Thursday, January 31, 2008

January 31, 2008 Clermont to Davenport, FL

Today we moved from Clermont, FL to Davenport, which is southwest of Orlando, next to Kissimmee. We are staying here at Mouse Mountain RV Resort for the next couple of months or so. We hadn't even gotten parked when we saw friends from the Montana Owners Club who have their Monty parked across the street from us. Then came another couple from the MOC, who are parked just down the road. Carol, 75 degrees, sunshine, other Monty owners, ten miles from my Disney parking lot - what a deal. Who could ask for more. Great! We were treated to greetings from so many residents of this park that we felt right at home immediately. If we could just add the kids and grandkids,now, we'd be off to the races, eh? Tomorrow Carol and I are going to Disney Hollywood Studios were I will pick up my first Disney paycheck. On our way to prosperity, now.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

January 28, 29, 2008 Disney World, Orlando and Apopka, FL

Yesterday, January 28, I worked my first day OJT at Disney Hollywood Studios. What an experience this was. I was given another foot tour of the Hollywood Studios and then taken to the Turkey Leg Restaurant portion of the Sunset Market Restaurants. This is located on Sunset Blvd. across the street from The Beauty and the Beast exhibit. I saw Mickey and Goofy meeting with children at a meet and greet spot where children can interact with and sometimes get autographs and pose for pictures from their favorite Disney characters. Different characters are available at different locations and times throughout Disney World at the various theme parks for these sessions. They are scheduled so one can identify where and when they will be so that they can attend. Large crowds of people from early morning to the time that I left at 6:30PM. I am regularly amazed at how happy the crowds are, almost to the person. People save for years so that they can come here and disappear into "Dreamworld." The people that approached the restaurant where I was working were in a jovial mood and I must have heard a bejillion accents with people from all over the world coming here to live out Walt Disney's dream. The Turkey Leg Restaurant features just what one would expect - 16 ounce turkey legs. I heard them described as "Heaven on a bone" by a guest and, after tasting one, would have to agree. We also have salads, foot longs and chili dogs. There are five or six windows in the front and most were usually busy. The way that they have trained the other cast members and the way that I am being trained makes it so that the guest does not have another birthday while waiting in line for service. I had a ball when guests would see the "Earning my ears" red ribbon hanging from my name tag - "Oh, no. I got the Newbie," and then they would laugh and carry on a conversation. My trainers encourage me to talk with as many guests as possible, just so that it doesn't slow down the operation if really busy. i believe that I have been given an intro to heaven - being TOLD to do my favorite thing, talk with people. Today Carol and I went to Orlando and Apopka to do some work on a new file that I have. The temperature is in the low 70s and it is sunny. What a day to be out and about. Carol's prescription cream for her knees arrived yesterday and it seems like it will take a while to perform as advertised. We can only pray that it works so that we can get home without too much more discomfort and talk with her doctor about what next can be done for her. Tomorrow is another Carol and Jim day. We don't know what we are going to be doing but it will be what WE want to do, WHEN we want to do it. Retirement is difficult.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

January 27, 2008 Clermont, FL

I tried on my costume today for Carol, and no matter what you think, she said that I looked nice. Gosh, I love that girl. Here it is. Now you can see how I had a difficult time describing it. The name tag even has my red ribbon stating "Earning my ears." My first day of OJT at the restaurants at Disney Hollywood Studios Sunset Restaurants starts at 10:00 Monday morning. Because of the time, I like it even better that last week's schools - should be less traffic and it is LATER! I start out at the Turkey Leg Restaurant. Who could resist a leg from me. The adventure continued today with Carol helping me put my costume together and continues on into tomorrow with TURKEY LEGS, of all things.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

January 26, 2008 Clermont, FL

We discovered that we may have not done as much damage to the Monty as we first feared when we discovered a leak. Last night, Carol found water standing on the floor of the shower stall. This is an indication that the grey water tank has overflowed. Grey water is the water from the drains in the shower, bathroom sink and outside shower, not the kitchen sink or the toilet (which is the black water tank). The washer drains into the grey tank. I usually leave the valve for the grey tank open so that, when the washer drains, it goes directly into the sewer. Oops, I closed it the other day and forgot to reopen it. Now, it seems like we are OK again so "alls well that ends well," I guess. We are going to an Ice Cream Social tonight here at the campground. Should be fun. We have met many really nice people here, like we always seem to do at the various campgrounds, and look forward to eating ice cream with them tonight (of course we enjoy eating ice dream at any time). Went to WalMart today and got shoes to wear that have rubber no-slip soles for working at the restaurants, starting Monday. My red "Earning my ears" ribbon is all set to go on my name tag. I AM READY, GOOFY. HERE I COME!!! Are you ready for me? The weather here is crazy. It has rained today and there is a Fire Weather Watch for tomorrow. The ground is so sandy that the rain is absorbed rapidly. Tomorrow they are calling for sunny, very low humidity and 15 MPH winds - thus leading to the Fire Weather Watch we just got.
Edit: We just got back from the Ice Cream Social - Oh My Gosh! We played the fool and when they asked what we wanted, I said "Some of each" and THEY DID IT!!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

January 25, 2008 Clermont, FL

It was great sleeping in until 8:00 this morning. 5:30 for three days in a row to get to Disney on time for someone used to sleeping in until 7:00 was different. I was amazed at how quickly I got used to it. My schedule has me going in next week later in the morning so it will be better. Today, we were getting ready to go out and saw water running from the hitch pin. Carol has just run a load of wash and it was in dry cycle and it was discovered that there was a leak in the drainage system, somewhere. We are now trying to dry the floor near the washer and tomorrow I will have to dry the basement beneath the washer. One of the pleasures of RVing. When one has a home traveling and bumping down the road it makes sense that things like this will happen, sometimes. Oh, well, at least it was in the mid 60s today and sunny. Quite a difference from back home, we see. Just another example of when we count our blessings we don't have time to complain.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

January 24, 2008 Disney World

Today was probably my last day of the schooling type training that I will have for a while. Got my schedule and begin on the job training Monday training at a restaurant on Sunset Blvd. I will start at a restaurant that specializes in turkey wings, then a pizza parlor and then who knows. I got my "costume" today. Since we are all "part of the show," we are referred to as cast members and our clothing is our costume. Disney Hollywood Studios is retro Hollywood, California. It is made up to look like 30s, 40s and 1950s Hollywood. My costume has me looking like a pug from that era with the appropriate hat, flowered shirt and pants. The pants or shorts are held up by suspenders. Carol will take a pic soon and it will be posted here. They really make us feel part of the show. It shows in the faces and attitudes of the other cast members. This is a very positive place with no grumbling that I have heard. My restaurants are located just down from the Tower of Terror and across the street from Beauty and the Beast. I was given a walking tour of Disney Hollywood (formerly MGM) Studios and am once again in information overload. I know that we saw a lot of very great "stuff" but it is difficult recalling where it all is. We saw Power Rangers in the streets signing autographs for and posing with children for photos taken by beaming parents. In all of the parks, there are areas where children can meet with the characters one on one. Just like the kids, I can't stop smiling. I am a positive person and it is GREAT being with all of these other positive folks. Tomorrow is Carol and Jim time. Can't wait to see what sort of trouble we can get into.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

January 23, 2008 Clermont, FL, Disney World

Tomorrow will be the last day before I start really working at Disney, and not just in training. I will be at the Sunset Dockside Restaurant in the Disney Hollywood Studios theme park. I took a short spin today after leaving Disney U. to see where I would report tomorrow in Hollywood/MGM Studios. I got a slight idea of how massive this system of theme parks is. It is so large and there are so many people that it is difficult understanding just how easily the crowds move right along. Walt Disney had a dream of providing the finest in family entertainment to the masses and became a master of crowd control. If one were stuck in long lines in traffic before standing in long lines for the rides and features, I don't believe that this would be a very nice experience. There are lines at the rides but, for instance, there are "fast passes" so that one can reserve a time at a particular ride, go to lunch or another venue, and then return to take the ride. The vehicle traffic is smoothly and continuously moving also. I am just in awe of what I have seen and heard about this operation, so far. Very impressive. We read about a new treatment for Osteoarthritis and Carol's doctor prescribed some of the medication. It will be mailed to her and should arrive, hopefully, by Saturday. This is a topical creme and was just released. The studies look promising. This is brand new and I pray that it gives her some relief. It was partly cloudy and mid 70s today. I believe that I could get to liking this weather. This photo was taken last night at our RV Resort. It was shot across our small lake and the moon is reflecting on the lake and the lights of other campers are on the other side of the lake.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

January 22, 2008 1st Day Disney

Today was my first day at Disney U. The day was spent learning the history of the organization and some intro to what we were going to be generally doing. After seeing the films and listening to the speakers, I finally know the answer to the question that I have had for many years now - What am I going to be when I grow up? The answer is that I don't have to grow up, here. If I just stay the way that I am, I can do the job that they want from me - just spread the magic around to one and all of our guests. I have never been to Disney World or Disney Land and, so, am behind a lot of my fellow newbies when it comes to knowledge of this magnificent setting. Disney World is a 47 square mile series of theme parks. I felt like a real dummy when most seemed to know all about the parks and characters. I am really looking forward to learning it, though. In two weeks, I get a gate pass that will let Carol accompany me in touring the entire area. until then, I get in with my ID card and Carol pays 1/2 price. The "bennies" of this job are really great - great discounts on a myriad of things. Tomorrow I go back to Disney U. for another training day and then again Friday to The Disney Hollywood Studios (Formerly MGM Studios) where I will be working. I will be shown around Hollywood to get to know it and also given my work schedule.

Monday, January 21, 2008

January 21, 2008 Disney Eve

Tomorrow starts my new adventure, working at Disney World. Tonight we went grocery shopping and are now set for the next few days. We canceled our reservations to return to Apopka, FL, the Sun Resort where we were last week, and extended a couple of more days here before we move to Mouse Mountain, much nearer to Disney. We will be there for the duration of our stay in Central Florida. I am to report to Disney University, in Lake Buena Vista, FL for orientation and will be introduced to my new job (whatever it is) from there. Half of the adventure is discovering what I am going to be doing for them. Carol will be in the Monty by herself until I return. It will be just like staying home, though, because this is our home while on the road. Sure beats motels. The temperature got down to 39 last night but today was sunny and 70. When we compare this to the single digits and snow back home we just are grateful that we don't have to shovel sunshine here. I'll try to report on tomorrow's adventure tomorrow evening. (Oops, I see I added the wrong photo to this message. Don't know how to delete it so forgive my repeating one from an earlier post)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

We went to Davenport, FL today and reserved a spot at Mouse Mountain RV Resort for the duration of our Florida stay. We will go there February 1. This is located near I-4 and US 27, southwest of Orlando. It is located 20 minutes from Disney World so it will save a jillion miles of travel to and from the park which also means that it will save a couple of hours a day that was to be used for travel, if we stayed where we originally planned right here or in Apopka. We know two other couples from the Montana Owners Club that are staying here. They are the folks that originally gave us the idea of working at Disney and giving us a good recommendation. This is a medium size park that is full. It is clean and nice and we met some very nice residents today. We then tried the trip to Disney - piece of cake. Coming home from Disney to Clermont was about an hour. There was an area near Disney that was full of tourist traps - freak shows and t-shirts. Some of the facades were very clever. Here are a couple of them. We are now in the Montana having eaten supper and watched TV to see if the tornado watches and warnings were ours. The watches were and the warnings were just north and just south of us. Tonight, if the rain slows down, we are going to a Sock Hop here at the park. That sounds like a lot of fun. Reminds us of high school days of yore.

Friday, January 18, 2008

January 18, 2008 Tampa, FL

Today we went to the biggest RV show that we have ever seen. It was held at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa. This show was huge. We have never seen so many RVs in one place before. The entire fairgrounds and probably all of their buildings were full of RVs. The parking lot was very large and it took us forever to walk to the show after we found parking. The distances covered and the up and down steps into and out of the RVs were very hard on Carol's knees. As large as this show was, it did not seem real well organized. It was difficult locating specific sites and models. We could locate no one that was assigned to giving information about the show. They provided a book with a map of the show but it left much to be desired for us in our quest to locate the Montana exhibit. We did see some great new models and additions and alterations. We also met with some friends at a MOC "Mini Rally" at the Montana exhibit. This was not an official rally so we did not stay there long but it was nice seeing some of the people that we have met in the past and also met some great new (to us) people. One of our daughters is looking for a "toy hauler" fifth wheel so that they can camp and take their dirt bikes with them. We saw a beautiful Mountineer toy hauler by Montana that would probably really fit their needs (or wants). It was cloudy all day. It was either raining lightly or trying to. The temps did get into the mid 70s, though. Tomorrow we are going to try to find a campground that is located closer to Disney. Locating the campground is not the real challenge. The challenge is finding one that is not filled up for the winter by now. This duck was in one of the ponds on the fairgrounds. Looks like no duck we have ever seen in Michigan.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

January 17, 2008 Clermont to Disney to Apopka , FL

Started the day by driving to Disney University this morning in rush hour to see how long it would take. I was advised that, if I were one minute late, I would not be admitted to the class and would need to reschedule. That would set me back a couple of weeks and the visitors to Disney would also lose my presence. We then went to breakfast and then on to Apopka for some Chrysler work. We then came back home and I discovered that I still am not a very good satellite setter upper. Tomorrow we are heading to an RV show in Tampa so I will try the set up again probably Saturday. We also should probably try to set up where we will stay for the rest of the time we are down here. We are good until February 12 and probably OK after then but most places have been reserved for quite a while, now. Oh, well. Another part of the adventure.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

January 16, 2008 Clermont, FL

We stayed close to the park today, with the exception of a trip to Best Buy, which is like Toys-R-Us for me. These birds live around The Bees, probably on the property because we see them all over. The Sand Hill Cranes and the, I think they are called "Long Orange Billed White Birds", hang in this wetland pictured and on campers' yards in the park. Tomorrow, because we are staying a distance from Disney, we will make a test drive to there to time the trip during the morning rush hour. I was advised that, if I arrive late at all for the class Tuesday, I will not be admitted and must make another appointment. Then, on the way back, we will do some work for our Chrysler account. As you can see, life on the road is tough.

January 15, 2008 Apopka, FL to Clermont, FL

This was a very short travel day. We went from Sun Resort in Apopka to The Bee's Resort in Clermont. It was about a 60 minute trip in heavy traffic at the start. When we get into the heavy traffic and get behind a snail-like Buick and can not see the driver's head - only a blue puff from the hairdo - I may say "Come on, you old f***." Carol will then remind me that I, too, am an old f*** now and I then relax and enjoy the trip. A very good friend, Dave, stopped by the Monty at The Bees and visited for a while. It was a very enjoyable time. Dave worked with Carol in Michigan when I first met her. I was a local police chief and Dave had a degree in Criminal Justice. He told her that he wanted to meet me. We met and soon I had hired him and he became like one of our sons. Anyway, it was fortunate for us that he happened to be on an assignment in the Orlando area while we were here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

January 14, 2008 Disney World

Today I interviewed with and was hired by Disney to be a "Member of the Cast" at Disney World. All employees are called Cast Members and even the Human Resources department is called Casting. The clothing that we will wear is called Costumes and now I feel that I have made it to the movies, finally. I will be working at a restaurant at the Hollywood Studios, formerly called MGM Studios. It all begins next Tuesday. Since I will be a seasonal employee and not full time, I will not be able to be Goofy. (I knew that you would like that) I could have worked full time and been placed into the Wide World of Sports area and been kept busy because the Braves play their Spring Training games here. I was not looking for a full time job so I was told that I will work two or three days a week. Tomorrow we move from Apopka to Clermont, a distance of only about 25 miles, to The Bees RV Resort. We will be there for two weeks and then back here for two weeks. Tomorrow we will meet with a friend who does work for Chrysler and pick up an assignment from him to work while down here. Carol can come with me on that assignment. We both got so used to her traveling with me for work that this seemed like just the right thing to do so that we can work together again, just like the old days.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

January 13, 2008 Apopka, FL

Today was a half cloudy and half rainy day. Florida surely needs the rain. The thunder was so loud that it sounded like it was striking right next door at times. I called Disney again today and was given an appointment for an interview tomorrow. I don't know what happened to change their minds or if it was just the first person didn't want to talk with me any more and this one did. It will be interesting and I am looking forward to the experience. It has been forever since I interviewed for a job. I have interviewed many prospective employees since I last interviewed myself for a position. I am also meeting Tuesday with someone about a little investigative work here in the Orlando area. We are so blessed. When one door closes, another always opens. Carol had another day where the pain was less than it has been in the recent past. We are praying that this is a trend. Warm temperatures may really work.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

January 12, 2008 Lake City, FL to Apopka, FL

Today we traveled a short hop from Lake City to Apopka. This is a suburb on the northwest side of Orlando. We are in the Sun Resort. We are here for only three nights before we go to Clermont for two weeks. Since we made the reservation for here late, we do not have a sewer hookup. That means that we have to watch our water use a little more and then dump the tanks when we leave Tuesday morning. We are camped next to a lady that is a full time RVer, originally from Alto, MI. She travels alone in her big bus motorhome. She just attended a Job Fair at Disney and starts work there Monday. The job fair is probably why I was advised that their seasonal jobs were filled. Oh well, I wonder what is next. Do we stay around here longer and talk to Disney again or do we move west or to Carolina? The heat is apparently working better for Carol's knee. It did not give here the misery today that it has for so long now. Hopefully this is a good sign, we pray.

Friday, January 11, 2008

January 11, 2008 Undailla, GA to Lake City, FL

Today was a much shorter travel day - a pleasant dash down I-75 from South-Central Georgia to North Florida. There were many signs of the drought that has been plaguing this area for a long time. Dry and very low rivers and beds, brown grass, cattle standing alongside the roadway holding canteens out with signs stating "Will work for water." We are at the Casey Jones Campground in Lake City. This is small but a nice, clean park. We have full hookups and they also provide cable TV. Tomorrow we travel to Apopka, FL, a northwest suburb of Orlando. We will be at the Sun Resort there for three nights before going a few miles west to The Bees Resort in Clermont, FL. We should be there for two weeks. Tomorrow we will meet with a grade school friend, Dale, and then we will kick around Central Florida for a few weeks seeing what trouble we can get into. We are really hoping that the warm weather will take away some of Carol's pain in her knees. It was in the lower 70s today and really seemed nice to us Michigan Eskimos.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

January 10, 2008 Berea, KY to Unadilla, GA

Today was a 450 mile trek. Tomorrow will be a saner trip - 165 miles. The day went from threatened tornado watches to beautiful sunshine. There are tornado warnings and severe storms and flooding west and north of us but hopefully it will miss us. We arrived at the Southern Trails RV Resort. We have stayed here it seems like at least six times, when traveling either north or south on I-75 past here. Traffic noise is a little loud because it is just off of 75 but it is clean and has very friendly people both working and camping here. There are many well spaced, old, large trees. Cable TV is provided. Bingo is tonight but we are both too tired to try it. Tomorrow morning is a free breakfast but, since we will be traveling such a short time, we will probably sleep in some and be too late for that. We missed the shot of the Georgia State Sign when we entered the state. So much to see that it is distracting sometimes.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

January 9, 2008 Berea, KY

We had a difficult time sleeping last night. Heavy rains and extremely high winds made for an uncomfortable night. About 1:30AM, we brought in the slides. The wind and rain were really rockin' and rollin' and the slide covers (awnings) were flapping loudly and sounding like they would tear soon. When we awoke, the sky was almost clear and the sun soon came up and beamed at us all the way to Berea, KY. We saw some beautiful horse farms near Lexington and remarked again that we are going to spend some time there sometime, hopefully soon. We are at a nice campground here that we stop at regularly on our way north or south through here. Dale, an old friend from grade and high school called from Orlando. We thought that we were going to be seeing him next week but I discovered (again) that sometimes I really confuse things. He is leaving Sunday so we will try to put in some long driving days and see him Saturday night before they leave for South Carolina. This trip is only just beginning and already we have had heavy rains, high winds and a new reminder that Jim Boylan really does get confused.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

January 8, 2008 Wapakoneta, OH STRONG WIND ADVISORIES

Change of plans. When we woke up this morning the wind was blowing at 15-20 mph with gusts up to 25 mph. A Strong Wind Advisory has been issued starting at 1:00PM today and running to 7:00AM tomorrow. They report sustained winds of 30-40
mph and gusts up to 57 mph. This is all the way through Berea, where we had planned on stopping next. We do not want to fight strong winds and trucks so we will stay here and try again tomorrow. At least it is warm here and the cooling tomorrow will not be too drastic. No snow in the forecast.

Monday, January 7, 2008

January 7, 2008 Wapakoneta, OH

We're finally on the road. We started out a little after 10:00AM and are now in Wapakoneta, OH, north of Dayton. It was raining lightly and windy when we left Grand Blanc and, as soon as we got to Toledo, OH, the sun greeted us and stayed around for the rest of the ride. The temp was in the low 60s and we were able to stop after a little under four hours travel and clean the RV antifreeze from the water pipes and now we have water, sewer and electric. This is the first time in the last about ten years that we have not had to travel as far as Berea, KY, just to get out of the freezing days. The nights still froze then so we did not get our water until our next stop, maybe in Georgia. Those first couple of days were long drives just to try to escape the freeze line. Not today. When conditions are good, we do not like to travel more than about 4 hours or 200 miles, whichever comes first in the day. That way, we do not have to wake up early and hit the road. We can act as tourists or just "veg." Tomorrow we will travel to probably Berea. This is called "Where Appalachia meets the Bluegrass." A small town with a small private Liberal Arts school, Berea College. As soon as we cross into Kentucky from Ohio by crossing the Ohio River on I-75, the land makes an immediate change. From flat and boring to mountains - bam! - just like that. Beautiful. We see many rolling hills with Kentucky horse farms on the west and mountains in front and to the east. Berea is right in the middle of all of this beauty. We did not travel much around Wapakoneta because the first day, even if it was short, is tiring. We finished packing the Montana this morning and then had to arrange it when we arrived, as well as flushing the water pipes, and the usual set-ups. Grandson Brandon called tonight and made our great day perfect. Just took a shower and are now watching the BCS Ohio State/LSU game on TV. I have had people tell me that this is not camping. We need to be out under the stars in the elements. I remind them that I did that for two years and 27 days in the U.S. Army and do not need to do it again. The photo depicts our crossing from Michigan into Ohio. Tomorrow, we will cross into Kentucky.

Friday, January 4, 2008

January 4, 2008 Grand Blanc, MI 3 MORE DAYS!!!

The temperature finally got into the upper 20s. They are talking no more snow and warming up before we leave on Monday. Maybe rain but at least we will be able to get our water hooked up for our first night in Berea, KY. It is supposed to start thawing tomorrow. The winds have been strong since the heavy snow fell a few days ago. A lot has blown off of the Montana but we still had to dig it out somewhat before we took it out of storage. We had about a foot and the storage area is about 8 inches. We blew snow behind us for four miles, angering several motorists following us, I'm sure. Sorry, folks, but we had to do it. Just found out today that the Disney adventure may be off for this year. Oh, well, the right thing always happens. COME ON MONDAY!!!