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KERMIT was wrong…

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…It is easy “Being Green”

It was a perfect morning for a trip to one of our local “Green Markets”

Lucy and I have spoken often about making a Saturday morning pilgrimage to the Green Market, at the Fort Myers, “Alliance For The Arts”. It was not a top priority because we “Grow our own” right here at O.O.C. We continued hearing about the market from some of our friends and based on the information, we decided it would be a fun trip…

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“Voyageur” our 1998 Roadtrek is the perfect excursion vehicle

We often use our Roadtrek for “Fun” trips, as well as our frequent errands, It is wonderful having a clean bathroom, fridge full of healthy snacks and ice-cold drinks and even a very nice spot for the occasional nap. There was plenty of shaded parking spots on the beautiful campus…  Lots of folks arrive by bicycle and we even saw some backpack wearing roller-bladers. The location is happy to have well behaved pets with thoughtful owners who pick up after them…

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“Come on David. Lets go buy something.” says Lucy

The “Alliance”, as it is known locally, is a wonderful place to visit. The ever changing art exhibits are always first rate and the frequent concerts and outdoor productions are well known and well attended. There are many classes available for children and adults covering most artistic media. Some of the sculptures and ceramics we saw were truly amazing.

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The jar of cashew butter I bought, was creamy and delicious. One hundred percent natural.

Tina Johnston, owner of “Gone Nuts” was the first market vendor we visited. We sampled several of her offerings and ultimately purchased a jar of her cashew butter. No additives at all and chock full of flavor. All of Tina’s fine butters are available online. Here is a link to her Gone Nuts online store.

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Drummin up business

There is a wide variety of booths at the Green Market. I enjoyed speaking with the owners of “Gypsy Drums” and hearing some of the well played African Rhythms. The quality of the instruments was high and the prices reasonable… You will all enjoy Jeanie’s BLOG. All of her items are available online and her attitudes, knowledge of chanting and drumming and love, are freely shared, both in person and with her online community. I did not buy a drum. The drum purchase is still under review by the O.O.C. Executive staff and CFO – Lucy…

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“Super Shopper” Lucy at one of the many booths

We did actually make several purchases and we were pleased with each of them. We even bought a very special “Tea Cake” to share with Pam and Terry, our friends from Wales. They will be arriving later today for an O.O.C. overnight stay. The dill pickles she bought were crunchy and good. The seeds she bought from “The Unruly Gardener” will be a welcome addition to our vegetable garden… She even bought a very tasty jar of marinated sheep’s cheese. Yes. It is made right here in Fort Myers from sheep’s milk…

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Shopping locally is definitely a good reflection of your spirit

Lucy and I both agree that keeping our shopping dollars in the community is a stellar concept. We enjoy supporting local farmers and artisans. We incorporate as many methods as possible to reduce our carbon footprint and our impact on the world. We are just a little to far from the market to make bicycle commuting feasible but we do carry our own bags to carry our treasures. Not only are there many obvious benefits to shopping locally, a visit to any Farmer’s is just plain FUN…

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Our purchases loaded we were ready to head to Hickory Hammock for some additional purchases from Terry, the affable owner…

Have a wonderful life,

“Spokesman” Dave

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The British are coming, and we are glad…

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You meet the most interesting people in a Land Rover

Lucy and I had a marvelous time, tent-camping, with a group of Land Rover owners, at “Holder Mine Campground” in Citrus County, Florida. One of the high points of all of our off-road adventures, is the people we meet. In this case, an amazing couple, Pam and Terry who left their home in Wales, in their fully self-contained Land Rover Defender 130, for a two year tour of the Americas. We absolutely fell in love with this couple…

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The Brown’s travel in style. Their Defender is a fully self-contained camper

The first hint of their eminent arrival was the distant clatter of a big diesel V8. (It was actually a 2.5 Turbo-diesel but it sure sounded like a BIG V8. Thanks Theo) We all loved the sound and waited anxiously for them to pull into view. For me it was love at first sight. Of all the vehicles I have; seen, driven, owned or imagined “Freddy” is by far the one I covet most. It is an absolutely amazing vehicle…

Pam and Terry both arrived with huge smiles.

Pam and Terry both arrived with huge smiles.

We all wanted to have a giant gab fest but the first order of the day was to make camp. We would have plenty of time to visit later…

"Drive in, turn off ignition, pop the top and open a beer." That is how Terry described setting "Freddy" up for camping.

“Drive in, turn off ignition, pop the top and open a beer.” That is how Terry described setting “Freddy” up for camping.

This well-traveled couple had their cozy home on wheels ready for living within minutes. They have already driven from the southern tip of South America to the Northern tip of Alaska. They are definitely a well-oiled camping machine. After two years on the road they really have their preparations perfected. It was fun sitting in my folding chair watching them work. They have everything they need and nothing they don’t…

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“Freddy” making friends with the Disco Queen…

Their custom “Camper” is well equipped. Full galley, five batteries, solar panels to keep them all at full charge and a convenient casette-toilet when a bush just won’t do. The living quarters are well insulated as is the cab. A Webasto diesel-fired furnace provides adequate for any weather. The somewhat utilitarian stock Land Rover seats have been replaced with premium Recaro style seating to insure comfort regardless of trail conditions…

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Pam in the blue T-shirt

We had an absolutely wonderful time with Terry and Pam. They were the ideal campmates. Sitting around our campfire, hearing about their amazing trip, was a very pleasant way to spend an evening. We are very happy to announce they will be here with us at O.O.C. for a couple of days, as they wind down to the end of their journey. I will have a nice post on their visit. You can check out their BLOG by clicking here.

Keep on trucking,

Spokesman Dave

Eterna® Full Size (11X45): Brunton – Binoculars

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I just want to do a shout out for some excellent customer service. I enjoyed my original BRUNTON “Eterna” binoculars for many years. I contacted them about repairing an issue that developed in the fine BRUNTON optics…

They sell their products with a “Lifetime Guarantee”. When they finished their inspection they informed me my original binocs were not repairable. They went a step further and told me they were mailing me a BRAND NEW pair at no cost.

Fantastic! I love it when a gear provider makes good and I want to recommend BRUNTON highly.

Brunton 11x45 Eterna Full Size Binoculars - Black Binoculars

Eterna® Full Size (11X45): Brunton – Lanterns, Solar Power, Headlamps, Binoculars, Scopes, Compasses.

Spokesman Dave

How to benefit from inflation…

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Not everyone is negatively affected by “Inflation…

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Marianne assembles the paddles – last items out of the van – and heads to the put-in

Marianne and Randy “Boondockerswelcome.com” asked if there were any paddling destinations near O.O.C. We told them “Yes indeed, Telegraph Creek is a wonderful place to visit by kayak.” Seeing no kayak on top of, or behind their Roadtrek, we offered them the use of two of ours. We also offered to transport the kayaks to the launch. “No worries” replied Marianne “We have our own.” “HUH? Where is it?” Marianne explained that after a good bit of research they had purchased a 380X Sea Eagle inflatable kayak. “Well I’ll be darned.” I responded…

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Lucy on her Salsa MUKLUK, heading to the launch

Lucy and I were very intrigued by the ability of carrying a kayak inside our little RV. We just had to see this Sea Eagle in action. We jumped on our trusty pedal powered steeds and headed to nearby Franklin Lock to watch them assemble, inflate and launch the inflatable boat. (I was somewhat skeptical)…

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Three small bags contain the entire Sea Eagle 380X

… In only a few minutes the busy couple had carried the various parts to the waters edge. Randy made short work of inflating the 12’6″ kayak. The seats were installed after the hulls were fully inflated. They explained that the cushy inflatable seats – complete with backrests – could be removed from the boat and used as camp or beach chairs. Marianne also explained that she often reverses her seat – while on the water – when they stop and enjoy their floating picnic linch. Very cool…

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“You need to Pump-it-up.” Instructs Lucy

“Looky Lucy” sat on one of the wooden benches and made sure they did it right…

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With a 650 pound carrying capacity, we barely made her settle on her lines.

It was a pleasant surprise when Randy turned to us and said “Why don’t you guys take it for a ride and see how you like it. It handled much better than I expected. Lucy fell in love with the cushy seats and decided we need to add one of the Sea Eagles to our O.O.C. Navy fleet…

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Always wear your PFD. Off they went…

In a matter of minutes the happy couple had paddled out of sight on their way to Telegraph Creek. When they returned ot O.O.C. that evening they both agreed it was one of the nicest water-based trips they had ever done…

You will find a link to purchase your own Sea Eagle on Marianne’s award winning website: http://www.frugal-rv-travel.com/Inflatable-boat.html

We thoroughly enjoyed having Randy and Marianne as our guests and our test ride in the Sea Eagle…

Paddle strong, Spokesman Dave

Land Rover “Lovers”

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1960 Land Rover Series and 1976 Boler travel trailer

1960 Land Rover Series and 1976 Boler travel trailer

Meeting “Tinkerbell”…

When I was a young boy, Peter Pan and Tinkerbell were two of my heroes. (I had a crush on Tink) Of course, at the time, I believed they were quite real. Having met Danielle and Drew my belief was confirmed. They are in fact – very real

Last weekend…

Lucy and I were planning a ten day, tent based trip. We decided to leave “Voyageur” our Roadtrek at O.O.C. and do the trip in one of our Land Rover Discoveries. First thing we did was to call our good friend, Aldous Cosmo Gitles and ask him to join us. Fact of the matter is, we asked him to pick the location for our rendezvous. “Cosmo”, as his friends call him, was ready willing and able to meet us for another four wheeling off-road adventure. He offered a couple of alternative locations in central Florida and we chose “Holder Mine Campground” in the Withlacoochee Forest…

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We began planing, organizing and loading our gear for an exciting adventure with some great old friends. From there, it just got better and better. Cosmo called us back a couple of times and said the group was getting larger. In fact he said we would love the new people that were meeting us and that a couple other members of the Florida Land Rover Club would also be joining us for some trail riding. Fantastic! The more the merrier. For this BLOG I am going to speak about one couple, Drew and Danielle. Lucy and I chose to call this couple “Tinkerbell and Peter Pan”. Their fun BLOG is “The Wild Rovers”

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Their kind, loving, spirit was evident from the first moment we met them…

Drew and Danielle were set-up on their campsite when Lucy and I arrived. Everything looked as “neat as a pin”. We were looking forward to meeting them, because we had viewed their blog and immediately felt a kinship with this amazing young couple. So many memories flooded my mind. I immediately thought of my Lucy as a young spouse, complete with honey-sweet voice and gently strumming guitar. Even their smiles radiated the same joyful, unassuming innocence. We as couples were alike in so many ways. I am not going to do a lot of “Splaining” (Ricky Ricardo’s voice) because they have all the details on their blog. What I want to talk about is how impressed I was by their attitude about life. Best part was, it didn’t come from books, seminars, or self-help tapes. They just “Get it”. Having graduated from college with degrees in Journalism (Danielle) and Mechanical Engineering (Drew) they were tired of the day to day constraints of excessive order, disciplined study and schedule driven academic lives. They are not running away from something they are moving closer to something. They both love and miss their homes and family in Nova Scotia. Each of them spoke of the wonderful people, scenery and energy that they left behind in their homeland. Both Drew and Danielle maintain close contact with family and friends while they are on the road. I believe they just want to make sure that what they think – Nova Scotia is the best place to live – is accurate. For the entire time we were sharing the woods with this marvelous couple, I never heard a “discouraging word”. even as they spoke of little setbacks and challenges they had encountered, they were grinning from ear-to-ear as they explained their inventive and sometimes comical solutions. The only sad part for me was the realization that none of our – now all grown up daughters – ever got to enjoy such a freeing adventure…

Saturday, January 12th. Happy Birthday Danielle

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As luck would have it, we got to celebrate Danielle’s 23rd birthday with her. She and Drew participated in our first off-road trail ride in their very own “Ole Yeller”. The venerable old Land Rover was shod with standard tread street tires, but managed to handle every obstacle in it’s path with a pronounced British “Stiff upper lip”. Many of the other trucks had oversize, heavily lugged, trail tires and extensive modifications. They put nothing over on the rugged, leaf sprung, Rover. Drew proved he had “Bad Ass” driving skills and Danielle maintained her stately place in the procession, regardless of the severity of the trail. If the happy occupants would have been enjoying ice-cold “GnT’s”, they wouldn’t have sloshed a drop… In celebration her special day, “Kaz”, a member of the Florida Land Rover Club, offered her the pilot-seat in his extreme, off-road monster, a huge Discovery powered by a beefed up V8,  rolling on huge, nobby tires. Never you mind it was her first time running an off-road trail truck. Seeing the tiny blonde lass piloting the massive rig was a joy to behold. They say you “Never forget your first time.” How bout that Danielle?

We thoroughly enjoyed our time with these traveling troubadours…

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Danielle and Drew share a love for music. They are a wonderfully talented duet carrying a full arsenal of stringed instruments with them, writing new songs en-route. We were gifted a copy of their first album “Honey Hill” by The Harts. D n D co-wrote the excellent songs commemorating their travels and often perform at various open-mikes and other venues along the way. Drew serenaded Daniele with a fine rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” on his newly acquired fiddle.  They voices – like their lives – are in perfect harmony…

“We’ve got all we need for where we’re going.”

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The young couple do a wonderful job of living a GIANT life in a diminutive space. Their tiny rolling home, includes everything they need for housekeeping and living comfortably, with nothing added to compromise their enjoyment of whatever space they are in. The skill they exhibit in keeping it all together extends way beyond their time in years. We could all learn a lesson about the joys of living simply. “All we need is love” the Beatles…

Well and truly missed…

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You can teach old dogs new tricks. The time Lucy and I spent with Drew and Danielle renewed our faith in the younger generation. They taught us a lot about; humility, love, contentment and the joy of appreciating every moment of life. We will never forget them. So often in the past we have been fortunate to spend time with really incredible people. These two folks will certainly occupy a niche very near the top of the list. If I got to live my life over again, I would hope I to be a lot more like Drew… Happy trails to “The Harts”.

Love to you all,

Spokesman Dave

SUZUKI DR125SE Restoration

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Our prayers continue for the families affected by the terrible tragedy in Connecticut…

Never look a gift horse in the mouth.”

Yes. I have heard this old adage many times. I have a received a two-wheel “Gift Horse”. I am not only going to look in it’s rather rusty mouth, I am going to completely disassemble it, have the frame and all painted parts bead-blasted, prime and paint the “tins” (Yes. I have watched OCC a few times) replace the bits that we cannot refresh and in the end – ride away on a fine little enduro motorcycle. I hope a few of you will follow along. I also hope any of you who have experience with a rebuild like mine will share knowledge and encouragement. Help me prove to Lucy I am not “crazy”.  ;O)

From whence it came…

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It was a little difficult for two of us to hoist the 300 pound bike up onto the rear rack of my Land Rover, but with only one pinched finger, we succeeded. The donor site was only a few miles from O.O.C. so we made it home in short order. Upon arriving my wife posed a very logical question “How are we going to get that thing on the ground?” (She emphasized the word “Thing”) It was painfully obvious that the removal may prove even more of a challenge than the installation. Suddenly, I was assaulted by a very scary thought. Dare I mention it to Lucy? “How about I drive under the limb of the Banyan tree, hook up my come-along and lower it with that?” Her expression changed several times – rapidly – between “Are you crazy” and “That might actually work.”…

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It only took a few minutes and the little bike was safely on the ground. After a bit of stomping on and toeing the shifter, I found neutral, in the very dry transmission and rolled her into my “Shop” (crowded, messy, carport). One of my concerns was the possible difficulty in finding the parts I would need for the restoration. I found out about a Suzuki motorcycle expert, located in Grants Pass, Oregon and gave them a call. Turns out Jesse, of “Kientech Engineering” was exactly the Suzuki “Yoda” that I needed. I sent him an email containing detailed “Before” photographs and followed up with a very informative phone call. I am confident that with Jessee’s guidance and the parts his company sells this little Enduro bike will be on the trails again soon…

I ordered a shop manual and added a few tools that Jesse suggested. I am going to post follow-up “Progress” posts for anyone who is interested in motorcycles, or just wants to see if I can actually do it…

Official "BEFORE" photo...

Official “BEFORE” photo…

I have spent around six total hours on the tear down. I am carefully marking all wiring terminations and carefully storing individual small parts in zip-lock freezer bags. Shown below is a photo as the bike stands today. Lots more to come. Stay tuned…

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Cheers, Spokesman Dave

“Poppy. What do you want for Christmas?”

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My answer to this question was wrong…

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From left to right: Grandsons – Julian, David and Kaden

 

When my eight year old grandson, Kaden Armstrong, asked me the question, I did not give sufficient thought to my answer. He was quite disappointed with my response. “Nothing” I replied “I have everything I want.” I realized – too late – that this would make no sense to an eight year old boy. Truth is.. he probably wanted to buy me a gift and really wanted to know. (I later mentioned; Old Spice Cologne and socks. Not very exciting but true.) He continued to probe. His next question was “Wouldn’t you like a knife or sumthin?” I did no better as our conversation continued. As I prepared to say goodbye, Kaden chimed in “Hey Poppy! You didn’t ask me what I want for Christmas.” Damn. another fatal mistake… Last year I asked for an egg-beater. He asked “What’s that?”

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My Christmas list…

I thought about this, long after my conversation with Kaden ended. What does happen to our “Christmas List” as we get older? I can remember as if it was yesterday, instead of sixty years ago, sitting around our big kitchen table with my brother and sister, writing our Christmas lists. Our mom was always right nearby, to help us with our spelling and to offer suggestions. “Mom how do you spell Erector Set?” Our young minds were filled to overflowing with great expectations. How wonderful. All we had to do was think of the items we wanted most, write them down – in a letter to Santa – be continually well-behaved and PRESTO! On Christmas morning, most of the items would appear, gaily wrapped, under our Christmas tree. Boy-O-boy. That Santa Claus, what a great guy… Little did we know, how our parents struggled to find the money, do the shopping and then wrap and hide the wonderful gifts until the special morning. I remember most of all, how much less we wanted back then. We didn’t have a television to cram all the latest gadgets and geegaws down our young throats. There weren’t billions of dollars spent marketing toys – mostly made in foreign countries – into our very impressionable minds. we were satisfied with “One” special toy and a stocking full of surprises. I can still remember how thrilled I was to receive a little bag of “Cat’s Eye” marbles. I loved the paper kite and the roller skates that never stayed clamped on my Red Ball Jet sneakers. “Don’t lose that key David. Here let me put it on a string and you can hang it around your neck.” I think every kid in the fourth grade, had a skate key dangling under his T-shirt. They were simpler times. We believed in Santa Claus because the evidence was unmistakeable. We dismissed with great disdain any “Big Kid” that foolishly tried to tell us “There ain’t no Santa.”…

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Truth is – there will always be a Santa Claus…

We still make Christmas lists. Difference is, it is a list beginning with how much we “Can” spend this year and what we want to send, or give and to whom. Everyone has to live within their “Budget” some – not ours – are quite large. We have enough to live the lifestyle we enjoy, but frivolous expenditures are not in the cards, Christmas, or otherwise. We don’t need to make our own lists because we truly have everything we need and want. The old proverb is true; “The more you know, the less you need.” We must know a LOT.

I really do understand the confusion in Kaden’s mind, created by my saying “I don’t want anything.” My mission will be to help him understand what a wonderful condition that is… Thank you Lord for my many, many, “gifts.”

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