Off to work we go! We left Fort Lauderdale on Monday, May 21 to go 1,400 miles to Sedalia Missouri for the Escapee's RV Club Escapade rally.
We were happy to be parked next to our friends Eric and Tammi from TechnoRV
The first 2 days we taught our special, hands-on smartphone photography class. We had 2 groups of really smart people! We went thru all our normal material and then some. We were very happy to have Barb Westerfield join us as a helper - she's very savvy with her Android phone and she's a great teacher. Thanks Barb!
One student, Mike McIlraith, went above and beyond, taking pictures of license plates and them cropping and putting them together. Check it out - so cool!
Scuba diving is one of the reasons that Jim and I got together. Jim's been diving since 1974 and Chris since 1983. For both of us it is our favorite sport/pastime. We don't do it enough!
So, when we attended a monthly meeting of our dive club (UnderSea Adventurers: USA Dive Club) back in January and saw a dive trip to Bimini, Bahamas on the schedule, we checked our calendar and booked it!
Bimini is the island of the Bahamas that is the closest to Florida. Jim used to captain and crew for boats back in the 70s and 80s and he spent a lot of time in Bimini. He found this old photo
And I lived in Fort Lauderdale in the 60s and my parents had a boat that we could go to Bimini. Lots of memories for both Jim and me at the Bimini Big Game Club! and, that is where we stayed for this club trip. We even dove with Neal Watson's Bimini Scuba Center. Both Jim and I know Neal Watson from past experiences ... of course that Neal is the father of the one on this boat!
There are several ways to get to Bimini, our group booked a ride on the ferry. It takes 1-2 hours to make the trip from Port of Miami to Bimini. We had a beautiful morning.
Leaving Port of Miami
Disembarking in Bimini
We got settled in our rooms, deposited our dive gear at the dock, and went looking for lunch and beer. We didn't have to look far!
It was a pretty rainy weekend, but the dive operation was superb, and we had enough good weather to do some great diving. Here is our underwater selfie - Jim and Chris scuba diving1
And, here is my favorite shot! A very friendly turtle came right up to Neal Watson and looked lovingly into his eyes!
Jim and I both enjoy attending a local toastmaster club called Earlybird Toastmasters. We've been members since the 90's. When we're on the road, we miss it. So we are very happy that there are now online Toastmasters clubs. We are charter members of Online Presenters Toastmaster because our friend, David Carr started it.
Here's what a traditional -stick and brick- Toastmasters club looks like:
And here's what an online Toastmasters club looks like:
As Jim and I were reviewing our calendar yesterday, Jim reminded me that I was supposed to speak at last night's online meeting. What!? I had forgotten all about it. A speech is supposed to be prepared! What am I going to talk about? I struggled with this question most of the day, then, just a couple of hours before 'showtime' I remembered a story I wrote during the writer's workshop in Italy last summer. It was a personal story about one particular dive trip, and one particular dive - a night dive - that didn't go so well. Perfect! Great timing too, since we are getting ready for a dive trip to the Bahamas this week.
Here's the recording of our meeting, my speech starts at about the 7 minute point and goes for 7 minutes.
Well, not every trip can be perfect! We can just hope that the old saying is correct, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas!"
When we were asked to present seminars at an RV rally in Las Vegas on April, we said yes. We weren't going to be anywhere near Las Vegas but we thought that air fares would be cheap (we were wrong) and we didn't have anything else going on at that time. We made plane reservations to stay over 4 days beyond the rally in hopes of getting together with my friend, Melinda, who lives in Reno. As it turned out, she couldn't get away. This turned out to be a good thing as we caught pretty bad colds and had to stay in bed 3 of those 4 days.
The rally was nice. RVs parked at the KOA adjacent to the Sam's Town casino. We enjoyed the hotel, especially the huge courtyard.
We reconnected with Lynn Selden who learned about blogging from us years ago and maintains a website for her escapeess chapter using blogger. We think it is a great example of using the free blogger tool for a club website. Check it out at Shanty Shakers SKP 25
There were several people who attended all 6 of our seminars and took advantage of our free half hour one on one to ask specific questions. Here's what Sue had to say
I learned a lot at the WARE rally. So did Ken. I was able to come home and install all the google photo updates, and apps onto my laptop, and to his desktop. Today I went to a fun NFL party and by the time I got home, all the pictures were on my google photos on the laptop. I have always hated having to take pictures with my camera and then have to send them to myself via e-mail, and then download and save them to my photo files. Now it's all done before I get back! how awesome. thanks for the info and notes we got from the lesson "stick". I like the HIYA app too. I'm also going to work on my Blogger that I "resurrected"
The best treat of the week was having dinner with Tom and Sally Buckalew, Jim's old high school friends. You're probably thinking, "oh, so they live in Las Vegas now?" No, they still live in New Jersey. They just happened to be in a cross country road trip and were near Las Vegas when they saw Jim's Facebook post about us being in Las Vegas. We love Facebook for that kind of serendipity.
Even the 3 days in bed wasnt that bad. No responsibilities, nothing that had to be done. Other than feeling like we'd been run over by a truck, it was actually kind of relaxing. We watched a movie on the hotel pay or view- The Post, about the Washington l post newspaper and the events surrounding the publishing of the Pentagon papers. Riveting stuff for those of us who lived thru that time. It was so good, it inspired us to find All the President's Men on Amazon movies and rewatch that movie about Woodward and Bernstein's investigative reporting during Watergate. It's hard not to see parallels with today's politics.
By the fourth day we were feeling much better. Not enough time to see Hoover dam or hike in Red Rocks Park, but we could do some Las Vegas tourist stuff. We went to the Fremont Street experience. That's the historic strip, quite a ways away from the current strip. We had quite a day. Starting with a bloody Mary at 11am, served on the open air mall that now enclosed the strip and providing a great view for people watching.
One of the things you see is people flying overhead on the Zipline known as Slotzilla. Jim said, I want to do that. Uhh .. Ok.
Here's a video of the takeoff of the group in front of us.
That was fun.
There's a micro brewery on Fremont Street named Banger Brewery. We had to try that! We had a flight of their craft beers, including one they call Morning Joe which really tasted of coffee. Our bartender, Caitlin, made our day - she was such a delight. And she gave us a lead of where to eat later at the Golden Nugget - Chicago brewery. Do you see a pattern here?
Then we spent the afternoon at the Mob Museum. Very well done and informative. Apparently organized crime is always with us. Whenever there is illegal activity that can be profitable, there will be people to take advantage of that. Prohibition provided the perfect mass market for the mob to expand. Now it's opioids and human trafficking. Depressing.
For the evening, we booked tickets for the show Defending the Caveman. We saw this show over 20 years ago, just before we got married. It's a one man show about understanding the difference between men and women - and having a good laugh along the way. We loved it when we first saw it, and loved it again in Las Vegas.