Sunday, April 26, 2015

Max Gets Transformed And We Take A Drive To The Cruise Ships

We were up early today and took a quick trip just around the corner. Max got dropped off to be transformed into a whole different breed of dog. I've been clipping the old boy since leaving Minnesota early last fall. To say he was a sorry sight is a drastic understatement. He's tolerated looking like a scruffy mess, but it was time to get him all spiffy and yes....Cute!

He's been panting up a storm dealing with the thick fur coat he's been saddled with during these days of unseasonal high temps. 90 degrees with high humidity is uncomfortable for me, and I can be stripped down to almost nothing if need be. He's been stuck and not the least bit happy about it.

Finding a new groomer wasn't something I looked forward to, but I just took a chance and took him to the closest place I could find. A block down the highway was convenient enough and I'm pleased as punch with the results. Very reasonably priced and they did a top notch job.  Done in just over 1-1/2 hrs.

Max Before
With the rest of the day available, and temps outside getting too warm to do much else, Max and I took a cruise up A1A heading toward Jetty State Park north of Coca Beach. It's a popular place to go to watch the rockets take off from Cape Canaveral.

After being in line at the entrance, as soon as I got close enough the sign stating "No Pets Allowed" had me making a U-turn and thinking of what else is in the neighborhood to check out.

Max After
Turns out there are cruise ships ported just before the park. I saw them from the highway and decided it was time to get up closer to these behemoths and give them a good looky-look.

They are some kind of huge, this was my first chance to see these floating cities other that on TV. I stopped about a block away in a spot that was clearly posted as No Parking, No Stopping. I snapped a couple pictures and quickly moved on.

Disney Cruise Ship
The old saying it's often easier to ask forgiveness than ask permission, I boldly turned right into the ramp leading into the boarding area. Signs directed vehicles to loading gates, all bringing them to individual manned gate houses. Supposedly there to make sure those entering had good and legitimate reason for being there.

Guess what, I had none of that so just before I got to the gate I veered off and took the ramp back to the freeway. I still was able to drive right alongside the largest of the ships and
Micky Has One Huge Boat!
looking up from ground level was dizzying. Years ago I dreamed of taking a cruise on one of these great ships, but now I realize I hate crowds and there are thousands of people trapped inside these things. You spend all your time dressing for one thing or another.  If I can't wear jeans I'm not comfortable. Lastly the whole point would be to indulge in all the gourmet food that is available 24 hrs a day.  Now that I'm diabetic, all the fun has been taken out of eating. So much for taking a cruise as an item on my bucket list.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Few Much Needed Upgrades

Plastic wire run made wiring simple
As I get nearer and nearer to my one year anniversary of living in my now 22 year old motorhome, recently I've made a few repairs and upgrades. Minor things, but significant in not only maintaining my home, but improving my overall comfort level.

I'm staying south through this coming summer hot season. Being on the East Coast, humidity is a real issue. Unless you want your rather small quarters to smell like a locker room, keeping the air moving is pretty important.

With the prospect of monthly electric bills climbing well over $100, running the air conditioners will
Good ventilation makes better sleeping
eventually become an around the clock necessity. Right now it still cools off enough at night to sleep, as long as a breeze can be maintained.

Installing a ceiling fan places that breeze in the best possible place, directly over the bed. The trick is with no wiring in place to run a 110V appliance, how do you make it work?

The overhead light fixture in the bedroom is 12V, so I removed it to make a place to mount the new fan. I chose the smallest ceiling fan I could find so that it wouldn't overwhelm the room. Since it had a light attached, losing the existing light was not an issue.

To supply 110V power to the fan I bought a length of peel and stick wire run material and simply wired up extension cord wire, running it through the tube before sticking it to the ceiling. Another piece of tube ran the wire down the wall along the edge of the shirt closet. Plugging it into an existing outlet and the job was done. Pretty simple, the whole thing took about 30 minutes to accomplish.

Now I can sleep with the windows open, and when I do run the air conditioner it does a much better job of directing the cool air directly down at bed level. Much more comfortable sleeping and I can set the thermostat a little higher saving a few dollars in the process.

Repurposed light fixture
The next project was the light fixture over the kitchen table. Nothing wrong with it beyond the fact it was just ugly and outdated. Down it came, and the bedroom fixture that I had just removed was installed in its place. It had been a replacement for a failed fixture in the bedroom, so it is more current in styling and adds some warmth to the eating area too.

Thrift store chairs 
Last fall, before hitting the road full time, one of the permanently mounted swivel pedestal chairs at the kitchen table had the weld break that attaches the chair to the tubular mount.  I paid a local welder $25, what I considered a bit steep, to reweld the mount so that I could retain the original chairs.s

After about 9 months of I guess what would be considered sever service, I'm no light weight, the weld has broken again, I've never been a fan of permanently mounted dining chairs, it was time for a change. An afternoon of cruising thrift stores found me two suitable replacements. $20 times two secured me a matching set of
Original chairs that broke
padded chairs that are close enough in color to the sofa that you would think they are original.  Four bolts per chair secured the originals to the floor, with the nuts being accessible inside my storage bays. A short half hour's work and I cured the problem of the broken chair.

This recliner crowded things too much.. I got rid of it
An additional benefit to replacing the immovable chairs with two that can be moved about is that since I disposed of the recliner that completely overcrowded the living room, now when I have company I can make use of two more chairs that can be relocated to keep everyone in the group.

Every RV I've owned was never just right from the factory. These simple changes addressed some legitimate issues, and when it was all said and done the investment was less than $100.
Well worth laying down on the floor to unbolt the chairs, even if I needed a crane to get back on my feet...Not really, but at my age the floor is a long ways down.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Getting Out In The Hood!

Now that I've got a whole new state to explore, Max insisted we get in the Jeep this morning and get started.

After enjoying a breakfast buffet, including my favorite..Biscuits and Gravy, courtesy of the park I now call home, we headed across the causeway and headed north.

No particular destination in mind, that's the best way to just stumble upon interesting places to stop.
We wound along a narrow rode taking us through some pretty deluxe digs. People with considerable money live in these parts. Long driveways, manicured lawns, and closed gates at the road keeping
prying eyes far away. These folks have guys. There's a guy that comes weekly to take care of the lawn, another guy takes care of the bountiful flowers and shrubs that adorn the estate. Setting up the satellite dish on their own... oh no, call the guy.

Along the coast we drove, soon to wander through the town of Titusville. Smaller in size, older and less flashy then their neighbor to the south. This is where the history of our space travel comes from.

We ended up headed for the Kennedy Space Center. Because I had Max with me going in wasn't on the agenda for today... I'll be back. Still, what I could see from the road impressed the dickens out of me. We see the space shuttle on TV for decades, but being close to those massive
rocket engines and attached fuel tank is pretty impressive.

I could see displays of various other rockets and space paraphernalia behind the building, but with a charge of $10 just to park in the lot, again I held back for another time when I could take in the whole experience.

Further up the road was the Astronauts Hall of Fame. Again, from the outside I could tell this is a place I will return to.

The front of the building is the backdrop for a full scale replica of the Space shuttle. With an access ramp attached to the back side, apparently it is part of the display allowing visitors to enter and
experience the machine that was the backbone of our space efforts for past decades.

There really is only one word to describe the vehicle that hauled so much space stuff into orbit...AWSOME!

Then it was back south and home again on U.S. Hwy 1. It's a slower trip than taking the freeway I-95, but you get a much better feel for this part of the Atlantic Coast.

There's a lot of what some would consider recent history here. By recent I mean things that mattered to my generation.

Maybe teens of today don't get it, but during my lifetime we have accomplished some pretty spectacular milestones.

A man on the moon, color TV, cell phones, computers. Life isn't the same from when I was a kid. Not by a long shot. Some of the changes have been good, some not so much. The only thing that has remained constant is forever more there will be change.