What makes the holidays special is being able to celebrate them with your family. We enjoyed a very nice Christmas with our daughters Katie, Heather and her husband Ryan. I think it is safe to say that a good time was had by all. Good food and presents were in abundance. We also enjoyed friendly competition in various games and tales of the year fast coming to a close. Perhaps the most unusual gift was Heather’s new “pet” –Pleo. This is a robot lizard, which when activated goes thru a quick birth and adolescent cycles and becomes a curious pet. It is aided in its activities by numerous sensors on its body, which allows it to respond to stimulus. The best part is it does not need to have a litter box or be taken on walks!
It was by our definition a traditional year with Christmas tree and all the traditions that we have enjoyed over the years. It also included the pets of our children, which added a bit of fun and amusement to the events. Heather likes to dress up her small dogs in costumes and I could not help but remember the scene from the Christmas Story movie, where Ralph was forced to try on the home made pink rabbit outfit. Only this time it was one the dogs.
The only excitement was caused by Katie’s dog- Halley. Upon returning from a dinner out, we found that Halley apparently had either gotten bored or was protesting her confinement to the kitchen and had more or less destroyed the area.
We departed central Florida a week ago and are camped in Navarre Beach Florida, just a few miles from our daughter Heather’s home. It is one of the great advantages of RVing to be able to spend time with your children and still be able to go home every evening.
Almost immediately upon arrival, we joined into into the local scene, as Heather wanted us to attend one of her schools functions to take pictures. It was a kindergarten Christmas show. Heather teaches third grade and was just helping out. It has been a long time since we attended one of these events and it brought back some fond memories.
Two days ago, I managed to string together enough bad decisions that I found myself on an improperly placed and prepared ladder trying to rub out some scratches on the motorhome, and sure enough, it toppled and took me with it. Now I would say that the majority of sites we park in have dirt and grass surrounding the motorhome, but of course, this time it is concrete and large stones. I bounced off the surface and managed to beat up my left arm and wrist nicely. Someone must have been looking out for me, as I apparently only badly bruised my arm and wrist. Just two days later, I am able to sit and type this. Hopefully, I will recover fully without the need for medical intervention and all that comes with that. While I feel very stupid and certainly did know better, I also feel lucky, as I have several friends who have been involved with ladder mishaps and the results were far more unpleasant. I am again reminded how quick things can go bad and the need to be careful. Oh Yes, and to have safe fun while you can.
Also, this week our daughter,Katie, arrived for the holidays and brought her dog Halley along. Due to the poor weather covering apparently the entire nation, she arrived a day late and had to depart immediately with Heather to visit our daughter, Gretchen, and their nephew, Aleister in GA. So we are now dog watching Halley. At this point it almost inspires us to rush out and get a traveling companion of the four feet variety.
Our cruise ended all too soon and it was time to return to reality without a butler and pick up the motorhome in Key West. When we returned, we found the campground had started to fill up. Since we wanted to take two days to reorganize before starting our trek north, we moved into the dry camping area. This was actually very enjoyable and allowed me to put some time on the generator. Heading out, we retraced our steps on the overseas highway and made a stopover in Miami at the same park we spend time in before heading to Key West.
Our current goal is to reach the panhandle of Florida by the 15th, where the plan is to remain to enjoy the holidays with Katie , Heather and Ryan. We will miss being with our grandson during this period, but we keep up with his goings on via his blog site (okay it is really his mom’s): http://babybandy.blogspot.com/
On the way north we had the chance to visit with a couple from our Winnebago Club, Tony and Pauline Shelbourn, who we caught up with at a campground in Zephyrhills, FL. They sadly are on their last RV trip. After spending a number of years in the US, they have moved back to Great Britain. They are enjoying being back in the UK and their country home.
We have called this blog the twins because, as you can see, we have identical motorhomes and also both have red cars. We purchased our RVs from the same dealer in the same year. Then we joined the same Winnebago Club and the rest is history. We enjoyed good conversation and dinner with them yesterday and we managed to get a picture of them enjoying one of the many pleasures of RVing. This is particular important for them, as the sun hardly ever shines in Great Britain.
The last stop before returning to Miami was the private owned island of Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. This island is owned by Norwegian Cruise Lines and is strictly used as a place to relax and enjoy beach, water activities and good BBQ prepared ashore by the ship’s crew. The ship anchored offshore and the passengers and crew were ferried ashore by landing craft vessels stationed at the island for this purpose. The beach was the best we have seen on the trip and there were plenty of activities for those who wanted to keep active. There were an equal number of places to just relax, if that was your desire.
We do not care much for lying out in the hot sun on the beach, so we managed to get one of the hammocks in the palm trees. We basically chose the relaxing mode with a short stint in the water swimming and observing a good number of tropical fish. For those snorkeling there were thousands of fish to observe. It seemed to be a day enjoyed by all.
The next port of call was Cozumel, Mexico. This is a well known tourist trap with beaches. We again decided it would be time better spent to visit a major Mayan Ruin called Tulum than the tourists’ sights of Cozumel. This was a large Mayan City and also a major trading location with its own port. Today that port area is a truly spectacular beach. For those interested in this culture and history of the structures shown in the pictures, you can visit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tulum
I need to mention our guide Hernan, who was of Mayan descent. He was very funny and provided a great deal of information, not only about the ruins but the lives of those who chose to live, as much as possible, in the Mayan tradition.