On the Road with the Princess and the Frog

Follow our full-time RV travels with the two of us and three dachshunds.

It’s been a couple of weeks since our last post, but they have been pretty busy as we have continued to explore the area around Sunshine Village and the big city of Webster, not to mention enjoying Sundae Night and our weekly Bingo Game here at the resort (We haven’t “Bingo-ed” yet, but we’ve come close!). Connie has even been asked to help plan and play the piano for a Ladies’ Tea coming up in March. We actually had to purchase a portable keyboard so she could prepare for the event. Should be a lot of fun. BTW, we still haven’t been to the Webster Flea Market other than for a quick look a couple of Mondays ago.

Have you ever seen a “muster” of peacocks? Yes, that’s what you call a flock of peacocks, and we have quite a muster living down (and in) the road from our RV resort. We must be careful not to hit them when we drive by. Try as she may, Connie has not yet persuaded one of the males to display his beautiful tail feathers for her. Hope springs eternal.

I’m afraid we are going to exceed our fuel budget this month driving around checking out the sights. There are some beautiful as well as very interesting houses here in central Florida. These are just a couple of examples in the city of Clermont. I’ll leave it up to you to determine which is beautiful and which is very interesting. Here’s a clue, the cannon, train, and fire truck all belong to the same house.

Since we are only an hour from the Gulf Coast, we thought we’d drive over one day and let the doggies play on the beach. Our destination was Pine Island Beach Park, but when we arrived, we discovered that dogs were not allowed. I kept the pooches company in the Jeep while Connie explored the beach and its inhabitants, of which there were many. Nice place.

Connie’s birthday was Friday, February 9, so we celebrated with a trip to the Croom Wildlife Management Area, a part of the Withlacoochee State Forest, to do a little off-road exploring. This area is named for the river that runs through it, the Withlacoochee, which is Creek for “little big water.” It was a beautiful drive, except for the fact that we ran into a dead end and had to retrace our trail to get out. On the way back to our motorhome, we passed the largest Confederate flag we’ve ever seen as well as a marshmallow farm.

I’ve never been on an airboat and never held an alligator, that is, until a little over a week ago when our daughter and her two boys met us at Tom and Jerry’s Airboat Rides on Lake Panasoffkee. I think the pictures speak for themselves. If you’ve never been on an airboat, put it on your bucket list, and be sure to grab a bite to eat at the Ramshackle Cafe in Leesburg.

Finally, for this edition, we’ll share some photos of our visit to Chinsegut Hill Manor House just north of Brooksville, Florida. Built in the middle 1800’s, the Manor House sits on the highest hill in Hernando County and was the centerpiece of a 2000+ acre plantation. It was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours on a beautiful day.

Well, that will have to do for this post. Connie and I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing our journey so far. Hopefully we’ll have much more to share in the weeks and months to come. Until next time . . .

. . . blessings from

The Princess and the Frog

Since getting settled in at Sunshine Village, we’ve been taking it pretty easy, making a few runs to the Winn-Dixie and Walmart in Bushnell about 15 minutes away. Or hunting down a PetSmart and Great Clips around Clermont, about 45 minutes away. Don’t get me wrong, Webster does have its own shopping spots, a Family Dollar, a Dollar General and Jackie’s Market, a neighborhood market with gas and an in-house meat market. A bit expensive, but convenient in a pinch.

We’ve also done a little exploring and sightseeing. One the way back home from Walmart last week, we took a detour through the Richloam Wildlife Management Area, Imagine our surprise when we came upon the Richloam General Store in the middle of nowhere! Seems the store was originally built in the 1920’s and served as a general store, post office and train station. The building has been restored to its 1928 glory and is stocked with penny candies and other time-period items, some for sale but others just on exhibit.

Last Friday, we met our daughter, Melinda, and her two boys, Haden and Landon, at Blue Springs State Park near Orange City to see the manatees. Blue Springs is a favorite hangout for these gentle aquatic mammals during the colder winter months because the water is a constant 72 degrees. The park has a one-third mile boardwalk that follows the flowing Blue Spring run from the spring to the St. John’s River. Several overlooks along the way provide great viewing spots to see the manatees. The number of manatees in the run is counted every day by the park rangers. The day we visited, there were 115 manatees, but just 2 weeks earlier, when the weather was very cold, 455 manatees were counted! Manatees were not the only wildlife we saw. There were kingfishers, cormorants, Florida garfish, tilapia, snook and more. Quite a beautiful place, as you can see from the photos (Click on image to see larger).

Also found a great restaurant on the way home in Orange City. Well, actually the restaurant in is DeBary. It’s the Swamp House Riverfront Grill and Tiki Bar. Had the best Cuban sandwich ever.

Well, it’s pouring rain here at Sunshine Village! Guess we’ll just hunker down in our RV and wait for the Super Bowl to start in a while.

Until next time. . .

. . . blessings

The Princess and the Frog (Connie and Kermit)

Wow, I hardly know where to begin it’s been so long since we posted anything. In my last post, I had said that we hoped to be in Webster, Florida by January 1st. Well, that didn’t quite happen. Connie agreed to help at the barn through January 12th while the young lady who was taking her place had her wisdom teeth removed (ouch!). Little did we know that the temperature would take a severe nosedive into the single digits at night! We managed okay, even though we almost ran out of propane. We were finally able to pull out Monday afternoon, January 15th, headed for M&R RV Repair in Hickory, North Carolina for a few service items and fixes.

After spending that Monday night at a Walmart in Hickory, we pulled in to M&R Tuesday morning. This was an interesting place, encompassing the entire bottom floor of three of what used to be some sort of manufacturing plant, perhaps textiles or furniture. We left our motorhome and took the Jeep Liberty (3 dachshunds included) to run some errands and such while they worked on the RV. Then we received a phone call from Michael Lail (the “M” of M&R, not sure who the “R” is) telling us that our inverter was shorted out, and the only warranty service center was in Burlington, NC, some 115 miles away. My wife and I hurried back to the shop, picked up the inverter and headed to Burlington with the hope that it could be repaired, and we could bring it back with us. Should have known better.

When we arrived at the service center, the owner told that the lady who works on inverters was sick and would not be in until Wednesday, at the earliest. We opted to leave the inverter and drove back to Hickory empty-handed. Meanwhile, it had started to snow. Arriving back at M&R, we were told that we were welcome to stay in our RV inside the shop with hookup to electric and water, if we needed it. Never “camped” inside before, but we took him up on it. Stayed nice and warm with our heat pump.

We woke up Tuesday morning to about 5 inches of snow and brutal cold outside. Michael Lail came in to tell us that his shop would be closed that day due to the weather, but we were welcome to stay inside with the ability to come and go as we wished (Jeep was outside.). We also received a call from Vance Electronics (the inverter service center) to let us know that they were also closed due to the weather, so we just “hunkered down” for a second night.

Thursday morning dawned, bitterly cold as well. What little melting that might have occurred Wednesday afternoon refroze Wednesday night. A call from Vance Electronics let us know that no short could be found in our inverter, so I decided to go pick it up the next morning. Another night in the indoor campground. I should mention that upstairs was a furniture reconditioning shop run by a couple of guys who worked odd hours, well into the night. They listened to a playlist of Hispanic music all night at a very loud level! By the time we left, we almost knew their playlist by heart!

Friday morning dawned bright and clear, so I headed off to Burlington to pick up our inverter, leaving Connie to tend to the doggies and chill in the RV. I had told Michael that there was not a problem with the inverter, so he had begun a mission to find out why no 12-volt current was reaching it. When I returned a few hours later with the inverter, he had found the problem, a blown 200-amp blade fuse in an almost inaccessible location requiring the removal of the RV batteries and tray to access. He elected to relocate the fuse block to the same compartment as the inverter making for easier access in the future. Meanwhile, we had misplaced the rabies tags and immunization records for our three dachshunds, so late Friday afternoon I had to make a 100-mile round trip back to our vet in Mooresville to get duplicates. Can’t be on the road with dogs with no rabies tags! By the time I got back, everything was A-OK with the inverter and motorhome! But it was too late to hit the road, so it was night four in the indoor campground (the only disadvantage to this was that there were no windows and only a couple of lights on, so you couldn’t tell when the sun was up.).

Saturday morning dawned and we got ready to go. Michael and his wife, who also worked at the shop in the office, came by on their day off to let us out and help us get on the road. We paid our bill, very reasonable, by the way, hooked up the Jeep Liberty and headed South. Next stop, Georgia.

Saturday afternoon we pulled into Twin Lakes RV Park in Cumming, Georgia for a two-night stay. We had planned this so we could visit with our oldest son, Michael (AKA Mike), his wife, Allison, and our granddaughter, Nora. As I was unhooking the Jeep, I noticed a wire hanging down behind the RV. Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be our power cable that had somehow fallen out the access opening beneath the RV. After who knows how many miles of dragging on the pavement all the plug blades had been completely worn away! After some delicious BBQ at Cue BBQ with Mike, Allison and Nora, we stopped by Home Depot to pick up a replacement 30-amp plug and headed back to Twin Lakes. It was foo late to replace the plug, so we spent the night on battery power, no problems.

A beautiful day dawned on Sunday morning, and we were in no hurry to get up. Later I got the necessary tools, sat down at the picnic table and replaced the plug on our power cable. Guess what? It worked! That evening we went to Mike’s house for Cuban take-out and to visit with Mike, Allison, Nora, Winston, Salem and Raleigh (the latter three are greyhounds.). Then we headed back home for a night with power.

It was almost noon on Monday, January 22 before we pulled out of Twin Lakes RV Park. We stopped at a Cook-Out for lunch, and we were met by Mike and Allison who were able to take a few minutes away from their jobs to visit. Then we hit I-75 South, stopping for the night at a Cracker Barrel in Valdosta, Georgia before heading on to Sunshine Village RV Park in Webster, Florida the next morning. We arrived here about 3:00pm. Very nice place.

Didn’t take us long to get into the swing of things here at Sunshine Village. Monday night we enjoyed Souper Sandwich Night with a choice of Ham and Bean or Turkey Vegetable Noodle Soup and a Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Thursday night we went to Bingo Night. We didn’t win anything, but it was a lot of fun. Even bought our very own Bingo Ink Blotters! Never played Bingo quite like that before. And Friday morning, Connie went to a Beading Class. The instructor designed her own patterns, very pretty. When the ladies found out Connie was a pianist, they asked if she could play for some function in February. Yep, I think we’re fitting right in. We will probably be here through March.

Until next time.

Blessings,
The Princess and the Frog

First was the extremely cold weather, which continues even now. It’s a good thing we have a 100 gallon auxiliary propane tank outside. That AC/heat pump doesn’t do too well when the temp drops below 40 degrees. And with just 30 amp service, we have to be careful about overloading everything with an electric space heater, which leads me to my next thought.

We overloaded our electrical system with an electric space heater (combined with a coffee maker and another appliance or two). Something blew, and we lost power to all but three of our electric outlets. That also included both TVs. Fortunately, the fridge and water heater still have power. Resetting all the breakers didn’t fix the problem, nor did performing soft and hard resets on our inverter (most of the outlets are fed through the inverter). So, it could be one of three things: The inverter is blown, the automatic generator transfer switch is blown, or a yet-to-be-found fuse in the battery to inverter circuit is blown. I guess we’ll just have to wait until our visit to M&R RV Repair after Christmas to get everything fixed. To tell the truth, being without TV isn’t so bad.

We do have some good news this week. Our littlest dachshund, Dash, was suspected by our veterinarian of having some anomaly with his heart and was referred to an animal cardiologist in Charlotte. We took him down, and he was given an EKG and an echocardiogram. They showed a slightly irregular heart and a slightly enlarged muscle on the right side of his heart. Fortunately, the cardiologist didn’t see any reason to be alarmed, and that Dash should be fine with a regular check-up from time to time. Needless to say, Connie was ecstatic!

There is some other good news to report this week. I had my six week check-up with my orthopedic surgeon Wednesday morning. He said everything looked good, and that I didn’t need to come back for a follow-up visit for 10 months! Still have to be careful, but I’m able to walk with only one cane or none at all! That’s about the best Christmas present I could get.

Well, we have our spot reserved at Sunshine Village in Webster, FL beginning January 1st (although I doubt we’ll be down there by then). Our plans are to stay there for two or three months and then head out West. Bye for now.

Blessings,

The Princess and the Frog

 

Well, I had my hip replacement surgery just over five weeks ago, and I’m doing great. I can walk pain-free with one cane and, on occasion, without any canes. The Lord has truly blessed me. Thanks to all of you for your prayers, whoever you may be.

We are still at Painted Sky Ranch outside of Mooresville, NC, thanks to the graciousness of Jeff and Debra Shook, owners of the Ranch. Connie (the Princess) has also been working hard in the barn. Our plans right now are to head south after Christmas. Unfortunately, we waited too late to make reservations at our “home park” in Bushnell, FL, Sumter Oaks RV Park, so they were full for January, February and March. However, we were able to find a space at Sunshine Village in Webster, FL, a few miles east of Bushnell. It’s just across the road from the Webster Westside Flea Market, which is open each Monday. Webster is a very small town, but it has Jackie’s Market and a Dollar General. Should be an interesting stay.

We probably should have headed to Florida sooner. The weather’s really taking a plunge this week with snow forecast for today and temperatures dropping into the twenties for the next several days! Right now it’s a cold drizzling rain. Thank goodness we have an auxiliary 100 gallon propane tank and an electric space heater. Our rooftop AC/heat pump is not very efficient when outside temperatures are in the thirties or lower. Our heated water hose should keep things flowing in the motor home.

Speaking of water, our water flow in the MH had really dropped. I knew the whole house water filter needed changing, but I also suspected that our cheap inline water pressure regulator might also be a culprit. I replaced the regulator with a Watts 263A Adjustable Water Pressure Regulator with a 4-5 gpm flow rate. What a difference that made, especially after I replaced the water filter, which brings up another topic.

For some reason, the “whole house” water filter in our MH is a half-size unit with a 5″ filter. Could be because it’s mounted under the bed right above the water pump. That 5″ filter is way too small for full-time use. I’ve ordered a standard size Dual Filter Kit along with extension hoses to relocate and replace our present filter. That should really make a difference.

We still have several things to do before we pull up stakes and roll out of here. We’re in the process of putting several things in storage to help lighten our load. Not what we’d like to do, but we don’t want to run heavy. And there are several other little “projects” that need to be done before we hit the road. When we leave here, we’ll be taking a detour to M&R RV Repair in Hickory, NC to have our generator serviced and get some repairs to our holding tank sensors. Then we’ll head South.

Well, the rain has started turning to snow, so I’ll wrap this up for now. Everyone stay safe and warm this week.

Blessings,

The Princess and the Frog

Why has it been five months since the Princess and the Frog have posted on their blog? Because we are still in the same place we’ve been since before Christmas of 2016, the Painted Sky Ranch near Mooresvile, NC (Many thanks to our friends Jeff and Debra Shook for putting up with us this long.). There really hasn’t been much to blog about, up until now.

I, the Frog, finally lost enough excess baggage (35lbs) to have my total hip replacement surgery. That happened a little over a week ago on October 30th, and I am feeling great! Very little pain from the surgery, and none of the pre-surgery pain, even when they got me up to walk the same day of surgery! I am walking with a walker right now and hope to change over to a cane or even nothing as I get stronger. I will be going back to the surgeon for stitch removal and post-op check-in next Tuesday, November 14th.

Although I still have a ways to go, everything up to now has been an answer to prayer(s). I could not have made it this far without God’s help and the prayers of so many friends. I am grateful to each of you. But I am most grateful to my sweet Princess, Connie, for her constant love and support during these past months. Without her constant “encouragement,” I would never have lost that weight. Even now, she stays on my case so I will walk more each day, even when I’d rather not. I thank God for her love and companionship.

Hopefully, we’ll be able to pull up stakes and roll out of here by the end of December. I imagine we will head for Florida for a couple of months before picking up where we left off before this “detour” began. That is taking our time to discover this wonderful country. And you can be sure that our travels will be posted here, “On the Road with the Princess and the Frog.”

Blessings

Well, it’s been about a month since our last post, but it has been an eventful one, even though we have not yet moved from Painted Sky Ranch. I am still waiting to schedule hip replacement surgery, which, I hope, will take place within a month or so. In fact, my weight is less than 8 pounds away from the desired weight for the surgery. After the surgery, there will be a recovery time of 6 to 12 weeks, and then it’s on the road, finally.

I said it has been an eventful month. June 3rd marked the 45th wedding anniversary for the Princess and the Frog. The Lord has truly blessed us during those 45 years. He has given us four wonderful children and provided all our needs. Things have not always been easy, especially when we lost our youngest son, Marshal, but God has always been there with us. Our prayer is that He will give us more years together so we can enjoy our children and grandchildren and explore this beautiful country.

About three weeks ago, Connie was taking a horse out to pasture when  he knocked her down and stepped on her back with a rear hoof. As it turned out, she suffered at least two broken ribs, and had a bruise in the shape of a horseshoe on her back! Fortunately the hoof missed her spine. She was in quite a bit of pain and had to take a break from her stable chores for about a week, but she seems to have fully recovered now. She’s even been able to ride her horse again (not the one that stepped on her).

A couple of weeks ago, two of our three dachshunds, Dash and Tramp became critically ill (Dash a couple of days before Tramp). Dash had to spend the night at an emergency veterinary hospital, and Tramp spent the day twice at our local vet. Both were dehydrated from diarrhea and required IV fluids and electrolytes. At first, we suspected a virus or the flu, but it was finally determined that they had a reaction to their flea and tick treatment, Trifexis. Upon the recommendation of the vet, their diets have been changed to primarily chicken and rice (home cooked).

So, things have returned pretty much to normal “here on the ranch.” Just passing the time until we can get the hip replaced and move on. I did cancel my NutriSystem program because I wasn’t losing any weight. Started the “new” Atkins program. Lost 3 pounds the first week. I’m going to stick with that until I reach my goal.

Until next time . . .

. . .blessings,

The Princess and the Frog Continue reading

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