Monday, November 18, 2019

A surprise visitor

With his deployment getting closer, Nicolas was encouraged to take some more leave while he could, so I coordinated with him to find a flight to Florida so he could visit with us and Grandpa for a few days.  We kept the secret from Grandpa, so he was very surprised and happy when Nicolas showed up  one afternoon!

We used our friend’s golf cart to show him around The Villages, enjoying the beautiful afternoon.

We stopped by the Eisenhower Regional Recreation Center – dedicated to veterans and almost a museum of military history, with plenty of memorabilia of President Eisenhower, who also happens to be the namesake of Nicolas’ ship.

From there, we continued on to the town square at Brownwood Paddock for dinner at Cody’s Roadhouse.

Nicolas enjoyed his 2 for 1 beer, and the tower of onion rings!

After dinner, we listened to the music and watched the dancers in the square for a while.  We didn’t stay long though – Nicolas’ flight had left Norfolk at 5am, so he was pretty tired.

The next day was the Grand Opening of the Everglades Regional Recreation Center, so the 4 of us went to check it out.  Each recreation center has a unique theme, and this one is the National Parks.  It’s beautifully done, and all of the photography in the building is the work of a former National Park Photographer.

It’s a beautiful facility, and they had an Expo set up inside to highlight many of the clubs that will meet in the recreation center – there’s a pottery group, a glass group (with kilns for each of them in the craft room), a chapter of the Villages Quilt Guild, and many, many more – too many to count!

The Quilt Guild had a room set up, along with pottery and glass.

There were tons of people there for the Grand Opening, and proceeded outside to check out the outdoor recreation options – where there were people doing demonstrations of most of the sports.  You could participate in any of them, but we just walked around and checked it out.

We saw the sports pool,

the outdoor fitness equipment,

R/C boats and cars,

as well as all the outdoor sports you can think of – shuffleboard, bocci ball, pickleball, platform tennis, tennis, basketball,

softball fields, and an 18-mile walking/biking path.  Definitely no shortage of things to do!

On Saturday, we drove down to Old Town in Kissimmee for the Saturday night Classic Car Cruise-In.  Tom and I have been to it before, and we knew that Nicolas and Grandpa would enjoy it.

We walked through all the cars lined up in the parking lots – admiring the shiny metal, and people-watching!

VW Bugs for Bryce!

A whole line of Ford Econoline Vans – that’s something we don’t often see!

There was even a Ford Pinto that looked pretty nice!

There were plenty that caught the attention of three generations of Gimmarro car guy!

A couple of big trucks, too!

Nicolas said this would be a good one for the dunes!  It reminded Tom and I of the old “Cookie Monster” blue truck that we had while we were building our house – even as a baby, Nicolas loved riding in that truck!

It was a beautiful evening to be be out!

This guy cracked us up – I didn’t think the dog was real at first!  We walked by several times, and he was just laying there everytime!

The cars started lining up for the cruise a little after 8pm, and we walked over to find a spot on the sidewalk to watch.

We got another look at all the cars as they cruised past us!

I think they enjoyed the evening!

When Veterans Day rolled around, we enjoyed a nice dinner out with our veteran and our Sailor,

and then attended the Veterans Day celebration at the town square at Brownwood Paddock.  It was packed, and after walking around the square – checking out the Model A Club that had their cars parked along one side of the square,

and then we managed to find a few chairs where we could sit and listen to the music and watch the dancers. 

We had been in contact with our RV-Dreams friends, Howard & Linda, so they met us at the square, and we had a wonderful time getting caught up on all that is going on for all of us!  They hadn’t seen Nicolas in many years (we decided it was at the 2011 Sevierville Rally, since he wasn’t able to attend the reunion rally), so it was really nice to catch up.  We stayed until the music ended . . . and never ran out of things to talk about!  We’ll be getting together again while we’re here, but we were glad they were able to see Nick.

We took Grandpa back to the house where he’s been staying, it was his last night there, and he said good-bye to Nicolas since we would be taking him to the airport early the next morning.  He really enjoyed spending these last few days with him, and we were glad they had this time together before Nick’s deployment.

The next morning, we had a beautiful sunrise as the fog lifted on our way to the Orlando airport.

We were also really glad to have these last few days with Nick, but we’ll see him again when we go up to Virginia to help him get his trailer closed up before his deployment.  Thanks for coming to Florida, Nicolas!

Meanwhile up in Michigan . . . the Spartans kicked off the basketball season, and Bryce is busy again.  We couldn’t watch the first home game because it was on Big10 Network, which we don’t have down here, but I did spot him in a picture on facebook,

and Hannah’s Mom sent me a couple pictures that she snapped off the TV.

He looks very professional!

We had a little bit of a cool down the last few days – although nothing like they’ve had up north – and no SNOW! 

We’ve been keeping busy, though – still exploring The Villages, we attended another retirement seminar, and even took a trip up to Citra to visit the Orange Shop – coming home with some delicious oranges and grapefruit!

Yep, Florida is pretty nice in November!


  1. Can I ask, what is Bryce studying in school? It has been fun watching your boys grow up over the last nearly 10 years, they are both handsom young men. Becki

    1. Thanks Becki! I look at old pictures and wonder where my little boys went!! We're incredibly proud of both of them! Bryce is getting his BS in Athletic Training, and will go on for his MS in Athletic Training, possibly followed by a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Whew -- still lots of school in his future! He's gotten some great experience at MSU, working with both Football and now Basketball!

  2. Glad you were able to enjoy some Three Generation Fun while visiting the Villages.
    Your boys have grown into fine young men.
    Howard and Linda made an announcement today.
    Be safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

    1. It was really nice -- we love when they come around! I saw Howard's announcement -- actually they told us when we saw them last weekend -- their offer had just gotten accepted, and they were very excited!

  3. Enjoying your blog, stumbled onto it while looking up RVing in retirement. Warmer temperatures sure sounds nice right now.


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