Thursday, April 28, 2016

And This Concludes Our Winter Season In Florida

Here's a quick update of our past 2 months in Florida.

Motorhome Maintenance
A trip to Alliance Service Center in Wildwood meant new filters and a generator oil change.  What we didn't expect was that air dryer filter needing 2 hours of labor just to be removed. Unfortunately, this day was an unusually expensive trip.
 Later that afternoon, our appointment with Jiffy Exhaust went much smoother.  A new Aero Turbine 5050xl Muffler gives the motorhome's engine a deeper voice as well.

We also hired an "on site RV paint repairman" to fix our peeling clear coat on the front cap.  The hot sun from our stays on the NC coast and Florida had begun to make this vulnerable area blister and peel.  Sam was highly recommended and he did an excellent job.

Great Neighbors Become Great Friends
Sometimes it's who's parked next to you that makes for a memorable winter season.  Our new RVing friends from Iowa: John and Sue, & Dave and Donna gave us many, many hours of great conversation, happy hours and restaurant fun.
 Donna and Dave with Karen and Russ as we enjoy another good pizza dinner at Floridino's in Lake Hamilton.
 We even had a visit from the "Cranes" too.

Interesting Restaurants
was a highlight dining experience.  Enjoying our first and second visits to the Columbia Restaurant location in Celebration, we just knew we would love the original one in Ybor City.  The ambiance and special friends accompanying us were all memorable..our meal this visit, not so much. 
This restaurant was established in 1905 by the Cuban immigrant Casimiro Hernandez.  His cafe was frequented by the local cigar workers and as his food became internationally famous he had to enlarge his dining room.
 The outside walls are decorated with hundreds of hand-painted tiles depicting many intricate patterns and the world of Don Quixote.  It is a colorful feast for the eyes!

 Walking into the restaurant, you are greeted with this view of the patio dining room surrounded by balconies of more tables.  There are 15 dining rooms in this establishment that can seat/serve 1700 people.
 Lively entertainment that evening was provided by these amazing Flamenco Dancers.  

Our second visit to The Columbia Restaurant in Celebration with John and Sue was one of the best meals we have enjoyed. 
Grilled grouper and crab with lemon garlic sauce, asparagus and Spanish rice. Outstanding!
 No winter season in this part of Florida would be complete without at least one visit to the Parksdale Market for fresh strawberry shortcake and a strawberry milkshake.
 And we always make a visit to the Two Henry's Brewing in Plant City.

 Road Trips
 We drove through the historic neighborhood street of Ybor City.
Unfortunately it was a little bit too warm this afternoon to stroll the historic sidewalks and enjoy the unusual architecture therefore we opted to auto hike this afternoon.
 The overhead night lights portrayed a festive atmosphere.  The lively bars and open air restaurants along the strip also put one a lively mood.

We enjoyed a day trip to Melbourne Beach.
Located south of Cape Canaveral, this area is also known as the "Space Coast".  The beach wasn't crowded, we enjoyed a nice picnic and it was very relaxing day. 

Another highlight was a visit to the annual Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival.
Even more unbelievable was to run into a former colleague at the art festival.  Nancy and I taught art together in Wake County, NC and we hadn't seen each other in over 8 years.

 Little Boy had his share of relaxing, fun days too.  He kept his eyes out for all the wondering geckos and some were not so lucky.

Our summer plans are to spend a few weeks in North Carolina visiting with my Mom and family. We'll attend to those bi-annual medical and dental appointments, help Mom with a few items and then head west again.  We have a stop planned for Iowa to visit our friends and also a maintenance service checkup at HWH Corporation for our automatic leveling system. 
More later.