Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our RV life from 1990-2007 (Blog #1)

Are you one of those people getting near retirement age, and you are thinking,
" what in the world am I going to do when I have to retire"? That's the question
 that most of us ask ourselves.Our work has occupied most of our days up 
until now. Some of us have jobs that we saved until we retire.Well, guess what? 
working on these jobs gets old after awhile and you are keeping your eye out for 
another project to do. Well I can give you another project to do, my friends---
GO RVing! and thats what we did at 62. (things were a lot better back in those 
old days than they are now, thats for sure)!About 3 years before our retirement 
date,we financed a used  3/4 ton comfortable Van and a used 29 1/2 ft. Prowler 
RV. with no slide outs.( in todays market I would want a single slide out only ).

                                               Here we are at a Caloosa Keys Campground

One of the many mistakes that I made was to get caught up with the idea that I 
had to get something bigger to be more comfortable. Looking back I can see now 
that I wasn't that much more comfortable and it was a lot more work.Was it 
beneficial-not enough to be worth the up-grade.(Here is where people differ-some 
love the big units).

We, June and I, had been trying to come up with an outline for when we retire and 
also for the future retirement  years. The main decision that we made, was that we 
wanted to use our RV from spring to fall. The winter months we would spend at 
home in Winter Haven, Florida.This idea sounds like a winner, doesn't it? Well,
what happened? What went wrong? Actually, nothing went wrong!We pretty much 
did  what we planned.And did we have a great time? You can bet your sweet life 
we did. We found that returning back home for five months each year was necessary
to rest up and catch our breath,so to speak. 

We did take a nine day trip down to Key West, Fl. in 1990  ( a couple of years before 
we retired )We invited our best friends to go with us. (actually we were trying to get 
them interested in RV ing ). On the day of our trip we got the RV all connected up to
the Van and all of the suitcases packed away properly.We pulled out with me driving 
and headed over to US-27 for the trip south. After about an hour we stopped for a 
break at a gas station (when the gas gauge falls below the half mark while I am towing, 
I usually start looking for gas ). I asked Paul if he would like to drive for awhile and he 
said that he would, so he did. He actually did most of the driving on the trip.We 
stopped at Caloosa Keys campground about 35 miles from Key West and we drove 
daily into Key West from there.

OOPS, I really screwed up this time real good! For some stupid reason,I
Blogged out the first part of this blog as;
{Our RV life from 1990-2007 (Blog #1)-Key West}

This is the last part of that Blog.If anyone wants to leave comments of what
a dummy I am--Go ahead,I deserve it!!!!

We first thought about going to Key West, because we had lived in
Florida for 40 years (More or Less), and we had never visited Key West which
is about 400 plus miles from Winter Haven,where we lived..we wanted to see
some of the treasures that Mel Fisher had brought up from the wrecks that he
had been diving on. We spent most of one afternoon at Mel Fisher's museum
and the museum was fantastic.

(We were visiting in 1990, 20 years ago.I can't image the size of the collection now!)

We were also interested in seeing, The Ernest Hemingway home  and "Sloppy Joes"
Ernest Hemingway himself was quite a character.He was born in Oak Park,Illinois
in 1899.He joined a volunteer ambulance unit. Serving at the front he was wounded
and decorated by the Italian Government. Hemingway used his experiences as a reporter
during the civil war in Spain as a background for his most ambitious novel,For Whom
the Bell Tolls (1940) and later,The Old Man and the Sea (1927). Hemingway went on to
write several other popular novels during his career.

Mel’s Legacy

By 1982, Mel Fisher realized that the discoveries he had made
were too important not to be shared with the world. Although he
was already operating a small museum, he wanted a means of
 ensuring that the artifacts he had found would be protected and
exhibited and their stories told long after he himself was gone.
That year, he founded the Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society.

Today, thanks to Mel’s forethought, the Society is an
independent, not-for-profit organization dedicated to exhibition,
 education, archaeology, preservation, and research
concerning Spanish and Colonial maritime activity in the
New World. Thanks in great part to his donations of artifacts
and treasures, the Society's Key West museum contains
the richest single collection of 17th-century maritime antiquities
 in this hemisphere and it has become a major center for the
study of early European maritime history in the New World.

In accordance with his desire to share his momentous discoveries
 with the world, Mel Fisher donated the bulk of the Society's
collections at its founding, and other material after subsequent
shipwreck excavations. The largest part of the collection is made
up of more than 85,000 artifacts from the Spanish galleons
 Nuestra SeƱora de Atocha and Santa Margarita.

Among the pieces from these ships are two of Mel’s most
detect poisoned wine — the heavy golden priest's chain that he
loved to drape around his neck ... the only known surviving
example of a "cinta" necklace or belt ... a 17th-century navigator's
 astrolabe — and scores of contraband emeralds whose discovery
 was as big a surprise to Mel as it was to everyone else.

Yet just as important as the Spanish galleons he found, is the
 English merchant slaver Henrietta Marie. One of the few slave
 shipwrecks ever discovered in this hemisphere, it was first
encountered during the long, arduous search for the Atocha.
Calling it "The English Wreck," Mel and his divers treated it
with the respect it deserved. Today, the Henrietta Marie is
believed to be the world’s largest source of tangible objects
from the early years of the maritime slave trade. Careful
archaeology brought to light artifacts including the ship’s
 bell, the largest collection of shackles ever recovered from
one site, Venetian glass trade beads, and extremely rare
pieces of William III pewter which, after meticulous conservation,
 have joined the galleons' gold in the Society's museum


In the spirit of Mel Fisher, Society archaeologists continue to
search faraway waters for shipwrecks no one else has the
vision or the experience to find. They are currently excavating
a 16th-century Spanish discovery vessel known only as the
St. John's Wreck. This undisturbed wrecksite has already
yielded crossbows, bombard barrels and breeches, rail guns,
a conquistador’s helmet, ship’s fittings, and a pair of bronze
navigational dividers. After completing conservation in the
Society's labs, many of these extraordinary artifacts will
 become part of the permanent collection.

"The Society represents the clear intent to record for posterity
what Mel Fisher has found," says Dr. Gene Lyon. "Long past
 the time that any of the participants are alive, the cultural
meaning of the shipwrecks will be portrayed in the various
museum exhibits and publications, telling people about life
 under sail."

Approximately 200,000 people visit the Society's museum
annually to marvel at the treasures and artifacts recovered by
Mel Fisher and his crews and the triumph of the human spirit
that their recovery represents

Ernest Hemingway  loved Key West

                                                        Hemingway's Key West Home

Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961), born in Oak Park, Illinois, started his career as a
writer in a newspaper office in Kansas City at the age of seventeen. After the United
States entered the First World War, he joined a volunteer ambulance unit in the
Italian army. Serving at the front, he was wounded, was decorated by the Italian
Government, and spent considerable time in hospitals. After his return to the United
States, he became a reporter for Canadian and American newspapers and was soon
sent back to Europe to cover such events as the Greek Revolution.

During the twenties, Hemingway became a member of the group of expatriate
Americans in Paris which he described in his first important work, The Sun Also
Rises (1926). Equally successful was A Farewell to Arms (1929), the study of an
American ambulance officer's disillusionment in the war and his role as a deserter.
Hemingway used his experiences as a reporter during the civil war in Spain as the
background for his most ambitious novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940).Among
his later works, the most outstanding is the short novel, The Old Man and the Sea
(1952), the story of an old fisherman's journey, his long and lonely struggle with a
fish and the sea, and his victory in defeat.

Sloppy Joe’s

 Open 365 days a year, from 9:00am-4:00am daily (noon-4:00am on Sundays).
Sloppy Joe’s has three complementary divisions: food, beverage, and retail store.
The bar offers generous drinks, live music and dancing. The quality of the
entertainment, showcased on the huge stage facing Duval Street, is exceptional--
and ranges from rollicking bluegrass to raucous rock.

Just as in Joe Russell's day, hospitable bartenders welcome patrons at virtually
all hours of the day or night. The satisfying large drinks and casual, undemanding
atmosphere so successful in Russell's reign remain--as does the sense, strong as
a pulse beat, that something unusual is always about to happen at Sloppy Joe's.

Sloppy Joe’s Restaurant

                                                        Hemingway's favorite bar

The menu includes American Caribbean with bar favorites such as burgers, sandwiches
and salads.Its offerings are consistently top-quality, consistently satisfying, and just like
Key West there are occasional changes, but the tradition of good food always remains.

Sloppy Joe’s Retail Store

The Retail Store carries over 300 products with the internationally recognized Sloppy
Joe’s logo. Some of the items include denim jackets and shirts, coasters, matches, shot
glasses, magnets, rain ponchos, beer mugs, hats, coolie cups, golf balls, and a truly
astonishing array of t-shirts in various styles, ranging from elegant to polo types to basic
 tanks and crew-neck tees.

Hemingway - himself a great sportsman - liked to portray soldiers, hunters, bullfighters -
 tough, at times primitive people whose courage and honesty are set against the brutal
ways of modern society, and who in this confrontation lose hope and faith. His straight
forward prose, his spare dialogue, and his predilection for understatement are particularly
effective in his short stories, some of which are collected in Men Without Women (1927)
and The Fifth Column and the First Forty-Nine Stories (1938). Hemingway died in Idaho
in 1961

                                                             Hemingway's 6-toed cat

Hemingway's cats have gone to court
KEY WEST, Fla. -- For more than 40 years, they have lounged on Ernest
Hemingway's bed, lolled in his garden and sipped water from the urinal he dragged
home from his favorite saloon, delighting tourists from around the world. But now
the nearly 50 cats at the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, about half of which
bear a sixth toe on their front paws, are felines non grata - scofflaws who, the
federal government says, must be caged, kept under guard or removed.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the author's one-time home in Key West
needs a license to exhibit the descendants of the original polydactyl, or extra-toed,
cat he is said to have received from a ship captain in the 1930s

From Nobel Lectures, Literature 1901-1967,
Editor Horst Frenz, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1969

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