WEEK ONE: FLORIDA SUNSHINE
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Rearview Mirror - Summary of the past week: Florida Fun
Pups Across America! - Our latest canine encounters: Great publicity!
RV Gourmet - Jan shares her on-the-go culinary secrets: Frogmore Stew
Favorite Photographs - Pick pics, pointers, and ponderings: Alligator Farm
Travel Tools & Toys - Gadgets for fun and productivity: Nothing this Week
Camper’s Corner - Thoughts on were we stayed and other RV topics
Headlights - Our schedule as to where we will be heading
Start: St. James City, FL
Stop: Lake Manatee State Park near Tampa, FL
Finally! We have been thinking and planning for the trip for so long it is wonderful to be back RVing. Sunday through Friday morning was dedicated to preparedness: beauty appointment for Miss Mitzy, last dolphin hunting cruise for Jerry, and shlepping boxes for Jan and me. Jan’s brother’s Scott and Wayne helped wire BALY, our motor coach, with a wireless cellphone amplifier. Scott also hooked up our mobile weather station (more on both of these travel tools in future blogs).
At 2:37 p.m. a loaded BALY rumbled north from our home in St. James City, FL, making the short trip to beautiful Lake Manatee State Park (not far from Tampa), our first destination of Motoring Across America 2010. Within 20 minutes of our arrival we were set up and camping. Walks through the park with the Little Ones (Mitzy and Jerry), meeting and chatting with neighbors, a light dinner and then off to bed.
I attended an all-day photographic seminar in Bradenton, near Tampa. While I was gone, Jan stocked up on groceries and organized the coach. That sums it up. Check out below for more specifics.
PUPS ACROSS AMERICA!
This campaign is rolling! Flyers are on board and Pups t-shirts are on our backs. Our Honda Element is now adorned with the the Pups Across America logo across the rear window (see above). Knowing that they are soon to be famous, and wanting to help less fortunate dogs, the Little Ones have been sending out pee-mail to build their brand and drum up business. This might be big!
See the pic of Lacy, the Coconut Pup (below) from a recent pup shoot.
Note: I’m starting to look for a sponsor(s). Do you know anyone in the pet industry that would like to be gain some great publicity by being associated with a good cause? If so, please let me know and I’ll follow up.
RV GOURMET (Starting next week)
The reason we started this year’s travels as we did is that I wanted to attend a photography seminar in Brandenton. I spent all day Saturday listening to George Lepp, an elite photographer and a wonderful teacher. His theme was one of knowing and taking advantage of all the possibilities afforded by today’s digital SLRs and the tech tools that support them. His session included some amazing photos and videos he shot from locations around the globe. Really inspiring to an enthusiast such as myself. Check out www.georgelepp.com.
As a personal bonus, another elite photographer, Arthur Morris, was in attendance. Artie may well be the greatest bird photographer on the planet. I read his books and subscribe to his newsletter that are chock full of great tips. Like George, Artie is not only at the top of his profession, he is a wonderful teacher who goes out of his way to share his knowledge. Check out his work at www.birdsasart.com.
TRAVEL TOOLS & TOYS
Staying connected on the road is a big deal if one wants to be able to run businesses while on the road. Yes, there are more and more WiFi hot spots around and many commercial campgrounds have that capability, but what if you are in a state park, or national park or somewhere out in the boonies? That is where the MiFi comes in. Not much bigger than a stack of a dozen business cards, the MiFi is a wireless 3G router. If you have a Verizon signal, up to five devices can connect through it to the Internet at the same time. Pretty cool, huh? I use it to conduct real business and update the blog, and Jan will often use it while we are going down the road--finding directions, getting information on possible destinations, sending e-mails or doing online crossword puzzles! Yes, it is a little pricey ($60/month through Verizon), but if you want to travel and be connected when you want, it is a great little productivity tool.
Little Manatee State Park is a small, but very nice park. Room for big rigs and pet friendly. The 60 sites have water and 30 amp electricity, and there is a small lake for swimming and a boat ramp to get out fishing. Not much for trails (you can walk the whole park in 15 minutes!) but a good place to camp. Cell phone signals were OK; a little spotty, but adequate. I’d recommend it.
Next week I hope to be posting some bird photos taken at the Alligator Farm in St. Augustine.
Here is a rundown of some of our upcoming stops:
4-16 through 4-18
Lake Manatee State Park: Site 60
4-19 through 4-22
Anastasia State Park: Site 87
St. Augustine, FL
5-3 thru 5-6
Cherry Creek State Park: Site 26
5-27 through 5-31
Going to be near? Look us up. Have some suggestions? We are open. Know a Pup Parent in the vicinity? Pass on this Web site and have them give me a call to schedule a shooting of their best friend.