Joe and Nancy

Joe and Nancy
Our Home on Wheels (Click on image above for our web albums.)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Dade Pioneers Day at the Park

Above, most of the members of the Dade Pioneers, at the February meeting at the lodge in the Dade Battlefield Historic State Park.  They meet monthly to discuss ways in which they can participate at the many events conducted at the Park throughout the year.
The Pioneers are treated at some of their meetings with guests from other parks or interesting subjects that relate to the early days of the Florida settlers.  To the left is their leader, Karen Cloud, a teacher in the South Sumter school system.
This month, they were treated to a show & tell of some of the animals from the Homosassa Springs State Park.  Above is a snake, (not sure what kind) that on the trip from their park, it shed it's skin.  Yuk!  Below is the skin.
Above is a Coral Snake (frozen).  They shared this snake as a lesson to know the difference between this and a another Florida snake that closely resembles it, but is not poisoness.
A land terrapin, perhaps?
Above, Ranger Kristen Wood, Dade Park resident guru on plants, animals and all creatures in Florida.
This is the protected Gopher Tortoise.  The Park has many of these throughout.
After the program, the Pioneers had a weeny roast using local palm frond stalks, fashioned for holding the hot dog.
The fire was not ready for roasting, but the kids didn't want to wait an hour.  We started the fire a little too late I guess.
Above, Kristen, and volunteers Alisha & Darrell overseeing the weeny roast fire.
Above, the Pioneers were made aware of the opportunity to sponsor a relief fund for young cancer patients at a Tampa hospital (I think) by purchasing an animal for $10.  Mrs. Cloud is explaining the program to them.  Nancy took all the photos for this blog, so a thank you goes out to my blogging partner. 
That about wraps up this short blog for now, so till the next time from Bushnell, RVing Beach bums signing off.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Second Seminoles War Re-enactment

We arrived at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park (DBHSP) on New Years eve.  Our trip down from Virginia Beach went uneventful.  The weather was cool, but warm compared to home in Virginia.  The very next weekend, January 4-5, just happened to be the annual crown jewel event for the Park, the Second Seminole War genesis or as some refer to it, Dade's Massacre. Here is what Wicki says about this event: 
On December 23, 1835, two U.S. companies of 110 troops (including soldiers from the 2nd Artillery, 3rd Artillery and 4th Infantry Regiments) under Major Francis Langhorne Dade departed from Fort Brooke (present-day Tampa), heading up the King Highway (military road) on a resupply and reinforce mission to Fort King (present-day Ocala). The Native Americans in Florida had grown increasingly furious at attempts by the U.S. army to forcefully relocate them to a reservation out west and Dade knew his men might be attacked by the Seminole Indians who were shadowing his regiment, but believed that if an attack were to occur, it would occur during one of the river crossings or in the thicker woods to the south. Having passed these, he felt safe and recalled his flanking scouts in order that the command could move faster.  To read Wicki's full account of this battle, here is the link:
In 1935, Lake County judge J. C. B.  Koonce promoted the idea to conduct a ceremony commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Dade Massacre. To mark the centennial of the Dade Massacre, organizers planned a reenactment of the battle. The Seminoles were to be invited to join and to formally sign a peace treaty with the United States government. Plans eventually changed to include a parade, a barbecue, concerts, addresses by dignitaries, and a full reenactment. On December 28, 1935, over 5,000 people, including Florida’s governor attended the ceremony.  And the Park has been hosting the battle re-enactment ever since.
Here are a few pics I took of the Sunday (Jan 5) battle.  The re-enactment is always the first weekend in January and is conducted both days.
We parked the folks in a large hay field next to the park, and trammed them in to the battlefield area.  We had four different trams operating over the weekend.
Above are the soldiers organizing for the march thru the Palmetto-Pine flat area, right into the ambush by the Seminole warriors.  Our motorhome is in the background.  Note how the flintlocks & Spencer Rifles were stacked.
Above, soldiers marching in period uniforms to the staging area.
Battlefield post-re-enactment.
Audience in bleachers ready for the battle to begin.  In the foreground is the sound setup for the narrators.
The Seminole warriors post battle.
The battle rages on.  Many casualties already.  Breastworks being built, but to no avail.  All but three (some accounts say four) massacred.
The victorious Seminoles win again, and celebrate with their famous war whoops!  Darn it, they win every battle...:-)
Here a couple of paintings from the Park museum.
Above, a Seminole re-enactor.
Soldiers limbering the 6-pounder.
Above, Nancy welcoming the visitors to the Park and the battle weekend.
These re-enactors take this seriously.  The performance is really life-like, to the period of 1835.
Soldier camp for the weekend.
Major Dade and his officers in front of the museum.
Steve Rinck, Dade Battlefield Society President, presenting a plaque & certificate to Frank Laumer, author of Dade's Massacre, a book on the events of the massacre at DBHSP.  He also role-plays Ransom Clark, one of the survivors of the massacre, by narrating the 25 minute battle re-enactment.
Well, I must share with my readers that this was a very long weekend.  We had over 2500 visitors for the two days, as the weather was just beautiful.  The novelty and food vendors were kept busy as well.  Each day had us on our feet about 10 hours.  We just love this volunteer gig.  That about wraps up this blog.  To see the rest of the pics from the weekend, just click on our motorhome header pic at the top of this blog, and it will send you to our photo website.  Till the next blog, RVing Beach Bums in Bushnell, FL.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Home From Alaska, Fall 2013

Our trip to Alaska & Canada with the Fantasy RV Caravan was a journey we will forever cherish in the annals of our memories.  Nancy and I saw things that most people only see in books and web photos.  We are so thankful that we were blessed with good health and the means to enjoy such a journey that lasted nearly four months.  We began our journey after we completed a four-month volunteer gig at Dade Historic Battlefield State Park in Bushnell, FL in early May, 2013.  And we arrived home in mid-October.  What a journey.
We had put off replacing our roof from the year before.  The roofers schedule just didn't match our timeline so we knew that was one of the things we needed to get done before we left on our 2014 journey.  Our old roof had been on since the house was built in 1949.  It was a slate/asbestos based shingle, so we had to pay a premium to the roofer for special removal & disposal.
We have a large roof (35 sections) so it took almost four days to do the job.  The crew was professional and worked hard.  It was a could four days, but it didn't seem to slow them down, and I provided them some timely hot chocolate.
Note the boards and not particle boards roof sheathing. Oh well, we bit the bullet and should have a nice new roof for a long time, save any hurricanes of course.
Christmas is always a treat for us with our daughters & grandchildren (six of them).  Really, more than a treat; it is a time of blessed sharing of love and emotion unlike any other we could ever experience or hope to as these opportunities are becoming scarce as old man time crowds our days.  Above, Nancy relaxing a Jennifer's house in Great Falls, VA. 
Ali & Austin opening presents.  We traveled to Jen's house the weekend before Christmas from our home in Va Beach to celebrate with them, and would then celebrate with Natalie and her four kids the following weekend.
Jen, Nancy, Austin, Ali, Pete and the Lab they dog-sat for a friend during the holiday period.
Ali, with her new flashlight.  What is it with kids and flashlights?
Austin with his new flashlight, hamming it up for the photographer.
Grand Daddy Austin's old binoculars.  It was an emotional gift and I'm sure they will be a cherished prize for many years.  Enjoy Jen!
Ali getting instruction on her new camera.
Pete and the Lab taking it all in from the comfort of the lazy sofa.
Nancy relaxing, ready for night-night.
After a few days in Great Falls, we drove back to Va Beach and prepared ourselves for Christmas weekend with Natalie and her children, who now resided in our house.  It was hard for us to leave Great Falls , because we knew it would months before we would see them again.  But we were kept busy that week making cookies, cakes and chocolate pretzels, among other goodies that we traditionally prepare during holidays.  It was a real treat though for Nancy as all the grandchildren participated in the events of the week.  Whew!
Christmas morning 2013!  Nancy, Mason, Omoni (back) Margaret, and Maile.  What a nice mess!
Grandma, look what Santa brought me! (Mason, our youngest grandchild.)
Maxwell and Natalie looking over there Santa gifts.  Ho Ho Ho!
Omoni, Daddy to Max, Margaret, & Mason.
The excitement and energy of children on Christmas morning:  Can anything be more gratifying for parents & grand parents?  I'm sure there things that provide similar exhilarations but these are memories that can't be manufactured.  Thank you Lord for these beautiful memories of our loving family.  Continue to bless them and protect them.
Oh the memories of Christmas 2013.  We will forever cherish the special day.
Natalie!  Oh the distance this lady, our youngest daughter, has traveled in her 35+ years.  She has come a long way and thank you Lord for bringing through so much.  Both of our daughter have been blessed with strength, love, perseverance, and a desire to provide for their children and their Fathers.  We are very thankful and proud of both of them.  They are such wonderful daughters.
So, our time with our family for 2013 came to a sad departure on December 28 as our big wheels rolled out of the Beach and south on Route 17, headed for yet another volunteer gig at Dade State Park in Bushnell, FL.  This blog was written and published in our big wheels in Bushnell, April 6, 2014, contemporaneously of course.  So, till the next blog, Joe & Nancy, RVing Beach Bums.