He Meant Okahumpka, the Town Not the Park

Late in the afternoon, Andy suggested that we go to Okahumpka.  If I didn’t get up and move around, I would take another nap.  So, I jumped up and grabbed the car keys. We headed east on Highway 44 for just a couple of miles and I turned into the park.  I found a shady parking space and we got out of the car.  Then, Andy said, “I meant Okahumpka the town, not the park.

“Oh.  Why didn’t you say anything when I turned in?”  I don’t remember his response.  Since we were there, we decided to take a one-mile lap around the park. Then we drove back to The Villages town center of Brownwood and got some ice cream at Scooples Ice Cream Shop.

Today was Andy’s 80-9/12 birthday.  He had decided early in the day that he wanted to go out for ice cream rather that have me make a big mess in the galley and use a lot of water cleaning up. Fine by me.

This is the ice cream shop.

I liked this poster on the wall behind Andy.

Andy ordered a chocolate sundae and I ordered strawberry.  They were huge but, we managed to eat all of it. His chocolate was very chocolatey and he was happy.

I snapped a picture of the ice-cream girls chatting.

I finally got half a birthday smile when he finished eating.


A Walk Around Lake Okahumpka Park

Lake Okahumpka Park is just a couple of miles down the highway from Alliance Coach. We walk there regularly when the motor home is in the shop. Today, I am simply posting a few things that caught my eye as we walked and have not attempted to capture the whole thing.

This is the beginning of our walk.  We cast long shadows in the early evening.

We walked a short distance through the woods and then came back out onto the road.  I like the way the sun was shining through the vegetation at the edge of the woods.

This branch was especially bright with the dark trees and Spanish Moss behind it.

The side of the walking trail nearest the lake is lined with big trees and Spanish Moss. Most of them are leaning one way or the other.

The trail makes a big U around the end of a big field. I was struck by the sun shining on the trunks of the trees at the end.

Looking back toward the sun. This tree blocked just enough sun for a nice picture.

Then, we turned past the volleyball courts and were in the woods again.  This squirrel was right next to the trail but was not afraid of us.

We were passed by a jogger as we approached the edge of the woods and the holding pond next to the highway.

These large clusters of flowers were at the far end of the pond.

This is the best view of Lake Okahumpka, from the boat ramp. We have never seen the water level so low here.  The floating pier was sitting in the mud.


On the Road Again!

We left Marathon this morning and are headed back to Big Creek. Of course, we are making our usual stop at Alliance Coach in Wildwood to get stuff fixed.  Our list is short this time, so I hope it will not take much time.

It was a long day. Mary and Bill Snow stopped in early.  Bill supervised, or helped (I wasn’t watching), Andy grease the tow-dolly wheels.  It is amazing how rusty and corroded it is after sitting in the salty swamp for a few months.  Not really in the swamp, but next to it. Neighbors, Dominique and Giraldo came out to watch/help too. He and Bill secured the car to the dolly with the tie-down straps.  They got them so tight, tighter than they have ever been.  The car could not wiggle.  We were less than two hours late getting underway – not bad.

When we got to Alliance, we spent about an hour trying to get those tie-down straps off.  We must disconnect the car here so we can back into a parking space. It was a long day, all on the Florida Turnpike after we got to the mainland.  I suppose it was a good trip; we had good weather and no bad traffic.  And…nothing broke along the way.

We are due to be in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park on May 1.  It is only two days from here so we should have plenty of time.

I’ll take some pictures tomorrow.


Busy Week in the Florida Keys

This past week has been too busy.  We had annual medical checkups on three days, two of them in Key West (which means two hours (minimum) on the road).  I was very proud of myself on Monday when we both aced our checkup.  On Wednesday, we had the last board of directors’ meeting of 2017 and the first of 2018 for the Florida Keys Concert Association.  All the while, we were reviewing the choices for the house and then mailed off our next deposit (for the upgrades we chose).  I practiced my song for the yacht club luau as many times a day as I could.  I sang along with YouTube.   Then, we went to the luau on Saturday night.  I think I did a pretty good job singing “I’m Gonna Wash That Man Right Out of My Hair” judging by the applause and compliments afterward.

Now, on Sunday, we rest. We start up again tomorrow with more medical appointments all week.  That is what it is like getting older. Our social calendar is filled with physician’s names. I am looking forward to my appointments with Arjen Holdinga, Physical Therapist Extraordinaire. He works magic.

We have taken a few walks in the RV park.  I finally got the time to transfer some of the pictures from my camera to the computer today, while Andy is watching the Master’s Tournament on TV.  They are pictures of all the usual characters on the waterfront.

Those barriers and bubblers at the entrance to the canal are ugly, but they usually do a good job.  Here, you can see the sea grass that has collected on the outside of both barriers.

Seagrass Outside Barriers at Entrance to Canal

This past week, though, we had some strong south winds that overpowered the barriers and bubblers.  This shot is from the end of the canal.  You can see a few clear spots above bubblers along the canal.  I think it was about half full of grass. The problem with the grass is that it rots and stinks to high heaven.

Canal Full of Seagrass

Fortunately, the wind shifted the next day and blew all the grass back out again.

This great blue heron was on the pier across the canal from us.  It stayed there almost the whole time we sat at the waterfront but always had its head behind the piling or its butt facing me. So, it was a chance to add to my collection of bird-butt photos. The feather pattern is beautiful.

Backside of Great Blue Heron

The heron took off and I got my best flying-great-blue-heron ever.  Too bad the ramp is in the background.

Great Blue Heron

This might be the same great blue heron across the canal on another day. It was getting dark so the focus is not the best.

Great Blue Heron on Piling

This smaller heron was standing on the barrier with its back to us. I’m pretty sure it is a juvenile little blue heron. Another bird butt for my collection.

Juvenile Little Blue Heron
Horseshoe Crabs

I zoomed in on the shells embedded in the limestone across the canal and did not notice this little crab underneath until I got the photo on the computer.  Better focus would have made a better photo, again.

Crab in Rocks

This crab was on our side of the canal earlier in the day.

Small Crab

A small barracuda was hanging in the canal.  We thought it was eyeing some minnows nearby, but it did not pay attention to them when they swam close.


This tree always produces the most coconuts in the park.


We always have Bougainvillea and hibiscus in bloom, but there are many more flowers in the spring. I did not capture it with the camera, but these hibiscuses are the deepest, brightest red imaginable.

Red Hibiscus






Final Draft – Out the Door (er, Into Cyberspace!)

I finished checking the final draft to make sure they had made all the corrections I sent in Christmas eve.  She missed eighteen out of the hundreds of corrections Sheila, Dawn, and Joyce suggested. Thank you, ladies!

I didn’t re-read it this time.  It is so boring at this point.  I hope I never see another final draft again.  Maybe there will be a published “Big Creek” later this month.

Big Creek, A Closer Look at a National Park

Options for New House

This was a long, busy, work day.  We met Jamie, our sales rep at 0930 and she took us to a nearly completed home of the model we chose.  It helped to walk around in it and think about the floor plan.

Oleander Model
Looking Toward Front Door

This is the kitchen. We opted to have a curved countertop on the family-room side.


We spent a long time going from room to room and talking about what we liked and what we might want to change, subject to budget limitations, of course. Then we went to the lot we had selected from a map. It is on a crook in the golf course, between a green for one hole and the and tees for the next. We were happy to see the grove of trees that will be right behind our house.

Lot 745

Then it was lunch time.  We met a couple looking at the neighborhood for the first time and another couple who live here.  They invited us to visit them after our day in the design center.

There were many options for everything in a house.  There were a limited number of “standard” options that would not cost extra.  There were many more options that could cost a boat-load of money.  I’m sure we’ll end up cutting corners to meet our budget.  But here are some of the selections we made.

The outside will be gray with white trim and a dark gray door. The house is a lighter gray in real life and the white is whiter. There is another, lighter option on the roof color; we may switch.

Exterior Colors

This is the bathroom countertop and faucet color.  Our chosen faucet will have three pieces with no base plate.  They will be farther apart and, therefore, easier to clean. The standard from bathroom countertops is Corian. We only made a slight upgrade, sticking with the Corian rather than going with marble or granite or whatever other exotic materials they had for even more money.

Bathroom Countertop and Faucet Style

Bathroom cabinet hardware is the same as the kitchen, but a different color.

I had to choose an upgrade to get white kitchen cabinets. I am still wavering about the floor tiles.  The light gray on the left is too close to the cabinet color.  The darker tile on the right is too brown, I think. They are both called gray.

The wall color is the left, gray in a frame. Then the white cabinets and charcoal countertop.  The tiles in the foreground are for the wall behind the stove, counter to cabinet level.

Kitchen Colors
Kitchen Faucet
Kitchen Handles and Knobs (bottom left and top right)

And so it went. Light fixtures, door knobs, and more. When we were done for the day, we stopped in to visit Mary and Terry.  What luck!  Their house had the same exterior colors that we had chosen.  We could see it live.  They also had the same light gray interior walls.  She had white kitchen cabinets. Seeing it all life-sized confirmed my decisions for me.  She had upgraded the countertops and had something more like I had in mind, but was not willing to pay for. We stayed for a while and really enjoyed our visit.  They are our first new neighbor friends in the community.

Back at our AirBnB, I read bedtime stories to the two little girls. (The Cat in the Hat again)  They are so sweet; it makes me miss Owen and Cam all the more.