Friday, November 23, 2012

Our Workamping Jobs at Sun-n-Fun RV Resort, Sarasota, Florida

Well, we’ve been working a week now and it’s pretty interesting! 

First, let’s catch-up on some changes…….. When we were originally hired, it was for Guest Services, which means that our jobs consisted of checking-in people for the Park Model rental units (the Welcome Center checks-in RV’ers), handling the phones, managing work orders, fielding request, directing traffic in the front office, etc…… Once we arrived, we met with our boss to check-in and fill-out the usual start-of-job paperwork. Okay, no big deal. The next day she called and offered us a new job – to be Advisors, meaning, we’d work with the reservations and sale of park models. We thought about it for a bit, then said yes. Why? Well, lots of reasons – in part, we find the Advisor job more interesting – we each have a desk, answer phones, make reservations (for those calling-in or drive-by), have more autonomy as we tour people around the part to show them the facilities, can simply walk around the pool for some fresh air and meet-and-greet guests, can learn a lot more about the Campground Manager system and selling park models, etc…. We also earn a bit of commission on reservations we make and park models we sell, so financially, it was a no-brainer decision.

After just a couple days of doing this “new” job, we are definitely sure we made the right decision. So far, so good! We work in a large office with people who are very nice and extremely helpful as we muddle our way through the learning curve of a new job. The people who come to Sun-n-Fun have all been great to work with, and they’ve all been very patient as we explain we’re “newbies” and are just getting our feet wet. We’ll post more about Sun-n-Sun at another time, happenings beyond the job and all that. 

We are enjoying the park ~ there are great outside and inside pool facilities, a very nice wellness center (exercise building), nice facilities, and a huge dog park for Zoey to exhaust all of her energy! We haven’t had time to enjoy too many of the sports, cards, games, crafty activities, but will get there eventually. 

As we said, we earn a bit of commission on reservations and sales, so if you are looking for either an RV site or Park Model (to rent or buy), give us a call: 1-800-843-2421 and ask for either of us.
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

Wishing everyone a wonderful Thanksgiving!!! 
We have lots to be thankful for this year, including lots of pecan pie! Yum!! :-)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Costco’s around the United States

Even though we have limited storage space, we still shop at Costco for a variety of items. It’s always sort of tickled us to see the items for sale that are specific to each area and that we have not seen in Oregon. For example:
  • Southern California ~ coffins 
  • Utah ~ large 50 gallon drums of non-perishable food for large families in the event of a catastrophe 
  • Florida ~ surfboards! 
 Just some of the fun stuff we experience when traveling around the country!:-)
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Brad's Sunday Afternoon, Sarasota, Florida

We have television stand and cable connection in the basement so we can watch television outside, but have never taken the time to move the bedroom television to the outside and set-up. Lo-and-behold, this was Brad’s project this morning and this is how he spent a better part of his Sunday ~ flipping channels between football and Nascar while outside.  :-)
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sun-n-Fun RV Resort, Sarasota, Florida

Well, it took 4,204.6 miles of driving, but we have finally arrived at our winter destination ~ Sun-n-Fun RV Resort, where we’ll be workamping in Guest Services for the next few months. We chose Sun-n-Fun in part due to its location – warm, sunny Florida, plus Brad’s parents are nearby. We also enjoy staying at RV resorts with amenities and activities, and this place is teeming with a plethora of activities, a great wellness (exercise) building, pools, etc….. 

So far the people (fellow workers and residents) seem very nice. We were allowed to come a week early (no charge) to explore the area and get settled, and we’ve quickly started using the facilities and have plans to lie on our butts at the pool all day tomorrow! 

If you’re in the area, stop-by and say HI!
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Snorkeling with the Manatees, Crystal River, Florida

As mentioned before, we decided to stay in Crystal River as it was a nice stopping point of a few days. Once we planned to stay here, we found out that this is one of the rare places where one can snorkel with Manatees, and we thought, “Hey, that would be cool!” 

We went with American Pro Diving Center for a few reasons, some of which were great online reviews, a good website, and that we had a Groupon.  Suzanne watches for Groupons in areas where we plan to stay and this one saved us $52 and truly saved us money since we would have probably done a Manatee tour regardless.
So the tour started in the American Pro Diving Center shop, which was quite cute.  After checking-in and getting our rental gear (putting on a wet suit is like putting on pantyhose over your entire body), we watched an informative  video on Manatees and safety tips (for us and them). There were about 20 people going on this tour, and we were separated into two groups. Each family drove their own car to the dock (an additional $5 parking fee) and off we went! 

Some interesting facts about Manatees:
  • Manatees can be found in shallow, slow-moving rivers, estuaries, saltwater bays, canals, and coastal areas.
  • The average adult manatee is about 10 feet long and weighs between 800 and 1,200 pounds.
  • Manatee are mostly herbivorous and can consume 10-15% of their body weight in vegetation daily.
  • Manatees are mammals, so they must surface to breathe air. When resting, manatees have been known to stay submerged for up to 20 minutes.
  • Manatees have no natural enemies, and it is believed they can live 60 years or more.
  • Manatees in the United States are protected under federal law by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, which make it illegal to harass, hunt, capture, or kill any marine mammal.
So we were on the Crystal River, which was only about 4-feet deep in some sections and quite clear.  As we meandered over to an area where Sean, our captain, was heading, he shared more safety tips as well as do’s and don’t’s for our interaction with Manates, such as:
·         Let the Manatee come to you ~ they are very playful
·         Feel free to rub the Manatee, except not their faces, armpits, or tails.
·         Do not swim above the Manatee, but if one swims beneath you, that’s okay.
·         Do not chase a Manatee if they swim away.

We stopped where we could see a couple Manatees and got in the water, which with the wet suit, was surprisingly not that cold. It was a mother Manatee with her child and they came right up for some petting and interaction. We put out our hands and they felt like wet leather and they simply glided around us and played (as much as a Manatee plays). It was pretty cool. 

The group then decided to let out sister boat come and enjoy the Manatees (they originally went to a different location and did not see any) and we went in search for more.  We went past some beautiful homes along the Crystal River and canals and came to some much clearer water where one guy was resting on the bottom.

We then decided to snorkel up  a small area called Three Sisters where the Manatee go a bit later in the year.  We knew there would be no Manatee, but the water was amazingly clear and there were a ton of fish.  Yes, this is when we ran out of film in our underwater disposable camera ~ oh well.

So we saw three Manatee under the water in all; we saw a few more from the boat. We equally enjoyed the snorkeling at Three Sisters since we were a bit more dispersed and had some time to explore.  Definitely this is something to do while in this area!
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

John Prince Park Campground, Lake Worth, Florida

What a lovely park! We’re staying at John Prince Park Campground for a few days visiting with Suzanne’s parents who live in the area.  This is a county park, and fairly reasonably priced, considering it’s in Palm Beach county.

This is a large park (300 sites) and we have a site by the lake. Our site is quite large with plenty of room, but some of the non-lake sites are cramped and the rigs are on-top of one another.  There are hiking trails, biking trails, and 726-acres of fun.  Definitely this is the place to stay in this area.
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Lake Rousseau RV & Fishing Resort, Crystal River, Florida

We’re staying at Lake Rousseau RV Fishing Resort for a couple days to enjoy the local area and because the location is on our route. The park is just okay – the location is great, on Lake Rousseau among trees laden with Spanish Moss and fellow campers are friendly. However the amenities are run-down, the staff just okay and there are just too many shabby mobile homes for our liking. We’re surprised, since we always consult with and this place had great reviews. It is fine for a couple days. 

One thing we’re really excited about doing while we’re here is a manatee snorkel tour ~ we don’t have a digital underwater camera, so we purchased a disposable under-water camera and will have to wait to get the film developed and accompanying CD before we post pictures – hopefully in the next week or so.
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Brad Save a Turtle & Killer Seafood Restaurant, Mexico Beach, FL

We went for a drive today to explore the nearby town of Port St. Joe ~ just meandered for a while checking out the area.  While driving down one road, a turtle was crossing and barely halfway to her/his(?) destination and there was potential on-coming traffic. Superman Brad to the rescue! He jumped out of the car, gently picked-up the turtle, and deposited her/him(?) safely in the grass in the direction she/he(?) was going. Whew! This is the same guy that will relocate a spider or ladybug, and has been known to use a blow-dryer to de-ice frozen hummingbird food (because microwaved hummingbird food might not be healthy for the birds). Want to read more about saving turtles while they cross the road? Here ya go: the turtle rescue league.
After the turtle saving, of course we were hungry. We heard that the best restaurant in town was Killer Seafood, so off we went! As we shared before, Suzanne’s not much of a seafood eater, so she was happy with the chicken poboy (sub sandwich, to those not familiar with the southern term). Brad had one of their well-known dishes: grilled fresh tuna tacos. The review: double thumbs up! Now, the restaurant isn’t much to look at; just one of those local diners that has great food. Definitely this is a place to enjoy a lunch or dinner!
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Rustic Sands Resort Campground, Mexico Beach, Florida

We changed our plans a few days ago when we decided to spend a bit more time at Fort Pickens at Gulf Island National Seashore, so while looking for our next camping spot, we happened upon this campground, and are glad we did.

Rustic Sands Resort Campground is about ½ mile from Mexico Beach, a small sleepy town with a nice, white sand beach. The campground is fairly large with some huge sites ~ in fact, we’re in a 110’-foot site! The campground is very woodsy, with very tall trees. There are a few amenities – a nice laundry room, gathering room where games are played, small pool-side grill, etc….  The nicest thing about the park are the employees – we played a silly card game last night (Pass the Trash) with the owners and had a great time.They also had some live music last night, which was fun, as we listened around the campfire.
Although Mexico Beach isn’t a destination (for us), this campground is a lovely place to hang-out for a few days.
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Joe Patti’s Seafood Market & The Oar House Restaurant, Pensacola, Florida

Joe Patti’s Seafood Market 

When we visited the National Navy Aviation Museum the other day, the woman behind the counter mentioned Joe Patti’s Seafood Market as a fun place to check-out and The Oar House as a good place to eat, so off we went!

JoePatti’s is a seafood market that was started in the 1930’s. There was a huge variety of fresh fish, as well as live lobsters and various accoutrements to enjoy with your fresh fish. We enjoyed meandering the fresh fish market and small grocery, but not being big fish eaters (at least not the kind we have to cook ourselves), we enjoyed the market more for the atmosphere, rather than the food. We did see a couple pelicans along the docks as well.

The Oar House 

Now if you know Brad, you know he was getting hungry, (Question of the day ~ When is Brad not hungry?) so we went to the recommended The Oar House for lunch.  Brad had fish tacos and Suzanne crab cakes (her favorite) – both were very good and we were glad to have followed the recommendation.  After lunch, Brad decided to do a little fishing ~ check out what he caught! :-)
Easy and affordable - no matter where you are! 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Fort Pickens And Beautiful White Sand Beaches

Fort Pickens
One of the lessons our country learned during the War of 1812 was that our key naval ports were not well defended. So the US government started a campaign to build forts to protect vital ports. Thus Fort Pickens was built on Santa Rosa Island to protect the important Naval Ship Yard in Pensacola, Florida. It was constructed from 1824 to 1834 and was one of three forts that were built for this defense.

Fort Pickens went through periods of time when it was totally abandoned. It was typically occupied and used when the county was in a war. During the Civil War, Union soldiers got to it first so they utilized it against Confederate forces. Later in the war, the 25th Regiment that was made up of freed slaves guarded Confederate soldiers at this fort – justice, as this fort was built by slaves.

After the Civil War (1865), the fort was abandoned again until 1886. This was when Chief Geronimo an Apache Indian along with 15 of his warriors were captured in Arizona and imprisoned at Fort Pickens. Tourist began to visit the fort to see Chief Geronimo. A year later the Chief was relocated to Oklahoma where he died.

Fort Pickens remained in use until 1947. During WWI and WWII many changes were made to the fort including adding additional weapon batteries as well as replacing old cannons with modern capabilities. After WWII the fort became abandoned once again. The fort became a Florida State Park and in 1971 was included with the Gulf Island National Seashore under the National Park Service.
 Beautiful Beaches 
Santa Rosa Island is covered with beautiful white sandy beaches. This sand drifts across the small two lane road like a snow storm. The beaches on the gulf side of the island are larger and the water is more aqua blue than the bay side. It's a beautiful place to  enjoy both a sunrise and sunset from the same beach. If you are in the area, it's definitely worth a stop.

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