Monday, March 11, 2013

Volunteer Appreciation Picnic, Tire Covers, and a visit with friends

Saturday was the Florida Park Service, District 4, Volunteer Appreciation Picnic at Lake Manatee State Park in Bradenton.  It wasn’t too far from where we are in Thonotosassa, so we made plans to meet up with our Lovers Key friends and enjoy a day of fun & food!  Other than Gloria and Katie, who were working,


we were the 1st of our group to arrive at the park.  We gave the games a try, and did pretty well, earning ourselves a few prizes.

The paddle game was the easiest, as Bryce demonstrated.


Tom and Nicolas had a little trouble with that one, but even after dropping the balls a few times, they managed to finish in the 1-minute time limit.




I tried it then, and blew them all away . . . I guess it was all those years of carrying coffee to my Dad . . . steady hands!

Next up was the lampshade game . . . it certainly looked silly, but was fairly easy.



Pam got into the act, too, and easily docked the lampshade with Bryce’s directions!


The last game involved rolling a ping pong ball down a tape measure into 3 little cups . . . we all had about the same level of success on that one! 



The first cup was fairly easy, but nobody could get get it into the other two.



By the time we made several attempts on that game, it was time to move to the pavilion for the Award Ceremony and lunch.  Each of the Park Managers had a minute or two to recognize their volunteers, and awards were presented for Long and Short-Term Volunteer Projects. 

The Lovers Key team of volunteers won the short-Term Project Award for the “Bridge to the Beach”.

Sunset over the Bridge

That’s the point at which my camera battery died, so I couldn’t get a picture of the group receiving their award . . . I think we had the biggest group of volunteers at the picnic, though!

After the awards were done, it was time for lunch.  We enjoyed a delicious catered lunch of pulled pork or BBQ chicken, and then too a tram tour of the park where we learned about how fire is used to control and manage the plants in the park. 


By the time our tram tour completed, the picnic was wrapping up, so we said our final good-byes to our Lovers Key friends (for now), and headed out.

We had made plans to meet up with Rick & Kathy, who we had met at the RV-Dreams 4th of July gathering back in 2010 at Thunder Bay in Michigan, so we gave them a call as we left the picnic to let them know that we were on our way. 

images[1]They had just arrived at an RV Park in Largo, FL, so we got to experience the drive over the Sunshine Skyway bridge.  Nicolas was driving on Saturday, so that was a brand-new experience for him!



We met Rick & Kathy at the Chick-Fil-A just down the road from their RV Park, and all enjoyed chicken nuggets and milkshakes – YUM!  Afterwards, we followed them back to their RV where we continued to catch up on each others’ travels and we saw their new RV and the modifications that Rick has made to it.  He’s pretty handy . . . I wouldn’t mind being parked next to them so he could take care of some projects for us, too!

As the sun fell lower in the sky, it started getting chilly, and we needed to get back to our RV to rescue Casey from her crate where she had spent the day.  It was time to say good-bye, but hopefully our paths will cross again . . . and sooner than 2-1/2 years from now!


On Sunday, we got the laundry done and made our new tire covers from the fabric we bought at Beasley Manufacturing on Thursday.  We have one more to make as soon as we get a couple more suction cups, but what we did finish looks pretty good.


Tire Cover

We need to add one more section over that first tire on the back of the RV.  Once we do, all of the tires will be fully protected from the harsh rays of the sun!



Our other project for this week will be a sun shade to hang from the awning – that one requires a small amount of sewing!

With the higher temperatures on the weekend, we were able to get some use out of the pool . . . even AFTER dinner (we LOVE daylight savings time!)

Today was moving day, so after a little bit of schoolwork, we got packed up and hit the road . . .











Just 75 miles today, though – an easy drive!


  1. I read on the RV tire safety blog a while back that before the sun could do any real damage to your tires you would have to replace them due to longevity (6-7 years). Therefore tire covers are probably an unneeded expense.


    1. I know you are probably right, but this project was really inexpensive so we just did it...about $40 for all. It gives a good finished look as well.

  2. We always enjoy going over the Sunshine Skyway...the new one anyway. The old bridge was pretty scary.

  3. We really enjoyed our visit with you and the boys as well and your right hopefully it won't be another two and a half years before we meet again.

    If we do park close together I'd be glad to help Tom with some of his projects. Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.


Thanks for reading! We'd love to hear your comments!