Orlando to Tampa

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Saturday, January 14, 2012

ORLANDO -TAMPA. Dec 31st - Jan 8th

Well at last here we are again ( we will probably only do a blog every few weeks ... so as not to bore you to tears!! ... but you can always hit the delete button as soon as you see our updates!!)  ...... Well Mike just had to do one of his crazy exciting stories, of his first drive in the RV.  You will always know when he writes one, with his 'over imaginative mind' .  This is
what our grandchildren have to put up with, listening to grandpa's stories, which often builds up to a most exciting crescendo and then he says ... "That's it kids ... the next exciting episode awaits you next week (or month) ... the kids get soooooo cross and sad ... and to make things worse Mike forgets the story and when they beg him to finish it they have to tell him
where he is up to with the story .... hmmmm .... old age is setting in I think!!
Anyway back to the first RV driving course .... Then it was on to a busy freeway, through a toll way (quite narrow) and round a turnpike then turn at a busy intersection and he handled it all very well, with David Scott's help.  I think David's knuckles were white as he held on tight trying to remain calm as he gave instructions where to go next.   Mike certainly has to have his wits about him, and keep looking in both mirrors, and make sure he doesn't go too close to the gutter and always judge correctly when changing lanes, all this on the opposite side of the road than what we are used to. "Think right Drive right". That's the motto!!   He also had to pull into a service station to get fuel, which can be scary too, because he has to make sure he can get
round to the bowser without taking out any cars, people, bowsers or the building.   Altogether the RV and car measure approx  55ft (17metres)  in length, and even though it has a good
turning circle, he has to judge where it can and can't go.  For those of you who are truckies, ( Barry & Larry) we know it's no big deal, but for us it's all very new.  All in all very uneventful test drive.  Sorry to disappoint you all.

We even met the previous owners of our RV and he used to work at the Kennedy Space centre as an electrician, and was there for the moon landing expedition ... so Mike enjoyed talking to him.

During the week we visited the space centre.    A cold snap came through Florida and it got
down to 1 degree overnight (33F for the Yanks), and during the day was very cold as well.  Had to line up at the gate for about 45mins to get tickets.  We were freezing, and the line up wasn't even that long, but just soooo slow.  Fortunately dad and mum could go through and wait inside, while we got the tickets.  I couldn't resist it, when we finally got to the ticket booth I just had to say " It's amazing, they can get a man on to the moon, but it is difficult to get a ticket to come in here". We enjoyed the rest of the day, even going on a ride that said "anyone with high blood pressure or back problems should not go on this ride". Mike told dad and mum to just ignore that!!   They survived. We saw a fantastic IMAX film on the Hubble telescope and the photos of stars and galaxy's they can get now. Jude, you would have loved that!    Also saw where the rockets are built and then launched from. Mike said that Colin Warner would love this place!!!!

 Sent out lots of SMS's when Australia clicked over to 2012, was hoping to get some  in return
as we entered a New Year over here, 15.5 hours later, with dad and mum, but only received 2 sms from Jude and Lyn, so thank you to those who thought of us over here.  Only kidding, we understand the old saying "out of sight, out of mind"!!

Next day we went to the Holy Land Experience, which was great, they have fantastic display, where we moved from room to room and learnt how our Bible came to be.  Showed us the
difficulties men like Tyndale went through to produce it.   Also saw a great model of Jerusalem and a heard a good description of it.   Went to a play depicting the High Priest in the Tabernacle showing all the different furniture and what it was used for in the daily life of the Israelites in the
wilderness.  It was very well done.

At night we went to La Nouba - Circ du Soleil, which was unreal.  Quite amazing what the
performers could do, there were trampolinists, tight rope walkers, bike riders, trapeze artists, clowns, and just an endless array of dramatic and clever stunts and acts including the little Chinese girls with the spinning cones.  Thought just how much our grandchildren would have loved it.  

Finally came the day to pick up the RV.  (Mike said he now knows how an astronaut
feels, the morning of a rocket launch!!!  I think he was a bit nervous)  We have been very impressed with Independence RV, the company from whom we purchased our RV at Winter Garden Orlando, Florida.  David Scott and all his team are  very professional and did a great job
acquiring the RV and car for us.  David has had to answer  constant questions and emails from Mike for the past year!!  Chris was very patient with us when showing us how everything
works.  I think he actually enjoyed being a film star, as I recorded  everything he said, so we can refer to it later.  And not to forget  Mike Wilson, the business manager, he ensured that we had insurance on our insurance in case that insurance wasn't insured!!  Ha!  A great guy with a great sense of humour.  They are all very friendly, and if anyone is ever contemplating coming over here to do a similar thing, this is the ONLY company to deal with, in the whole USA.   They all said goodbye to us, and I actually think I heard a sigh of relief from them all that FINALLY these Aussies were on their way!!

Dad sat in the passenger seat at the front, being the navigator, and mum and I sat back on the couches.  We drove 90 miles to Tampa and stayed in a nice park there.  Mike managed to park
the van and then he and dad proceeded to put the sides out, jacks down, hoses on etc.  All set up in no time. We were invited round to a bonfire after dinner. Everyone very friendly.  Mike just
loves chatting!!  And they say women can talk!  Had a 'schmorer' which was 2 cracker biscuits with a piece of herschey chocolate and hot toasted marshmallow in between.  Quite yum, but very rich!! 

Enjoyed a lovely few days here, dad and mum slept on the sofa bed in the van which they said was very comfy.  It was even better on the second night when managed to find the electric pump that blew up the mattress .   

On Sunday we took dad and mum to the airport, which was soooo sad.  We have had such a wonderful time with them, and lots of fun and laughs, especially when Mike tries to copy
the American accent to 'daddy & mumma', quite amusing, we will miss them heaps.    After lots of hugs, & tears we watched them get onto the monorail, and off to endure 4 flights before
getting back home.  The amusing thing was that 5 mins before arriving at the airport, dad had to remind Mike he was driving on the wrong side of the road. Ha!  Fortunately we were in the little car, so it was easy to get across.  Then he had to remind Mike to lock the car.  Hmmmm we could be in for some interesting times without dad watching over us.  It was a relief to hear they  arrived back safely, even though it was a little stressful after 1st flight delayed, which meant missing the next flight, and panicking they wouldn't get the big one from LA to Melb.  Thankfully they made it in time. 

Anyway, bye for now, thanks for reading the blog, and for your comments,(we love hearing from home).  keep safe and well,  God bless. 

PS: Thanks Mum & Dad for coming over to be with us for the first 4 weeks ... a fantastic time and we'll miss you heaps .... "won't we dad!!"
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Col and Kerrie on

Ohhhhh sorry I didn't send an sms for the New Year, I was saving you a dime or two - but doesn't our email sent very close to your New Year WISHING you a Happy New Year count ?? You'll never be forgotten - it would be impossible. Be safe, God Bless.

Shane & Kat on

Great Story, Love it. Its awesome seeing Dummar & Boofie in some of the pictures, the kids all have a good laugh.
The bus just looks AMAZING. You guys will have the best time. So excited that you are now on your way together......Luv ya both & drive safe

David Scott on

Thank you for the kind words. It has been a pleasure meeting and getting to know you, making my job more fun than work. Can't wait for the next chapter of your adventure!.......I hope I didn't leave any marks from my grip on the arm rest during the test drive!!!

steeles-rvtrip on


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