"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world the master calls a butterfly."
– Richard Bach
How was your week? Ours was more low key than usual but still good. We spent more time here at base camp than usual because the people in this RV park were just so warm and welcoming. Steve and I played Bingo (won $14), attended an ice cream social where some of the residents put on a short play called "The Six Chickens", which was absolutely hilarious. It was from one of the "Fractured Fairytales" for you Rocky and Bullwinkle fans.
Some of the people here play musical instruments so on Fridays they do a jam session, which was fun.
I learned how to knit this week too and made a beautiful loopy scarf. Knitting has been something that I've wanted to do for a while but didn't have the time to learn before. That's what's nice about "retirement". You can spend time doing things you've always wanted to do. My list is long and I am looking forward to learning other things like fly fishing and skeet shooting, etc. Anyway, this campground is called Sumter Oaks and is located in Bushnell, Florida. We highly recommend it if you are in the area. The grounds are covered with these absolutely majestic oak trees, all of which sport that cool Spanish moss which makes for a classic southern look. This campground even has three resident sandhill cranes which live here in the winter like all the other "snow birds" from up north. Steve and I were watching TV one evening when we heard this very loud noise that kinda sounded like an alarm. We went outside and saw this crane just wandering around behind our trailer. This bird is so big and has beautiful coloring. When it flies, however, it makes that honking sound that is rather disturbing and because of it's large size, it looks somewhat prehistoric. I felt like I was watching a Pterodactyl or something.
Anyway, this week Steve and I went back to the Villages to check out the neighborhood again and to do a drive by on some of the houses that we saw on the website that were for sale. Again, we were very intrigued by this area as a place for future full-time living so we wanted to do another "look see" before we left the area. This time we visited on Saturday morning rather than a mid-week afternoon visit. Boy, what a busy place. There was so much traffic - - both automobiles and golf cars - - and we were particularly taken aback at the number of people waiting to tee off at the various golf courses we passed that morning. The carts were ten to twelve deep which didn't look very inviting at all. Visiting the neighborhoods was a good thing to do. We can most definitely eliminate the manufactured housing areas as a possible location as they were old and not as nicely kept as the newer neighborhoods. There were even some that looked abandoned and extremely unkempt. This is certainly not the view we had when we traveled with the sales person the week before. The other homes we visited were overpriced, for sure. For example, a 2 bed/2 bath home with a very small yard will cost somewhere between $140-$175k. So you say - - "Why would you want to live there?" Well, in all honesty, the place is just the coolest. There are a million things to do and these people are seriously active, which is very appealing. For one, the security that comes with living in a 55+ community. We also think it may be a nice place for our kids and grandkids to visit for that reason and the location is pretty ideal (one hour from Disney). We had lunch at a restaurant in one of the town squares and talked with our waiter about the "busy-ness" of the area. He told us that when the snowbirds are down for the winter, the place is really hopping but that it settles down in the spring. So, we'll leave this place on our list of possibilities and keep our eyes open as we move up the east coast.
Steve and I ventured down to Lakeland to attend a Tigers' spring training game. I must say, I was rather impressed with Joker Marchant (what kind of name is that ) Stadium. It was very intimate and the players seemed to be close enough to touch. The cool part of the stadium was the berm in the outfield. This is just a large hill of really nice grass where people just hang out. We sat out there for a while and I really enjoyed that much more than the seats we had when we originally arrived. Miguel Cabrera hit a home run and the Tigers looked dominant over the Atlanta Braves, but whether or not that plays out in the regular season would be difficult to predict given that neither team really had their "A" team on the field when we were there. Nonetheless, the game was fun and it was surprising to see how many people were there for the game.
Our last adventure for the week was attending the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville. What a blast. These cars are so incredibly fast I cannot even describe it. They go from 0 mph to 300 mph in less than 4 seconds and cover a quarter mile in that time. The loudness of the engines is also something you have to experience to believe. Steve tells me that the two cars on the track have more horse power than the first ten rows of a Nascar event. WOW! That's a lot of power. We posted some videos on youtube from a qualifying round. One is of Courtney Force, one is of Top Fuel dragsters and lastly of Funny Cars in slow motion. That one is cool. One of the more impressive things about this sport is that there are several women who race. John Force (a legend in this sport) has 4 daughters who race funny cars. There were four other women who did well and we didn't even see the entire field. The other thing that I like about NHRA is that the fans can get up close to the cars and drivers in the pits. Steve and I talked a bit with Doug Kalitta's pit crew and learned a bit about the lifestyle these guys live. They all love what they do but the job is really quite draining. First of all, they have to disassemble the engines of the cars after every heat and they have only 30 to 45 minutes to take it apart, inspect it, and put it back together and install it in the car - - and they do that several times a day. When they are finished at the track, they are the ones who pack up the haulers and drive them to the next location. They work 16 hours a day from February to November, which leaves them no time for family or fun. It seems glamorous to be involved in the racing world, but in reality it is quite the grind.
Ok, Steve and I are getting ready to move today. We're finally leaving the state of Florida after spending the last 8 weeks here. We have really enjoyed our time in Florida but we are excited to start moving north. Our first stop is a small town called Woodbine, where we plan to take in the southeastern Georgia shoreline. Then we head to Savannah for a week. After that we will be in the Atlanta area as our grandkids are coming for a visit - - YAHOO!! We will also be sending Terry and his girlfriend off on their trek up the Appalachian Trail while we are in the Atlanta area. Lots going on in Georgia so we're pretty excited about it.
Until next time peeps . . . .