Sunday November 19, 2023

This rig is over 60 feet long when it's all hooked up.

After 30 nights at Disney's Fort Wilderness it was time to move on.  It was a short 60 mile drive to our next home, The Resort at Canopy Oaks about 15 miles east of Lake Wales.


We hooked up the car on the way out and left Walt Disney World behind at about 10:45 Sunday morning.

Jasper was quite relaxed scooting down the road on the back of the couch!

We pulled into Canopy Oaks at 12:15

From the moment we pulled in it felt like we were home!  We had a quick sandwich and then got busy pulling our stuff out of the 'basement' storage hatches.


It was 85º while we were setting up our new home and by 3:15 we were pooped.  We'll be here for over four months so it didn't seem urgent to finish today!


We relaxed with the dogs in air conditioned comfort and enjoyed our first Canopy Oaks sunset.  They can be magnificent here!

Monday November 20, 2023

Aahhh!  We could get used to relaxing in paradise like this!

Tuesday November 21, 2023

At lunch time we drove Jake and Jasper to Frostproof, a small town about 13 miles west of our campground.


We wondered if they would remember the 'Pup Cups' at the Frost Bite diner.


Yup . . . they remembered quite clearly!


Oh boy!

Brain freeze!

They licked their little bowls of soft serve ice cream until they were spotless!


Back at the campground we stopped at the dog park so the boys could run off their pup cups.


As you can see, Jake had a good run!

Thursday November 23, 2023


Today all of our American neighbours here at The Resort at Canopy Oaks were celebrating Thanksgiving.  Since we had enjoyed Canadian Thanksgiving over a month ago we decided that we would celebrate Decorating Day instead.



Carol attacked the dash in the RV with gusto.  She filled it with festive Christmas treasures, most of it Disney related.  It looks great and some of those decorations even sing, dance and play musical instruments.

It's hard to tell through the glare of the sun, but the dash looks good from outside too!


It's not a bad picture of Carol's phone either!


She is determined that no decorations will go up outside until December 1st . . . but somehow this big Disney flag got hung on the front of the RV.  Is it the leading edge of a wave?


While she was doing the dash I headed outdoors and put up our Clam.  It's a 12' X 12' screened enclosure that we use to cover the picnic table.  During the day it keeps us shaded from the sun, somewhat protected from rain and most importantly it keeps out those nasty little 'no-see-ums' that really enjoy feasting on me.  The teensy weensy biting midges don't like Carol but apparently I'm delicious!


Carol cooked a Turkey for dinner, just so our fellow campers wouldn't think we were weird.  Here's a culinary tip for you . . . when you see a turkey for 49¢ a pound remember - you get what you pay for.  It wasn't bad, but we've certainly had better!


After dinner I took a few pictures of our campsite in the dark so you get a glimpse before all the Christmas stuff brightens it up!

Sunday November 26, 2023

We've had a few relaxing days.  As you can see on the right, the dogs have settled right in here at Canopy Oaks and they're feeling at home.




Yesterday we went to Forever Vintage, about 25 miles from our campground.  It's a store that buys unsold merchandise that Disney is clearing out.  You never know what will be there   It's a combination of new merchandise and used furnishings and fixtures.


There's always something interesting!

I waited in the car with the dogs while Carol shopped.

She found some nice Disney drawstring bags.

Twenty of these bags will be filled with goodies and sent to Igloolik next Christmas!

Today we drove to the nearby village of Frostproof to pick up a few groceries.  It wasn't at all surprising to see this swamp buggy parked in front of the grocery store.  There are plenty of rigs like this in the area.  Between these buggies and the big air-boats on almost every lake and river you can visit some very out-of-the-way places.


We rode a swamp buggy similar to this at the Disney Wilderness Preserve in October 2014.  It's a wild ride at times but we saw some amazing wildlife and some wonderful natural vistas!


Monday November 27, 2023

Tomorrow we're spending the entire day and evening at Walt Disney World and that means we'll be checking Jake and Jasper in at the Best Friends Kennel.  They needed a Canine Influenza booster shot before we get there so today they went to the Lake Wales Animal Hospital.


They must have known that the pups are Disney fans because the windows were all painted up with Disney Christmas scenes.  Nice!


It made us feel so festive that we drove on to a nearby WalMart where Carol picked up a couple of poinsettias to decorate our campsite.


We were home in time for a late lunch and enjoyed another lazy day in paradise.

Tuesday November 28, 2023

It was a busy day.  A long and busy day.  A long and busy and cold day!


We loaded the dogs in the car and left at 8:30.  Traffic heading to Disney was terrible.  The sixty mile trip took us two hours.  We checked the dogs in at Best Friends Kennel near Fort Wilderness.  Jasper ran off right away to play outside with his buddies . . . Jake prefers to hang out on his own in the suite he shares with Jasper.


Carol and I headed off to EPCOT to enjoy a bit of the Festival of the Holidays.  This is one of the many Disney festivals that totally envelope the calendar year.  There used to be a couple of festivals and they were a real treat . . . now they never end.  When one festival ends the next begins immediately.


The Festival of the Holidays explains and demonstrates how each of the countries around the Word Showcase Lagoon celebrates Christmas.


The holiday decor is very nice, but it's hard to get a clear picture of it because of all the people taking selfies or wandering around aimlessly reading their cell phones.

We stopped for a few PhotoPasses.

Our lunch was a roving affair as we sampled dishes from several of the food kiosks.


Carol ordered the Turkey Poutine.  When Carol saw it she said, 'Ew, sweet potato fries.  My husband won't eat that.'  so the cast member gave her a free dish with regular fries.  Damn - she's good!

The clean-up squad was watching closely as we ate!

Pere Noel at the French Pavilion

The pastrami on rye was tasty.

We both enjoyed the slow-roasted turkey.


Pete is a true artiste!  He made this sidewalk Mickey with a combination of dirt, leaves, twigs and bird droppings.  Very nice!

 La Befana is a good witch who flies on a broom as she delivers Christmas gifts to good Italian children on the Eve of the Epiphany.

When she isn't holding or riding her broom it waits patiently by her side.

There is a scavenger hunt with a hidden Olaf in every country around the lagoon.

Hot chocolate and Apple Caramel Crumb Cake

Santa was escorting children to his sleigh where a photographer took pictures.

Coffee and a Leche Waffle at Creations

We bumped into old friends Linda and Brice Briel in Creations.

They're originally from the Albany NY area but live in Georgia in retirement.

Just after 4:00 p.m. we drove to the Magic Kingdom Parking Lot and took the monorail from the Ticket & Transportation Centre to the theme park.


Mickey's Very Merry Christmas party started at 7:00 p.m.


They led us into the park on a backstage walkway behind the Main Street shops.  It was littered with entertainers and interesting decorations.

A very entertaining dancer on stilts was performing.

A PhotoPass backdrop.

We stopped at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe for a quick bite of dinner.  Bacon cheeseburger for me, chicken fingers for Carol.  While we waited Carol managed to book a spot in the virtual queue for TRON.  Hooray!  Our group was called just as we finished eating.

We rode TRON for the third time.  This time we rode on the bikes . . . .WOW!

We watched the 8:30 parade in Liberty Square.

After the parade we cruised a few of the Christmas Treat stations scattered around the park and enjoyed some of the egg nog, cider, hot chocolate and cookies they were giving away.  This year the cookies were quite good so we made sure we got dozens of them to take home before we settled in to watch the 10:00 p.m. fireworks.


We found a great spot in The Hub to watch the special party version of the nightly fireworks display.  It's amazing the effects they can create with lights, lasers, sound and fireworks!

By the time the fireworks ended we were both extremely well chilled.  It was 48ºF (8ºC) and our hoodies just weren't enough to keep us warm.  Perhaps we should have worn long pants.


We sucked it up and took a late night ride on the WEDWAY People Mover where we soaked in some of the seasonal lighting in Tomorrowland before we left the park at 11:55.


We beat the crowd that was about to exit the park when the party ended at midnight, boarded the monorail to the parking lot and picked up a pair of very excited dogs at the kennel.


We were back to the campground by 2:00 p.m. and fell into bed at 2:30.  It was our latest night out since May 27, 2001 . . . but that's another story altogether!


Monday December 4, 2023

The campground really cleared out after the Thanksgiving weekend and it's now slowly filling up again as more snowbirds arrive every day.  There are still lots of empty sites around us.


The weather has been hot; in the mid to high 80's every afternoon and quite humid.  Not the kind of conditions that Canadians like.

Thankfully our campsite gives us some welcome shade all day long!

Carol spent some time grooming the dogs.

Jake is always totally relaxed when Carol trims him . . .

. . . Jasper on the other hand does a lot of squirming!

We see an amazing sunset almost every night!

The dogs both like chillin' outside in the grass!

Carol is at the BBQ getting dinner ready!


The campsite is really feeling homey and cozy.  Canopy Oaks is a great place to call our 'Home for the Holidays'


Life is good here!

Wednesday December 6, 2023

Carol decided that it was time for a spur of the moment trip to Animal Kingdom, so we loaded up the dogs, checked them in at the Pet Paradise kennel in Kissimmee and went to the park.


Just after we entered I spotted De-Vine out of the corner of my eye.  She is a character almost totally covered in foliage who appears regularly near the park entrance.  As you can see she blends right in with her surroundings. 

Carol managed to get in close . . .

She got some great close-up shots!

The Merry Menagerie puppets are so lifelike!

We picked up Annual Passholder magnets in DinoLand

A baby Siamang with a mature one to the right.

While we had lunch at Yak & Yeti we watched the Webcam at Pet Paradise.

Jasper was having a blast with his buddies!
Jake was really enjoying some quiet time in his suite.

The female tiger was sound asleep!

The male was prowling and then hugged his favourite scratching post!

An owl in flight!

We rode a banshee in a Pandora 'Rite of Passage'

We headed toward the exit and I watched the 'Winged Encounters'

show while Carol browsed the shops.

Four very rare Macaws in full flight.

They flew just inches above the crowd.

One more puppet encounter!


We left the park at about 4:30 and headed to Pet Paradise.  The dogs were very happy to see us!


Our GPS took us south on the Florida Turnpike on the way home, the same route we used to get there in the morning.  At Yeehaw Junction we took Highway 60 westbound.  It's about 33 miles longer than our normal route but it's faster since you miss all the congestion on Highway 27 and Interstate 4.  I also like the route because it's so much fun to say 'Yeehaw Junction'


We had the dogs home by 6:30 where they enjoyed a late dinner.

So did Carol and I.

Naughty Santa.

Believe me . . . she's a naughty girl!

Thursday December 7, 2023

We did nothing all day.  It was nice!


We fed the dogs a bit early and left at about 4:30 heading to Bok Tower Gardens for dinner and a concert.  They prepared a very nice steak dinner for a dozen of us in The Blue Palmetto Café then Carol browsed the shop while I waited in the lobby outside the theatre.


The lobby was beautifully decorated for Christmas and the theme was snowy owls and cardinals.  Carol is now planning to redo our trees at home!



The entrance to the theatre carried on the cardinal theme and the stage was decorated for the occasion.  The stage looked a bit Christmas-y and a bit Halloween-y.

There were about 50 people there for the evening's concert.  A string quartet performed for over an hour.  All four are members of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and they were very good!  The selection included classical music and Christmas classics.  It ranged from Mozart to Peggy Lee.


It was a terrific way to end a day well wasted!

Saturday December 9, 2023

Today there was a pin trading event at the Holiday Inn on Hotel Plaza Boulevard so we were up bright and early for a road trip!


I dropped Carol off at the hotel at 9:45 with instructions to pick her up in exactly two hours!

She later reported that it was a great event.  Much bigger than the one she went to at the same hotel last month.  She saw plenty of friends and some very familiar faces   She made some good trades and completed a few sets she's been trying to complete for years!

While she was wasting her time with pins I went on to Pet Paradise and checked Jake and Jasper in for doggie daycare.


We know for sure that Jasper likes it there but it's harder to tell with Jake!

The check-in lobby overlooks one of the doggie pools!


I went to Disney Springs and did a bit of Christmas shopping.  I finished just in time to pick Carol up at 11:45 and we headed toward the Costco store near the Millenia Mall.  On the way we were distracted by an eatery called Hash House A Go-Go.   Our friend Gary Schaengold from Dayton recommended it so we dropped in to give it a try.


Wow.  It was delicious and the portions were huge!  Carol had fried chicken.

I had corned beef hash.


While we ate we watched Jasper on the Pet Paradise webcam.  He really enjoys playing with the other dogs around the pool.  He's top-centre in the picture above.

Here he is on the left, in the water up to his belly.  That's as deep as he ever goes!


He splashed around the pool all day.  That's a lot more activity than he's used to but he sure seemed to be having fun!


Jake on the other hand does not like hanging out with other dogs; he spends a quiet day in his own suite. He does have a one-on-one play time with one of the dog sitters,  We are not sure what they do but Jake comes home exhausted too so he must enjoy it.


Looks like Jasper's trying to avoid a butt-sniff from the big white dog!  I guess if you're a dog it's all in a day's fun!


After lunch Carol and I finally made it to Costco where we did a bit of shopping.  She had great plans to go to Hobby Lobby, DSW and Burlington, but the stores were crowded, the parking lots were full and the traffic was crazy around the Millenia Mall.  We were pooped so we scrapped those plans, picked up the dogs about 3:30 and headed home.


We pulled in at 5:00 and enjoyed a quiet evening.  Jasper slept very well!

Saturday December 9, 2023

Things got off to a very slow start this morning.

We started putting up our outdoor Christmas decorations yesterday morning but the wind was gusting and making it difficult so we called it a day after putting about four of them up.  We hoped for better weather this morning.


About 8:30 last night an incredible gust of wind interrupted our TV show.  It started without any warning . . . all was calm and quiet and then BAM . . . 50 MPH winds and driving rain.


We both ran outside and started grabbing stuff that was blowing away!  Carol pulled the plug on the few inflatables we had standing while I held down our Clam.  It's a six-sided screened-in dining shelter.  Three of the six corners of the Clam were staked down in the grass but the three corners on the concrete pad were lifting as much as three feet in the air.  I held the clam down while Carol rescued the blow-ups, then she held it down while I ran out some new guy-wires to secure the un-pegged corners.  The wind almost carried her away while I was rigging the new ropes.  Yikes . . . it was wild.


We were out in the weather for about twenty minutes and we were both completely saturated when we came inside.  Then the wind stopped instantly, the same way it started, after about 30 minutes.  The rain carried on most of the night.


We were out working on the decorations by 10:00 a.m.

This is how it looked when we finished after lunch!

The sky blazed with another amazing sunset!


Everything looked even better after the sun went down!  Several of the inflatables are new this year and we're quite happy with them.


♪♫  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  ♫♪

Mickey and Minnie seem pleased with the results.  As you can see below, even the Mickey lamp posts are smiling and dressed in Christmas colours!

Wednesday December 13, 2023

Today we were heading to EPCOT to spend the entire day and evening.  We pulled out of the campground at 8:00 a.m. and checked the dogs in at the Best Friends kennel across from Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort.


It was refreshingly cool and overcast when we got to the park at 10:15.  Carol had booked the virtual queue for Guardians of the Galaxy - Cosmic Rewind and our group was called just before we got there, so I headed directly to the attraction!

Carol doesn't like the Guardians ride so she was able to do some guilt-free shopping!

I listened to 'The Jammitors' for a few minutes on the way past them.

I rode Guardians using my Magic Band then rode again using Carol's!

Carol and Daisy were waiting when I finished my rides!


We toured around a newly renovated area near Spaceship Earth (directly behind us in this picture).  The construction barriers and hoarding have recently come down to reveal some wonderfully designed 'people space'.  There are trees, shaded areas to sit on benches or at tables and lots of plugs to charge electronic devices and ECVs.


The one thing lacking in most parks is space to sit and relax for a minute or two during the day.  This was a welcome sight for these two old fogies!


Peace, Love and Pixie Dust!

Anna Carol & Marie


We heard someone in the crowd calling Carol's name.  It was Anna and Marie, some friends from back home in Canada.  We visited for a few minutes outside one of the Port of Entry stores then I did some very important Christmas shopping!

At Shanghai we enjoyed a snack of Chicken Skewers and Spring Rolls.

Daisy was stalking us . . . she followed us all the way to Italy.

We took a spin on Spaceship Earth

Disney fans will recognize these scenes!

We watched a couple of live shows, first beside World Showcase Lagoon and then later in Canada.  Both groups were very good!

 A spirited and energetic group.  They sounded like a gospel choir.

Much better than that horrible lumberjack show!

We ended dinner at The Rose and Crown with sticky toffee pudding.

Does it look like I'm enjoying it?


We stopped in Mexico and took the Gran Fiesta Tour with Donald Duck, José Carioca and Panchito Pistoles.


Then we headed to The America Gardens Theatre for the 7:00 p.m. performance of the Candlelight Processional.

Six trumpeters opened the show with a fanfare!

Then they moved off to the wings, three on each side.

The choristers in the gold robes are Disney Cast Members

who volunteer for the choir.

The singers in the green robes are professionals who are employed by Disney.

They are 'The Voices of Liberty'  and sing daily in The American Pavilion.

The guest narrator this evening was Canadian actor Brendan Fraser.

He did a terrific job telling the Christmas story.


We both really enjoy the Candlelight Processional and we attend it every year if we're near Walt Disney World during the holiday season.


The narrator tells a short piece of the nativity story and then the talented choir sings a related hymn or Christmas Carol.  It's a wonderful way to usher in the festive season!



After the processional we headed to The Land Pavilion and took a boat ride through the greenhouses.  They are all decorated for the holidays!


There are a lot more lights than we've seen in the displays in previous years.

Spaceship Earth was ablaze with colour as we left the park at 9:00 p.m. to spring the dogs from prison!  It was 10:45 when we pulled into our campsite.  We were pooped after a long day but it was a very good day!

Monday December 18, 2023

We've had several windy and rainy days this week.  We've been trapped indoors.  The dogs managed to use the time to catch up on their rest!


Carol spent her time experimenting with Christmas coffee mugs to determine which one works best!


Today we planned to meet friends Deb and Linda at Bok Tower Gardens.  We were delighted to have a bright and sunny day.  It was a bit cool, a perfect day to hike through the flowers to the carillon tower at the top of the hill.


Deb and Linda were in the car head of us as we drove through the check-in gate at the gardens.

They have a handy display showing what plants are in bloom.  Carol studied it before we began our trek.

Huge live oak trees draped in Spanish moss.

Sprawling lawns.

Beautiful ponds.

We stopped to feed some koi in a pond at the base of the tower/

This heron watched closely from the weeds across the pond.


Carol likes flowers and there are plenty at Bok Tower Gardens.  Naturally she took lots and lots of pictures!

Our last glimpse of the tower!


We had a nice lunch at Frostbite on the way back to the campground, then enjoyed a quiet day at home with the dogs.  We've had a lot of those quiet days lately . . . and we're enjoying it!

January 2, 2024


We enjoyed some more of those quiet days as we waited for Christmas and New Year!



Not far from Bok Tower Gardens is a very forgettable tourist attraction.  There's no admission fee and you get exactly what you pay for.  You pull your car up to the white line and it rolls backward.  Exactly like you expected it to do.


Carol had the motor home all decked out for Christmas.


December 21st was a beautiful sunny day to sit under the pines and enjoy an outdoor jazz concert at Bok Tower Gardens!


On December 22nd we joined friends Deb and Linda for another stroll around the grounds at Bok Tower Gardens followed by a nice lunch in the Blue Palmetto Café.


This horticulturalist told us everything we need to know about growing

bananas . . . except how to grow them in Canada!

'Pretty please Momma!'

The puppies enjoyed another pup cup at Frost Bites.  It's still their favourite diner!

Carol roasted a turkey on Christmas Eve and we enjoyed a wonderful holiday dinner in the motor home.


We all slept in Christmas morning and enjoyed coffee and breakfast before the four of us dug into our Christmas stockings!

On Christmas morning Jasper and Jake posed for

a portrait with their brand new squeaky toys.


This one looked suitable for framing!


Later on Christmas Day we headed to the clubhouse where we joined about 60 other campers for a pot-luck Christmas dinner.  We weren't sure exactly what we were getting into but it was a very nice time!  Our tablemates were a couple from Sauble Beach Ontario, a couple from Buffalo New York  and another couple from New Hampshire.

On Boxing Day it was time to put the decorations away.  They had to sit on the

concrete pad for quite a while to dry out after all the rain we've had!

The World Junior Hockey Championship started on Boxing Day and kept Gary

amused for almost a week!

Aahh . . . the sunsets here are wonderful.

Park time is always fun for the boys!

They both run until their tongues hang out!

Have we mentioned the sunsets here?

January 17, 2024

A January 3rd SpaceX rocket launch from Cape Canaeral.

We have had cool and rainy weather the past few weeks.  We've stuck pretty close to home but fortunately there was plenty of hockey for me to watch.  The World Junior Hockey Championship and the Women's Under 18 World Championship have both been televised in the past few weeks.  The new Professional Women's Hockey League launched with it's first game on January 1st.  Carol is not a hockey fan . . . but boredom sometimes overtook her and she occasionally glanced at the screen.

The small white dot in the bottom right is Stage 2 heading to space; the white dot in the middle on top is Stage 1 rotating before it fires its rockets to brake for it's return to the Spaceport.

Animal Kingdom on January 4th.

Aren't the otters cute?

A subliminal message from a pachyderm!

Carol spotted a lion!

A mom and her 2 year old baby.

A giant Silverback eating a tree.

We took a ride on the Na'vi River Journey during  our first visit to Pandora this winter!

The Shaman of Songs

Sand Cranes at River Ranch, a dude ranch next to our campground.


There was a Sheltie convention at the dog park.  There were six Shetland Sheepdogs that afternoon.

Rainy days . . .

. . . and gloomy dogs!

We went to EPCOT January 16th

The annual Festival of the Arts has just begun!

We met Canadian friends Wanda and Graeme and spent the day with them.

Jonathan joined us for a while.  He's a Canadian Cultural Representative

at the Canada Pavilion.


We always enjoy the free concerts where Broadway stars sing hits from Disney's Broadway shows.


Heidi Blickenstaff starred as Ursula in The Little Mermaid and as Tess Coleman (the Mom) in Freaky Friday.


Gavin Lee was the first star to play Bert (the Dick Van Dyke role) in the Broadway production of Mary Poppins.

Gavin can really 'Step in Time'

January 24, 2024


Friday January 19th we checked the dogs in at Pet Paradise and headed to Animal Kingdom to meet a group of friends.  This is Jasper's favourite kennel . . . there he is hanging out beside the pool with his girlfriend!


DeVine was waiting when we entered the park and then we watched the 'Winged Encounters' show in front of the Tree of Life.   Colourful and noisy macaws fill the skies several times a day.

We met Carrie and Tim, Francine and Becky and Becky's son Andrew and her nephew Ross.  We had a nice visit while enjoying lunch at the Satu'li Canteen in Pandora.

Then we took a safari ride with Tim and Carrie.

I need to practice taking selfies . . . I missed myself but I did get Tim & Carrie!

There were lots of wildebeests.

Today was the first time we've seen a giraffe sitting down!

White rhinos.

A cheetah walking way, way back in the shade.

The lions were roaring as we passed.

It was quite a conversation . . . and LOUD!

She was still scolding him as we pulled away!

Jake was happy to get home from the kennel.

Monday January 22nd we went back to Bok Tower Gardens.

The boys like walking around the gardens.

We finally found The Window on the Pond.

The walking paths are mostly paved and are filled with colourful plants!

Wednesday January 24th was our 67th day at Canopy Oaks.

We made it to the pool for the first time!

January 31, 2024

We've enjoyed a few lazy days with the dogs.  They love to romp at the dog park!

They've even befriended a local herd of goats!

Carol's sharp eyes spotted this fellow on the side of the road.

As we pulled to a stop he flew up into a nearby tree,

Jasper likes camping!

January 29th Carol picked a fresh orange at Bok Tower Gardens.

These signs line the entrance to Bok Tower Gardens.

She finally spotted her first Gopher Tortoise.  They're native to the southeastern United States. The gopher tortoise is seen as a keystone species because it digs burrows that provide shelter for at least 360 other animal species.

January 30th we headed back to EPCOT for more Festival of the Arts fun!

Look - she's got horns!

Our Disney friends will hear the rooster and the dog when they see this picture!

'Always good to see you Carol!'

'Hey, look, it's my pal Gary!'

We took a boat from Canada to Morocco.

Carol bought a print and Joey Chou signed it for her.

We had an early dinner in China and I looked out the window at Norway!

Pot stickers and crab stuffed wontons!  Yummy!

We've known Alex for quite a few years and Carol has plenty of his art.

He's now been with Disney for 30 years!

He's even done a 'one of a kind' original piece for Carol!

After chatting with Alex, we walked directly into the America Gardens Theatre and enjoyed Mickey Bars as we waited for the Disney on Broadway show!

Kissy Simmons was the original Nala in The Lion King on Broadway.

Josh Strickland was the original Tarzan.

Our seats were only about 5 rows back, but we were way off to the side so our

pictures weren't great.  When the 5:30 show ended we went directly to the

line for the 6:45 show.

Friends Curtis and Alek joined us and we got much better seats the

second time around!

A selfie with Alek and Curtis.

When the show was over we chatted some more with Curtis and Alek as we slowly strolled toward the park exit.


We pulled out of EPCOT at about 8:30, picked the dogs up at the Best Friends kennel and were home by 10:00 p.m.

On Wednesday January 31st Carol missed the morning yoga class for the 75th consecutive day.  I'm beginning to suspect that she might not be as serious as she claims to be about her new hobby!

February 17, 2024

There's more than flowers at Bok Tower Gardens!



February 1st was Dedication Day at Bok Tower Gardens; the 94th anniversary of the opening of the Tower by President Calvin Cooledge in 1929.  It's the one day each year when people are allowed to cross the bridge in front of the tower and view the ornate bronze door.

We joined the line at 11:00

The view from the bridge.

The wrought iron is amazing!

Jake is behind Jasper but he refused to smile for the camera!


Each segment portrays a scene from The Bible


The pups behaved themselves so we took them for a treat!

Ridge Island Groves, Haines City FL - February 3, 2024


Tuesday February 6th we fed the dogs their dinner a bit early and left at 4:00 p.m. for EPCOT to see another Disney on Broadway show.

Ashley Brown was the original Mary Poppins on Broadway

L. Steven Taylor was Mufasa in The Lion King cast on Broadway

WOW  They were great!

Our Canadian friends Dave and Cindy Ripley enjoyed

Bok Tower Gardens with us on February 7th.

Our new E-Bikes were delivered February 12th and we couldn't wait to go for a spin.

Of course, the new bikes needed  a new garage!

This Northern Shrike love to sit and sing in the oak tree beside our motor home.


Carol and I celebrated Valentine's Day with Jake and Elwood, The Blues Brothers, at Manny's Chop House in Lake Wales.  It was happy hour so ordering one Manhattan means that you get two.  After a tasty dinner Carol drove us home!

We took another day-trip to Disney on February 15th.

Carol browsed the shops at Hollywood Studios while I snapped a few pictures

and enjoyed some people watching.

We enjoyed some Mickey Bars before riding Slinky Dog Dash

Jake was sleeping in his suite but Jasper was hanging with his buddies

at Pet Paradise.  That's him on top of the plastic mountain, on the left.

The Toy Soldier Marching Band went by as we ate our ice cream.

We joined Mickey, Minnie and Engineer Goofy for a ride on the Runaway Railway.

Before we left Hollywood Studios we checked in on the dogs again.

Jasper was hanging out at the pool. There he is right beside the girl!


Carol enjoyed a morning at the pool and in the afternoon during a bike ride around the campground we bumped into Jim and Martha from Kansas City, MO.  We see them regularly in the dog park with their two Shelties, Brodie and Colt.

Brodie in front, Colt in the back.


On Saturday February 17th Carol went to the monthly pin trading meet at The Holiday Inn at Disney Springs.  She picked up a friend, pin trader Sue from Kingston at the All Star Movies Resort and they met fellow Canadian trader Jonathan, from Cobourg, who was also at the trading event.


♪ ♫ It's a Small World After All ♫ ♪

February 19, 2024


Thursday February 19th we headed back to EPCOT for the final concert in the Disney on Broadway series.

The Festival of the Arts has some wonderful backdrops for photos!

Chalk artists are just beginning a picture of Mickey Mouse at 10:30 a.m.

Some of the topiaries for the Flower and Garden Festival have begun to appear.


A few hours later Mickey is taking shape.

Carol wandered around and posed for a few PhotoPass pictures

while I rode Guardians of the Galaxy

By 3:00 p.m. Mickey was done.  Looking good!

We had dinner at The Biergarten in Germany

When in Rome . . .

Then it was time for the 6:45 Disney on Broadway Concert

Bradley Gibson - Hercules, Shoba Narayan - Jasmine in Aladdin,

Michael James Scott - the Genie in Aladdin and Mandy Gonzales - Amneris in Aida

It was an amazing performance

The genie, Michael James Scott, sat behind us, eating popcorn, for a while.

On the way to the exit we stopped in Canada to say Hi to Jonathan.

February 22, 2024

We took a bike ride and fed the donkey and billy goat near the campground entrance.

Then we fed the smaller goats near the clubhouse.

On Thursday February 22nd friends Cheryl and Larry

came for a visit and we went to Bok Tower Gardens.

Of course we had to take a picture at the El Retiro gate!


After Larry and Cheryl left, Carol and I ended the day watching the sunset as we ate sandwiches and ice cream on the veranda at the campground's deli.


It's very handy, and a nice place to eat!

February 27, 2024




. . . but the water was warm and the pool wasn't crowded.

February 23rd was a warm and windy day.  The wind was wild . . .

We both lazed by the pool while the laundry tumbled in the washer and dryer.

Jasper likes to protect his Momma from UV rays.

Aahhh!  The sunsets here are magnificent.

Almost every night; if it isn't raining the sky is a beautiful red.

Jasper and Jake like meeting their buddies Brodie and Colt at the dog park.

Brodie and Jasper chase the ball; Jake just jumps and barks!

Brodie and Jasper play well together!

March 6, 2024

Wednesday February 28th was opening day for the annual EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival.  This year most of the event merchandise featured Orange Bird, one of Carol's favourite characters.   She was super-enthused and got up at the crack of dawn.  She left before 7:00 a.m. for a day of exciting retail therapy.  (That's impressive folks, she seldom rises before 9:00)


The drive took over two hours so she's planning to leave at 6:00 a.m. on opening day next year!


I wasn't invited . . . apparently I get in the way when she's prowling the shops.


I spent the day dog-sitting and enjoying my new e-bike.  Today I covered over 10 miles!


Carol was back home just after 3:00 p.m. and couldn't wait to show me her new loot.  It's all very nice . . . but where is she going to put it?


Friday March 1st we visited with our friend Jane Boeck from Missouri.  She was at their place in Polk City for a neighbourhood garage sale.


Saturday and Sunday we attended The House of Mouse Expo at the Osceola Heritage Park.  It was a 'comic-con' style event with a Disney theme.


Carol did a bit of shopping and we both enjoyed the speakers and panel discussions.


Many of the attendees were in 'cosplay' costumes.  This is Constance Hatchaway from The Haunted Mansion.

The speaker's stage.

Michele Atwood interviews Irene Bedard, the voice of Pocahontas

A cosplayer dressed as The Dreamfinder

Bret Iwan, the voice of Mickey Mouse

Ross Marquand (The Walking Dead) is interviewed by Patty Hawkins

Disney Imagineer Lon Smart


Four voice actors, Jason Marsden - Max (son of Goofy), Bill Farmer - Goofy, Bret Iwan - Mickey Mouse and Kaitlin Robrock - Minnie Mouse.  It was a very interesting and humorous discussion.

After the day at House of Mouse we went to EPCOT to see the latest evening water and pyrotechnic show, Luminous, The Symphony Of Us.


We posed for a few PhotoPass pictures and then had dinner at Nine Dragons


While we waited for the fireworks to start the mallard pictured on the right entertained us and the family sitting next to us.  Carol gave the children some of her leftover popcorn and Daisy ate it out of their hands.  Those kids smiled more at the duck than they did at Luminous.


The show was good, but it would be better if they could make it work without putting all those tons of ugly iron in the middle of the World Showcase lagoon.

Sunday at House of Mouse.  Canadian actor Aleks Paunovic star of

Artic Air and Van Helsing is interviewed by Patty Hawkins.

Melanie Paxson, the Fairy Godmother in Cupid and Jason Marsden.


Voice actors Jim Cummings (Winnie the Pooh and Tigger) and Terry McGovern (Launchpad McQuack).  You can see how close we were, that's my balding grey head in the bottom right.

On Monday Carol said, 'Let's have lunch at Earl of Sandwich.'

Of course we had to stop for a few more PhotoPass pictures.




We decided that we have a lot of stuff that we don't need to lug back and forth from Canada in the motor home so we rented a small self storage locker in Kissimmee.  Wednesday March 6th we moved some of our Christmas decorations into their new home.

March 8, 2024

The azaleas were magnificent today!



On Friday we met our friends Margaret and Tom from Atlanta and enjoyed walking around the grounds at Bok Tower Gardens with them.

Margaret and Tom look like Pigmies in front of the tower!

If you've been following along you had to know we'd get a picture at the gate to El Retiro.

March 12, 2024

Saturday March 9th we headed to a fishing camp just north of Lake Wales and had a tasty dinner at Cherry Pocket.  We may go back again . . . but not on a Saturday night.  They don't take reservations and we waited an hour for a table.

Sunday morning Carol drove to Walt Disney World to pick up our credentials for the D23 15th Anniversary Party later in the day.  She went to Disney Springs and had to tease me with a picture of her breakfast.

In the Art of Disney Store she spotted this beautiful original fabric creation that was made by our friend Patty Peraza.  She's a multi-talented lady!

On our way to the D23 party

My biker-chick!

Florida Sandhill Cranes, Henry and Henrietta, with their chick!

Feeding time at the goat pen.

They like carrots!


Tuesday March 12th we went to EPCOT to see the annual Flower & Garden Festival.

The park is ablaze with colourful flowers and amazing topiary figures!

I'm not very good at selfies!

An orchid tree

Look - it's Minnie


A  tomato tree!

The table is set for the tea party!

Carol is much better at selfies!

Chip & Dale are having a picnic.

This area was very fragrant!

Canada Geese in Canada!

We shared the Muffuletta Panini to tide us over until dinner time.

Jasper spent the day at the pool.  He's the one furthest left.

Jake chilled in his private suite!

That's Jasper in the pool having a drink.

Hi-ho, Hi-ho

Carol always has an overwhelming urge to comb out Lady's ears!

We enjoyed an early dinner at Tutto Italia

Sometimes Carol likes to have her picture taken.

This was not one of those times.

The orchids at Mexico were incredible!

We picked up the dogs at Pet Paradise about 6:00 p.m. and were home by 7:45.  Jasper, Carol and I were exhausted after a long, hot day but Jake was perky!

March 16, 2024

Hey lady, did you bring food?



Our bike rides often take us past the pasture where Jack and Billie hang out!

They both like carrots!


Friday March 15th we went to nearby Grape Hammock Fish Camp for an airboat tour along the marshy shores of Lake Kissimmee and Brahma Island.


We had just finished checking in when our skipper and tour guide, TJ, pulled up in the big noisy machine.


By 9:00 a.m. we had boarded, donned our communication headsets and were on our way.  The headsets dulled the engine noise and allowed us to communicate with TJ

and with each other.


The skipper pointed out interesting sights and critters as we as we sped over water, reeds, floating islands and the occasional sandbar that gave us little bumps!

TJ took us along 'channels' like this at high speed and occasionally threw in a few exciting hairpin turns.  Great fun!

There were flocks of water birds everywhere.

Lake Kissimmee to the left, Brahma Island to the right.

It was hard to focus when we were moving fast but Carol got some great shots!

A long, long way away in the top of a dead tree TJ spotted Momma bald eagle and her two fledglings.

Somebody's watching us!

Something you don't see every day.  A buffalo splashing around in Lake Kissimmee!

The shoal grass he's finding on the bottom must be tasty stuff!

This is what floating islands look like.

A cormorant drying it's wings.

This snail on Carol's side of the boat was the size of a softball.

These 700 horsepower boats will go almost anywhere.

Carol and I sat up high in the back row, flanking skipper TJ

Yup, that's a cow grazing in the swamp!

Their flat bottoms do very little damage to plant life.

We were back to the Fishing Camp at 10:30.  It was a great tour!

We saw fewer gators than we did in January 2022, but lots more eagles!

Friday afternoon we went to Plant City for strawberry shortcake at Parkesdale Farms!

After our dessert we had Cuban sandwiches for lunch at the nearby

Strawberry Hut Sandwich Shop.

Saturday Carol drove to Disney Springs for a Pin Trading event at the Holiday Inn.

Our Canadian friend Jonathan was there too!

March 22, 2024


On St. Patrick's Day we went back to Manny's Chophouse in Lake Wales and had dinner with Jake and Elwood.  Then on March 18th we went to EPCOT to enjoy more of the Flower & Garden Festival.


Carol likes flowers and butterflies.  This is her favourite place!

They are everywhere.  Three in this picture!

A magic moment!

More magic!

We stopped to watch the Japanese drummers for the first time in several years.

Another tasty meal at Teppan Edo

She said, 'Make your best fish face.'

The sky was gloomy when we left EPCOT to pick up the dogs at Pet Paradise.

March 21st we enjoyed a day trip to Hollywood Studios.

I edged out a victory in a hard-fought struggle!

These guys were patrolling Galaxy's Edge.

The Millennium Falcon


Jasper was hangin' indoors with his buddies!

My, what big feet you have Gertie!

Our server was Aunt Elaine.  She has a Facebook page where you can find this picture along with thousands of her other guests!

A train ride with Engineer Goofy.  What could go wrong?  EVERYTHING!

Let's conga!

Jasper was back at the pool when we were leaving the park.

That's him bottom right.

March 27, 2024

Our friends John and Cathy from New Jersey came to Canopy Oaks and stayed two nights in a cabin here at the campground.  It has been almost ten years since we've seen them so it was a treat to just sit and relax at the campsite while we caught up with each other's lives and reminisced about old times,


Mutual friends Deb and Linda from nearby Davenport Florida joined us for lunch on Sunday and the six of us enjoyed an afternoon-long visit. We didn't think to take a picture while the gang was with us . . . but on the right is a picture of the same group taken October 31, 2015.  Just imagine us nine years older and much wiser.


John and Cathy left to fly home on March 25th and the next day Carol enjoyed our last 'Disney Day' for a few months.

She had to work hard to keep this lemur away

from the food she put out for the ducks!

The lemurs put on a great show for us.

The otters are often hard to spot.

Three otters.

Two otters in a high-speed chase!

A steel-drum band sailed past!

The eastern end of a west facing Black Rhino.

Hippos catching some rays!

A pair of white rhinos hiding in the jungle!

Kevin from 'Up'

We sat at the bar in Yak & Yeti for lunch.  The Pad Thai was delicious!

This Buddha was on the bar in front of us.

Shelves behind the bar were filled with painted Buddha figures.  Do you see Donald and Goofy?  There are dozens of them, all painted by guests.

We had planned to ride Expedition Everest but the Lightning Lane was longer than we've ever seen so we skipped the ride and headed out to pick up the dogs.

Jasper spent the day at the pool.  He's at the top, on the right.


Here he's on the bottom left.  Jake relaxed in his private suite!

We spent most of Wednesday March 27th packing up and getting ready to head home.  We have another car load of stuff to drop off at our new storage locker in Kissimmee on Thursday and then we'll be pulling out on Friday.


It's been a great winter, but we're both itchy to get back home!  If the weather cooperates we should pull in our driveway on Monday April 1st!

Looking pretty bare now!

April 1, 2024

Thursday March 27th we dropped some more stuff off at our locker, then went to Disney Springs for luch at Earl of Sandwich.  Naturally we had to stop for some special PhotoPass pictures

We won't see Earl for another 8 months!

The dogs had their last Pup Cup at Frostbite Thursday night.

We were on the road, heading for home, at about 8:30 on Friday morning.

Within 30 minutes we hit heavy traffic and it stayed that way all day!

We crawled through Jacksonville FL and Savannah GA.

Altitude keeps Jasper calmer.  Strange!

Don't travel on Good Friday!

We spent the night in Walterboro SC

Saturday traffic was much lighter.

South Carolina has lots of potholes.  We even saw some pot-trenches!

Red Bud blossoms and climbing wisteria were everywhere.

This is a tough sign to photograph.  Too many other signs around!

The engine was roaring as we climbed the 7-mile hill so Carol went back to sit on the couch and soothe the trembling puppies.


While she was there she snapped this picture which shows the driver's perspective.  I mount my Android tablet on the dash and use it to run the Waze app as my GPS.


Under the GPS tablet is the image from our rear-facing camera.  That's the only way we can see the Ford Focus we tow . . . it does not show in our mirrors.

We pulled in at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant just outside Staunton Virginia a few minutes after 5:00 p.m. and after the dogs were fed we wandered in for our dinner.


We were a bit ahead of schedule and over half-way home.

On Easter Sunday traffic was much lighter.

It was grey and overcast most of the day.

Some of the backlit clouds looked eerie . . .

. . . others were enchanting!

Sunday we drove about 400 miles and passed through five US states!  We started the day in Staunton Virginia, hit the West Virginia State Line at 10:20 then crossed the Potomac River into Maryland at 10:45.  Pennsylvania followed at 11:00 and the last state line of the day put us in New York State at 4:05 p.m.




The dogs don't like mountains.  The engine roars as the motor home climbs up a slope and then the engine brake roars as it slows our descent down the other side.  This distresses the dogs and Carol.

Even with light traffic the mountains are a challenge for the driver.  When the motor home and the car are connected they are over 65 feet long.  Wind gusts and big trucks push the rig around and you have to stay fully alert all the time.  My arms were sore from steering the behemoth!


We parked behind the Cracker Barrel Restaurant just across the New York state line at Binghamton.  It was frustrating to pull off for the night when we're only 200 miles from home, but I was pooped after a long day behind the wheel!


Carol was sore and achy after a day of bumpy roads, rattling dishes and rattled dogs.  She spent the evening imagining how nice it would be if I drove the RV back and forth each year while Scottie just 'beamed' her and the dogs to Florida and back.

We got on the road at 7:45 on a grey, gloomy Monday morning.


There was absolutely no traffic.  We drove non-stop to the Canadian border.

The sky cleared to a beautiful blue as we approached Canada.

The first of two bridges across the St. Lawrence River.  This one is entirely in the USA.

Approaching the second bridge.  It's identical to the first, but it's entirely in Canada.

We live 25 miles west of the Thousand Island Bridges, in Kingston.

Here's our exit.  We were home at 11:30 a.m.

Flowers were blooming in the garden.  That made Carol happy!