Friday, January 26, 2018

January 26, 2018 Camping (and Volunteering) in Key West

Well, here we are, experiencing the typical high winds in January in Key West.  Not much for sitting outside or other casual activities.  
Monday, I did report for 2 hours work on the Key West gardens - they've pretty much been cleaned out from Irma, but there's always work to do.
Yesterday, we joined a group of people to help clean up part of US1 from Irma.  72 bags of debris!  Plus a pile of items that would not fit into a large construction bag.  Ouch, my aching back was talking to me!

Today, I’m mostly sitting inside, cleaning out my email, writing for the blog (!), reading.  I’ve read some really good books recently!  
I’ll close with a picture of the working group from yesterday.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

An Update - January 18, 2018 (I apologize for the lengthy post - it's been awhile!)

An update, January 18, 2018
Well, here we sit in Key West, Florida for the next couple of months.  We fled the extreme cold at our home in Michigan, as we normally do at this time of year.  We left Michigan in our truck, with camper aboard, on January 4, arriving at my daughter’s house in northern Georgia on 
January 5.

My daughter and family live in Dahlonega, in the middle of the state, about one hour north of Atlanta, in the mountains.  We leave I-75, as guided by our GPS, and proceed through about 2-1/2 hours of 2 lane, twisty/turny roads, through small towns, and wooded mountains. 

We had one adventure (it seems we always have some sort of mis-adventure on our journeys) on the way through the mountains.  I looked back at one point and saw that the outside door of a storage area on the camper was completely open.  As soon as possible, Dan pulled over to close it.  Unfortunately, the compartment was empty…The tool box, two electric drills, batteries, chargers, electrical cables, and drinking water hoses – all gone, likely either on the side of the road or down the mountain.  We did turn back, watching carefully as we retraced our path around some S curves, mostly with no shoulder and no guard rail.  On the first pass, we didn’t see anything.  On the return, we saw a couple of the items and pulled off at the next opportunity.  All we recovered was a box of drill bits, a trailer hitch, and a rivet gun.  Bummer – the tools were not particularly costly, but necessary.  Dan was able to replace most of everything for under the $500 deductible on our household policy. 

Another event on the trip was seeing a sign “Guns and Drugs”, an advertisement for a store in the next town.  Dan felt it was imperative that we stop and see if they had any t-shirts…  This was a truly unique store – it was a regular pharmacy, also a compounding pharmacy, a home health store (walkers, canes, etc.), plus all kinds of guns and ammunition!  And, yes, they did have t-shirts.  One said “Pistols and Prozac”.  One said “Because Sometimes, Short, Dumb, and Slow Will Do the Job”.  You won’t see those anywhere else!

Ordinarily, we can expect temperatures in Georgia to be much warmer than at home.  But, not this year!  It never got above about 21 degrees – so, the winter clothes and the heater in the camper stayed on!  We enjoyed the time with Laura and Derek, parents to my two grandsons, Rylan, age 12/almost 13, and Brody, who just turned 10.  It is always amazing to see how they’ve grown and changed in the few months since last seeing them.  Rylan, in particular, is now 5’6”, almost as tall as I am!  I taught that boy how to play Michigan Rummy, and he caught on almost too quickly!  Brody killed me in a game called, aptly, Aggrevation!
From north Georgia, we headed to our friends’ house in Orlando.  The Sprenkles always welcome us, with extreme hospitality, a place to park our car and camper, and even electrical hookup!  Finally, we got some warm weather!  What a pleasure to remove most of the layers of clothing, plus socks, and put on those sandals!  We spent two days with them, with Denise plying us with her usual good cooking.

On Thursday, January 11, we headed to Key West.  This year, hurricane Irma did a number on the Keys.  Key West fared better than the Middle Keys, but still had significant damage.  The campground on the Navy Base had damage to the shower/restroom/laundry building and was not available.  So we took a spot on the Sigsbee base campground until our preferred Trumbo became available.  We were just glad to be able to get a spot in Key West, a place where we always enjoy ourselves to the max.  We were at Sigsbee for about 5 days, and then were assigned a space on Trumbo.  Hallelujah!  Besides getting to move to our preferred Trumbo, this also facilitated our move into the much larger (a real kitchen, walk around bed, easy chairs…) 5th wheel trailer we store there.  What a pleasure to have comfortable seating, a fully equipped kitchen to prepare meals, and a bed that I can walk around!

So, now we are at the Trumbo campground with many familiar faces.  We are currently ‘suffering’ with ‘extreme cold’ and high winds.  I’ve been mostly inside all day, wearing shoes and socks, and two layers of sweatshirts.  The temp is now at its high of 60 degrees and sunny – but, the 25 mph winds are keeping most of us indoors, waiting for that famous lovely warm weather.

One happy discovery, this morning, is that there are a few ‘looper’ boats currently in town.  They are members of the same America’s Great Loop Association that we had joined two years ago, before we even owned a boat.  We are in contact with them, and will be meeting some of them for some social time once the winds die down a bit.

Life is good!