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December, 2009

Tuesday December 1 - Wednesday December 2:

Not much to report on the first of December.  We worked and then relaxed in the evening.  Mac had picked up steak at the commissary so we had a great steak dinner this evening. 
 
Wednesday the 2nd we worked in the morning and then around 2 we left to go visit Macís mom.  We had a good visit with her and her husband Harry.  We even watched the DVD postcard that weíd sent them from Yellowstone.  It really made me want to go back there again.  Yellowstone is so awesome; Iím ready to go back, except of course itís too cold there now.
 
Mac had some more work to do this evening for west coast clients so we left after a few hours and headed back towards the RV.  We did stop at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries for some dinner and those burgers and fries are really great. 
 
I have a fasting blood test in the morning and I told Mac that if my cholesterol is high itís because of all this beef Iíve been eating lately.  I donít usually eat much beef and here Iíve had a lot lately.  After dinner we went home and Mac made the phone calls he needed to make this evening.

5 Guys Burgers and Fries  http://www.fiveguys.com

Chris mentioned that we stopped here to eat.  They're all over the East coast and if you're from California you'll understand if I say they're similar to an In-n-Out.  Fresh high quality food served quickly.  A couple of twists; they give you free roasted peanuts to eat while you wait and they give you an extra order of fries dumped into the bag , so for 4 people you really only need 2 orders of fries.  They also have a few items besides burgers, like Hot Dogs and grilled cheese.
 
Thursday, December 3rd:
 
I had a doctorís appointment and the fasting blood test this morning so we left and headed out to the doctorís office.  Finally itís all done and we went to eat breakfast.  We had a few stops to make this morning too and a Cracker Barrel is convenient for breakfast this morning.  I know a lot of people really love Cracker Barrel but I donít care for them that much.  I thought my grits were thinned out too much; there wasnít a lot of grit to my grits.  Also, the gravy had way too much smoke flavor in it.  One bite was all I could take of that stuff.  I couldnít get Mac to taste it though.
 
After breakfast we drove over to visit Macís mom after her pacemaker surgery.  Sheís doing well and recovering wonderfully from that so it was great to see that sheís doing well.
 
Mac was supposed to have had a doctorís appointment this afternoon but when he called to confirm it the other day they didnít have it on the books so he had to schedule one for tomorrow afternoon.  So after visiting with his mom for a while we headed towards home.  We stopped along the way and did some errands but finally we got back to the RV.
 
Mac had ordered our mail and it arrived today.  We had fun going through our casino offers and checking them out.  Nothing so great that we want to rethink our plans though.  We got movies too so weíll have some to watch the next few days.
 
Later in the evening we left and drove to Brandon to have a birthday dinner with daughter Nicole, husband Aaron and our cute grandson Austin.  Heís grown so much since we saw him in February before we left Tampa.
 
We had dinner at Olive Garden which was Nicoleís pick for her dinner.  We had a great time visiting and talking.  After dinner we drove back to the RV.
 
 
Friday, December 4:
 
This morning I have an appointment to see my surgeon.  This is a yearly visit to see how my knee is doing.  X-rays and doctor confirm that my knee replacement is doing wonderfully.  Hopefully, that will be the report for a couple of decades. 
 
After the doctorís office visit I stopped at two thrift stores and found a couple of books that Iíve been looking for.  Thatís always nice to find some books that Iíll enjoy reading.  I even found a couple of books that I thought Mac would enjoy and bought them for him.
 
I then had to hurry home so that Mac could use the car to go to his doctor appointment this afternoon.  Itís been a rainy day sometimes quite heavy so I worried a little while he was gone that some roads might close but that didnít happen and he got home safely. 
 
This evening since the weather is cold and rainy we watch a DVD that had come in the mail for us.  I think we watched 16 Blocks with Bruce Willis.  It was a pretty good movie, not quite what I was expecting though. 
 
 
Saturday, December 5:
 
Iíve been goofing off on the internet and talking on the phone to family members this morning.  Boy the day sure flies by when talking on the phone!  Mac has been busy making the list of things we need to get done and heís motivated now to start checking things off the list.  He called and scheduled both of us eye exams for this afternoon.  Not what I wanted to do on a dreary Saturday afternoon but oh well, thatís what we did. 
 
Our appointments were at 3 and 3:15 and we didnít get done there until after 5.  We both had our eyes dilated and a through exam by the doctor.  I thought this doctor did a great job and took his time and thoroughly examined our eyes.  Unlike the doctor we went to in Vegas who probably had been a Vegas showgirl to pay her way through school.  I donít want to see my doctorís cleavage while having any kind of checkup and thatís what she showed; lots of cleavage.  Mac doesnít remember which I find odd; perhaps heís lying to me about noticing her cleavage.  Or maybe he really did need an eye exam!
 
After we finally got done with the eye exams and deciding if we wanted to buy new glasses we headed over to  P.F. Changís
for dinner.  This is my first time eating at one but Mac has been a few times before.  We split a couple of appetizers and shared some pork lo mein.  It was pretty busy which was to be expected on a Saturday night at dinner time.  I will visit one again to try some different items before making up my mind as to whether or not I like the restaurant.  Mac likes Changís a lot so weíll be going again for sure because he likes the food.
 
After dinner we stopped at Blockbuster and picked up a movie for the evening.  We got one in Blu-ray.  Mac has done some research and decided that weíre buying a Blu-Ray player at the BX tonight while theyíre on sale.  We stopped in at the BX and picked up a Blu-Ray player and picked up a few other needed items while there.
 
After finally getting home Mac hooked up the Blu-Ray player and our movie in.  I must say the quality of the picture is outstanding.  Turns out we watched 2 movies this evening.  After the first movie, Wolverine, which was in Blu-Ray, was over we watched a regular DVD on the Blu-Ray to see what it would look like.  Turns out the regular DVDs look outstanding on it also; not quite as great of quality as one made for Blu-Ray but better than on a regular DVD player.  I think weíre going to enjoy this new Blu-Ray player.

 
Sunday, December 6:
 
Finally we have a day without rain.  We had a few family phone calls this morning and then we finally got around to getting some laundry done.  I think it was 3 weeks since we last did laundry but we got it done today. 
 
After that was done we left the base and ran a few errands.  After all the errands were done and dinner was over we watched a movie that we picked up at Blockbuster while out today.  It was the Taking of Pelham 123.  It was a pretty good movie, suspenseful but way too many curse words. 
 
Monday, December 7:
 
Well, another work week has started.  Thatís about all that we did today was work, work and work.  Not much else but work today.  Did I mention that we worked today?
 
Tuesday, December 8:
 
We had dentist appointments today around 12.  After we finally got done there we had a late lunch.  Then ran some more errands and back to the RV.  Since we had such a late lunch I had cereal for dinner, and Mac cooked himself something. 
 
This evening we started going through our clothes and managed to fill 3 bags of stuff to donate.  We feel that weíre making great progress on getting rid of some of the clutter and reorganizing.  Mac was pleased that weíre making progress on the list heís made of things to accomplish while here in Tampa.
 
 
Wednesday, December 9:
 
We have an appointment at 12:30 to drop the RV off to replace the windshield.  They say it will only be about 30 minutes but could take a couple of hours if problems arise.  So while they were doing that Mac and I drove the car over to the mall and met Nicole and Austin for lunch. 
 
After lunch we went shopping and bought Austin a late birthday present.  We also got ideas for Christmas gifts.  Had fun walking around with Austin and looking at toys.
 
We went and picked up the RV and the new windshield looks nice.  We drove up to the Flying J and Mac had the propane tank filled.  We also went to Camping World and bought a few items and had fun looking around. 
 
We left and headed back to MacDill AFB.  I was way ahead of Mac so I stopped at the BX and looked around.  When he finally got to the base we met up at the commissary and did some grocery shopping and of course Mac bought some wine at the Class 6 store.  Then finally to the RV Park and got all set up again on our site. 
 
Thursday, December 10:
 
It rained today and was pretty dreary all day.  Also started getting pretty darn chilly too!  Neither of us went out today; stayed inside and worked then goofed off indoors.
 
Friday, December 11:
 
Another windy and chilly day today; we didnít go outside much today.  Though Mac did run over to Ticket and Tours and paid for a park hopper for me and the free one for him.  Last night I noticed that The Disney Parks are again having the free passes for active and retired military.  This time itís for 5 days and last till December 23 and we thought it would be fun to run over and visit the parks a couple of times.  The free pass for Mac would be for 5 days; doesnít have to be consecutive, which is nice.  We hope to visit a couple of times at least before 23rd.  Disney does a great job of decorating for the holidays and that would be fun to see again.
 
 
Saturday, December 12:
 
A pretty day today, no rain and the highs today were in the 70ís.  We ran around today doing errands and some shopping.  Have to get all the Christmas shopping done so the gifts can go in the mail this week for the out-of-town parts of the family. 
 
This evening we watched a movie that we picked up at Blockbuster while out.  We watched Terminator Salvation.  Itís not as good as the rest of the Terminator movies but it was okay for mindless entertainment.

Sunday, December 13:
 
After a relaxing morning we drove to Orlando and visited Disneyís Epcot today.  It was warm but not too incredibly hot.  I think high was around 85 and partly cloudy so that the sun wasnít always beating down on our heads. 
 
We had fun walking around all the countries.  We spent more time in Germany, France and Italy so that Mac could try some wines from these countries.  After visiting the different countries we walked over and saw all the fish in The Seas with Nemo and Friends before riding Soaring over California.  This is just an awesome ride, we both really enjoy it.
 
After the ride we decided to leave the park and have some dinner.  We stopped at Carrabbaís Italian restaurant and had a nice dinner before driving back to Tampa and the RV.  We had a great time and look forward to going again next weekend.
 
 
Monday, December 14:

Mac had a doctor appointment around noon today so we worked before and after the appointment.  Later in the afternoon we went for a walk on the beach.  We saw a couple of dolphins, a beautiful dark pink spoonbill, and lots of shore birds while on our walk.  It was a very nice relaxing walk before heading back to the RV for dinner and down time.
 
 
Tuesday, December 15:
 
After work today we drove up to visit Macís mom and her husband Harry.  They took us to the Olive Garden restaurant for dinner this evening.  After visiting some more we left and stopped at Wal-Mart before heading back to the RV.
 
 
Wednesday, December 16:
 
Both pairs of glasses are in finally so we picked them up today.  Before we did that though we stopped at the UPS shipping center and shipped out the Christmas presents for out of town family.  After picking up our glasses we again had dinner at P.F. Changís.  We split some shrimp and lobster sauce and egg rolls and it was delicious!
 
This evening we watched the Transporter 3 movie we received in the mail.  It wasnít as good as the first two Transporter movies.  But Jason Statham is easy on the eyes so who cares about the plot of the movie?
 
 
Thursday, December 17:
 
Mac had 2 appointments this afternoon.  We met Nicole and Austin for lunch at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries.  After Mac left for his appointments Nicole drove us around shopping.  We stopped at a couple of thrift stores before heading back to the RV.  Austin was so much fun to be around.  Heís 4 now; such a cute age.
 
After Nicole and Austin left Mac and I had pizza for dinner.  We also did a few loads of laundry.  Then some down time watching Into The Wild on DVD.  It was a good movie but it made us a little sad.
 
 
Friday, December 18:
 
Woke up to rain this morning, yuck!  After working most of the day we packed up and hit the road for Orlando.  Weíre staying at the Buena Vista Palace Hotel for the weekend.  After checking in and getting set up in our room we decided to have dinner right here at the hotel.  We ate at the Outback Restaurant, which is not affiliated with the Outback Steakhouse.  Bummer, we were going to share a blooming onion.  But thatís about a gazillion calories so itís probably a good thing they donít have them.  We split an entrťe and some appetizers.  It was a good dinner but not fantastic.
 
We then rode the shuttle bus over to Downtown Disney.  We had a fun time looking around and managed to not spend any money either.  We really enjoyed looking at the huge Lego items that are there and all the pretty Christmas lights.  I think the stores closed at around 11 tonight and after riding the shuttle back to the hotel we finally got to bed around midnight.
 
We only had a few sprinkles of rain while there so that was nice that it finally quit raining.  But the weather is much cooler and will be chilly this weekend while weíre here.
 
Saturday, December 19
 
We had the breakfast buffet this morning at the hotel.  Afterwards we drove to a couple of the outlet malls around the Orlando area.  While we were shopping Macís temporary cap came off his teeth.  Thankfully, Mac found a 24 hour dentist online and called about getting it glued back on.  So off to the dentist we went.
 
We had lunch at the Panda Express buffet.  Itís the only Panda Express with a buffet so we had to eat there.  It was served the same as any other Panda Express just you could eat as much as you wanted. 
 
After lunch we drove over to Disneyís Animal Kingdom and had a great time walking around the park.  We saw some pretty cool animals and also watched the parade. 
 
We then went back to our hotel and rested up for about an hour before heading out to dinner.  We ate at the Golden Corral buffet this evening.  It was very good, especially the hot rolls.  They are yummy!
 
We were going to go to Magic Kingdom after dinner but we changed our minds.  Weíve had a full day already and it will be a little chilly tonight in the park.  Now that the sun is down itís cooling off fast.  Itís forecasted to be around 40 tonight.  So we decided to go back to our room and relax the rest of the evening in preparation for tomorrowís adventures.

Photos:  At left, Mickey says "Merry Christmas".  Below, Mac & Chris at Animal Kingdom.


Sunday, December 20:
 
At our hotel they have Disney characters that visit the tables during the breakfast buffet.  Pluto came to our table and he was such fun.  We had called him over to visit a girl less than two who was in the corner near our table.  While Pluto was playing with the little girl who wouldnít leave her motherís lap Mac took pictures for the mom.  Pluto and the girl played peek-a-boo and it was so much fun to watch how well these characters react with children; even us big kids had fun with them.
 
After breakfast we headed over to Magic Kingdom.  It was very busy but still magical.  I really love this park.  Seeing the castle and the parade is so great!

   
 

More Disney Photos Here

From Magic Kingdom we took the monorail over to Epcot around lunch time.  We rode the boat over to the countries and had lunch in Italy.  All the staff in the various countries are from those countries.  Before working at Disney representing their country they learn to speak English.  Our waitress spoke so quickly and had such an accent that we didnít understand a word she spoke.  Just about every time she came to our table we had to ask her to repeat herself.  I think she was just so busy that she didnít slow down even to speak.  The food was very good; we enjoyed our lunch and saw a few items on other tables that weíd like to try when we visit again. 
 
After lunch Mac went to France and had some wine.  I walked slowly along and visited a few shops that I wanted to look in again before joining up with him there.  We watched a film about France that was about 18 minutes long.  It was a very good film showing various points of interest in France. 
 
After walking around some more and visiting a few places we headed back towards the front of the park where we rode the monorail back to Magic Kingdom.  We walked around Magic Kingdom and had a blast.  We saw plenty of characters this weekend while visiting the parks including The Princess and The Frog from the newest movie that opened yesterday in theaters.
 
We left Magic Kingdom just after dark.  The lights are so pretty and the castle changing colors is just awesome to see.  But itís getting quite chilly so weíre ready to leave. 
 
We were tired when we finally got back to the room and we decided to have pizza for dinner.  Mac had asked downstairs for their recommendations and they had recommended Flipperís Pizzeria.  Mac called several times but the line was always busy so since it was so close we decided to drive over and have dinner there. 
 
It was a very tasty pizza and we shared an antipasto salad and breadsticks that were outstanding!  Way too much food but it was delicious.  Weíll have to remember this place when we come back to Orlando again.
 
Monday, December 21:
 
We had the buffet again for breakfast this morning and then worked till around 11 from our room.  Mac is working shorter hours this week and I too didnít have much work this morning.  After packing our bags we left around 12 and headed west to Tampa. 
 
We stopped for lunch in Lakeland at 5 Guys Burgers and Fries.  We really love this burger place, the food is freshly cooked and taste great made with quality ingredients.
 
We then continued on driving to Tampa.  We stopped at Best Buy to pick up a few Christmas presents.  Then on to the thrift store where Mac dropped me off while he went to a doctorís appointment.  After he was done and picked me up we drove to MacDill and stopped at the commissary for a few needed items.  Then finally back home to our RV.  Like Dorothy said ďThereís no place like homeĒ.  We had a great weekend getaway but there really is no place like home.
 
We had dinner and then relaxed this evening watching a movie that Mac had ordered from Blockbuster, The French Connection.  I think this is the first time weíve watched an older movie and you can tell the film quality is not as good as now. 
 
Tuesday, December 22:
 
We both had dental appointments this afternoon so after about 3-4 hours at the dentist we finally got to leave.  We rented the movie The Polar Express this evening and it was a very relaxing movie.  I actually fell asleep a couple of times while watching it.
 
 
Wednesday, December 23:
 
After working today we wrapped presents and did a few loads of laundry.  Itís been a tad chilly and dreary too today.  It rained too and wasnít predicted to rain either!  This evening we watched the movie The Missing with Tommy Lee Jones.  It was a good movie, not quite what I was expecting but I didnít fall asleep like last night!
 
 
Thursday, December 24:
 
Our daughter Nicole married into a large family.  Weíve discovered over the years that itís just too much for her household to visit all the families on Christmas Day and spend any quality time at each location.  So weíve started celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve and itís worked out great.  Today we had our Christmas and it was wonderful to be with our family that lives here in the Tampa area.  We did miss everyone that could not be here today but thatís the way it is when family lives all around the country.
 
We had a blast watching grandson Austin who is 4 opening his presents.  Heís at such a cute age.  Small children appreciate and take pleasure in simple items such as pajamaís and a robe.  He was thrilled with his presents and it gave us joy to watch his enthusiasm.
 
In the evening we went to the candlelight service with our extended family.  On our drive back home we stopped at Blockbuster to turn in our movie and pick up another one.  We watched District 9 tonight and it was quite interesting. 
 
 
Friday, December 25:
 
Christmas day and itís rainy, damp, and chilly today.  We had a relaxing day watching Christmas movies, listening to Christmas carols, and enjoying leftovers from our Christmas dinner of yesterday.
 
Saturday, December 26 Ė Sunday, December 27:
 
We were going to go to some after Christmas sales this weekend but we decided that we really donít need anything so weíll just save that money.  We spent the weekend working on getting rid of stuff and reorganizing.  We took everything out from under the bed and went through it and managed to fill 4 bags with stuff to donate.  We also did laundry and thatís always just a fun chore!
 
We did go and take back our Blockbuster movie and picked up another one.  This weekend we watched Knowing starring Nicholas Cage.  It was a good movie and kept us wondering what was going on and how it would end. 

Monday, December 28, 2009
 
Back to work today and we both put in some long hours today.  Later we went for a walk and it was pretty chilly and windy.  Thankfully, I had a hoodie on my sweatshirt/jacket, kept my ears warm.  But Mac doesnít have anything to cover his ears.  Weíll have to get him something. 
 
Tonight there is a chance of frost around the Tampa Bay area.  What the hey, who comes to Florida for this weather?  Itís supposed to be warm in Florida!
 
We watched Crank on DVD tonight.  What a stupid waste of time movie that is!
 
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
 
Mac had a fasting blood test this morning.  I worked while he was gone and we both worked when he returned.  Not too much work to do lately but still there is work to get done.
 
Later in the afternoon we left and ran some errands such as opening a savings account just for our gambling money.  All gambling wins (hopefully many) will go in this account and we will withdraw our gambling budget dollars from this account.  Hopefully, we wonít need to withdraw much but will make deposits.
 
We went to pick up the new lens for Macís glasses.  When we had picked up our new glasses recently Mac noticed that one of his lenses was scratched so the company sent another lens which came in today.  It will take about an hour to get the new lens put into his glasses.
 
While that work was being done we went to a few stores in the mall.  We bought a few bargains at Pennyís.  I really had not intended to buy anything but with the clearance sales some of the bargains are just too good to resist.  Mac found a few slacks on sale which we bought.  He really needs more long pants.  Heís lost so much weight that heís donated most of his clothes.  Anytime we can find a bargain on needed items it makes it a pleasure to shop.
 
We still had about $30 left on a Sears gift card that weíd gotten from Harrahís back in May this year.  Mac has wanted a slow cooker for some time now.  Since many stores are having sales and we have this gift card with us we bought one at Sears. 
 
After picking up Macís glasses we had dinner at P.F. Chang's again.  We ate outside this evening.  There were heaters around to keep us warm and with a jacket on it wasnít too cold to enjoy our dinner. 
 
Wednesday, December 30:
 
After work today Mac went to the commissary.  He wanted to pick up ingredients to make beef stew in the slow cooker.  And of course he picked up other grocery items as well.
 
Today turned out to be a lovely day, high about 71.  We went for a walk on the beach.  It was really nice.  There wasnít much wind at all so the water looked like glass.  We enjoyed walking at the waterís edge.  We didnít walk in the water today because it was pretty durn cold water!  Amazing how much colder the water has gotten in only a few weeks.  Last time we walked on the beach in the water and it was chilly but this water is down right cold.
 
This evening we watched the movie Wanted.  Another stupid movie that is a total waste of time to watch! 
 
Thursday, December 31
 
We worked this morning.  Mac had another dental appointment this afternoon so while he was gone I finished my work day and read my book.  Mac stopped at the commissary and picked up some snack items for tonight.
 
We watched a few movies on DVD, and a few programs on TV also.  Mac went down to the beach around midnight to see fireworks from other locations but I stayed home.  I was content watching TV and thinking what my resolutions would be for the new year.

2009 Year Campsites in Review

We only set one new record this year, and it wasn't a good one.  This was our most expensive year yet for camping fees.  Our least expensive year was 2007 at $9.12 per night, and at $9.66 2009 was our most expensive.  Still, we camped free 107 nights so that's not bad, and when you consider that we averaged $13.68 per paid night we saved over $1460 with our 107 free nights.

Year End Avg $ per Nite Avg $ per Paid Nite # Dry # Elect # FHU # Free %Dry % Free
2009 $9.66 $13.68 166 7 191 107 46% 29%
2008 9.53 12.93 199 9 157 96 55% 26%
2007 9.12 13.23 186 21 157 113 51% 31%
2006 9.42 15.72 163 27 172 145 45% 40%
2005 9.57 13.86 184 17 164 113 50% 31%

Where we camped the most again this year was at military bases (191 nights) followed by casinos (60 nights) and Escapee Club RV parks (50 nights)

  • 115 days at Nellis AFB, Las Vegas, NV

  • 67 days at MacDill AFB, Tampa, FL

  • 9 days at Seal Beach Navy Base, Seal Beach, CA

 

Locations

Nights

Military

3

191

Casino

25

60

SKP

2

50

BTB Other

8

17

WM

16

16

RV In Shop

2

10

Federal Land

4

9

Relative

1

7

Public RV Parks

2

5


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