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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2 responses to “Three busy weeks in Florida

  1. Good going, you two. We should be in FL teaming up with you! Instead, we’re babysitting my 89-year-old Dad who just had a knee replacement. We figure another week and we’ll head south. How long will you be in FL? We’re heading to the Orlando area for about a year, then hopefully back on the road again.

    All the best –

    Rob & Jan, Sprinter Tour

    • Hi Rob and Jan,
      We’re in Delray Beach FL two more weeks, then Okeechobee FL two weeks, then head up to Hilton Head Island SC for a week before we head for a WBCCI unit rally at Jordan Lake in NC. We’re expecting great Carolinas weather by mid-April, okay? Will you be in Orlando before end of March?

      We still love telling people about the two marketing geniuses who full-timed over 210 days in a Mercedes Sprinter/Airstream Interstate all over the U.S.A.

      Y’all are awesome!

      Jim and Debbie

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