Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Adventure 3.8 Goodbye Snow Dec 2002

Sunday, December 8, 2002 Low 51 High 73
Wonderful weather today down here in Ocala, FL. Some of you didn’t know that we’d even left Michigan, but we did. We’re on our way to visit my mom in Ft, Myers, FL.
We left Dec 3rd with another couple, Ken & Betty Baker J also of Hesperia. They go to Sebring where some of their children live. And on the trip we had all kinds of weather and it was near zero when we left home with snow and even rain down through Kentucky. The trip was uneventful and was safely made though it was only in the low sixties and raining when we entered Florida.
I guess I made one big great big mistake coming down. Sally told me Ken & Betty wanted to stop off and see some sights such as outlet malls and the like. So I’m apologizing to them now. All I kept hearing on the way down was “LET’S GET TO WARMER COUNTRY”. I had NO IDEA that we were supposed to be sightseeing. I am now apologizing to them for not stopping other than food, fuel and eating & sleeping.
I stated that we are in Ocala visiting my nephew and wife John Rose Pickett J. He formerly owned Crown Glass in Fremont, MI and now has moved his operation to Ocala where he says it is a lot warmer. They have a beautiful new home about 15 miles out in the country near the little burg of Fairfield, where they have plenty of room for their horses, cows, dogs & cats.
Ocala is the horse capital of the US and we had no idea how many horses there were down here. Through the years I have been through this area many times but now we are “experiencing” it. There are literally hundreds of ranches and/or farms with beautiful accommodations for horses and humans that you cannot see from the expressway. Any and all breeds of horses are here from Thoroughbreds, Morgan, colorful Paints and/or Pintos, Quarter, Arabians, Standard Bred and many others including draft and miniature breeds too numerous to list. The affluent abound here with extravagance galore. One house, that we saw, has 43,000 sq ft of living space. Their barns are nicer and bigger than a lot of homes. Whether the money comes from Campbell’s (soup), movies, industrialists, sports, entertainment or I suppose there might even be some drug money there is extravagance galore. Many miles of black board fences surround the fields and paddocks, painted black because of the ever-present mold that grows on everything. Veterinarians are quite in evidence with most specializing in equine services and they in turn have buildings as large as small hospitals for the care of the horses. With all of the horses there has to be farriers, tack and feed stores and several large trailer sales and service with hundreds of different size trailers in stock and in all price ranges from sublime to the ridiculous.
I’ve been busy taking care of the trailer which means washing the whole trailer including the roof. Also I get to unpack the whole thing and repack it again. That is not all bad because down here it is a lot warmer than it was in Michigan and I can take my time and not have to dodge snowflakes either.
Monday, December 9, 2002 Low 58 High 68 intermittent RAIN.
So much for unpacking the trailer and repacking it today. No sense getting everything wet (including myself).
I think we finally got the November letter done including our Christmas letters. How do we put all of this year’s experience, sights & sounds into a one-page letter? How do we put the meeting of new people and reunions of old friends into a one-page letter? I am hoping that the readers can “read” between the lines and know our true feelings.
We’re still looking for a “Workamper” job some where between here and there, wherever it is warm. Now that we’re on the road we can give specific dates and that should help us.
We visit mom during Christmas and it is nice. Jeff & Tina Pickett invite us over for Christmas Breakfast and we get to spend some “quality time” with another nephew and his family We do some minor repairs around her home and do some reminiscing about our neighbors back at Williams Lake (near Pontiac, MI) where I was born almost 65 years ago. That is where I cling to my childhood memories of all the friends and neighbors of so long ago.

After talking and trying to remember names they come back to mother as I try describing such and such a house. She comes up with names that I’d forgotten and haven’t been able to remember for a number of years. All to soon it is time to leave and head for Texas.
We spent a night with Mel & Marge VanderWall over at Vero Beach and got to learn a little about the area. We met Ken & Betty Baker and spent a couple of hours with them. We did have dinner with Sid & Mary Ann Gleason at a Cracker Barrel while we were at Ocala. Of course I never knew them but they seem to an awful nice couple. We also saw Joy Heaven in Bonita Springs. Joy grew-up in Hesperia. She has turned into a delightful young lady. Moving away from home has helped her mature quite nicely. We went to her place of employment called “Longhorns” and had a nice lunch. AND FOR DESSERT she had gotten us a employee discount. Thanks again Joy.!!!
One thing we’ve noticed about Florida is the open hostility of the people that live there. If you say hello to somebody they look at you as if you’re “nuts”. Pretty soon you get to be just like them. In my opinion that is NO WAY TO LIVE but then, “what do I know? I almost feel sorry for them and their lifestyles but they are all in my prayers anyways.
I-75 going north out of Florida was almost bumper to bumper BUT IT WASN’T AS BAD AS SOUTHBOUND I-75 L. It was bumper to bumper and we hope all of those people had good trips. When we started west on I 10 there was immediate relief from the traffic. 2 years ago when we took our trailer across we said never again. Since then most of the road has been redone and though rough it was that way only for short lengths of time and not hour after hour.
The weather was warm with intermittent rain and quite enjoyable. When we got to Bay Minnett, Al., Sally said she was going to call Bob & Dorothy Bills and see if they were around. They were, and they met us at a Loves fuel stop and we had a sandwich with them and promises to spend some time with them next trip. We talked about their impending retirement and how they think they’d like to try Tennessee or Kentucky for retirement. Bob’s hobby is trains and they have quite a set-up in their shed in the back yard.
All to soon it was time to leave them and continue our trek to Texas. As we got closer and closer to the Texas border the people were more laid back and friendly and of course we were also. Just like a smile, friendliness is also contagious .
One thing about Texas is just like death and taxes. WIND!. When we finally started south and go through Houston the wind came up out of the south east at about 35 to 40 mph.
As we traveled Sally kept the cell phone busy and soon learned that Red & Lois Hornbrook were up by Dallas, Fort Worth and would soon be coming south also. They were smart and holed up in Victoria for the afternoon and night while I continued on. I say I because I made the decision even after Sally suggested that we stop. I guess I enjoy dropping the mileage down to about 5 mpg and not being able to go more than 45 to 50 mphL. We continued on into Raymondville and set up at the Gateway RV Park. The next day Red & Lois (with a tail wind) showed up and we able to spend a few hours showing them the sights and meeting some of the local people and even showing them some Nilgai and a couple trophy whitetails before they went on to their destination at Donna, TX. And the park with the name of “A Bit of Heaven“. That is the same way we feel about this state.
We still haven’t found any employment but we’re sure we will shortly. Sally is running around playing cards every afternoon and doing whatever women do. I’ve been busy with the truck. I don’t know if that terrible wind did it or not but the torque converter went out of the transmission and so we had to get that fixed and then I had a fuel leak on a morphadite connection that I had made. It only leaked when the front tank was full and I had the valve open on the auxiliary tank. It was just enough to make a mess and waste fuel.
I’ve also managed to wash the trailer, clean out the basement and now I get to wax it. Also I put 6 inches of 1¼ of clear polyethylene tubing on each of the little downspouts of the eaves on the trailer. We’ve always used spring type clothes pins before but continued to lose them in the wind and always piqued questions from people. The tubing is held in place with a couple of screws and will last indefinitely and is really quite unobtrusive.
We finally got some mail from home, I won’t say the post office doesn’t know what they’re doing but it sure is run like a federal institution. We got everything but money in the mail. The last of our Christmas Cards, Highways and Workamper magazines along with letters and notes from all of you, also.
The 20th of this month is a job fair in Harlingen and it should be an interesting and informative time. If any of you want to work in a campground, nudist camp, theme park, circus or the like let us know and we’ll see what we can do for you.
Friday, January 24, 2003 Beautiful weather the first of this week. In fact it was quite warm, up in the 80’sJ and the humidity right with it. Tuesday & Wednesday of this week was a “Workamper”® Job Fair in Harlingen. Lloyd and Judy BerrymanJ came down from Bourne, TX and spent time with us and we were able to go to the job fair together. Afterwards we took them to S. Padre Island and showed them the sights. It was really quite different than when we worked there last spring. Of course the bridge is now open and therefore there is more traffic. They have STOPPED the free camping on the beach and opened up some CONTROLLED camping on the Gulf beach. They now offer full hook ups and/or dry camping at reasonable rates. Not the $60.00 per day rate.
We met them in Michigan at a campground we were both working at. Sally & I enjoyed the fair immensely. It did not meet the expectation of the Berryman’s and they left for home Tues AM. After they left Sally & I they went back to Harlingen and the job fair to listen to a seminar and turn in some résumé’s for future “Workamper”® jobs. All in all it was quite enjoyable for us.
The front tires were worn down into the wear bars on our pickup. I just about croaked when I (finally) noticed them We just bought those last spring after it came out of the body shop (deer accident in Texas) and we got the front end (ball joints) replaced. I really think that a front set of tires should last longer than 20,000 miles. After checking around for tire and alignment prices we decided on Sears only because of the 6 month (6,000 mile) warranty. I think that this way we should be able get the alignment checked and fixed free next June or July while we’re in Idaho and the rough roads.
Also I had an appointment with an audiologist yesterday. My hearing is not getting any better it has been so bad that sometimes I can barely hear myself talk. After testing and a long interview we decided on a very expensive hearing (digital) aid with a 30 day money back trial. That way if it doesn’t work we can get our money back. That is better than having hearing aids setting in a drawer someplace. One of the problems with “Minere’s Syndrome” is the fluctuation in hearing and with the digital aid it’s programmable and can be changed if and when it is necessary. If the one works out we’ll then get another one for the other ear. A pair of these cost almost as much as our first house and 20 acres of land! I know it cost more than the new Packard’s dad used to drive.
Today it is quite cold down in the 40’sL this morning and only in the 50’sL this afternoon, but WE DON‘T HAVE TO SHOVEL
Sunday, March 2, 2003
Somehow I lost a month on this letter. I can’t say I’ve been too busy just to lazy. I’ve been puttering around with the trailer and truck and Sally has been running around doing what she does best. Coffee in the morning cards after lunch until 3 or so. Then cards about 7 at night. Me I just wonder about and spend a little bit of time down at the EMS and over at Frank’s new house. Now it is not new but it is the house his mother in law lived in for quite a few years. Frank and his wife, Virginia, decided to move it onto where their mobile home sets. So Lisa, Marge, Virginia & others have been over to the trailer trying to clean it out. Virginia is a very sentimental person and she has virtually everything (good or broken) through the years. In fact  if things that was found was quite a bit of money that was received as gifts in cards and etc. They just kept it all together and several thousand dollars was found. Us Yanquis from up north would have spent that money long ago. You might say the house had a “cluttered” look about it. Frank built a building just to put the junk in and sold the trailer for quite a large sum of money, it seems to me. Then Mondo Gutirrez proceeded to move the house about 1 mile. Now, Mondo learned his trade from his grandfather and still does lot of things the way his grandfather did. It was interesting to say the least as we watched him make ready to move the house and place in its new location. Down here there is no such things as footings or frost proof water lines. Just about everything is done without permits and it shows in a lot of places. The house was moved without any major problems and now Frank & Virginia are now remodeling it.
I did get my new hearing aid (1 only) and it does quite a remarkable job. Last week we had major highs & lows move through the area and it didn’t work to well but then, I couldn’t really hear myself talk anyway. The last few days have been great and today we’ll go to church and I’ll be able to hear what is going on.
This last weekend in Quantico, VA. Our grandson Lance Corporal Phillip Higgins graduated from Embassy Security and something else training. He graduated 15th out of a class of 70 that had started out with over a 100. He graduated high enough that he got to pick where he wanted to go and he picked Slovokia. He said he didn’t think there would be a lot of bombing there. We offer our congratulations and wish him well. Also another grandson Kevin Towne is with the marines somewhere in Africa, I believe. We pray to God that he keeps all of our service personnel safe.
The price of fuel has gone so high that we’ve decided against going to Michigan this spring. It is 1600 miles up there and 1700 miles to Idaho from there. Idaho is 2,000 miles from us here in Texas so it will be economically feasible for us to go straight to Idaho
This Wednesday we plan on going up towards Crystal City, Bourne and DelRio
IT!! Love to all Darrell, Sally & Aimee

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