Monday, July 31, 2006

Fiji Video

You really need to see at least an hour :-) But, when it takes roughly 200 megabytes per minute ... I don't think so! To watch a 2.5 minute video of our Fiji dive trip, click on the image below.

Last Chance to Dive

We're hitting the road again on Tuesday - so Saturday was our last chance to dive. It wasn't exactly the best day weather-wise. But Jim went anyway. He said it was a very nice, relaxing dive. He saw lots of lobster, but couldn't catch any since mini-season was over and the regular season doesn't start till August 6. I decided to sit this one out since Kayuba had organized a breakfast on the beach and I wasn't the only one staying dry. It was nice to catch up with uncle John. I've been telling stories about him for years about how he used to capture sharks for Ocean World and other aquariums around the world. And how, once, a little nurse shark he was holding latched on to his arm. He had to swim quite a ways with this shark attached to his arm. When he got to shore the only way to pry the shark's jaws off was with two big flathead screwdrivers. I've also told stories about how he wrestled alligators along with the Seminole Indians at Florida Sealife Aquarium - which was a tourist attraction here in the 50s that my grandparents owned. He verified both stories by showing me his scars! Too bad I don't have photos from the 50s to show you. I have some in albums packed away in our storage closet. I had meant to rummage thru and scan some while we were here this visit. Oh well ... maybe next time.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Video of Bhutan

No - we didn't just take a trip to Bhutan :-) It's on the other side of the planet, north of India. But, Mom went there last year and she has 6 hours of video footage. We've been working with it for the last couple months, using Adobe Premier Elements. Finally, just yesterday, I picked up just 2 minutes worth to prepare for the web. Let's see how it works. To watch the video clip of Bhutan, click on the Bhutan flag:

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Kayak Diving, Friends and Lobster

I know - you're sick of reading about our going kayak diving. Don't we ever get tired of it? Well ... no ... We've actually been out several times that I haven't even told you about because I figured you'd heard enough. But today was special. It's lobster mini-season, and, since we'll be leaving before the regular season starts, this is our only opportunity. We got to the beach at 7am and headed out. Jim got 3 lobster and the fish and game warden was there to check that they were legal. We got 2 fresh air tanks from the car and went back out again. This time he got 7 lobster. They always make a hit on the beach! All together, we were in the water about 2 1/2 hours, paddling about 1 1/2 hours, and loading/unloading for an hour or two. I'm beat! And, we're doing it all over again tomorrow. Last Saturday was also special. I've known Marie since the mid-80s. We've gone diving together in the Bahamas, in the Caribbean, and in Borneo. She's never been kayak diving ... till now. We just love introducing people to our favorite pasttime. Here's Marie and Randall getting their 'briefing' from Jim. They're ready. And, she's off! They did great! When we got back to the beach - after a perfect hour + long dive - Marie gave us each a big hug and kiss. I think she liked it!

Dog and Baby

Devon and Lacie brought Jim's grandson over for a visit the other day. He's sure a cute little guy. Odie was intensely curious. What do you think? Is this a kiss? or a taste?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Call me Gramps

7/19/06 Two days after my dad had his 81st birthday, a new Guld appeared on the scene . His name is August James. 6 lbs 11 oz. His mom and dad are calling him AJ. Chris wants to call him Gus. He was due August 1st. He didn't want to wait around until then, I guess maybe he wanted to meet us before we left the state. Devon and Lacie had already decided on the name. I suggested Julius because he was born in July, but they were having nothing to do with that.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Since we were staying right around the corner this weekend, we decided to go visit Disney World. We had some 'park-hopper' multi-day passes that we bought 10 years ago and had been holding on to. They never expire. We figured it's time to use them! Besides, we are big fans of the movie 'Pirates of the Carribbean' (haven't seen the new one yet) so we wanted to see the ride at Magic Kingdom. It's a very colorful place, this Magic Kingdom! And, here's Pirates of the Caribbean - you weren't allowed to take photos inside, so you have to take my word for it that they did a good job on the audio-animatronic version of Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow, complete with all the quirky smiles and sideways glances, and Johnny Depp's voice. I'm not at all sure that the 10-15 minute ride was worth the heat, the crowds and standing in line 30 minutes. But, there's always something new and interesting. How about an RRV? Recreational Rocket Vehicle? This was in tomorrowland. Ahhh - the ferry ride is always nice. And, I still love Epcot. (Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow)

Monday, July 17, 2006

Thousand Trails

Thousand Trails is a campground membership system. Lots of RVers belong to these. It's kind of like a Timeshare, or a Health club membership. Only members are allowed to be there, and they have campgrounds all around the country. We had signed up at the last FMCA rally for a free weekend and we finally got around to it. We went to the Thousand Trails in Orlando, right around the corner from Disney. It's a very nice park. Lots of open space. We parked just a short walk from the clubhouse, pool, and jacuzzi. We had no problem with the satellite dish. It locked on within about 4 minutes! Although we really didn't need it, we found that the free Wi-Fi worked just fine. If you don't need to be concerned about satellite dishes, there's a really nice wooded section. And a lake. We didn't get the kayaks wet, but maybe next time. And a place where Odie can run. We liked it so much, we bought a membership. We really hadn't planned to do this! The sales process was a bit like buying a car, and neither Jim or I are negotiators. We paid a lot of money, but I still think it will be a good deal for us. Once you've paid the membership, there is no fee for your nightly stays in any Thousand Trails park, OR Resorts of Distinction. I see it like we're prepaying for our sites for the next few years. Just like a timeshare or a health club, it's a good deal if you really use it - and we should. As our savings are dwindling, it feels good to spend some on a future benefit. Spending this chunk is putting a spotlight on our finances. Jim, Chris, repeat after me: "It's time to get to work." "It's time to get to work." Even spoiled brats need to earn a living! We think that Thousand Trails would be a great venue for our computer seminars. We have the name of the person to contact about this. Wish us luck!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Computer Seminars for RVers

If you're an RVer, you probably know of the FMCA - Family Motor Coach Association. It is a membership organization for people who travel in motorhomes. They sponsor 10 area rallies all over the country, and, twice a year they have 'international conventions'. Basically, this is just a BIG rally. The next one (#76) is August 14 in Charlotte, North Carolina. We'll be there, because we are scheduled to do a few seminars. Here's what the current FMCA magazine has to say about the seminars:

During the past few years, motorhomers have become more receptive to taking computers on the road with them to do research, communicate with family and friends, and stay in touch with the rest of the world, even when they're miles off the beaten path. During the "Fast Track To Fun" convention, attendees can learn to "Get Away, Stay Connected With Wi-Fi," discover why "Every RVer Needs A Blog!", and obtain answers to "Frequently Asked Questions — Communicating On The Road."

A computer also can come in handy for folks who like to take pictures while they're traveling. "Digital Photography" discusses the equipment necessary — camera, printer, and software — to help budding photographers learn the basics of digital photography. In "Managing Digital Photos With Picasa 2," attendees will learn about the free downloadable program from Google that allows them to find, edit, and share all of the photos on their computer.

So ... of the 5 computer-related seminars mentioned, and Jim and I are presenting 4 of them! WiFi, Blog, FAQ, and Picasa. Pretty cool huh? We've been representing Coach Connect at the FMCA conventions, and presenting the WiFi seminar for 3 years now. We always get a good crowd. But, this will be the first time we're doing any of our other seminars. We're hoping that they're going to squeeze in one more as well, the 'Practice Safe Computing' is so important for *everyone* to understand. An ounce of maintenance and prevention will save so much aggravation later. We've given all these seminars at RV parks around the country, but, since we've been parked in Fort Lauderdale for the last few months, we figure we may be a little rusty. So, we invited some friends over and practiced our Picasa seminar last night. A few of them have been using Picasa for a while, but they all said they learned some important things. Thanx for coming over guys! Any readers out there who are coming to the convention ... we hope to see you at the seminars, or stop by the Coach Connect Internet Cafe and say hi! If you can't come and you'd like to learn some of the stuff we teach, I am in the process of recording tutorial videos and putting them on the web. This is something we will be charging for when it's done, but right now it's just in development and I'm looking for people to test it for me. If you're interested, send me an email. I'll send you the link and the password. "The more you learn, the more successful you'll be."

Monday, July 10, 2006

Goodyear Blimp

Pompano Beach, just north of Fort Lauderdale, has been home to a Goodyear Blimp for many years. Last year it crashed in a thunderstorm, and this year, they have a new one! It's called the Spirit of Innovation, and we were there to see it take off from it's home for the first time on Saturday. The hangar doors opened to the music of 2001: A Space Odyssey. I thought it would take off like a balloon - just go straight up. But, no, it took off down a runway ... slowly, but a takeoff nonetheless. Then it angled sharply up. Pretty Cool.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Fireworks by Kayak

One more time. We spent the Fourth of July at the party on the beach at Bob's house. Just like last year. Some traditions are good. And, this one is so special. 8 years ago, on this same day, Jim and I got married. Now, *that's* something to celebrate! It was a bit windy this year, and we thought it may even be too windy to paddle. But, just like the space shuttle launch today, we decided it was good enough. As it happened, our Kayuba dive club had chartered a boat to do a twilight dive and then watch the fireworks. The place where the boat was anchored for the dive happened to be straight out from where we were on the beach! Jim was feeling energetic so he paddled out to the boat and greeted the surfacing divers! Then he paddled back in and my Mom got into his kayak, I got in mine, and the 3 of us paddled up to Deerfield pier to watch the fireworks. I simply cannot imagine a better way to watch the fireworks. The City of Deerfield Beach puts on a marvelous display - shooting the fireworks from the pier. At one point there is a firefall from the edge of the pier down to the water ... I don't know *how* they do that, but it is a phenomenal sight. And, there's a concert on the beach, which we're close enough to hear from our kayaks, but we're all by ourselves, not with several thousand people crowded on the beach. The water was warm, the air was warm, the exercise was good, the sights and sounds were awesome. I'd be willing to bet that we were the only husband/wife/mother group in the world that kayaked out in the ocean in the dark of night and watched fireworks to the accompaniment of John Phillip Sousa! I felt *very* special. I know that Jim and Mom enjoyed themselves as well - they were hootin' and hollerin' so much you could hardly hear the fireworks! All that was missing were Lynne and John who are currently in the Seattle area, just about as far away as you can get! They paddled to the fireworks with us last year. We'll have to try harder to hook up next year. THANX Bob! For your party on the beach - it's a great place!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Every RVer needs a Blog

Anne and Norm just bought a 41 foot, 2 slide Dutch Star motorhome. They're leaving this week and plan to spend the summer traveling the country. They say our Blog was their inspiration. I don't think we can take credit for that. Anne and Norm have been living on a boat in the Bahamas every winter for the last few years. I expect there are a LOT of similarities between living on a boat, and living on an RV, and they'd been considering it for a while. If anything, our Blog could have scared them away with posts like this one on dumping holding tanks. If it weren't for our Blog, we would not have gotten to know them. Anne was president of the USA Dive Club when I first joined in the early 80s. I'm sure I went on some dives with her, but never got to know her all that well. She married Norm sometime after that, so we never met him at all. When our travels brought us to Florida this spring, they knew all about it because they were following our Blog. They invited us to dinner and we talked RVs, RVing, RV parks, sightseeing destinations, Wi-Fi and other Internet access, RV Rallies, other RVers, etc. etc. What fun. That was a couple months ago and they hadn't bought their rig yet. They're going to have a very different experience RVing than we do (ours is 30 foot, no slides). Some better - like having room to spread out for a morning exercise routine, and having a washer/dryer! And, some worse, like filling a 150 gallon gas tank. Think about it, at today's prices, that's $450! We invited them over for dinner at our place this weekend. Mom, and another friend, Bob stopped by for a while as well. We were all surprised when everyone could actually find a seat! You must understand however, that once you find a seat with 6 people in a 30 ft, no-slide motorhome, you better *stay* seated! In a 41 ft, 2 slides, you could probably all dance! I do think Anne agrees with me that our 'loft' is a special place though. Especially with our big-screen projected TV. We talked and laughed and had a really great time. Isn't that so often the case? You just get to know people and have fun right before they leave. But, Hey! We'll be able to watch their travels because they set up a Blog! And, we *will* take credit for inspiring them to do that. I can't wait to see their photos because Anne is a gifted photographer, and she just got a digital SLR. You go out there and Carpe Diem Anne and Norm! We'll be watching. We will be giving a 'Every RVer Needs a Blog' seminar at the upcoming FMCA rally in Charlotte, NC. We hope to inspire a lot more folks to Blog.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Oh Boy, new faucets!

That's right, I'm excited about our new faucets. You see, the one in the kitchen had been getting loose of late. You almost needed 2 hands ... one to hold the bottom while the other hand moved the control arm to hotter or colder. It still worked, but ... I've complained a few times to Jim and, this weekend, he decided to work on it. He hates plumbing. We found a very similar faucet at Home Depot, but upon getting it home and trying to hook it up, he found that the pipes/tubes that bring the water to the faucet weren't long enough to reach this one. So, back to Home Depot to get extensions. He hates plumbing. The extensions didn't seem to fit the fixtures and Jim was making all sorts of distressing noises from his position under the sink. Back to Home Depot for a special tool. He says he's always wanted a basin wrench. He hates plumbing? I decided to go for a walk with Odie. A L O N G walk! When we got home, we had a new faucet, demonstrated by a very proud Jim. And, he said "I'm ready to do the bathroom one now!" The bathroom faucet works fine, it just looks old and raunchy. It's looked that way since we bought the motorhome and I've always wanted it replaced, but I didn't dare ask because Jim hates ... well, you know. Our ugly old bathroom faucet: The master at work. Our pretty new faucet.