Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Peaceful Paddle

What a wonderful way to end 2006. The paddle that I mapped out on Google Earth yesterday took us a little over 5 hours, including at least an hour's worth of stops. It was a great day. Here's the launch spot in Bowling Green, near Paynes Prairie State Park. The water level is perfect. Lots of birdlife. According to Marie, we have Randall to thank for pushing us to do a longer paddle than normal. So, she didn't hesitate to accept when he offerred to tow her while she 'napped.' The people you see in the water are hunting for fossils by digging up pails of dirt from the bottom and screening it thru a wire-mesh. Lots of people find fossilized shark's teeth here. Oh! She's awake again. Ooops, maybe not. What a gorgeous day! Back home. Our cars were waiting right there by the boat ramp, ready to load the kayaks on top and drive back to our sites. How it worked was - when we left in the morning, we found a couple people to ride up with us to the launch point, then they drove our cars back and left them waiting for us. Perfect.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Google Earth

Jim did his Google Earth seminar yesterday and I'm starting to understand it enough to get hooked! Someone today came up and asked if you could use Google Earth to look at a river and see if it would be a good area to paddle. You know, no dams, no waterfalls, stuff like that. What a good idea! We are planning to paddle the Peace River this Sunday (our good friend, Marie, is coming to visit) and we want to do a little more distance than the last time. Here is a video recording - a 'screencast' - of me using Google Earth to decide exactly where to paddle on the Peace River.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Blog Migration Successful!

Whew! Y'never know when it's gonna be you that gets stuck in a computer quagmire with something like a server migration such as the Blogger conversion. It took about an hour and a half. I didn't have to do anything but wait, but it was a nervous time. Next, I'm supposed to pick a new, upgraded template. One step at a time. I'll wait an read some more. Maybe I'll upgrade the template tomorrow. Meanwhile, the main feature I was looking forward to is already available to me. It's called labels and it acts as a way to categorize all my Blog posts by topics that I define. I occassionally debate about whether this is a personal blog (about family, friends, RVing and Travel) or a business blog (about computer stuff). In Jim's and my life, we love what we do and we do what we love, the line between personal and work is very blurry, so we write about it all. We've been keeping this blog for over 3 years now and it would be nice to click on 'WiFi' and see all the posts we've written about WiFi. Click on RVing and see all the posts that have been specifically about the RV lifestyle etc. That's what 'Labels' are for, and I see the place on my screen right now to put labels on this post. I think I'll categorize this post as 'Computer' and 'Blogs'. Then, I'll start categorizing all my old posts and see how far I get.

Blogger migration

Out with the old, in with the new. This seems to be a good time to migrate this blog to the new version of Blogger. I've backed it up every conceivable way, and I've been reading all the forum messages about other people's experiences. Lots of folks have had smooth migrations, taking just a few minutes and continuing on as if nothing had happened. Others have had 2-3 day ordeals. And a few have lost the ability to post to their blogs at all. So ... I figured I'd post this notice. If this blog is missing in action for a few days - don't worry, I'm working on it. If the worst happens, just go to our home page at or Both of those have links to 'Blog' and I will post information there about what happened.

Water in the River

It looks like we picked a good time to be away from Peace River. The whole area was under Tornado watch most of the day on Christmas. To accomodate everyone for Christmas dinner, the park erected a big tent over part of the parking area. We expected to see that blown away when we got back, but it was still there. We were told that it was touch and go at a few points though. They *did* get a lot of rain though, which means water in the river! The river has been too low to paddle so far this winter, but now it looks good. Here is the view of the river from our bench, just last week: and, here is the same approximate spot today: That water level will definitely 'float our boats'!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Day

It was a very warm day - even for Florida. We like that! We got up at 6:30 and went with my Mom to see the sunrise at the beach. This has been tradition with a group of folks from our dive club for many years. A nice tradition. Then, in the afternoon, we went to Jim's sister's in West Palm Beach to share a 'Turducken' Christmas dinner with 4 generations! What's 'Turducken'? You might ask. That's TURkey, DUCK, chickEN. Amazing the work that must go into this thing. They take all the bones out of a turkey and lay it out flat. Then spread stuffing on top. They take all the bones out of a duck and lay it on next. Then more stuffing. Then a boned chicken. They it gets rolled back up into something resembling the original turkey. When it's cooked, you cut it like a cake and it has layers. Quite yummy. Then we drove 3 hours back to Peace River. Long day. Today we just veg'd. Finished a couple books. Watched a movie.

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's a Wonderful Life

We had our 'Movie Night' here at the park last night. It was a beautiful night to sit outside, munch popcorn, drink wine, and watch a movie. Jim discovered a better sound system to hook up to his computer, so, there were even people soaking in the hot tub that could hear and watch the movie! The 'wet' seats. We showed 'It's a Wonderful Life" with Jimmy Stewart. I think it's required viewing for the week before Christmas! I hadn't seen it in several years ... it really is good. Next week is Pirates of the Carribbean! Arrrrr! I'll watch Johnny Depp in anything! Over and over. We've lined up our Thursday night shows for January too. Contact In Her Shoes Starman Walk the Line These are DVDs we happen to have. We may need to supplement our library come February. We're leaving tomorrow to spend Christmas with family in Fort Lauderdale. Best wishes for a Wonderful Life to all of you!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Sittin' on the Bench of the Bank

The nature trail here at Peace River follows the river and there is a well-placed bench about in the middle where you can sit and watch the river go by. I took a couple hours yesterday and did just that. A beautiful, meditative afternoon. Odie came with me of course. This guy was on the other bank, so we could watch him safely. He (or she) didn't move the whole 2 hours. The turtles are more nervous. You had to be very quiet to keep them from splashing into the river. I just love reflections. Now, here's a well-traveled cat! For more scenes from Peace River, check out this movie that Jim made with Photo Story 3. He's giving a seminar on using PhotoStory3 this week, so he's been practicin'! Click the picture below to play the movie. It takes a minute to load because it uses a different format than the videos I make. It's not too long though.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Park is filling up

With 60 degree nights and 80 degree days, it's sure easy to see why South Florida is a popular winter destination! I've been asked why I don't just say 'Florida' instead of 'South' Florida. This is a very long state. It actually gets quite cold in the northern half. Where we are is approximately latitude 27 which is the same as Corpus Christi, Texas or Chihuahua, Mexico. Dad and Candy kept saying, "I've never seen so many big RVs!" Since we've stayed at resorts like Palm Creek with almost 2000 sites filled with big rigs, we hardly notice. There are 400 sites here at Peace River. You can see why it's a little overwhelming from the point of view of a little camper van though. We think this park is *just right*. It's big enough to have all the amenities, yet small enough to walk everywhere and have a wilderness campground feel to it.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Solomons Castle

We decided on today to be tourists. About the only tourist attraction in the whole area is Solomon's Castle. We had visited when we were here in August, but they were closed. So, today, the four of us went. Me, Jim, my Dad, and Candy. It really does look like a castle. It's covered all over with shiny metal plates that used to be printing plates used by the local daily newspaper. We took the tour for $10 each and saw hundreds of Howard Solomon's works of art. Everything he does uses 'recycled' materials. I especially liked the dragon. and this elephant. They also had a really good restaurant called the boat in the moat, since it was built to look like a boat and it had water all the way around. Here's the artist himself, Howard Solomon, with a recent piece of artwork in his shop. He still lives here with several of his family, all of whom work in the castle or the restaurant. There was wildlife too. I'm not sure which was scarier, the alligators in the 'moat', or this spider. If you walk just a little ways on a dirt road, you get to the house which they are expanding to be a bed and breakfast. Quite a find, I'd say.

Friday, December 15, 2006


My Dad, Tom, and Candy decided to take another trip in their cute camper van and come visit us. How nice that we could offer them a destination when we've stayed in their driveway so many times! We're actually hoping to have a lot of visitors this season here at Peace River. Over the years, long before RVs were in our lives, we've come here to paddle the river with groups of friends. Now they can come visit us and maybe bring pictures of those 'roughin' it' days when we camped on the river banks with the alligators on a 3 day canoe trip. Now we're here in our home - and there are cabins that friends without RVs can stay in. I got a look inside the other day and they're really nice.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Baby AJ Update

While in Fort Lauderdale, we gotta catch up with baby August James (AJ). He's close to 5 months old now and looking sturdy enough for even me to hold him! Here's 'Gramps' with AJ. And here's Devon, the proud father. They look like 2 happy boys to me! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Namibia Video

Yeehaw!! I did it! I took 5 hours of Mom's video and created a 6.5 minute 'highlights' video. Or .. to hear Mom tell it I *cut out* 293 mintues of essential stuff! "But you gotta show the termite hills, and the night shot of the rhinoceros at the watering hole, and the villagers inside the smoky hut, and the waves breaking on the pier ... and ... and ..." Anyway - here it is. If you have a slow connection, you may want to click on the pause button (2 vertical bars) until it downloads sufficiently (the first time you'll need to click twice). You can see the download progress on the dark gray bar. Then you can click on play again. Click here for a highlights Video of the trip. (6.5 minutes) Pretty cool huh? p.s. we're back at home in Peace River now.