"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Disney World bound

We spent Monday night in a motel just outside the entrance to the Disney property. Our plan was to get up early and drive over to Caribbean Beach Resort where we can check in and get our passes to the "World".

Rudee loves Disney and we have a lot of great memories from past visits when the kids were small. I guess there really is some kind of magic going on here.

Tuesday morning we were up and out the door before the sun came up. We walked next door to the Burger King for a quick breakfast. When you stay at one of the Disney properties they give you a card similar to a credit card when you check in. This is the key to your room, entrance ticket to the parks and your card to redeem food on your meal plan. Each day one of the parks opens an hour early just for Disney guests and today it was Epcot.

We checked into our resort and picked up our cards. Our room wasn't available (expected, since it was 7:30 am) but we were able to park near the bus stop so we could catch the bus to Epcot.

Disney has a very extensive transportation system which is mostly buses. They are pretty well organized and the buses usually come every 10-15 minutes. True to form we didn't have to wait long and were on our way for first day in the parks.

We spent the morning riding the "popular" rides and then headed back into the "countries" of Epcot. There is a huge lake and around the lake are different themed areas of different countries around the world. All the shops, restaurants and entertainment is geared toward that particular country. We visited Canada, China, Great Britain, France, Mexico and of course the U.S.

Before we left Indiana Rudee had made reservations for some of meals. Tonight we were eating in Mexico. We found our restaurant and only had a short 10 minute wait for our table. The food was really good and as usual we shared an entree'.

The ticket package we purchased included 1 dinner, 1 quick service meal and 1 snack per person for every night you were staying. I wasn't sure how good this would work and was a little apprehensive on our first meal. You have to tell them you are "on the plan" when you sit down and I kind of figured there would be a lot of restrictions. I was pleasantly surprised when I could order anything from the "regular" menu.

Rudee and I shared a steak dish that included a stuffed roasted pepper and rice. The portions were huge and there was more than both of us could eat. We also got desert! I picked the bread pudding and it was very good but it was such a big portion we could only eat about 1/2 of it :-).

We hung around some more but were both pretty tired so we headed back to our room before the big fire works show.

Our room was pretty nice but had a "funky" kind of smell. I thought it was just the cleaning chemicals they used but Rudee thought it was more of a "musty" smell so she called and they came back in and sprayed some air cleaner around. Great, now it smells like "funky flowers" :-)

Wednesday morning Animal Kingdom Park was opened early so that was our first stop. We headed straight for the rollorcoaster "expedition Everest" and got a fast pass. These passes are pretty cool. You go to a special machine and stick your card in and a paper ticket pops out with a time on it. You return to the ride at your appointed time and go into a special entrance and go straight to the front of the line. Works pretty slick and gives you the opportunity to see more of the park and less of the back of the guys head in front of you in line :-).

We spent our time checking out the rest of the park and riding a couple of other rides. Our fast pass time came around and we got to ride the coaster and it was great. Lot's of ups and downs as well as some backwards ins and outs :-).

We grabbed a quick lunch and then left that park and hopped the bus to Hollywood Studios where we spent the rest of the afternoon. We never did make it onto the "rockin rollercoaster" but got to ride the "tower of terror" twice!

Our meal tonight was at the 50's Prime Time Cafe. Don't put your elbows on the table or "Mom" will yell at you! All in good fun of course :-).

Thursday morning we headed for the Magic Kingdom. Our sightseeing to today was a little slower, 2 full days in an amusement park was starting to take it's toll on my old butt :-).

We road a few rides and watched a nice show at the base of Cinderella's Castle.

We used our last "meal" for a nice lunch which included some of the Disney characters.

After lunch we did some shopping for souvenirs and then headed back to the car to start our drive back towards Tampa.

We made the drive across I-4 without any trouble, even saw a few 5th wheels moving around. I guess maybe some of the snow birds were heading back North a little early.

We checked into our motel and went to bed fairly early since we had an early flight.

Friday we drove the car back to the rental place to drop it off. We arrived at 5:40am and all the doors were locked and no lights on. Oh Oh, sign says open at 5 am but no one is here, The rental company (a division of Hertz) is in a small strip mall about 1/4 mile from the airport. No other business' in the complex were open this early either .... hmmmmm.

Rudee spotted another sign that said if we were there between 5am and 6 am and no one was there to just wait, they were dropping people at the airport. Well we waited and waited, and waited. Finally a van pulled up and it turned out to be the "early person" for the rental agency. She checked in our car and after watching me unload all our luggage decided that she would just drive our car to drop us off at the airport. Great, load everything back up .... thanks alot lady!

We had some issues getting through airport security, Rudee kept setting off the metal detector. Each time she tried to go through it would squeel and they would have her take off something and try again. She tried 3 or 4 times and kept setting the stupid alarms off. They finally had her remove her plastic belt and she breezed right through. Turned out the plastic for the belt was held together with a whole bunch of metal staples :-). Good thing they found it, couple of more times setting off the alarm and she would have been naked :-O

We had a great time in Florida. We did have some "responsibilities" to take care of but we also took some time from that to have some fun too.

The weather is starting to make a turn for the better and we are looking forward to real "spring" weather. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Big trip

These past few weeks have been a zoo. Hopefully things will calm down in our lives soon. Sunday after posting my my last update to the blog I woke up and no hot water, AGAIN! I went outside and found the water heater dripping from the pressure valve AGAIN! The water had dripped onto the gas valve and corroded the electrical terminals and now it would not work. I tried changing the wire connections but could not get it to work.
We decided to just make an appointment with an RV dealer for service. I called Modern Trailer in Anderson and got things set up to drop the 5er there on Thursday before they closed. We were planning on spending the night at Rudee's parents anyway since our flight to Florida left really early Friday.
Thursday Rudee and I both took a 1/2 day off work and were hooked on and headed out shortly after noon. Rudee followed me in the Dakota and we were able to talk back and forth on the CB radio. This is the way we envisioned traveling once we retire and it worked pretty good.
The drive to the dealership took a little over an hour. We met with the service advisor and went over our list. We had them do a little more than just the water heater. We had a slideout seal needing replaced as well as had them repair a window blind and replace the brakes with self adjusting models that I had purchased last year but had never installed myself.
We left the Montana in their capable hands and headed to Plainfield. Our flight leaves at 7:00 am and Rudee's parents live about 10 minutes from the airport which is really handy :-).

Friday morning we were out the door really, really, really early :-(. Our brother in law David dropped us off at the curbside check in on his way to work. We even had time to grab a quick breakfast in the food court before getting on our flight.
The flight was uneventful and after a couple of stops, hey I'm "frugal" and to get cheap tickets we had to make some stops :-), we landed at Tampa 20 minutes early.
We picked up our rental car and headed out to meet Steve and Trish and pick up my parent's urn. They sure saved our day by hauling it down here with them. They were leaving Saturday morning to head back to Indiana so we didn't get to spend a lot of time with them but it sure sounds like they have had a nice week in the sunshine.
Speaking of sunshine, wow, the weather forecast was great. They were predicting 80's all week :-).
My parents lived in Zephyrhills and that is where they had their plot so we stayed at a Quality Inn there so we could get all our business taken care of.
Saturday my sister flew in from Washington and we spent the afternoon and evening catching up with her.
Sunday we drove to Honeymoon Island State Park and walked around the beach a little while. We even saw a Dolphin playing off shore :-).
Monday was the day of the burial. My brother and his family met us at the cemetery where we laid our parents ashes to rest. We did not have a "formal" ceremony, just family members telling stories. I think they would have liked it that way.
We left the grave site and all went to their favorite restaurant Barb's in Zephyrhills. My Mom and Dad ate here a lot and had a whole group of friends that would meet here with them. We all sat at "their" table and got to listen to all the staff telling us their best memories of our parents. It was nice :-).
After lunch we all said our goodbyes and headed separate ways. Paula was flying back to Washington and then heading on vacation to Hawaii. Jon and his family had a condo on the beach rented. Rudee and I headed for Orlando where we spending the night. We had 3 day tickets for Disney World and wanted to be close so we could get an early start Tuesday morning. I'll keep you posted. (Soon, I promise!)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

no time for posting :-(

Sorry for not updating the blog but things have been a little topsy turvy around here. Rudee's dad is going through some pretty serious health issues right now and the news has not been good. She has been taking some time away from work going to doctors appointments and clinical tests with him.

We were invited to join Rob and Jany Runion on Saturday for a trip to the newly expanded Indiana Convention Center. We attended the Indiana Home Show. The show itself was fairly small with mostly home improvement vendors. Luckily as we were standing in line to pay a gal came up and gave us free admission tickets, saved us $10.00 :-).

We didn't stay too long at the show and headed back to the car. The only problem was we came back into the parking garage by a different door and then couldn't find the car. Rob set off the alarm and we could hear the horn honking but with the echos of the garage we couldn't find it. We walked 3 floors before we finally found their car. Boy did we all feel like a bunch of dopes :-).

On the way back to pick up our truck at Runion's we stopped at a BMW motorcycle dealership. Man those sure are nice looking bikes. We were disappointed they didn't have the newest model on display but looking around and sitting on the ones they had gave me the fever to be out riding again. I'm sure ready for spring.

Sunday we got together with Steve and Trish and went to the Maple Syrup Festival in Rockville Indiana. I was a little disappointed in the festival, not much happening and very few craft booths. We did make a stop at a sugar camp where they were boiling the sap to make the syrup.

We are starting to get excited about our vacation coming up. We only have 5 more days to work and then we will be off for a week. Whoo Hoo! Happy dance :-). I'll keep you posted.