Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Horse of a Different....

We Dreamers found ourselves in Lady Lake, Florida recently. We had a wonderful time. We stayed at a campground recommended by friends from our recent trip down the west coast. They spend the winter at the campground, so we had the opportunity to visit with them, as well as with my pickleball friends who live in The Villages.

While there, we heard about another campground, well, er, I guess it is called an RV Resort. (Some day I hope to discover what the tipping point is, where a campground becomes a resort!) We decided to check out the resort for possible 'camping' next year. The campground is on the grounds of Grand Oaks, a large equestrian complex with lovely paddocks, huge arenas and a focus on carriage driving. The new developers of the facility envision a winter destination for equines and their owners who would like to continue training in the Florida sunshine.

The Florida Carriage Museum is also on the grounds. This is one of the world's largest private collections of antique carriages. There are carriages from around the globe, spanning many years of horse drawn (and some people powered) conveyances. All of the carriages were collected by Gloria Austin, who can still be seen driving carriages in the collection, on occasion, on the grounds of the resort.

The carriages are breathtakingly beautiful. Most have been restored down to the tiniest detail. The collection includes European carriages and those from America's early beginnings. One can see a humble buckboard and gaze in awe at gold decorations on the carriage of Emperor Franz Josef of Austria. The carriage displays include miles of leather harness and other accoutrements to create a realistic picture of the times.

However, the fascination for me was found in the horses. Many of the carriages included teams of horses, and they were as authentically reproduced as any I've seen. One almost expected a horse to turn and nuzzle your hand looking for a carrot!


The horses are the creation of the sculptor, Don Hersberger. He modeled the horses after one of Gloria's Friesians, sculpting them out of fiberglass and adding exquisite coloring, texture and real horsehair manes and tails.


Can you hear the jingle of the harness as they shake their heads?
Or, perhaps you hear the clop of an impatient hoof!





Monday, January 26, 2015

All My Bags Are Packed

Here I sit at the airport. Waiting.


Lucky for me, I'm not heading to the northeast,
where a wicked winter storm is looming.

Air travel used to be so much more fun;
Is that because I was young and liked the sense of adventure, and didn't mind the hassles, or has it really become that much more onerous?

I'm heading home for a few days to see dad and help his wife with some chores. So my packing was pretty easy: laptop, power cords, purse and jacket. 


 Mr. Dreamy tells me I'm lucky, and may not even need that jacket. The weather in Florida is supposed to be colder than that at home. The day I fly back to Florida, Colorado will get back to more typical winter temperatures, and Florida will be turning warmer. Good timing on my part!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Gypsy Jabbers: Booties - Bleech!

That Dreaming lady wanted to put these things on my feet. 
You're dreaming, right?


 She calls them boots. She says they will protect me from the sand spurs at the campground where we are staying. 
What do you mean, you want to put one more on?!
I'm not exactly happy, ya know!

She says that I'll be more comfortable. They feel strange. They make funny sounds when I walk. The other dogs are gonna laugh at me.


But, you know what? They work! Well, almost all of the time. I picked up a few of the stickers. I could feel them through the boot. But, they weren't as annoying as when I didn't have the silly boots on my feet. Maybe that Dreaming lady wasn't dreaming after all! Maybe the other dogs are gonna wish they had boots, too! 

PS by Dreaming: 
We have stayed at this campground a number of times. The sand spurs are particularly bad here. I haven't figured it out yet, but sweet little Gypsy gets more than Tucker. She is a sticker magnet. Being the princess that she is, the moment she gets a sticker in her foot, she stops, holds her paw up and gives me the most pitiful look! I can't say that I blame her - they hurt me when I try to take them out. The night before we left to pick up the motorhome I ran down to the sewing machine and crafted four booties out of some vinyl and elastic I had hanging around. I added some Velcro once I got to the campground to make them easier to put on and take off. I think I may have hit upon a solution to Gypsy's "sticker shock"!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

St. Augustine

After our cross-country travels we landed near St. Augustine, FL.  We had actually arrived in Florida a few days before our reservations began at our usual campground north of Jacksonville, so we hunkered down near the oldest continuously occupied settlement and port in the US, St. Augustine. We Dreamers took a stroll through the town, enjoying some of the narrow streets, tabby walls and old homes. As we used to live about three hours away, we had visited in the past and had toured the main attractions, including the Lightner Museum, Hotel Alcazar, Castillo de San Marcos, and of course, the alligator farm and Ripley's Believe it or Not. Strolling through town was just about all we were up to, having to acclimate our western bodies, accustomed to almost single digit temps and humidity to 70 degree temperatures with humidity higher than that. Wanna see a few things that I enjoyed?

Looks like a postcard, right?
This is the Ponce de Leon Hotel, now part of Flagler College.



An interesting old home wanting restoration. 

A hand hewn hinge on a window shutter.


Who's holding up,who?


Loved the gates and windows.



Another nifty gate.

Loved the old road, worn and sunken by time.
I was also intrigued by the condensation on the cooler bricks from the humid air.


A peek into the past.

Eating lunch at the bottom of the pool at the Alcazar historic hotel.


The best part of our visit to St. Augustine was enjoying dinner with my cousin and her husband. They live nearby and our new way of life provides us with the opportunity to connect face to face.



Saturday, January 3, 2015

Are We There Yet?

I really think that is what Gypsy was asking me in this picture:


Or, maybe she is whining about Tucker taking up more than his half of the back "seat".
Can't you just hear it:
Mom, tell Tucker to move.
Tucker's touching me.
Get your big butt off of me. 


Most of the time the dogs slept. When we slowed down to exit or turn, one or the other might pop up to look, then they'd lie back down and snooze some more. 

So, to answer the question; Yes, we are there! We traveled for 2 1/2 days - 12 hours each, for the first two days, and another 6 (or was it 8?) on the last day. I think we are all ready to stay in one place for a bit!

Our only mishap? On an abrupt stop because some fool #%€^#£€$& driver (Mr. Dreamy's words) in front of us didn't know how to merge onto the highway, the bicycle wheels slid on top of Tucker. He was cool about it and calmly waited for Mr. Dreamy to stop so we could restack the load!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

In Misery

I guess I'm being a bit critical. However, that's how I feel about our overnight stint in Missouri. It is cold. My body isn't used to moisture in the air, and the cold cuts right through the jacket and gloves I am wearing. I forgot.

We are on our way to Florida to "catch the bus". Mr. Dreamy took our motorhome that way after our west coast trip. We have had service completed (I am thinking positively, here) and are making the trek back to pick up our "2nd home". We will spend January in Florida with family and friends, and then head toward Arizona to stay out of the cold winter weather. 



Last night we toasted each other with a glass of wine in the hotel room when the New Year came in... well, maybe not in Missouri, but it was 2015 somewhere! 

Last night was Tucker's first time in a hotel. It might have been Gypsy's first experience, too. They both handled themselves admirably. No one would have guessed they weren't seasoned travelers. And, according to them, the best part of their stay? The hotel's hot breakfast, which Dreaming didn't find exactly palatable. She may regret her decision to treat the pups...1114 miles to go.

Driving away from home

Along the road


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