Friday, January 24, 2014

#53 Atlas 5 Rocket Launch

One of the things we wanted to do while here in Florida was to view a NASA rocket launch.  Ronnie had been monitoring the Internet site Space Coast Launches so we knew one was planned for January 23, 2014.  We had been keeping our eye on the weather, it was predicted to be clear with light winds yesterday so he felt the rocket would go off at the scheduled time.  Great, let's go to Cape Canaveral and search for a viewing spot. 
First we visited the Cape Canaveral Chamber of Commerce where we picked up a map and chatted with their receptionist.  She provided some good suggestions for dinner and some viewing areas.  Of course we stopped by Cocoa Beach and the famous Cocoa Beach Pier where we saw shore birds and some surfers.   (No, we didn't see Jeannie, Major Nelson or Major Healey ha!)

Ron felt the best viewing areas for this particular rocket would be in the Titusville area so we drove over there.  He was right, we found a fantastic park right on the water.  We got a bite to eat then drove back to the park where we found several people already there waiting for the launch. Wow, this was around 5:30 and for a 9:00pm launch. 
The building on the horizon is the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building.
  As the evening wore on, the park really began to fill up with people.  Finally around 9:33pm, lift off.  Not a good photo here with my digital camera but I was amazed with the sight.. especially with the light reflecting on the water and the roar of those booster engines.

We were impressed with our first NASA rocket and glad we made the trip.  Now Ron wants to see a Delta IV (Heavy) go up.  For a clearer picture and some video of last night's Atlas 5 launch visit


Friday, January 17, 2014

#52 Food Truck Round-Up

We just can't seem to sit still. 
This morning Ronnie got on the Internet to search for interesting things to do in the Winter Haven area. One of the events that came up was the monthly Food Truck Round-Up held every third Friday evening in the downtown area.  I already had dinner in the crock pot but I said "We can eat it tomorrow."  So we made plans to head that way.

We walked around Winter Haven's downtown square and had a couple of cold drinks at The Fire Restaurant.  Soon we saw the Food Trucks gathered in an area blocked off just for the occasion.
Our first selection was Tallulah's Table By The Sea.  I got the Spicy Shrimp Taco and Ronnie selected the Fish Taco.  Both were so good I completely forgot to get a photo.  Yumm, we are hooked.  So..which truck will we pick next?

We choose Five Gastronomy.  We had their Fish Tacos with Fries sprinkled with herbs and mushroom oil.  Outstanding..

Now, we are starting to get full...but no, we can't stop.  Which one will we choose next??
We picked the Voodoo Kitchen and their Shrimp and Grits.  It's the first time we have ever had that dish and it's delicious!

Now we are really stuffed.  But wait, what's for dessert?

Baklava from the Food Truck "It's All Greek To Me".  No doubt, it is the best we've ever tasted.

Our first Food Truck experience was fantastic, we enjoyed every bite and we plan to go back next month.  There were a total of 11 Food Trucks and we sampled 4 this time.  We'll bring chairs on our next trip for a more relaxed eating experience.  

#51 Lakeridge Winery Tour and Tasting

We have been busy the past few days. 

 On Wednesday we went to the Florida RV Super Show in Tampa.  This was our first time to any kind of RV show this size.  We didn't feel too overwhelmed since we decided to only visit the Vendor Buildings, a few motorhome exhibits and the Vintage RV Display.  We saw lots of interesting items for RVing but we only bought two:  a folding director's chair and a second "Rescue My Cat" sign.  It got very crowded at one point so we just got on the tram and rode around.  We can say we have been once..  I don't know if we will go back again, but I also know:  "never say never".

On Thursday we met our RV friends Rick and Gail of the  Gypsy Turtles for lunch.  We really love the Oakwood Grill and Smokehouse.  I suggested we meet there and since they were finishing up some errands that morning, that was a good meeting location for them as well.  We enjoyed catching up and we also had a great meal too.

On our way back to Davenport, we drove by Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards.  Ronnie suggested we stop in and try their wines.  Yes, we can do that!  As it worked out, our timing was perfect.  We walked in right as they were starting their next tour.  

We got a great view of the vineyards.

We saw the equipment for picking the grapes and bottling the wines.
Once we finished the brief tour, it was time for the tasting.  We were offered 8 different wines out of the 10 they make at the winery.  These wines are of the Muscadine grape variety so they have a sweet kind of taste.  A few of their selections were "dry" which made those seem not quite as sweet.  We purchased their Sunblush wine as it was suggested it is best with cheese. As we were enjoying the descriptions and tastings of the wines, our Sommelier mentioned she was from North Carolina.  Hey, we said, we're from NC too.  Now, you know where this is leading...  She was from Holly Springs, we're from the Fuquay-Varina area and she and Ronnie knew some of the same folks.  We visited with her for awhile after our tasting which was a lot of fun.  As they say "It's a small world".  

We think we will stay around our RV for the next few days, Little Boy has been missing out on his daily walks.  : )

Monday, January 13, 2014

#50 Day Trip to Daytona Beach

On Saturday, we met our friends Jimmy and Geri at the Oakwood Smokehouse Restaurant in Lady Lake.  If they look familiar, they are part of the Disney World Cast: Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. We had a nice visit and we hope to meet up with them again soon.

Sunday, we made a last minute decision to take a day trip to Daytona Beach.  The skies were clear, the temperature was comfortable and it was "Test Day" at the Daytona International Speedway.  We got online and found out it was free and open to the public.  Yes, I think we can do that!
Fans could stand and watch the testing or go up into the grandstand.  They only had one section open and we were surprised that attendance was low.  We had lots of room to walk and look around.
This was our first time to the Speedway and as NASCAR fans, we were excited!
Now, I had to be quick with the shutter to get this photo of Brad Keselowski's No. 2.  What speed, it was loud and to say they are an understatement.  The first thought to come to my mind...rockets with wheels..
And when they all came around at one time, the noise was deafening.

Of course, we wanted to ride on to Daytona Beach and we were happy to see they allow you to drive right on the sand.  That was fun!

Ron wanted to walk on the pier to see what the fishermen might be catching plus there was a Joe's Crab Shack Restaurant right on the pier as well. We decided to get some dinner, which was very good. 
Afterwards, on our walk down the pier, we saw this 6 pound sheephead.  Whoa, what a fish and look at those teeth.  The same couple also showed me their other caught sheephead plus a big black drum in their cooler.

The weather has been comfortable so far and is predicted to be nice this upcoming week too.  So far, we are really enjoying this winter.  :)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

#49 "Just Chillin"

On my morning walk today I noticed that several of the residents had covered those pretty flowers and sensitive plants for protection from the cold temperatures.  It seems that the plants survived without harm as it didn't get down to 32 degrees here.  Yesterday's high temperature of 49 did set a record for the Orlando area..since 1924.  There is a warm-up expected though.
Forecast for the next several days:  the 70's and 80's!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

#48 Observations From This Northerner

This is our first winter in Florida and we just can't get over the mild temperatures here and the flowers growing everywhere.  I walk for exercise just about every morning and these are some of the flowers and plants I admire along my path.  Flowers growing in January...a first for us!  Deer Creek RV Park is such a beautiful place and it's surrounded by groves and groves of orange trees.  We haven't stopped at the local fruit stand yet but we plan to and load up on some fresh oranges.

Beautiful roses.

There are a lot of these flowers everywhere.

Tomatoes, onions and broccoli..  Who says you can't garden in a motorhome.

Mom, look at these cabbage!
This flowering bush is beside our RV lot...stunning.  I get to see it everyday.

I think this is a grapefruit first.
These red blossoms are in the trees beside our motorhome.
This huge poinsettia is growing right from the earth.  It's camouflaging an electric box.

I believe these are Sandhill Cranes.  I watched them for awhile.

The weather forecast is for cooler temperatures next week.  Highs are predicted to be in the 40's...that's not too bad and it's only for a couple of days.  These colder temps are unusual for this area of Florida and there is even a prediction of below freezing temps for Tuesday.  Hey, guess along with all the crowds, colder weather tagged along with us from NC too.