Monday, June 22, 2009


Tarpon Springs came to life somewhere in the 1860's and 1870's. Turtle fishermen from Key West discovered sponge beds off the west coast of Central FL in 1873. Greek immigrants expanded and refined sponging in Tarpon Springs. Early Greek divers were from Kalymnos, Halki, Spetsi, Aegena and other Greek islands. Today, most of the sponge boats are owned and operated by people of Greek descent. Sponges from Tarpon Springs are sold all over the world. Tourism has replaced sponging as 'Tarpon Springs' major economic activity.

We had never visited Tarpon Springs, so we decided we'd try to find it, with our GPS, maps, and a little research. We had a great day and now we want to go back. It was a perfect day for a cruise out to the Gulf of Mexico along the Anclote River, from the Tarpon Springs sponge docks. We saw many bottle-nose dolphin, swimming in the wake of our boat on the way back to shore. We visited one of the barrier islands where a very old lighthouse is located. No wonder there were so many boats in this beautiful area! I can imagine the sunsets must be the most spectacular in Florida.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


This has been quite a month and we've accomplished so much to get ready for our next trip. This time has allowed us an opportunity to visit family several times, to see our grandchildren are growing so fast, and enjoy an RV Rally in Malabar, FL. On the way back from South Carolina, we started losing voltage in the batteries, so we were diverted to Tom Nehl in Jacksonville Freightliner to have the alternator replaced.... nice it was under warranty. All we did, as the voltage kept going down, was turn on the generator and enjoy the cool air conditioning. If you ever need chassis work done and you're around the Jacksonville, FL area, this is a 24/7 operation. You are in there/outta there, and there are huge trucks all over the place - but you get the same attention the biggest truck would get!

Looking back over the past six weeks during our 3,000 plus miles travels, we only lost one levelling jack, the electric awning over the entry door, and our alternator - not bad considering all the fun we had. The only thing not under warranty was the door awning. We would have stayed longer on our trip, but I had a very important doctor's appointment - and wouldn't you know as soon as we got back, they called and cancelled!

We took a side trip to Tallahassee, FL, for a couple of days and were absolutely astounded at how much it has changed. The stadium is quite a tribute to Bobby Bowden. We took the scenic route back to Webster - Highway 98 - then went into Cedar Key to see the old Island Hotel, the oldest commercial building in Cedar Key. This is quite an interesting area if you're interested in Old Florida, as I am. I remember their Original Heart of Palm Salad, a real treat as well as a surprise. Did you know there was huge working clam farm as you drive onto the Island? The Hotel actually has a sea cow at their baby grand in the lobby.

We love to stop at Historical Markers so we had to pull over at Rosewood, a very sad place in Florida history dating back t0 1923. This little side trip seemed to be quite long, but it was worth it. If you ever have an opportunity to go to one of their Spring art shows, GO!

Have you ever heard the term "cracker" when you are talking about old Florida? A good example of this is at Cross Creek, a side trip we took to Marjorie Kinnon Rawlings' home which is on the State Historic places. I had been here previously many years ago, but a lot of money has been spent by the State to preserve this beautiful example of "cracker" style. Majorie Kennon Rawlings was a very accomplished author who wrote "The Yearling" and "To Kill A Mockingbird". The Yearling is a local restaurant where you can order gator tail and rattlesnake cooked as you like it. We like to go off the road occasionally to visit some of these beautiful areas like Lake Lochloosa, Ishtachatta, etc., in the tow car, of course.

In the meantime, we have several bluebirds nesting in our front yard in Webster. 4 eggs so far. However, a huge summer-type storm popped up one day and knocked the birdhouse over, and one of the eggs came out. When it stopped raining, we up-righted the birdhouse and tried to put the egg back where it was. Soon we noticed the bluebirds in another birdhouse in back of us...setting up another house. Now I'm confused..... how do you have 2 houses with 2 different nests???? Anyway, that's what they're doing. I try to leave them alone, but it's like an expectant grandmother....I have to check on them every once in awhile.

When everything seems to be going fine, Bob decides to dump our black and grey tanks, and since we have a macerator (similar to a garbage disposal), for our waste tanks, the most awful noise began as if someone were dropping marbles into a garbage disposal. We knew we had problems....we just didn't know what they were. So Bob dismantles the macerator and found that gobs of thread and lint from our washing machine were winding around the shaft of the macerator and after about a year it had quite enough to impact what we needed to take care of every couple of days. It helped that we could communicate with other Tiffin owners (with macerators) and have an idea of where the problems were originating.

This blog is like a catch-up while we are getting ready for our next BIG trip which will be starting around the first of August. Our friends, Ray and Louise DeCarlo, from Orlando area, have been RVing for several decades, and are routing our destinations We've decided to go to the UP (Upper Peninsular) of Michigan. On the way, a few places we've planned to visit are Renfroe Valley, KY, Louisville, KY (Louisville Slugger and KY Derby), Elkhart, IN (which at one time had over 33 RV mfgrs., Dearborn, MI, Grand Rapids (Gerald Ford's Presidential Museum), Frankenmouth (wherever that is), and Mackinaw Island. If you've ever been to any of these places, let us know if you have any favorite places - and we'll try to go! As you know, it is so HOT in the South, we tend to stay inside during the summer. The North has festivals, outside things to do all during the summer - so we'll look forward to cooling off and enjoying some of the beauty our Country has to offer.