02.08.14 Chinese yummies, Yoga and Beach riding with good friends!

florida shadowWednesday we spent our time out and about with Russ and Annie. We stopped first at a delicious Chinese Buffet where we all got at least two plates full. I tried clams for the first time and liked it and also fried plantains and liked that too! We always seem to try new things with Annie and Russ and I love it!

We headed over to Flagler Hospital for their Yoga for Cancer class that Annie and Russ go to every Wednesday. Roy even agreed to try it, but he and I did it from sitting in a chair since neither of us do too well sitting on the floor. Maybe in the future we’ll work our way down to the floor. Yoga was amazing, so relaxing and de-stressing. Roy and I both almost fell asleep it was so peaceful and soothing! The leaders voice was so calming and there was seashore and other calming music playing. This yoga class was for people with cancer so it wasn’t as strenuous as I’ve heard others are, but I definitely worked up a sweat regardless! I’d highly recommend anyone with stress in their life to find a yoga place near you and try it out!

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Roy in his chair ready for yoga!
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Annie and Russ ready for yoga!

Annie was getting kinda tired by this time and Russ brought her home. He picked us up at Dora and took us for a ride on the beach! What a treat that was!!! There was a man fishing on the beach all set up with his chair and cooler, a lady walking her dog, a guy surfing!!!, and some beautiful waves and beaches! Roy climbed on top of a rock wall and jumped up in the air. Yes my heart stopped when he said he was going to do it, but I managed to catch a picture of him in the act. I got a couple of good pictures of he and Russ. And Russ took one of Roy and I.

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We enjoyed this time with Russ and Annie, getting caught up on each others lives and making new memories!  Thanks to two great people who mean a lot to us, for showing us your beloved St. Augustine! We love you guys!

We’re headed to Marianna, Florida (an hour west of Tallahassee) for a few days to DO NOTHING!!!  We’ve been going and going since we got to Florida and it’s time to rest for a while, watch the Olympics, read some, drink some tea and rest some more!!! Playing is fun but resting is much needed in between!

Ya’ll come back now, ya hear!!

02.06.14 Quaint shops, magnificent fort, wine tasting and more!

sa winery royWe started Tuesday by taking a tour of San Sebastian Winery.  Turns out they are owned by the same people that own the Lakeridge Winery we toured in Clermont, Florida.  San Sebastian’s grapes all come from Clermont, Florida but they make different wines in St. Augustine than they do in Clermont.  This tour was very different in that they showed us where the sherry and port wines are aged in the Oak Barrel room. We were then treated to a wine tasting experience by a wine expert.  We learned about smelling, swirling and that you must take three sips before the true flavor comes out.  We bought a bottle of port wine that the expert said would clear any congestion you might have.  Of course it will be used medicinally!!

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We walked over to the Whetstone Chocolate Factory to take their tour, but it wasn’t starting for a couple of hours and we didn’t want to wait.  We did, however, taste some of their raspberry chocolate and chocolate amaretto and they were both delicious.

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We saw this really cool motorcycle with a side car and had to show it to you.  The spikes all over it made it really neat!

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We toured a beautiful Catholic church there, Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine.  The pipe organ was playing and I loved being there, it felt so comfortable.

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St. George Street is a walking street nestled between rows of historical sites, quaint shops and restaurants overflowing with local flavor. The narrow streets channel gentle breezes from Matanzas Bay noticeably cooling the area. We spent half of Tuesday browsing the shops on St. George Street.  The fragrant smells coming out of the shops, people playing music and the breeze made for a wonderfully relaxing day.  The oldest wood school house, shown below, is located on St. George Street.

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Castillo de San Marcos (the Fort) is a very impressive historical landmark and is the most visited in St. Augustine.  The Spanish began construction in 1672 and took 23 years to complete. This makes the fort the oldest masonry structure in the United States. It’s made entirely out of native coquina stone, a mix of shell fragments and quartz grains, that is soft and easy to cut, but hard when cured in the sun.  This unique materials makes cannon balls sink into, rather than  shatter, the walls of the fort.

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A massive steel cross was erected in 1965 celebrating the city’s 400th anniversary at the same place where the first Catholic Mass was conducted in the United States in 1565.  The cross is the largest in the western hemisphere, at over 200 feet high.

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I stopped at a tea and spice house where I learned about steeping tea and purchased three different fruity flavored teas to enjoy!  I’m looking forward to enjoying some flavored hot tea while reading!

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Last thing we saw was the Old Jail which Henry Flagler built for the city out of town, out of sight of the luxury hotels. It was the site of hangings and housed both men and women.

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We topped off the day by walking down the road from Russ and Annie’s house to Napoli’s restaurant where we enjoyed Eggplant Parmesean and Fresh Catch Parmesean.  Wonderful Italian food!  It rained on us all the way home (one block) so we’re now drying out and ready to crash for the day.

Wednesday we have plans with Russ and Annie to eat Chinese, go to Yoga class with them (yes Roy has agreed to try Yoga!!!) and take a ride on the beach with them!  Gonna be another fun filled day in St. Augustine.  We’re leaving here Thursday headed to Tallahassee for a few days so our time in Florida isn’t quite over, but almost.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

02.05.14 Red Train ride to the Fountain of Youth and Ripley’s Believe It or Not and more!

2014-02-02_17-26-21_167 2014-02-03_12-24-53_403St. Augustine is an amazing city steeped in history.  It’s much more than beautiful beaches and a spectacular ocean.  We learned so many things about this area that we did not know before. It was officially established in 1565 making it the oldest continually occupied city in our nation.

There are a couple of train like (trolley) services that take you all around the city of St. Augustine.  We took the red train and bought a 3 day ticket.  It makes over 20 stops along an 8 mile route.  They come every 15-20 minutes.  You get off to see what you want, and then get back on when you’re finished, going to the next thing you want to check out. IMG_20140203_125202_857

The city gates are  the first stop on the Red Train ride.  These are the original gates to the city.  The pillars that remain were the supports for the draw bridge that was the single entrance to the city.

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Across from the gates is the Huguenot Cemetery, the Protestant burial grounds from 1821-84 most dying from the Yellow Fever Epidemic. Some expressions we use today were coined in this cemetery. In order to help those who were mistakenly buried alive during the epidemic they tied a string with a bell to the finger of each person.  If the bell rang, the person was a “Dead Ringer” and when they were dug up they were “Saved by the Bell”!

The Love Tree is a live oak tree with a palm tree growing out of it.  It is said that if you kiss you loved one under the tree you’ll be in love forever!  We just road by it so I’m not sure what that means for Roy and I!!sa love tree

I, and probably you, have never heard of Henry Flagler but we know lots about him now!  He was a self made millionaire with a vision for what St. Augustine could be in the 1800s.  He wanted to make it the South’s playground for the rich and famous. He built or donated land and money to build Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist churches and grand hotels.

Flagler College is in St. Augustine.  It was originally one of Flagler’s hotels, the Ponce de Leon. He built it with running water and electricity.  The guests, unfamiliar with electricity, were sure they would be electrocuted when flipping the light switch.  Flagler solved the problem by hiring servants to lead the guests to their room and switch the lights on for them.

The dining room at the college has the largest collection of Louis Tiffany glass in the world valued at more than $40 million dollars.  It is exquisite and even has bullet proof glass on the exterior to protect the Tiffany glass.

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The rounded part of the building below is where the indoor swimming pool is located.  It is now used as a restaurant but I found the building shape accommodating a pool to be interesting.  The buildings on campus are all beautiful as you can see from the other building picture below. sa flagler poolsa flagler sa bldg sa bldg (2)

The Fountain of Youth is in St. Augustine and WE DRANK FROM IT!!!  I’m feeling younger already!!! To get there you travel down Magnolia Avenue which National Geographic magazine declared one of the most beautiful streets on earth. While magnolias originally lined the street they died almost 200 years ago and were replaced with live oaks which now are huge and have Spanish moss hanging from them making for a beautiful scene!

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The fresh water springs up within the park while surrounded by a salt water ocean. The people in the area lived much longer (like 80 years compared to the life expectancy back then of 30 years) so they believed the water was the cause from which the name Fountain of Youth came.  The grounds have free roaming peacocks, a cannon and old time gun shooting demonstration, a planetarium and several other demonstrations of the use of old tools and their lifestyle.  Really a wonderful placed to learn about the folks who came here so many centuries ago!

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Ripley’s Believe It or Not’s original Museum is in St. Augustine and we toured it.  It now houses three stories of odd and unusual exhibits collected from around the world.  Many of these are part of Mr. Ripley’s personal collection.  We had fun touring this one and took pictures of all the weird things we saw.

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Vampire Killing Kit
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Two headed lamb
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Bead art depicting Tim Tebow playing football for the Florida Gators
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Up close picture of the bead art
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Picture of world’s tallest and shortest people
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Roy and the world’s tallest man
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Roy in the Believe It or Not glass
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Rosalyn and the world’s tallest man
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Silly kids
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Rosalyn’s skull mask
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Paint brush and paper bag dress
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Chinese pagoda made out of match sticks
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Newspaper dress
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Junk Art Fish
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Rosie chumming it up with the world’s fattest man to be drafted
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This gum wrapper chain took four years to create and used over $2,000 in gum. It’s 634 feet long.
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Feather art
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This castle was made of 2,000 semi precious gem stones
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Fantasy castle up close
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World’s Rarest Egg
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Chinese dragon ship carved from 200 pounds of solid Jade
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Dress made of coffee filters
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Church made of toothpicks
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Close up of church
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Camel bone carving – took 30 men 4 months to carve it
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Close up of camel bone carving
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Motor made out of bones and vertebrae – weird…………..
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Up close of camel bone carving

The Red Train has been a great way for us to get around and see the most we can of St. Augustine.  Russ and Annie have told us so much about this place and we can see now why they love it.  I know this posting had way too many pictures but I wanted you to see all the stuff we liked.  The really gruesome stuff in Ripley’s was way to scarey for me to photograph……. sorry!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

02.04.14 Super Bowl Party!

1554389_10201495989587779_1999147746_nWe have been so busy having fun since arriving here that I’m behind on writing. We’ve done and seen some cool things that I want to share with ya’ll, so I’m starting with Sunday when we went to a different part of the Atlantic Ocean beach and then Annie and Russ’s friend Beth’s condo to watch the Super Bowl game.

On Sunday afternoon we ventured out to the Atlantic Ocean beach again, in a different location. The walkway this time was very long and ended at a point about 4 feet above the beach. To get down to the beach you’d have to slide or jump and since lots of sand would get in my britches I chose not to jump or slide. Another day I will!  Be sure to note the sign  posted by the beach saying that if you get food stamps you don’t have to pay for  your fishing license.  We thought that was very funny! We left there and went to Annie and Russ’s friend Beth’s condo to watch the Super Bowl game.

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What a bust the game was but we had fun visiting and cheering against each other.  We were for the Broncos and Russ was for the Seahawks since they were the underdogs.  Boy did he get to cheer much more than we did!  We eventually converted to the Seahawks just to be able to cheer for someone.

We brought chicken and sausage gumbo. Chicken tenders and pizza rounded out our  Super Bowl fare!  It was a fun evening visiting even though the game was awful.

You’ll probably recognize Russ and Annie from previous pictures when we were in Minnesota.  The other lady was our gracious hostess Beth.  Those of you who know me well will appreciate it when I say that Beth can out talk me any day!!

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I’m glad to see that Annie has Beth and other good friends to see her through her cancer treatment and be there for her to cheer her on! Her treatments are rough but the cancer is growing much smaller.  Praise God! She shared with us that the treatment for her specific type of breast cancer was just released a couple of weeks before they diagnosed her.  God does work in mysterious ways!

Tomorrow we head out for a three day tour of St. Augustine which is the oldest continually inhabited city in the nation!  Lots to learn about and see and we’ll share it all with you guys!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

02.02.14 The Atlantic Ocean at St. Augustine!

The weather on our first evening here in St. Augustine was very foggy and wet, yet we strolled over to the Atlantic Ocean to get our first view! Russ and Annie’s house is in Treasure Beach right off of A1A highway and they have this pathway directly to the ocean.

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A few folks were out on the beach walking their dogs or riding bikes on the beach.

ao18ao9ao8  The sound of the ocean waves is mesmerizing.  I could easily fall asleep on a hammock or nice big blanket out there just listening to the sound. While I do enjoy going to other places inside buildings and learning about things, I truly love seeing the beauty of God’s creation the most!

The pictures we took aren’t filled with sunshine or even that clear because of the fog.  That will be another day’s pictures, but we wanted to share these with you so you’ll  know we’re finally here!

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I collected a pocket full of pretty little seashells to share with Madisyn in our packages we send to her along our journey.

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On our way back to Dora we came across a cute image someone created in the sand of a smiley face with words underneath.  The only word still left was “Life’s” and I’d think the rest originally said “is a beach”!

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Life on the ocean must be delightful and freeing and we are definitely going to enjoy our time here experiencing some of that.

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1779077_10152154401609004_1611744351_nWe’re watching the Super Bowl this evening with Annie and Russ at a condo they are minding for a friend. I’m bringing some chicken, sausage and okra gumbo for the event!

redTrainTours-logoMonday – Wednesday we’ll be sightseeing on the Red Train that goes all around St. Augustine stopping at many attractions along the way for us to get off and explore.

That’s a little peak into what we’ll be doing here and I look forward to sharing it with you guys as we see it all!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

02.01.14 Dora is a slim chick!!!

We put off having Dora weighed as long as we could, but today was the day we got her on the scales!  The annual vehicle registration folks from South Dakota sent us a form to complete last month and it asked for her weight.  We gave them the manufacturers maximum weight from the manual but that wasn’t good enough. They wanted he weight at a Certified Truck Scale giving her actual weight.

Having never done this before we asked inside the truck stop how to do it.  They explained and it was a little confusing.  A very nice trucker behind us in line followed us outside and showed us how to do the weighing.  His name was Ray and this is him in the picture below.  The other picture is of the weighing scale we used.  Ray even helped Roy understand the information that was provided to us after the weighing.

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We have good news!!!

Dora is well below her maximum weight limits.  Her actual front axel weights 9340 pounds and the maximum weight limit is 12,000 pounds.  The actual drive axel weighs 18020 and the maximum  weight limit is 19,000 pounds. the total including Boots, our toad, is 32,300 and the maximum weight limit is 41,000.  Diesel pushers can handle much heavier loads than gasoline RVs which is a good thing for us.

Knowing your RVs weight is important because you don’t want to put more weight in her than she can carry along safely.  Knowing that Dora’s weight is well below the maximum weight allowance means we could carry even more with us but it really just means we’re not over taxing her as she strives to carry us along the roads of our beautiful country!

We just landed in St. Augustine and had a great visit with Russ and Annie (and Maddie). Annie looks beautiful, even with no hair and is such a fighter I am deeply inspired. We got to catch up with them some and made plans for things we want to see while we’re in this area.

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We’re parked next to their garage by their home just a couple of blocks from the Ocean.  With our windows open we can hear the ocean waves from here! We met and got to visit with Claudia, the really nice lady who rents their house while they are gone.  There is a canal behind their house where they can sit on the dock and enjoy the waterway!  This part of Florida is great.  We’re getting ready to take a walk down to the ocean!  The rain has stopped for the day leaving a gentle breeze for us to enjoy!

There is a lot to see and do in St. Augustine and I hope to share most of what we see with ya’ll in future blogs.  So ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!!!

01.30.14 Bye Bye Bee’s RV Resort!

541509_550572981639824_1052114858_nWe are leaving Bee’s RV Resort on our way to St. Augustine to visit our friends Russ and Annie. The weather is really bad in St. Augustine right now (the Louisiana weather must be making it’s way there) so we’re going to stop at a nearby Sams for the night and try to drive there tomorrow.  Even though it is dreary outside every Christian knows that
Today is a beautiful day simply because God made it!

Travel days at the Chauvin RV are actually deep cleaning days.  Everything gets removed from the tops of counters and floors so they don’t get damaged when we travel and perhaps swerve or hit a big bump.  This means everything is open for cleaning which we do before we leave.  Floors get vacuumed and everything gets cleaned and sanitized.  I try to have all our clothes, towels, etc. washed and dried before we travel since sometimes we stop at locations that do not have sewerage hookups where we can empty the laundry water.  It might seem like a lot to do just to travel but since we travel at least once a week, I don’t have to do too much in between cleaning wise other than a little tidying up when needed.

I took some pictures I haven’t posted of the resort and wanted to share them with ya’ll.  Heaven forbid I should have some pictures on my camera that I haven’t shared!  We wouldn’t want that now, would we???!!!  Bee’s is definitely a 50+ RV park as I haven’t seen any children and they have shuffleboard!!!  It also seems that older folks have more animals and since we were parked near a big grassy area we saw most all the pet owners walking their little ones.  Most RV park rules say they have to be on a leash and you must clean up their poop and put it in a bag.  So every dog owner out walking had their mandatory poop bag with them.  Roy still says no dogs for us so I guess I won’t get a poop bag soon!

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Dora as seen from Boot’s eyes!
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Welcome to Bee’s
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Internet Cafe attached to the office
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Up close pic of the old gas pump in the office
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The manager’s dog – the resort mascot
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Our home for several days
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Shuffleboard anyone???
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Someone who lives here is growing tomatoes!
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Super cool golf cart like thingy parked next to us
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One a walk I came across these guys and they followed me when I’d talk to them!
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This was very large and I thought very pretty!
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Here are my two little friends again. They would stand right next to me and I couldn’t take a picture of them until they’d move away.
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Landscaping at someone’s home in the park

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Ya’ll come back now, ya hear!