Tuesday, March 26, 2013


 On March 9th I rode to Daytona Bike Week with 3 other bike riders from the park. The trip over was about 120 miles. Louise and the other women decided to stay home so it was a guys day out.  We spent the day walking around several of the vendor areas and riding around Daytona. This was my first trip to Bike Week and what everybody says is true, it's a zoo. There were so many bikes that it was hard to find a place to park the bike and it don't take up much room. The bad thing about the trip was when I tried to take a picture, I found out that I had left the battery at home. We had a great time looking at all the bikes and all the bike "stuff". We went to Ormond Beach to the bikers mall. There is a BIG area that has all kinds of bike related stores. We had to park about a mile away and ride a tram into the stores area. As one of the fellows that went with us said " there are acres of bikes here".
On March 16th, Louise and I went with friends Brock and Leola to the Daytona 200 Bike race. We to rode over in a truck this time. This was the first bike race that we had ever been to. The race was a rode race where the track is laid out with a bunch of horse shoe turns and lots of "s" curves. This time I remembered the battery.
 As you can see in the pictures, when they go around the horse shoe turns they really lay the bikes over. There were 3 races of different distances. The main was race was 200 miles long. The shorter races were actually a lot more interesting. In the 200 they got so spread out that you lost track of who was leading. In the end the winner was ahead by 28 seconds and had lapped all but 8 of the other racers. In the short races they were close together for the whole race. We had a great time but don't know if I would go to another race of this type. We could see about half of the track from out seats. We were able to position ourselves  so we could see 2 of the horse shoe curves and we were able to see them going around the 31 degree banked track on one end. On the back stretch they reached speeds of over 200 miles a hour.

In the parking lot we spotted his bike with a just married sign on the back. One of the signs was written in Oriental symbols. I don't think they were locals.
Today was our last day of work here in Florida. We will be here for another week or so while waiting for our new eye glasses to show up. We plan on taking in some sights here that we haven't had a chance to get to yet. Then the plan is to head for Texas for while. We have not committed to work anywhere for the rest of the year. I think we will take some time off  and just sight see for a while.

Till next time
Duane and Louise

Saturday, March 09, 2013

Tarpon Springs

The last thing we did in February was on the last day, Thursday the 28th.  The Sumpter Oaks Motorcycle Gang, which at the time consisted of Brock and Leola, Dick, Duane and me and two new members--Karen and John rode 2 1/2 hrs. to Tarpon Springs.  Paul and Sharon and Dan and Barbara were unable to come.  That's Dick behind us and Karen and John in the suv.  Karen rides a scooter on short trips, but has some physical problems that prevent her from riding the bike  long distances.

For the long trip Brock put the training wheels on his Goldwing.

Tarpon Springs is a working seaport and shopping district with the unmistakable feel of a Grecian fishing village.  Its downtown is a showcase of proud historic buildings and homes from the gracious Victorian era.  It is a showcase of both cultures, from its vintage Victorian-era mansions and historic downtown to its lively Greek traditions and community.  That is a quote from the pamphlet.  The pic below shows the area we toured---the main tourist street on "the pier".

This is a side view of the street above.

We enjoyed Greek food at a nice waterside restaurant called Dimitrios.  I'm sitting between Dick and the picture taker (Duane).  Karen and John are across from me.  Brock and Leola are showing the tickets we bought for the boat tour, which got us each 10% off our lunch bills.  The weather was sunny but the wind was chilly all day.  We all wore our jackets except John who is apparently a tough guy!

The tour was 20 min at a slow chug up the Anclote River and back down.  The owner was the narrator and also guided the boat with the rudder between his knees.  Nifty!

Our boat  The roof is the corner of the restaurant roof.

On our tour we learned that the Anclote River in Tarpon Springs is a working waterfront with commercial shrimp and fishing boats in the harbor along with sponge boats.  We also learned thet in 1896 John Cocoris  was the first Greek man to come to Tarpon Springs.  In 1905 he and five other Greek men started a prosperous sponge diving business.  Word of their success quickly spread to Greece.  The migration of skilled sponge divers and processors soon made Tarpon Springs the sponge capital of the world.  We learned that there are hundreds of types of sponges, but the most commonly used are the ones below.  These are used mainly for bathing, cleaning, and decorating. 

We watched as a diver in the original sponge harvesting suit demonstrated how it was done.  We enjoyed our cruise and the demo, then went our separate ways to explore.  John and Karen went shopping for sponges for family gifts.  Dick went for a walk along the pier.  Brock and Leola and we walked along the pier randomly examining the boutiques, deciding on all the things we didn't need.  We found a tiny free museum explaining the sponge harvest from search to finished product.  There was also an very old but very interesting brief film.  We cruised a bakery shop full of delicious Greek pastries, and bravely bought nothing.  We stopped at the end of the pier and watched the water birds while Brock walked back to the parking lot for their cooler.  When he returned they shopped for fresh shrimp and fish in their favorite seafood shop. 

We all met back at the parking lot at 5pm and caravanned home.  The sky had clouded over and the sun disappeared.  I put the camera away when we stopped for fuel and a stretch.  Back on the road, I noticed that all the black clouds had disappeared and the sky was pink.  I managed to get a nice shot of the beautiful sunset--a wonderful end to a wonderful day. 

I want to emphasise that we explored only a small part of this town.  There were many other interesting shops, houses and points of interest.  There were many places to eat.  The ones we looked at were all competively priced with only slightly different menus.  We may return some day to explore more of this nice little Greek settlement.
Enough for now,
Louise and Duane

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

February doin's

Hey everyone!  I know, I know, it's been a long time.  The first part of Feb. nothing happened so we had nothing to report.  The second part of Feb. was jam packed, so we didn't take time to report!  Now we can breath, so here we go.  On Jan. 19, our oldest son Matt and daughter-in-law Beth welcomed Melanie Jane to the family along with big bro Jack and big sis Katiel  Beth's parents were there for the birth and the next two weeks.  I arrived on Jan. 29 for the following two weeks.  Grandma's job was to get Jack up, fed and on the school bus by 7am, leaving parents to sleep in if the baby was asleep.  The time went by very pleasantly with lots of baby holding and bonding time for Melly and me.  One morning we had a photo shoot.  The best pic is below. (I made the turtle blanket for her.)

Harley mama

Beautiful grandbabies

In between baby holdings, playing with sibs, and watching a little evening tv with mom, dad and Melly, I learned to make round bread, cinnamon rolls, and to-die-for expresso mousse.  We walked the excellent Contra Costal hike/bike way, and experimented making new dishes from Bon Appetite magazine.  When I got home I entered a whirlwind of dr's apptments and working, catching up on chores and reinstating my exercise routine.  In addition to walking the park and swimming in the indoor heated pool (82-86d f) we have found a place to play Pickleball.  We try to play at least once a week. 
Our friends from Ohio, Barbara and Gene Lucas, to escape Ohio in February, stopped by on Feb. 21 for a few days visit.  They have family and other friends here so they were making a liesurly loop of visits.  While they were here we visited various local restaurants, spent a fun day at Weekie Watchie Springs, and attended the Pasco Co. Fair and PRCA Rodeo.
Team ropers 

Happy to be out of OH in Feb and relaxing in Sunny FL

Yes these are the racing pigs. I finally got a pic of them.
The Pasco Co. fairgrounds are very small but impressive.  We have been to state fairs and county fairs around the country.  Some were larger than this but not impressive at all.  These fairgrounds were built on a hill in three sections.  They are very well laid out with a good mix of  buildings, food, and games.  The rides are on the top.  There was something for everyone.   

After Gene and Barbara left we were busy with our usual stuff, adding in a bike ride or two here and there.  The gang did go on a long ride, but that's another story.
Outta here for now,
Louise and Duane