This Blog has moved to

My blog started out on Yahoo in 2003 when Mavis and I left on our Great Loop Cruise. It moved to WordPress around 2008 but was always a separate website from Search Engine experts said it was a bad idea to have two separate websites. I also needed a website with modern content management and an expanded ecommerce capability.

Starting today we have a single integrated site at While the WordPress site will remain for an indeterminate time, all new posts will be made on the new website. All existing posts with photos have been transferred to the new site. This was quite a technical achievement and after a false start trying to do everything on WordPress, development of this site was switched to ICG Links Build111 platform with the work done by their very capable team.

In spite of moving the site in March, WordPress reports the site was visited 17,000 times as of December 31, 2013.

Feb 14 – 18 St Joseph Peninsula SP to Freeport, FL

We arrived in Freeport around noon on Thursday. This was the first day of the View/Navion Group Annual Rally. This year was sold out with about 50 Views or Navions plus 2 SOBs. (Some Other Brand – These are Mercedes Sprinter Chassis units so are very similar to Views and have owners with the same touring interests). Quite a few people had to be turned away because capacity is limited not by campsites but by the number chairs in the meeting center. Attendance was about 90 people. The sites have space and power for two 25 ft units. Friday and Saturday mornings we had fabulous breakfasts cooked by a team of 10 people with pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits, gravy, and fruit. One of the team had pealed a dozen oranges into wedges. Friday morning was the technical discussion group with a very long discussion on fuel, oil, and other fluids. Mavis and I gave a slide show Friday night on touring the California Deserts. Saturday night I did my Keeping In Touch While Touring talk. I was delighted to get feedback from the organizer of the event who wrote “I love your sense of humor and irony in photo choice and I always want to go visit whatever place you are showing.” My Saturday talk was followed by a karaoke entertainer. You could choose from 50,000 songs. Monday we left at 6:25AM and drove the 430 miles to Nashville in 8.5 hours. The most exciting moment occurred after parking at McDonald’s. When I went to start up the shifter was stuck and would not move into reverse. I called CoachNet and the technician said do the brake lights work. Mavis checked and I pressed the brake several times. That fixed the problem. I had the brake light switched replaced when I got back at our dealer. Several people wrote to tell me that if you read the Mercedes manual it says you can press a screw driver into the switch and clear the problem that way. We took the View back to the shed in Murray, KY on Saturday Feb 23.

Feb 11-13 Homosassa Springs to St Joseph Peninsula State Park

We took a brief tour of Homosassa Springs before heading north. The town is old Florida with some neat homes and the series of springs. One attraction is a sugar mill built in 1849. Sugar was a big crop in the 19th century and because of the large amount of waste in extracting the sugar from the cane it was done close to the farms. A steam powered press extracted juice from the cane. The juice was then boiled in big iron pots eventually producing cakes of sugar. We arrived at St Josephs Peninsula State Park Tuesday at noon. The weather was clouding and there was lots of wind. Today was a repeat of yesterday’s weather, a good day for beach photos, and to get work done. We are in a wilderness with no TV, and almost no Internet. But, we do have power and water at the campsite.

Feb 7-10 Everglades to Homosassa Springs

For the past 4 days we have visited with friends and parked in driveways. We have enjoyed fabulous home cooked meals with many stories and laughs. Stop #1 was with Great Loopers Tom and Patsy on True North, a 42 Nordic Tug, at the Legends Marina in Fort Myers. At the same marina we welcomed Butch and Kelle on Lucky Enough, a 63’ Hampton. Butch and I had corresponded about blogging while he was selling his Ohio River tow boat business and getting ready for some long distance cruising. He formerly boated at Eddie Creek Marina on Barkley Lake. His boat had the most rugged pilot house door hardware I have ever seen. (see photo). That evening we stayed with Fred and Joanie at their Cape Coral home.  Fred is the writer of the CruiseGuides we reprint. Then it was on to former Kenlake boaters, Doc and Eileen. We just managed to catch them in between world travels.  Most recently they flew to Australia and took a cruise around New Zealand. Next Eileen wants to take the train from Moscow to Beijing. Mavis and Eileen went Goodwill shopping for most of Saturday morning while I finished editing and posting a video for a client. We then drove 18 miles west to Anna Maria island to visit Gary and Carol, in their new home, with a dock for their 36 ft Grand Banks, Manatee. Gary and I made a major new discovery about the boat. We couldn’t figure out why water was pouring out a through-hull with everything we could find that pumps water shut off. It turns out the fridge and freezer use a sea water heat pump to cool. We walked along the bayside road and checked out the fancy homes. Dinner was fresh flounder that was delicious. After breakfast we checked out marinas in Dunedin that Tom had talked about which provide an alternative port to Tarpon Springs when cruising across the Gulf of Mexico from Carrabelle.  We had a big lunch in Tarpon Springs at our favorite restaurant, Dimitri’s on the Water. On our rough 24 hour Great Loop gulf crossing in 2003 we had our first meal there.  That meal is one of our fondest memories.  Our last stop was at Hellas Bakery for baklava. They make the best we have ever enjoyed. For the next 4 days we will be enroute to Fairport with a 2 night stay on St Joseph’s Peninsula State Park.

Feb 4-6 Ft Lauderdale to Key Biscayne to the Everglades

Shark Valley Tram

It’s just 33 miles from Ft Lauderdale to Key Biscayne but we probably traveled 50 mileswith all the bad advice the GPS gave us.  There was new construction on the way to the Florida Turnpike and the GPS got all mixed up. We spent the afternoon with Greg and Susan on their boat  in the Yacht Club and watched the sunset. The next day Susan and Mavis went to Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens in Coral Gables which they reported to be beautiful, but Mavis forgot the camera so we don’t have any photos. I worked most of the day while Greg took it easy. We had pizza brought in that night. Today we stopped at the Shark Valley National Park in the Everglades.  We took the traintour which lasted 2 hours and learned just about everything you ever wanted to know about alligators and the birds that live in the park. The tour guide talked the entire time and was very good.  There was lots of wild life. The big event for the past month has been the python roundup. There are an estimated 100,000 pythons in the Everglades but so far only 50 have been captured. There are cash prizes and 1,000 people registered for the contest.  Tonight we are at Collier Seminole State Park and attended a lecture on pythons. We even got to pet one. It was just a baby at 12 feet

Jan 31-Feb 3 Blue Spring to Ft Lauderdale

Peach Melba at La Bonne Crepe

Peach Melba at La Bonne Crepe

We split the trip from Blue Spring to Ft Lauderdale and spent one night at a huge, 452 sites, RV Park in Ft Pierce called the Road Runner Travel Resort. It actually was quite nice, quiet, and well maintained. There are lots of park homes and a few transient sites. Friday we arrived at Yacht Haven RV Park and Marina. My Nikon S9300 camera was acting up taking more out-of-focus photos than in-focus.  We stopped at a Costco and I broke a 10 year promise to never buy another Sony product. I made the promise after buying a Barbara Streisand CD that could not be put on my iPod. I got the Sony DSC-WX150 that is smaller and lighter than the Nikon and so far in over 200 photos there was only one out of focus due to movement. Today’s blog photos were all taken with the new camera. Saturday I gave my Great Loop talk to a standing room only crowd of 62 potential loopers. It was a great crowd and almost all stayed to the very end. Yesterday we took the water taxi tour around the harbor.  We had lunch with our friends Marsha & Larry for the third time now at La Bonne Crepe. The new camera has a special setting for food photos. How much better it makes food look I don’t know because the photo here was taken with the scene setting. We watched the SuperBowl at Larry’s timeshare suite.  What a game!! I held out for the Ravens to win against three others in the suite. Larry’s theory was that the 49er’s caused the power failure, however, it didn’t let them win. Our next stop is with Susan & Greg in Key Biscayne.

Magnolia Over Dock at Yacht Haven

Magnolia Over Dock at Yacht Haven

Yacht Haven Yachts and RVs

Yacht Haven Yachts and RVs

Jan 29-30 Jacksonville Beach to Welaka and Blue Spring

The Veranda at Blue Springs' Thursby House

The Veranda at Blue Springs’ Thursby House

A second reason for this trip was to visit the Welaka Marine Museum. We had heard Jim & Lisa Favors talk about it at some length last fall at the AGLCA Rendezvous and wanted to see it.   I am sorry to report that the owner passed away last year, the museum is closed, and all the property is to be sold at auction on March 6th.  You can see Favor’s photos of the museum here.  A Welaka police officer came buy while I was talking photos of the museum and asked if I was a Nazi spy or something.

Welaka Police Mug Shot

Welaka Police Mug Shot

I had decided with the museum closed we would go to lumch at a restaurant on the St John’s River we had just passed. “Closed”, he said, “You can’t have a successful restaurant that is only opened 3 days a week.”  We went around the corner to the Shrimp R Us & More and had a pretty good lunch. Then it was south to Blue Spring State Park where the manatees come every winter to stay in the 72 degree water of the spring. The word was they had counted 3 this morning. We didn’t see one. We were here in December 2007 and there were 172 manatees. Last year we saw 2 manatees.  There is a cold spell coming this weekend so there will probably be hundreds here.  The picture show the verandah at the Thursby House at Blue Spring Landing that was built on the plantation in 1872. What a great place to relax along with the manatees. I also learned that the house sits on a 4,000 year old  indian midden (garbage dump) that contains human bones eaten by early American cannibals.