Category Archives: Weird and Wonderful

‘Quick Hits’ Video: an overhead view of Sunset Isle RV Park in Cedar Key

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We’ll have a more detailed post on the delightful Sunset Isle RV Park in Cedar Key, Florida, very soon. Until then, we wanted to share a quick video of our rig, the park and the gorgeous Gulf of Mexico area – taken by Mike with the Phantom DJI.

The rig next to us is a more modern version of ours. Our motorhome is a 2000 Holiday Rambler Endeavor, and our neighbor’s is a 2006. How funny that we’re parked side-by-side!

Choices in QuadRotor/QuadCopter camera platforms…plus an overhead view of Cherry Hill Park

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Mike uses a DJI Phantom QuadRotor with a Tarot Dual Axis Gimbal and a Gopro Hero 3 Silver. The DJI Phantom already comes with a GoPro mount. The Gimbal just allows the quad rotor to move without disturbing the camera – for smoother video.

The gimbal also allows remote tilting of the camera.

It does take some RC mechanical skill and understanding to attach this gimbal.  The Phantom comes with a transmitter’ however, Mike connected it to the higher-end transmitter, a Spektrum DX7s  he already had for his helies. So all of his RC Aircraft fly with the same transmitter. DJI does have a plug-n-play Gimbal ZenMuse, but it costs more.  DJI has released a new Quad Rotor, the DJI Phantom 2 Vision Quadcopter with Integrated FPV Camcorder. It comes with everything built in Camera, Gimbal, even a mount for your phone on the transmitter, so it can transmit the video nearly live to your phone. That way, you can see what the camera sees.

Blade is one of his favorite RC heli companies; their GoPro platform 350 QX RTF is a good one as well.  But, like his Phantom, if you want better video from it you will have to add a gimbal. Although he hasn’t flown this Blade 350 yet, he has a couple of their helis, and it would be his guess that it would be the easiest to fly and work on.

Our first videocast is out!

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We’re so excited. Our first videocast is out!

We’ve been wanting to do a podcast and video since we started the RV lifestyle, but it’s been tricky to pull it all together – what with traveling so much, dealing with winter challenges, and figuring out what formats we wanted to use. We finally decided to just go for it. At 37 minutes, our first vid is a bit long, but we needed to catch everyone up on our first 7 1/2 months.

Going forward, they’ll mostly be short, quick hits, and we’ll show you all kinds of cool stuff – like how the rig is decorated, how we handle various RV chores, what our campground experiences are like, product reviews and more.

So, please take a few moments to watch us and share, share, share!  Thank you!

Milwaukee to Cedar Key in Instagrams

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travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

Before we left Milwaukee, probably for the last time this “season”, we had dinner with our good friends Larry and Maribeth at Mo’s Irish Pub. The company was awesome; the steamed veggies were crisp; and I was digging the light fixtures.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

In the morning before we left town, we stocked up at the grocery store so that we’d have healthy stuff and save money by not shopping at the truck stops.  We also popped into Hobby Town, so Mike could pick up something airsoft-related. I can’t keep track of all those gizmos!  At the checkout counter, I spotted these freaky snacks. If these are what the early bird gets, I think I’ll sleep in from now on!

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

It’s amazing how impressive a city’s skyline can be as you motor by in the RV.  The Chicago skyline was enchanting.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

It’s not every day that you see a dinosaur as you roll down the interstate!

 boondocking, Cedar Key, Chiefland, Florida, fresh-squeezed, Georgia, grapefruit juice, Instagram, iPhoneography, Milwaukee, orange juice, pecans, photography, Roadside America, roadside attraction, Sunset Isle, travel, Walmart, Wisconsin

The Corvette is Mike’s favorite car, so we had to stop at The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. We didn’t buy the $10 per-person tix because we were meeting Stevi for lunch in Smyrna and didn’t have time to do the full tour. That meant that we didn’t get to see the sink hole either. The docent told us there was plexiglass around the hole so museum goers could see it, and apparently there’s a live webcam of the repairs.

 boondocking, Cedar Key, Chiefland, Florida, fresh-squeezed, Georgia, grapefruit juice, Instagram, iPhoneography, Milwaukee, orange juice, pecans, photography, Roadside America, roadside attraction, Sunset Isle, travel, Walmart, Wisconsin

One of the very best things about our RVing adventure is reconnecting with friends we haven’t seen in forever.  Mike worked with Brian at MMI; they were both instructors. But Mike hadn’t seen Brian and his wife Donna since 1997! So, after we had lunch with Stevi, we caught up with Brian, Donna and their grandson Bowe for a late dinner at the Montana Saloon & Grill in Talladega. I was delighted to meet them – such nice people! – and was sad when Donna had to take Bowe home since she had to be up early the next day. Thankfully, Brian was able to hang out for a while, and he and Mike visited over a couple of beers in the rig.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

No drive down I-75 in Georgia is complete without a stop at the World’s Largest Peanut. There’s a picnic table and plenty of grass to walk the bark babies. As a bonus, it’s right next to Carroll’s Sausage & Meats, which has an adjacent RV park.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

We knew we were outta the cold when we saw this orange-and-pecan stand in the parking lot of the Flying J at the Georgia/Florida border. We bought a bag of fresh oranges, a bag of homegrown raw pecans and a bag of pralines from Moses himself. $30 well spent!

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

Complimentary fresh-squeezed orange juice and grapefruit juice at the Florida Welcome Center. We picked up a Sun Pass while we there to cover those pesky tolls that are so easy to miss when you’re driving.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

We arrived in Florida two days before our campground reservation. Sunset Isle in Cedar Key couldn’t squeeze us in, so we boondocked in the Walmart parking lot in Chiefland. We snagged a lovely spot next to the water. Practicing good boondocking etiquette, we asked management’s permission, didn’t put down our jacks or push out our slide. Feel free to send us a gold star!

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

Our boondocking parking lot not only had a Walmart but also a hair salon, a Radio Shack, a clothing boutique and a Mexican AND a Chinese restaurant. Viejo Amigo was a surprisingly charming eatery. It was the first time we’d been served a salsa carafe.

We’re super excited to move into our camp spot – with full hook-ups! – for a week. Bring on the famous Cedar Key sunsets!  But it sure has been a fun trip getting here.

Neighbors

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white pelicans, The Vineyards Campground, Grapevine, Texas, travel, photography, water, marina, views

As I sit comfortably in the recliner, working and writing blog posts on my laptop, with blueberry green tea in the cup holder and a view of the marina out the window, I glance up to see our new neighbors arrive. They’re a little loud but awfully nice to look at. A small smile crosses my face as I turn back to the keyboard.  This is what RVing is all about.

Finding the humor

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SnoopyFindHumor

We’re back in Milwaukee, and it’s zero out. Yup. You read that right. It’s ZERO degrees here in Milwaukee… during the day. Which means it’s -15 or -20 at night. Not fun, especially in a motorhome. Especially in the midst of a second polar vortex that’s making winter here even more arctic-like than in years past. In this weather, frostbite is a risk and not just for us. At potty time, I carry the bark babies out, plop ’em down to do their business, and quickly cart them back into the rig.

It’s not like we didn’t know we’d be dealing with crappy weather when we decided to go mobile in a hallway on wheels. For at least one week a month, from October to March, Mike teaches at Harley-Davidson’s service school on Juneau Avenue. It’s been that way since he started his biz, and there are no indications that it’s going to change. Milwaukee at this time of year is just going to be cold and snowy. No way around it. We planned for it buy purchasing a higher-end rig with good insulation that was designed for heavy-duty full-timing.

All the knowledge and planning in the world doesn’t make it any easier to live through, though. The bottom line is that it sucks.

We’re getting better at managing it. After our last stay here in December, Mike learned how to insulate the water hoses. He also replaced a part on our pump that had frozen and broken. We added electric and propane space heaters to the rig to supplement our propane furnace. That way, we wouldn’t be running our propane tank down to nothing every couple of days, which would mean unhooking, bringing in the slide, and driving the RV across the park to refill because they don’t deliver.

But last night our furnace broke. (Not sure what happened. Mike has been researching it, and I know he’ll get it sorted out soon.) Then there was apparently a TINY section of uninsulated hose which froze, so we couldn’t use the park water. Shortly after we switched to the pump to use our fresh water tank reserves, that froze, too.  Once again, we have no water coming into the rig. Praise be for bottled water! Then this morning, while we were getting dressed for work, Mike noticed my Sorel boots were smoking. They were too close to the propane space heater and nearly caught on fire! (For those of you concerned about fire safety, all of our space heaters have tip-over protection, and we don’t leave the propane one on when we’re not in the rig.  We normally allow plenty of room around the propane heater, but we’ll be even more careful about that going forward.)

Thankfully, we’ve been warm and dry. We have plenty of food and bottled water. We have our furry family. Best of all, we have each other, and we balance the workload. I take the bark babies out, and Mike troubleshoots in the bays. Both of us suffer a little, but it’s a shared burden. After it’s all said and done, we cuddle up with each other. And we laugh about the fact that we both somehow thought this was a good idea!

It’s not easy to find the humor in these situations. Try to anyway.

Laughing about it means you’re pretty bad ass and should be wearing a cape and a tiara. Laughing about it means marveling at the fact that you’re sharing an extraordinary journey with an amazing partner. And that makes it all worth it.