Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Many Miles, Alligators, Great Blue Herons and A New Legal Residence -- Oh My!

It has been a very busy past few weeks.  We left Maine on October 7 for a 1200 mile drive to Jacksonville, FL to meet up with Steve and Kathy Burnett, to turn over ownership of Moose to this Florida couple.  We stayed in JAX for a few days to pack our possessions and then transfer them from Moose into a 17' U-Haul truck.  I purposely rented a bigger truck than we really needed because I did not want to stack stuff real high, and risk having boxes tumble going around a corner.  It was a smart choice and made the transfer of boxes very easy.  On Friday the 14th we left Jacksonville and drove about 150 miles to Inverness, unloaded the truck, returned the truck and then drove another couple hundred miles before turning in for the night.  Instead of sleeping in a motorhome we slept at a Country Inn and Suites.  Very nice.  We arrived in Illinois on Sunday, Oct. 16 and stayed with family.  We visited friends and then spent two nights in Chicago at my daughter's house to get to better know Luke, our 9 month old grandson.

Luke and his Dad, Brad share fun times  

The following Monday we left Chicago at about 5:30 a.m. to get a jump on rush hour and to begin the final 1200 mile leg of our travels.   Leaving early was another good decision, but driving in Chicago at any hour is a wild experience.  The speed limit on the Dan Ryan was 55 but we were being passed by projectiles moving at 75 to 80 mph.  By Wednesday noon we arrived at our rental home in Inverness and unpacked the car.  And by Friday evening we were 99% unpacked and kind of settled in.

O.K.  O.K.  What about alligators?

Our rental home is on a connected series of canals and we wondered if there were any gators.  Today we spotted a baby alligator about two feel long drifting in the water and looking for a meal.  I'll  get  photos next time.

But I did get a photo of the Great Blue Heron that hangs around the dock and back yard.  He and his mate are building a nest across the channel.  That should be interesting to watch. 

For the past few days we have been busy becoming official Florida residents.  We needed to get a Florida driver's license, but to do that you need to have an auto insurance policy with your Florida address.  So we got car insurance today with Progressive (Flo is happy) and learned that rates in Florida are higher than in Illinois.  Next we had to go to the County Tax Collector's office to get plates for the car and our driver's licenses.  

We should have known that dark clouds were on the horizon in having to go to a tax collector's office for plates and licenses.  We walked out $550 lighter.  Yikes!!!!!  But on the brighter side, there is no sales tax on food and the annual license plate renewal is about 45% lower than in Illinois. 

Here are a couple of photos of our home for the next six months.

Sometime early next year we will begin looking for a home to buy in Florida and a small travel trailer in which to begin anew our RV travels before high heat and humidity envelop Florida.  Florida will make a great place to winter while we plan our travels for each upcoming year. 

Meanwhile it feels really strange to have so much living space and to not worry about what is going to break next. 

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A fork in the road

It was a great summer up in Maine.  The work was a bit more strenuous than I had anticipated, but it helped me to lose 13 pounds -- not too shabby.  Or should I say, not to flabby.  

Anyway we are spending the next six months in Inverness, FL without our motorhome, having sold it today to a great couple from Jacksonville, FL.  The amazing part of this sale is that I met the buyer on an RV forum in 2008 and we kinda stayed in touch with each other.

While we are in Florida we will be looking at buying a small home, a travel trailer and a pick-up truck (yah hoo!) to pull the trailer.  Then we'll be back to travelling during those months when it doesn't snow.

It's been a great experience.

I might blog occasionally, so stay tuned. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Summer vacation

I'm taking a break from blogging.  See you again in the autumn.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

A 50-Mile Walk in Maine

Earlier this week we met Cassandra Curley, who is well into her challenge to walk all 50 states in 50 weeks.  She stayed two nights here at Wild Duck as she did her 50 miles in Maine.  We spent a little bit of time with her on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Maine is her 29th state and she plans to complete the contiguous 48 and Alaska before the snow flies.

Cassie is a bundle of energy, walking 16 to 17 miles per day at a rate of 3 miles per hour.  To plot her daily route she uses (you guessed it) app for her iPhone.  Cassie has a web site at www.cassandracurley.com

It was fun to meet her and we wish her well.

A couple of weeks ago on our way to Cape Elizabeth we drove past this charming cottage clad in river rock.  On the way home we stopped and I got a few good photos.  The person who did the stone work was a real artisan.
Neat house 006
Neat house 008
Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Whale watching off the coast of Boothbay Harbor , Maine

We took a leisurely drive north on U.S. Highway 1 to Boothbay Harbor yesterday morning and noted a few places along the way that we will want to go back and see.  Included were a great place for breakfast six miles away from the campground, the headquarters of L L Bean and the main store for DeLorme Maps. I’ll report on those in the upcoming weeks.
Maine is a really beautiful state.  The license plates carry the slogan:  A National Treasure.  Agreed.  Our drive certainly lived up to the slogan.
We got to Boothbay Harbor with about 90 minutes to spare and decided to poke around a little bit before having lunch.   Before I knew it, I spotted a whale.
Just east of this whale is a local eatery called McSeagulls.   Expensive, but I had the absolute best fish and chips of my life.  The fish of choice up here for fish ‘n chips is haddock.   Very light tasting with a nice texture.
This was our table and our view.
Boothbay Harbor has lots of neat Victorian-era homes and B and Bs and plenty of places to drop a few bucks if you are so inclined.  The greater municipal area is made up of five communities with a combined population of 30,000.  In the winter the head count drops to around 3,000.
We boarded our ship (no photo, just a typical sight-seeing boat) at 1:30 and got some good views of the harbor and surrounding islands.  When we win Mega or Power Ball, it would be tempting to buy one of these homes on the water.
This is an area where a lot of lobster fishing takes place as evidenced by the many floating platforms containing lobster traps.
This is Burnt Harbor Light.
The tour boat cruised at about 20 knots for close to 75 minutes and we heard a lot about whales from the on-board tour guide, but we were beginning to think we might have to invoke the “rain check” guarantee if no whales where sighted.
The ocean had a slight chop to it which made spotting the water spout of a whale that much more difficult.  But finally, someone spotted a whale.  In the picture below I have identified a water spout from a finback whale. Look just to the left of the wording.
The next two photos will show more of the giant finback whale as he or she performed for us.
The fin whale (Balaenoptera physalus), also called the finback whale,razorback, or common rorqual, is a marine mammal belonging to the suborder of baleen whales. It is the second longest whale and the sixth largest living animal after the blue whale, bowhead whale, and right whales,[3]growing to nearly 27 meters (88 ft) long.[3] The American naturalist Roy Chapman Andrews called the fin whale "the greyhound of the sea" because of its great speed when chased and slender build.[4]
On the way home we stopped in Wicasset at Red’s Eats, a famous little shack of a place known for its lobster rolls.  Sandy had a “lobsta” roll for lunch so we opted to split a shrimp basket.  It was not worth the bother.
But all in all we had a great day and saw four whales.
Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A great place to take a walk and a surprise visit

Leading the life of a retired RVer seems to enhance one’s ability to put on weight.  So whenever we can we try to find a good place to walk.  The surrounding neighborhood is very pleasant with some friendly dogs we get to pet, but the sidewalks and streets are hard surfaces and not kind to feet, knees or hips. 

We much prefer hiking/walking trails that are maintained as these are often built from sand, dirt or crushed stone.  There is a segment here of the Eastern Trail Alliance.

walking trail 005

walking trail 004

One segment of the trail is just over 1.5 miles in length and gives me and Sandy a perfect one hour walk.  We get there often.

Tonight as I was grilling our dinner I took a walk around the coach. I do this frequently and look for anything that is out of the ordinary.  While I didn't find anything, which is good, I met a blog reader. Or more accurately, I met the husband of a blog reader.

Blog readers 003

Bob and Trish Goodstein are at Wild Duck until Friday.  Sim, their Golden Retriever and Augie, the rescue dog with Yorkie and ??? parents are alongside their new Scamp travel trailer.  They are thinking about going full-time in four years -- so I told them about rv-dreams.com.  This is  a website that helped Sandy and me find answers to a lot of questions back in 2006 through 2009.

Friday we are thinking about a day trip on Amtrak to Boston.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Saying goodbye to Trixie

As pet owners know, there comes the day when it is time to say goodbye.  Our oldest PBGV (Petit Basset Griffon Vendeen) Trixie was declining rapidly the past week or so and we always said we would not let her suffer.  So this morning we had to say goodbye.

Christmas 2007 003

Here she is at Christmas in 2007

pups and SJS 007

With her nemesis, Norton

T&N 004

And here are Norton (left) and Trixie ready for another adventure on the road.

Both will be loved and missed and not forgotten.