Monthly Archives: February 2011

ATP at Delray Tennis Center

Delray Tennis Center rocks!  Debbie and I attended quarter-final matches yesterday.  The stadium is almost three blocks from our RV space, we’d hear it but the crowds have been too light to generate any noise outside the stadium.  Sitting in the stadium watching high quality tennis was really cool.

We sat on bleacher benches in the east side general admission area awhile then a volunteer graciously granted us tickets to the expensive seats at south end of the court.  The new vantage point was cool — we were ten feet above the court surface immediately behind the deuce court.

Serves looked like they were coming at us.  Ground strokes’ flight paths were clearly evident, soaring up to six feet above the net then zooming down into mid-court.   We had far better perspective on ball flight and enjoyed the match better.  Or were we watching better players?  It seemed like it.

Here’s the schedule of matches we watched yesterday between 11:00 and 17:00 hours (winners underlined):

E Butorac (USA) / J Rojer (AHO) vs A Fisher (AUS) / S Huss (AUS)
R Sweeting (USA) vs K Nishikori (JAP)
Dodig (CRO) vs [6] J Tipsarevic (SRB)

I’m an okay tennis player.  I can place the ball with spin, I can play at the net (sort of), I have a couple of different serves.  And I’m still learning the game, even 45 years after I started playing.  But watching these guys play is a bit disheartening.  They cover the court side to side and front to back rapidly and easily, and they hit the balls so incredibly well.

I know, I know.  They hit all the time and might not enjoy it as much as I do.  Still, they make it look so easy not only to cream the ball but to place it with light touches too.  On the other hand, their best placed drop shots usually didn’t work.  They’re all too fast, and simply jet up there and hit the ball into play again.

Forty-five years I’ve played tennis and I never had attended a professional tennis match.  I remember watching NCAA women’s tennis at Ocean Creek Resort in Myrtle Beach thirty years ago.  Finally I’m married to  a tennis player — she likes to hit with me and watch matches with me.  Smart move on my part — no, not smart, just lucky.

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2011 Dreamstreamr

Three busy weeks in Florida

Seventeen days we’ve spent in Florida this year.  While we miss Arizona, Florida has treated us very well.  Rain, what very little we’ve had, has come only in the wee hours of the morning.  Temperatures daily have averaged 75 degrees.

Okay, humidity is consistently above 70 percent and the palmetto bugs and lizards are conspiring to either lift our trailer to their favorite spot or invest in condos within.  These aren’t problems, yet.

We’ve been busy again!  Our first week we visited in Orlando with ham radio friends from all over the states.  Hamcation, organized by the Orlando Area Radio Club, is a fun hamfest with especially user-friendly features.

We parked our RVs in a cozy cluster alongside a pretty lake in the regional fairgrounds.  The professional vendors rented space in the fairground’s show buildings while tailgaters showed their wares throughout the twenty-odd acres of open field parking surrounding our RV area on three sides.

Our favorite aspects of this Hamcation “rally” are the daily socials with our WBCCI and RV Service Net friends and the proximity of the hamfest to the RVs.  We can saunter over to the vendor show, cruising the  tailgater area along our way, and shortly we slip back to our RVs awhile.

We can test our purchases, think them over, decide to double or return them, or return to the vendors and ask another question or three about something we didn’t think of (of course) while we were there.  Very very convenient and unlike any hamfest we’ve attended anywhere.  And we have a lot of fun!

Our second week we spent in Sarasota with the WBCCI Florida State Rally (FSR), again at fairgrounds.  Unlike our cozy cluster of fifty RVs in Hamcation’s rally area we now are part of 335 Airstreams packed tightly in four parking areas.  And in the Sarasota County Fairgrounds we are inundated by dust from a constant stream of cars and golf carts and RVs zipping by just in front of our parking space.

The FSR is a well-organized event with nightly entertainment, daily games, a petite but interesting vendor show (approx 25 vendors), and Airstream friends from all over U.S. and Canada.  Again we were active with our ham radio club friends too, hosting a couple of socials, participating in the FCC licensing exam and talking antennae and gear.

This week we enjoyed a dinner and Bible study at Cason Methodist in Delray Beach.  We studied a few dozen verses of Acts together after a nice meal together.  We’re camped behind St Paul’s Episcopal in probably the only rv parking allowed in the city.  The staff and congregation at St Paul’s have been wonderful hosts and we appreciate them greatly.

Yesterday we completed our NOMADS project’s first of three week in Lake Worth and Delray Beach.  Nine volunteers, including us, assembled Sunday afternoon to provide cleaning, repairs, and painting to Caring Kitchen and CROS Ministries.

We’ve painted a large breezeway and repaired damaged kitchen flooring and door hardware at Calvary Methodist in Lake Worth.  At Caring Kitchen we’ve  sorted and bagged vegetables and meat, helped prepare meals, handed out food bags, cleaned, painted, unloaded food trucks, cut and edged the lawn, trimmed shrubs, and cleaned the parking lot.

Nine people working six hours daily can accomplish amazing things.  A lot of work we are providing is a drop in the bucket compared to the agency’s needs.  A few improvements might last but Caring Kitchen depends upon constant daily input from many many volunteers.

I counted yesterday almost twenty volunteers at one time working to sustain the daily operation.  Only three paid staff members, tons of donated food, and dozens of volunteers all come together to provide over 100,000 meals annually to hungry people locally.  April, Guillermo, and Sister Mary Ann are incredible multi-taskers, orchestrating an amazing array of resources and needs to calmly and consistently keep this operation humming.

Debbie and I celebrated last night completing our first week’s work.  We walked throughout Delray Beach’s downtown business area.  Several blocks are saturated with restaurants, many with outdoor dining.  Interspersed are art galleries, high-end boutiques and clothing shops. We were interested to witness so much affluence only hours after helping serve so many very needy people.  What a contrast!

The sun’s up, Debbie’s not, I’m enjoying listening to the cocks crowing and the birds singing their good morning songs.  I’m on my second cup of tea, today’s the first day of our three-day weekend.  Life is good.  We’re in 75 degrees, skies are fair, we’re healthy and well-fed, we have a bed and shelter.  We have it so very good and we’re grateful.

Jim and Debbie

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©2007-2011 Dreamstreamr

Headin’ east

It’s time for us to turn eastward once again.  Tough to do, we’ll miss our Towerpoint and ham radio friends and all the great tennis and social events.  Duty calls and, hopefully, fair Florida weather will be welcoming too.

Friends from Calgary, JIm and Martha, were on an easterly course for Tallahassee FL from Las Vegas.  They arrived Wednesday afternoon at Towerpoint for a brief visit before they resumed their trip.  They’ll be joining an Airstream caravan about Florida a few days from now.  Our planned departure from Mesa was Thursday morning, a half day behind them.

Our travels have previously been altered by thunderstorms and snowstorms but this is the first time we’ve delayed a departure.  Thursday’s forecast for our trip’s first leg called for 3 to 11 degrees (Fahrenheit) overnight and snow and high temperatures in the high teens.  Our previous trip from Mesa to the east (Dec 2009) was so fast-paced we dedicated ourselves this time to planning an extra two days into the itinerary.  We looked at this weather outlook and dispensed with one of our zero days.  The weather would be better one day later.

We mentioned the weather outlook to Jim and Martha and they decided to wait their departure until Friday morning because the trip’s overnights would be too chilly.  They gained a relaxing Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday in Mesa.  We joined Bob and Faith for a farewell celebration at Organ Stop Pizza .

Organ Stop is a must-see in Mesa, it has the world’s largest Wurlitzer organ complete with 23 ranks and an entire set of 32 feet long wood pipes. Wonderful organists do a wonderful job showcasing the organ by playing several sets of tunes including requests from customers.  We all enjoyed good pizza, salad, and wonderful music at Organ Stop Pizza.

The evening was still young and across the street is Pros Ranch Market, the largest Mexican grocery store we’ve visited.  Panederia, salsa bar, tortilleria, taqueria, cremeria, carniceria, and all sorts of produce we’d never seen are presented in colorful and appealing displays.  The sweet rolls and cookies are really tempting, the fresh tamales are excellent, the salsas are fresh and fantastic, and if we can catch the store with short check-out lines we enjoy sampling treats from Pros Ranch.

Towerpoint Resort’s gate guard welcomed us to a completely and very dark resort.  Colder than usual temperatures greatly increased electrical demand throughout the east valley and wreaked havoc with the local utility’s power distribution plan.  Rolling blackouts ensued and the resort’s power did not successfully reconnect.  People in some sections of the resort spent  several days without power.  Thursday evening everyone apparently was “in the dark” from before 2100 hours until sometime after 0400 hours.

It’s nice to wake up to full power.  And even nicer is our fully self-contained home.  Regardless of local utility power issues our batteries power lights, heat, fans, and  electronics.  Unfortunately for our park model (mobile home) neighbors their lights and heat are completely dependent upon local utility electrical power.  A few have gas furnaces, but their gas furnaces require 110vac to drive the fans and controls, whereas our furnace is battery-powered.

Good news is on the horizon for Towerpoint folks — their weather forecast is for 70 degrees by Super Bowl Sunday.  Wish we were there!  We have had a wonderful winter in Towerpoint with friends on and off the tennis court, and our Mesa weather overall was fabulous.  No matter how cool the temperatures the hot tubs were still steamy hot and it’s never too cold to play tennis.  Several of us gathered for a couple hours of tennis Thursday morning.  The captains had cancelled our inter-resort league match due to cold temperatures.  Our friendly game, an hour later, was very nice in sub-40 degree temperatures.

Our first travel day we left Mesa at 0530 hours caravanning with Jim and Martha.  We arrived almost fourteen hours later in chilly (27F) Fort Stockton TX.  Saturday morning we left at 0630 hours and drove just past Houston — at 545 miles a much shorter drive than Friday.  Houston is much warmer than Fort Stockton, we arrived to 60 degrees.  Sunday and Monday we’ll also have 400 mile drives, weather permitting.  We’re heading for Orlando FL for Hamcation, the best hamfest in the southeast.

We’ve been “out west” since June 2010, it’s time to head east again.  Even as much as we’ll miss everything western, the food, the weather, tennis, and especially friends, we have family and friends and doin’s back east.  And hopefully we can find our way westward later this year.

[Sorry no pictures this time — posting on the road with battery power only, glad to get the alphabet on this post.  Will post pictures of Organ Stop party later.]

See you down the road!

Jim and Debbie

locate us here
visit our website

©2007-2011 Dreamstreamr