Sunday, December 16, 2007

(42) Lake Placid Fla, the Real Florida

Living in the Country.

Highlands County that is. The county was orginally set aside for the Seminole Indians, that is until the Seminole war took place. They retreated into the Everglades and settlers moved into the county. I’m enjoying the real Florida. Surrounded by huge ranches, grazing land for cattle, dotted with lone pine trees and palm trees, orange groves that go on for miles and miles. Driving along hwy 27 in the heart of south central Florida, I occasionally see migrant workers picking oranges and grapefruit. The trees are heavy with a bumper crop. How they can get so many trees picked with so few workers is beyond me.

I’ve hit most of the restaurants in Lake Placid, as I’m about 15 miles from the town that was renamed a number of times, finally being named Lake Placid after a pioneer who lived in Lake Placid NY, came to this area, and decided it reminded him of all the lakes in his NY home town. It’s a sleepy little town that doesn’t want to grow up like the now larger town of Sebring Fla. 16 miles up the road from here.

I was invited over to Cape Coral on the Gulf to visit friends and stay the night. Good conversation, good food, a piano concert for one and even a movie too boot. The drive was interesting as I’d never driven along hwy 29 and hwy 80 heading towards Ft Myers. Talk about in the country. I stopped in La Belle and had lunch at a local diner. All the locals kept an eye on me as I came in. Curious as to who this “new” person was.

In Cape Coral, it’s residential with very few businesses, the homes are mostly single story concrete homes with tile roofs and perfect Florida landscaped lawns and palm trees along perfect grids of roads and canals built by the Army Corp of Engineers in the 50‘s.

I used my new TomTom GPS to get me there. An early Christmas gift to myself. Worked pretty well until I decided I wanted to check out a few shopping destinations. My TomTom wanted to make sure I got to my original destination first. I think I’ve it figured out. Fortunately it’s a pretty easy system. Should aid me in my travels this coming year. I’ll keep you posted.

My new diesel truck is getting on average just a hair under 20 mpg and I’m thrilled. I’ll feel much more comfortable traveling this coming spring, knowing my fuel expenses will be less.

Oh, I stopped by a home being built out here in the country. I just had to see if I could get a couple pictures. A couple of guys from Ft Lauderdale area moved out here to get away from the big city and are building a dome home. I was invited to take a tour of the place which is almost completed, along with their four dogs . What a fun home, about 1,300 sq ft in size. Lots of open space, each room with those interesting curved walls and triangular windows. Cool.

I’ll be heading back to Orlando in about a week and am looking forward to visiting with more friends and family for the Christmas Holiday’s. So give me a call or e-mail me if you’d like to get together. I’ll be staying at the Bill Fredrick/Turkey Lake Park on the west end of Orlando, Dec 21-Jan 3rd.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

(41) Travel costs for 2007

Here’s a little basic information on my costs for the past 9 months of travel. You can easily add about $1,000 a month for food, eating out, entertainment and road expenses/repairs.


NOV $437 $369

OCT $422 $473

SEP $688 $504

AUG $348 $834

JUL $308 $481

JUN $348 $628

MAY $431 $700

APR $584 $636

MAR $339 $750


So, as you can see, it wasn’t all that bad this past year for traveling. I did have to bring my truck in for repairs three times, each costing about $800 in repairs. I could have sworn I had a gas bill of over $1,000 a month, but after looking at my expenses, my highest bill was $834 for gas.

I now have a diesel engine and should gain a great advantage on fuel savings. We’ll see this coming year.

I’ve traveled a total of :

17,424 miles.

Quiet a distance, but very doable at a slow pace of about 150 to 200 miles a day max. I stayed at each site for between 5 and 10 days and when I got to my final destination out west, I stayed two weeks in the Grand Tetons and another two weeks at Yellowstone National Park.

My absolute favorite location this year was the Grand Tetons and Jackson Hole area. The wildlife and mountain ranges and valleys were all spectacular.