Sunday, February 27, 2011

Renninger's Mount Dora - Car & Cycle Swap Meet Show & Cruise-In

Today we headed out mid-morning for a 20-25 mile ride over to Mt. Dora for the monthly car and motorcycle swap meet and cruise-in at Renningers Market. The weather was perfect and the ride took us through a few back roads.

We arrived and parked under the huge live oaks, providing shade for our bikes as well as others. Sadie was raring to go...people and dogs, what fun!


The show was small but we saw some really nice cars and a couple of bikes. We browsed the vendors where we picked up some more old license plates, a sign for Stu's future garage and a few other little odds and ends.

Our favorite car was not even in the show...we walked past it on our way back to our bikes. LOL!


From there we headed south so we would take a different route home. We managed to hit a couple of twisties and rode along side a really pretty lake. Before we knew it, we were dumped back into heavier traffic and more heat. A stop at Mickey D's for coffee and ice cream made us all happy. LOL!

After arriving home we sat outside and enjoyed the cooling temps in the shade, read for a while and then took Sadie on a bicycle ride around the park before settling in for the night. Great day!!

Here are a few photos from the car show...those interested can see the rest in our SmugMug album.


Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day Two at Universal & Final Thoughts

A good nights sleep does wonders....we all felt much better and were raring to go. Breakfast, shuttle and off the Islands of Adventure at Universal. We immediately headed for the Harry Potter World, knowing how busy it would be.

Unfortunately, you had to be staying at the park or have an Express Pass to go straight there. So we opted to do the Spiderman ride followed by the Pteranodon Flyers® in Juraissac Park since we had to walk through those areas to get the Harry Potter World.

We got to the first Harry Potter ride, Dragon Challenge™, turned out that Amanda was too short. The sign said 15 minutes so we waited....an hour, for Stu and Sam to get done with the ride. About 5 minutes before they finally got on, they added two more coasters. Jeesh!

We headed off towards the other two coasters in Harry Potter world, knowing that Amanda was tall enough for both. Not to be....90 minute wait on the sign. Sigh....

So we continued on and here is our Day Two schedule:
Stu, Donna, Samantha, Amanda
      The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®
      Swing Above the Streets in 3-D
Stu, Donna, Samantha, Amanda
      Pteranodon Flyers®
      Get a prehistoric bird's-eye-view
Stu, Samantha
      Dragon Challenge™
      A high-speed roller coaster chase across the sky
Stu, Donna, Samantha, Amanda (we went twice)
      Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges®
      Better eat yer spinach!
Stu, Donna, Samantha, Amanda
      The Cat in the Hat™
      Whirl Through the Pages of the Book
Stu, Donna, Samantha, Amanda
      The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride!™
      A High Flying Ride Through Dr. Seuss' Imagination
Stu, Donna, Samantha, Amanda
      The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®
      Swing Above the Streets in 3-D

SKIPPED:
      Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey™
      Join Harry Potter™ and his friends on a new adventure

      Flight of the Hippogriff™
      Swoop and soar on this family-friendly coaster

      The Incredible Hulk Coaster®
      Feel the Rage

      Doctor Doom's Fearfall®
      Takes Fear to New Heights

      One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish™
      Steer your fish through an obstacle course of fountains

      Caro-Seuss-el™
      World's Most Unusual Merry-Go-Round
Stu's favorite overall was the Dragon Challenge™ and my overall was Popeye and Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges®. Men in Black from yesterday was the second favorite for most of us.

Here are some photos from day two, the rest are in our SmugMug Album.


We weren't as tired since we had a better night sleep, but our bodies told us different. LOL! We had dinner at the park, headed back on the shuttle and the girls headed back to Nickelodeon Resorts with their parents. They still had a couple of vacation days left and planned to hit Disney again.

So our final thoughts on Universal....it was okay but it's no Disney. The tickets cost more, there are a lot less rides and way less to do for all ages. We knew several things would be closed for renovations (same as at Disney) but we didn't realize the lack of "free" things to do other than the rides.

Both parks have at least one boardwalk type area where you can pay to play games....more money out of your pocket. Due to height restrictions, Amanda didn't get to ride the coaster she wanted. Add in the terrible lines....not our cup of tea. The characters were much less appealing...the superhero costumes were ridiculous. LOL!

We also noticed that the park wasn't as clean as Disney and that was especially true of the bathrooms. Ugh! While friendly and helpful when asked, the staff often seemed more interested in chatting with each other. Most were teen and twenty somethings, only saw a couple of older folks. The music was often deafening and very repetitive.

The food ranged from very average to surprisingly decent...think it depended on the time of day and restaurant. The chicken fingers were much better than the burgers and the pasta was pretty good, too.

If you have teens, this is a great place to let them go and tell them when/where to meet you. Otherwise, younger ones have little to do other than the Curious George area and Dr. Seuss. Oh, speaking of Dr. Seuss....that area was a feast for the eyes. I could have taken hundreds of photos...really enjoyed it.

We can now say....been there, done that, won't bother again.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Day One at Universal

Where to start....at the beginning, I guess. We had a nice ride on the motorcycles from Bee's RV Resort here in Clermont to the Clarion Maingate in Kissimmee (same hotel we stay at each year for Stu's annual retired Firefighter reunion). We got checked in and took showers....then Stu realized he had left his meds back at the RV.

So he hopped back on his bike and made the 30 mile ride up and back...along with getting gas and dealing with two chatty neighbors. LOL! In the meantime, my daughter and her family arrived at Denny's next door for dinner. They were packed....and only had one cook on hand. We finally ordered and just as our food was arriving, Stu arrived and ordered his dinner.

The kids were beat, especially the oldest who fell asleep at the table without eating. We finally managed to get the two girls up and into bed...in less than five minutes they were both asleep. Good thing, the alarm was set early so we would have time for breakfast before the shuttle bus picked us up.

The girls were good about getting up, we ate a nice breakfast at Denny's (currently offering a 20% discount to AARP members). We loaded onto the shuttle bus at 7:40 and headed off on our adventure. None of us had ever been to Universal Studios, but we had all been to Disney several times.

We got there about 30 minutes before the park opened, time enough to get our tickets and get in the main line. We chose to do Universal Studios first, knowing that Monday was a holiday and the Harry Potter section of Islands of Adventure would be packed.

Here was our Day One schedule:
Stu, Donna, Samantha, Amanda
      E.T. Adventure®
      Ride Your Bike Across the Stars
Stu, Donna, Samantha, Amanda
      The Simpsons Ride™
      Crash Through Krustyland
LUNCH
Samantha, Amanda
      Curious George Goes to Town
      Water fun and playground
Stu, Samantha, Amanda (the girls went solo 3-4 more times)
      Woody Woodpecker's Nuthouse Coaster®
      The Nuttiest Kids' Ride Ever
Stu, Samantha (Amanda was too short)
      Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit®
      Take Your Music for a Ride
Donna, Amanda
      JAWS®
      Go on a leisurely boat tour off the coast of Amity.
Donna, Samantha, Amanda
      MEN IN BLACK™ Alien Attack™
      Zap Aliens and Save the Galaxy
Stu, Samantha, Amanda
      The Simpsons Ride™
      Crash Through Krustyland

SKIPPED
      Revenge of the Mummy®
      Plunge into Darkness

      TWISTER...Ride It Out®
      Experience what it's like to be a real storm chaser

      Disaster!SM
      A Major Motion Picture Ride...Starring YOU
Most rides were simulated in some way, the only real roller coaster ridden on Day One was the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit® which was Sam's favorite ride of the two days. Amanda's was JAWS®, she loved the special effects and said that's what she'd like to do when she grows up.

The girls weren't interested in the other roller coaster ride (Mummy) or the Twister or Disaster simulated rides. I should have told Amanda about the special effects in those!

Here are a few photos, the rest are in our SmugMug Album.


Needless to say, by the time we got back to the hotel we were exhausted. Fortunately we ate dinner in the park (we had done the meal plan) so we just had to wash up and crash. Everyone was out before 9:00!!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Universal Studios

Back in September, Stu and I took my grandson (Joshua) and his granddaughter (Olivia) to Disney World in Orlando. Stu and his late wife had started a tradition of taking the grandkids to Disney for their fifth birthday. This was a continuation of that tradition.

Since Joshua's sisters were well past age five (now being 8 & 9) and had been to Disney more than a few times, we decided to take them to Universal Studios where they had never been. Nor have we....LOL!

The family has arrived at Nickelodeon Resorts where they are spending the vacation week (the kids are on winter break from school in Atlanta area). We'll have dinner tomorrow night with everyone and the girls will spend the night at our hotel. We'll take the hotel shuttle to Universal on Monday and Tuesday, getting together for dinner on Tuesday night. A final breakfast with the family on Wednesday and we'll head back home.

The kids are really excited about Harry Potter World...they both love roller coasters so Stu will get in plenty of riding. Me....I'll be sitting out the more intense rides as well as ALL roller coasters. LOL!

Sadie will once again be at Preppy Pets. We'll be out all day so we won't get a chance to peek at her in the PetCam, but we know she'll be having a ball!

I will take the computer with me but don't know if I will take time to blog until we are back home. Long days with the shuttle leaving at 7:45 am and not returning until after 6pm. LOL!

Oh, the best new news...we are taking the motorcycles! My daughter and family have their car and will do all the hotel shuttling!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Mani - Pedi Virgins

When I was younger, manicures were way out of my price range. I did paint my own nails and toes from time to time, but have to admit it was never a priority. My fingernails never grew very well, they were brittle and broke a lot, no matter what I tried. I hated the chipping that seemed to always go along with doing my own.


Next came the Lee Press-on Nails that were SO fake looking, I never considered using them....well, other than at Halloween. LOL! Fake wasn't fashionable or campy back in those days.

Then the acrylic nails came into fashion and I found I couldn't stand the associated odors. Being even close to a nail salon gave me a blinding headache and I lost my voice.

So the most I've done in last forty+ years has been a slosh of clear polish on my nails while the toes have been completely ignored.

My youngest daughter has gotten her nails and toes done since she has been able to pay for it herself. It was her major splurge and she always urged me to give it a try. Especially a pedicure...she told me it was SO relaxing.

Okay, I love a good foot rub (but not too hard since I have tender points from my Fibromyalgia) but from a stranger? Hmmm, not so sure (and no, I've never had a professional massage either).

There have been so many news stories about infections from manicures and especially pedicures. The salons seem to all be run by folks with English as a second language. I've already had issues getting haircuts from folks who listen to what I tell then, nod and agree and then totally ignore what I said. Sigh...one more reason to never get them done.
So today when some RVing friends on Facebook posted about going to get a pedicure done, I posted back that I'd never had one. I really thought I was the only gal over 50 who had never had her nails or toes professionally done. Wrong! Two other ladies posted back...one I have met and one I hope to meet...Deb and Brenda.

So now the three of us have an unofficial pact to get a mani-pedi done together next winter while we are all in southern AZ. So, any other mani-pedi virgins out there that think they might be in AZ next winter and want to join us? LOL!

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu


Short history of manicures

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

America's 911 Memorial Motorcycle Ride

We have made plans to participate in the America's 911 10th Anniversary Memorial Ride in mid-August. This ride is to commemorate the 2996 lives lost on that fateful day. We ride in special honor of those First Responders who gave their lives without a second thought... fire, police and EMS personnel.

The ride starts in Shanksville, PA then progresses to The Pentagon and finally to the World Trade Center in NY. It is a completely police escorted ride with a maximum of 2996 riders. We are registered and are now officially part of that number.

From the website:

This commemorative Motorcycle Ride is in Remembrance of those who served, protected, lost their lives, and to the volunteers who lost their lives that tragic day. The foundation actively supports those who put their lives on the line for each of us every day. So far the foundation has presented scholarships to 58 children of First Responders totaling $150,000. The foundation has donated additionally more than $250,000. to First Responders Departments and their families. This year 15 - $2,000 college scholarships will be awarded to family members of active/disabled First Responders.

Foundation Purpose:
Is to NEVER FORGET September 11, 2001. We fund a College Scholarship program for children of Active First Responders (EMS, FIRE, POLICE) who each day place their lives on the line for all of US. The foundation assists Emergency Organizations with funds, materials, equipment and/or Volunteers when needed.


Tax Facts:
America's 911 Foundation, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit Organization. The foundation began in October 2001 and was certified by the IRS as a Non Profit in February 2003.

The Ride:
Join us on the largest police escorted ride honoring the First Responders. We will visit all three 9-11 Memorial Sites: Shanksville PA, the Pentagon DC and the World Trade Center NY, on August 18-20. Only 2996 riders will be accepted, the number of those lost on that infamous day.


We hope some of our riding friends will join the ride with us. We hope those friends that don't ride or can't make the ride will support the foundations through us. Your donation is fully tax deductible and will NOT go towards our expenses (other than our initial ride registration). We pay all our own expenses - food, gas, hotels. We can receive some merchandise (shirts, jackets) as well as preferred riding position, dependent upon the amount of donations we have solicited.


Our Starting Point:
Friday August 19 Highland HD, Somerset, PA
**Wrist bands and Information packages Picked up HERE**
Depart 6:45am
Contact: Christa@americas911foundation.org


If you wish to support us with a donation, please contact us directly to facilitate payment and receive your receipt (for tax purposes). Please do NOT donate directly on the website, we get no credit from that. All checks for donations will be made out directly to the foundation, not us. We are hoping to hit the $750 mark for at least one of us (all donations will be split 50/50 between us for tracking purposes). Remember, the money goes to the foundation, not us.

Thank you for considering a donation or participation. This ride is very special to us and we are proud to be able to join it this year, the tenth anniversary year of this tragic day that will remain in our hearts forever.

Till next time - keep on rollin',
Donna and Stu

PS> Just found out a friend did this at the five year anniversary. Check out her blog HERE.

PPS> As much as we would like to bring her, the logistics would be too difficult. We have very controlled stops, early hours, and upscale hotels to deal with. So no, Sadie won't be coming with us.

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