Monday, May 24, 2010

A good day.

Sunday was a good day for me.  Val walks about 5 miles every day, but I usually exercise using the stationary bike.  But yesterday I decided to try to walk at least a mile or so with Val.  With my custom ACL brace being remade by Ossur, I had an off the shelf brace that they sent me.  It's fine for now and allowed me to do all 5 miles at 15 minute pace.  My knee ached at the end but not badly, and it was great to finally get some real outdoor exercise. After the walk, we cooled off in the pool which was nice since it was in the 90's, and then we had a picnic lunch.  Of course I didn't get my projects done for the day, but it was worth it.
Now for a few more pics from our day trip to Gatorland:

You know the alligators hate when this happens...

These were the first pink flamingos we've seen in Florida.

Here's one of Gatorland's white (Leucistic, not albino.  It has blue eyes!) alligators.  There are only 12 known white alligators in the world.

A couple more birds..

And a couple closeups of our friends the alligators.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A nice visit.

The last three days have been a wonderful respite from the normal.  Harry and Tay came to visit us at Thousand Trails for three nights and it was great to see them.  We had them over on Saturday night for a steak dinner (Tay is vegetarian so I fixed her fried tofu with ginger sauce - surprisingly tasty!). Then on Sunday we went to Gatorland for the day and then ate at a Chinese buffet.  It was the longest that I've been up and walking since the ACL injury, but all went well.  Monday we did our own things until they came over again for a dinner of chicken salad, smashed potatoes and green beans (yes, I enjoyed  fixing another vegetarian main course for Tay: cannellini beans with collard greens and garlic).  Oh, and the wine was plentiful too.

Gatorland was a mix of beautiful animal refuge...

and commercial entertainment.  You can spend hours watching the 'gators and birds or go to the 'gator wrestling, watch the 'gators jump for meat...

or have your picture taken while holding a small alligator and a large snake. 
One thing to note was that the food was reasonably priced, unlike some big places like Kings Dominion.

Harry, who is an excellent photographer (his site), had some of his nice equipment including his 500mm Canon lense on a Canon 5D mark II.  Man what a setup.
Here's Harry wondering what I'm looking at...

And me with Harry's camera.

It was fun to watch the alligators try to sneak up on the the birds that hung around.

And I caught this little guy yawning (I guess).

In the rookery section there were so many nests to watch.  It ran the gamut from eggs...

To little chicks...

To big chicks that were more than a little aggressive when the mother didn't bring enough food back.  Here is one chick clamping down on its mother's head!

We went in the truck, so I wanted everyone to see how good Val looks driving the Rumblebee.  She's a pro now.

More pics from our trip later.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Something very cool.

Val and I were out most of the day with therapy, stocking up at Costco, etc.  But the exciting thing was that as we drove on I4 we saw the space shuttle taking off.  It was an amazing site as it soared upward with a huge flame and smoke trail.  It was absolutely awesome!  And the strange thing was that it made me proud to be an American and even prouder of the astronauts that fly those crafts. They really are heroes.

And before I forget, I want everyone to know that today was the day that I promoted Val to official heavy duty truck driver.  She handled highways, city streets with traffic, parking lots, construction and more with no problems.  Great job.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

I know you're bored.

This blog was designed to let friends and family know our location and activities.  I have to apologize to everyone who follows this for the lack of excitement.  You all know what's up and I don't want you to stop checking in.  We'll be on our way in a couple of weeks and interesting posts will follow.  I promise.
As for this week, our friends Harry and Tay  are on there way to our area and we plan on getting together this weekend.  It will be great to see them.  We plan to all go to Gatorland for a photo shoot, so I may finally have some pics!  Their rookery is supposedly wonderful.
And before I forget (again), I want to wish everyone a belated happy mother's day.  I started Val's day with eggs, real bacon (no turkey stuff for her on mother's day) and wholegrain pancakes (her favorite).  Dinner was  slow cooked orange chicken which was mighty tasty.  And both kids called and talked a while which really made the day.
All for now.  AI is coming on.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Birds and bread.

First, I'll let you know that my knee is rehabbing nicely. My doctor said that my knee looks great and I've got fantastic range of motion for so soon after surgery. The physical therapist seems to enjoy pushing me to the limit with only just a bit of thought as to how I'm going to sleep that night, but he has good intentions so I won't hold it against him.  Much.  My custom carbon-fiber ACL brace (in "ocean blue", no less) is being shipped from California as I write this and will hopefully be here tomorrow or Monday.  That will allow me to walk around outside with no crutches which will be a very nice change. I'm hoping to be able to drive the truck next week.  I haven't asked about the motorcycle yet.

Val has kept tabs on the crane family while on her walks and captured these pictures yesterday.  As you can see, the colt is getting big.

Maybe too big too fast as he seems to need to lie back while eating.

My photography is limited, but I thought I'd show a pic of the toasted pecan and cranberry artisan bread I made today.  It's my second loaf of this bread.  The first one went really fast.  Val's on her walk, so I think it's a good time to test this one...

Monday, May 3, 2010

Same ol', same ol'. But hotter.

One of the perks of living this lifestyle is the ability to follow the nice weather.  If you plan right, you never have to experience really cold or hot temperatures.  Days in the 70's are ideal for hikes and motorcycle rides, and nights in the 50's are perfect for sleeping. While living in the RV and before we could escape Virginia, we experienced temperatures close to 0 degrees.  It was interesting to see how we prepared the RV for the night; insulating the water and sewer lines, leaving water dripping in the kitchen and making sure that the arctic package heating elements were on so that the tanks and lines inside the RV were heated.  All went fine, but we were glad to finally get to Florida where the weather was moderate.  We planned our future trips so that we would head north before the hot weather really set in.  Well our plans didn't quite flow along as we planned.  It's been in the mid to high 90's, and we are getting to see how the RV does when it's really hot.  And it's doing well despite the fact that we only have 30 amp electric here at our site.  That means that we can only run one air conditioner at a time, but it has sufficed and has kept us comfortable as long as we close the shades on the sunny side during the hottest part of the day.  The 4 awnings help as well..  We could of course move to another site with 50 amp service, but we like it where we are and the weather is breaking tomorrow and will only be in the mid 80's.  So despite the setback with my knee (which is coming along well), we have gotten the chance to learn more about our new home, and that's a good thing. 
As you may know, Val goes out each day on a long walk to get some exercise (and get away from me!) and I always remind her to take her camera just in case she sees something fun to post.  And something you may not know is that Val loves cows (not just to eat).  She's always pointing them out to me as we walk or drive somewhere.  So yesterday afternoon she went to visit the cows that we can see from our site.  Apparently they had a good time telling stories as you can see from this pic she took.

But apparently something came up in the conversation that the cow didn't understand (or didn't like?).  Maybe she mentioned the tag on its ear. 
Either way, I'm sure they parted as friends.

On a more serious note, Val got another artistic pic from the lake.  I love these shots.