which averaged out to $3.01 for the trip. For those without a calculator handy that adds up to $4,132 to feed the truck that pulls our home from place to place. On an up note we did average just shy of 10mpg for the 7 months. Now I know that sounds like a lot to most of you but for RVers that's pretty decent. You have to remember that we are not driving one of these econo-boxes or a hybrid down the road. We are driving what amounts to a semi-tractor trailer weighing over 25000 lbs.

I also broke this all down by month. We averaged 1900 miles & $590 per month. These figures are a bit higher than we would like but we knew this year was going to be the exception. This being our first year on the road we knew that we would be traveling more & not staying in one place very long. Starting next year we will be staying longer & at fewer destinations. This will be so that we can explore areas more thoroughly while we work in parts of the country we want to visit. This will be more of our RV lifestyle. The past 7 months was a cross between vacation & a celebration of our retirement.

We are getting ready for Thanksgiving as are most of you out there so Happy Thanksgiving to your homes from ours in Largo FL because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Saturday, November 13, 2010

#135 Routine, Routine, Routine

Well, like I surmised it has not been a week full of bogging material. We finally have gotten everything set up & are starting to get into our winter routine. That means cooking, cleaning, shopping, & seeing our friends & family in the area. Even though home is where ever we park it this is our "home base".

The trailer park is starting to fill up with the winter regulars & it is nice to see everyone again. Unfortunately with any group of retirees there is attrition due to age related issues. Some will not make it due to illness, some can't travel anymore, & sadly some aren't with us at all. It is all part of life but we all do the best we can. Mary is excited because Bingo has started. I am just looking forward to getting together with our good friends. Mary is also looking forward to line dancing, water exercises, & the Red Hat Ladies. She is fitting in with the little old ladies a little too well. I think they like having her around because she keeps things lively & makes them feel young. I know she does that for me.

Our friends from Indiana just arrived & we have a list of things we want to do together this winter. This with our volunteer work, spending time with friends & family, & the upcoming holidays will keep our calendar full. I just don't understand. With all this on the calendar & being retired when did I find time to work before I was retired? Oh well, the big difference is I get to do more things that I enjoy & I get to do it on my schedule.

We will try to do more interesting things so that I have more to blog about, but for now we are just enjoying being back amongst family & friends in our home in Largo FL because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

#134 There's No Place Like Home

Well we've been home for a few days & we have been going non-stop. Getting settled in took a couple of days & we had to get our grandkiddie hugs. There was lunch with the daughter & her husband & all the friends calling. OK, so it is going to take more than a few days to get settled in with all the distractions but we wouldn't have it any other way.

Add the fact that I haven't been feeling great. Nothing serious, just enough to slow me down a bit. I have been taking my naps again(naps are good) & that takes away from productive time. We are getting all our doctor appointments taken care of & hopefully will be done before the holidays. Again nothing serious. Anything from annual physicals to surgical follow-ups to assorted aches & pains we have accumulated during our travels. Serious stuff is taken care of but if we can wait it is always nice to see our regular doctor.

I've mentioned that we have a few irons in the fire to keep us busy over the winter. That means we have signed up to volunteer as helpers & mentors at our grandkid's school. I don't know who is more excited?us, the kids, or the school! I'm sure it will be fun & will give us some quality time with the grandkids. Speaking of grandkids we are also getting into Christmas shopping mode & this is not something one does half-hearted. As grandparents the shopping is not done until December 24th or the bank accounts are empty, whichever comes first!

I can't believe it's taken me 2 days to write this blog. I guess we have really been busy & keeping busy this winter will give me more to write about. I don't know if will be as exciting as the past 7 months but hope everyone will continue to follow us. Heck I may not find it so interesting. I will try to blog at least once a week this "Snowbird" season. Hey!!! We are Snowbirds! I guess I can't complain about the snowbirds clogging the roads or filling the restaurants anymore. Oh well, I've just got to be me & hope everyone can deal with that. So until the next blog, this is goodbye from our home for the next 5 month in Largo FL because......

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary