Saturday, April 26, 2014

Myrtle Beach: The Glorious Sunrise

What a glorious day! We decided to wake up early and enjoy watching the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.

We have only set an alarm clock a few times in the last 10 months.  So the idea of getting up before 6am feels shocking to me.  But it was my idea so there was no chickening out.  And what could be more glorious than the sunrise over the Atlantic Ocean.

It was worth it!  We had gone yesterday to scope out the "perfect" spot to sit and have our perfect view of the sun coming up over the horizon.

As we enjoy our perfect moment watching the sunrise; I am reminded that God loves us so much that he created this beautiful world for us to enjoy.  He wants to provide beauty for us to see and remind us of God's power and glory.

Almost daily I remember the Bible verse:  Psalm 118:24, “This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  I can tell you, we are rejoicing in the day!!!

Because we are not generally up at sunrise, we assumed no one else would be joining us at the beach.  We were so wrong.  There were quite a few people who had the same idea.

I could babble on about the sunrise and the beauty… but I am going to just show pictures instead.

“The whole earth is filled with awe at your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, you call forth songs of joy.”  Psalm 65:8

I do not imagine we will get up often to see a sunrise.  But I can say… it is something that will happen again.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter… Creating New Traditions

It is Easter today. As a Christian it is the most important holiday of the year.  The day we, as Believers, are given the joy of celebrating Jesus' rise from the dead.  I cannot imagine a love so true that would cause God to give His son, Jesus, to die on a cross for me.  But the best part of the story… He did not just die, he rose again—to show us He is God.

All week I have been well aware of the holiday.  You would have thought I could step outside my own selfishness and make the holiday about God and His sacrifice.  But NO, I have struggled feeling sorry for myself.  This is our first holiday away from Colorado, our first holiday to be away from friends and family.  Previously, we would have gone to Good Friday service with Paul, Catrina and the kids.  We would have then all gone to church on Sunday together; and then shared a holiday meal—much larger than we planned or certainly needed.

I have really struggled sleeping lately.  Some days I do not get into bed until after midnight.  Last night I woke up at 4am and thought it was time to get up.  This is only important because my poor sleep and resulting lethargy will follow me all day.  However, this morning I woke up determined to make new memories.  Our new journey of life is not a loss—it is a blessing that God has allowed in our lives.

As with most towns we visit, we looked for a possible church to visit.  We just could not find one that we really wanted to attend for Easter.  Because this campground has a chapel, we decided we would go to the Sunday morning service here.

The chapel is a sweet little country church.  There is a lady sitting at an electric keyboard that I could easily imagine played the piano in her small country church at home.  The preacher, complete with pony tail and long beard, is a biker, wearing jeans and carrying a black leather jacket.  There are several people sitting and visiting.  More people continue to arrive until the service begins.  As we are all worshipping together, I am reminded that we are all here from different parts of the country.  Everyone here is traveling and some are also far from their family.  The thing that brings us together is that we all agree that gathering together this Easter morning to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the perfect place to be.

We sang several old hymns and opened the Word together.  It was not a church I would have been drawn to if we had been at home.  The music was calm, the message was basic and it was just where we needed to be today.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Perry, Georgia

We have waited for several days for the rain to stop. We decided there might be a constant drip from the sky the entire time we are here—so we need to get out despite the weather.  As a side note: when we walk from our 5th wheel to the jeep, it sounds like we are walking on a giant wet sponge.  We decided to go into Perry, Georgia. 

We both really enjoy looking at old houses, buildings and churches.  Perry offers an audio tour along with a guide brochure to lead you through the historic buildings throughout town.  We pulled up to the first large building with grand pillars and dial the appropriate number on my cell phone only to have an operator tell us there is no such site #.  So I dramatically read all of the information about the Perry First Hotel and we move onto the next building, which is a home for one of the founding families of Perry.

We try the new number again, only to get the same message "there is no site #2" blah, blah, blah.  Because I apparently love to torture both George and myself, I go through this same futile exercise 6 or 7 times.  

Finally we get the message… we will drive through Perry looking at the houses and buildings and churches built as early as 1825.  I read the limited information provided by the brochure—but we really enjoyed the driving tour.

The drizzling rain never did stop today, but we did not let that stop us.  We enjoyed our day and saw as much as we could.  We had planned to walk around town, but I just am not very interested in walking around in the rain.

Perry has a Krystal's, so we decided to get those hamburgers for lunch.  I had heard they are similar to White Castle’s.  After having them, I would say they are similar; but not a solution for a White Castle craving.

We had a short sight-seeing day and headed home to work on our summer travels.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

From Viewing Manatee to Dancing on the Veranda

Today was a full and fun day. Yesterday it rained all day—so we stayed in and did some paperwork and little tasks around the RV.  Today we woke up to clouds, so we were a little afraid we would have a repeat of yesterdays' weather.  We decided to start our day early and hope for the best.   We left our campsite in Wildwood headed toward Tampa.

We were so excited about the manatee that we had seen in Crystal River a few days ago that we were anxious for any opportunity to see these rare creatures again.  Tampa Electric (TECO), Big Ben Power station in Apollo Beach has become a manatee sanctuary.

The optimal season to see manatee in Florida is between November and March.  After March most of them leave their warm winter home.  The power station has a discharge canal that warms the water, making it a perfect place for manatee.  TECO established The Manatee Viewing Center as an educational facility and a state and federal designated manatee sanctuary.   During the height of manatee season, there can be as many as 600 manatees at one time in the channel.

Today, we see only 4 manatees, 2 of them are small and we think are very young.  These massive animals glide through the water almost motionless. 

We stayed for a couple of hours watching a variety of fish, birds and the manatee.

We drove through downtown Tampa to the Henry B Plant Museum. 

Henry Plant was a self-made millionaire with the desire for opulence in the sand of Florida.  He personally invested over $2.5 million to build a hotel that hosted guests such as Teddy Roosevelt and Babe Ruth.

The furnishings of the hotel took me back to what I would have imagined in the Titanic.  This hotel became a place of rest and recreation for the rich and famous. 

I imagine a time when people "dressed" for dinner and I imagine waltzing on the veranda.  This was not just a hotel; it was a full destination where guests are treated to hunting adventures, fishing, indoor and outdoor games; and then an evening of elegant entertainment.

I loved seeing the over-the-top furnishings and opulent hotel that represented the Victorian lifestyles of America’s Gilded Age.

We met Nancy, our son-in-law, Paul’s mom for dinner at La Septima Café in Brandon.  This restaurant specializes in Cuban food, which was a new experience.  We love trying new foods from the areas we are visiting.  This was a delicious surprise and we look forward to our next opportunity to enjoy Cuban cuisine.  We have always enjoyed our visits with Nancy when she has visited Colorado Springs.   I have been missing family and friends lately and so it was really nice see her and be able to connect with family.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Where Your Golf Cart is Your Cadillac

Our campground, Three Flags RV Resort is about 3 miles from a famous, planned luxury retirement community—The Villages.

The Villages is restricted to those over 55 years old, in fact visitors under 19 years old cannot visit for more than 30 days without pre-approval.  This community was unlike any we had seen before.  It spans three counties, three zip codes and over 20,000 acres.  The entire community is connected by over 100 miles of golf cart legal streets and trails.  This community has over 35 golf courses, 50+ outside swimming pools and every kind of sporting field, court or course imaginable.

Golf carts are everywhere!  They toddle up and down these streets and trails like cartoon characters.  There are regular golf carts and designer carts that look like antique cars or trucks.

We saw golf carts that looked like Mustangs, Jeeps and VW bugs.

There are distinct neighborhoods that each have their own personalities—Spanish style, old Western town and old Market style.

Each neighborhood has a Town Square that has FREE nightly entertainment.   Several evenings we have enjoyed outside music concerts and dancing in the Town Square.  It has been fun for us to see seniors loving life at this level.  We expected the dance floor to be full on the slow dances—which it was… but it was just as full on those faster "rock-n-roll" and country songs.

They appeared to all be at the point of “who cares what people think”.  Some of the dancers swing their hips as if they are in their 20's and some appear to have lost the beat in their 30’s… but a consistent theme… they are all having a great time enjoying life!
Everything these residents want to do is just a golf cart ride away.

We love our travels right now, but we are certainly able to see the appeal of this retirement community.

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