Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Further Adventures??: Quail Run, CollisionRV and Candlewood Suites

March 17 to April 5, 2018                                                                               Most Recent Posts:
Paynes Prairie State Park                                                                                Mid March
Micanopy, Florida                                                                                            Finishing February

It was January 25 when life as we knew it changed once again.  That story was told in a previous post Another BIG Bump in the Road.  I scrambled to find accomodations in the middle of a winter near Tampa in Florida.  Quail Run RV Park came to my aid and we are so grateful.  Our first 6 weeks there are covered in the above two posts.

During our last two weeks there David continued to improve and on March 21st went back on treatment for his Multiple Myeloma which had been suspended for two months for the Heart By Pass.  In that time according to his blood tests, the myeloma, which had been as near remission as it has been in years, doubled itself to one of the highest levels it’s been since his diagnosis.  David’s version of this disease is aggressive.  It seems insidious to me.

Going back on the cancer treatment seems to have caused some negative interactions with the new heart drugs he’s now on.  He’s having cognitive and memory issues and some balance difficulties.   We’ve been working with his heart doctor to try to get his statin changed to see if it is the culprit but we’re getting hard push back from our insurance company who feel they’ve already paid for a statin prescribed for 90 days and shouldn’t have to pay for another one even if he’s having side effects.  All the good guys are working on it but to date, the new drug isn’t “ready for pick up” and he must have a statin so the effects continue.

We have managed to have some fun during our last two weeks at Quail Run.  We skype  with Carrie and Celia.  David took this screen shot of Celia trying to shoulder her mother’s purse and her diaper bag, put on her hat and wave good bye to us.  She did this over and over, walking off camera and returning.  Taking things out of the bags and putting them back in and leaving again.  She had us in stitches.

I don’t believe I’ve mentioned that Celia will have a little brother joining her in September.  We are all very excited about this and things seem to be going perfectly for Carrie.

On our daily walks, we see Mama Crane on her nest.  I was hoping we might be here for the birth of her little ones but that didn’t happen. 


One day we saw these two mallards swimming around not too far from the nest.

The crane kept her eye on them.


She doesn’t seem bothered  but shortly she stood up and for the first time we could see her  eggs.  BIG eggs.


She checks on the eggs.

When she turns to face the ducks, they decide perhaps they should head further away and do.

20180318_191526Meanwhile, when I walk around on the other side of the park, I am joined by her mate casually walking down the sidewalk ahead of me.  I pass him and then turn to see if he follows along but he’s heard something and has turned around.   Not sure what he thinks of this guy’s fake crane call but if you’ve  never heard a Sand Hill Crane, here is a one minute video of my walking companion having a conversation with the guy in the blue shirt.  The second more clacking sound is the crane.  The higher pitch is the man.  A friend of blue shirt throws some food out which you should never do to a wild bird but luckily the crane thinks better of it. 

Time for a Flowbee haircut.  I’m not terribly satisfied with the results so no picture but they are about as good as the last two haircuts I paid for.  Not sure why I can’t find someone who can just layer my hair back away from my face.  Doesn’t seem like one of the more difficult cut request.


We also managed to attend the last two park dinners.  The first was “Taco night” and the second “Lobster night”.  They flew in 1.5 pound lobsters from Maine.  OH MY were they good!  We ate the tails and bodies and brought the claws home to extend the yummy.  David looks pretty pleased.

We finished watching the Women’s Basketball Tournament, congratulations to Notre Dame, and saw the Men’s Final 4 before saying goodbye to Quail Run on April 1st.

From there we drove South on I-275 to CollisionTec RV in Clearwater Florida for Winnona’s doctor visit to get the infamous Winnabago windshield frame repaired in order to get our windshield replaced.  CollisionTec has both an auto and an RV shop.  The above link has reviews of both.

When we parked Winnona, we were thinking that perhaps we should swap toads and take the gray one with us.

Doubt it would look quite so smart with Ruby’s kayaks and bikes.

IMG_0853We are unable to stay in the RV during this 4 day process so we had to rent a hotel room which during April, spring break month, is more costly than we were hoping.

We stayed at Candlewood Suites just down the street from CollisionTech so we would be easily available if need by.  The pictures in their link are much better than mine and are of our exact room

Our one bedroom suite had everything we needed, a large bathroom, very comfortable mattress on the bed, and a fully equipped kitchen although we could have done without the smelly carpet.  For such a nice place with so many amenities, I am surprised at this.  But at this point, after the past 2 months and one problem after another, I just don’t have the energy to move to another room so I buy a can of Glade instead. 

We’ve moved in on Monday so we are able to use their cable to watch Villanova win the Men’s NCAA Championship game.  We’re sad that our basketball overdose is over.


Since we had a kitchen, we prepared some meals this past week-end and brought them and our bags with us to Candlewood Suites.  Of course by Tuesday, we’d thought of a number of things we’d forgotten and were very glad that Winnona was only just down the streeet.

We found her without her windshield and without her front cap. 

You can see the rust from here but it’s even more clear in the close ups below. 

A lot of rust, really nice design Winnebago.  NOT!

If you own a Winnebago, this is in your future.  It’s just a matter of time.  Dar, the owner of CollisionTech RV told us he has seen inumberable Winnebagos in here for the same problem.  Still, he has owned and still owns Winnebagos becasue he feels they have fewer problems than most and parts are always available and the company sound even if they are still using this same windsheild design. He also says that many other manufacturers have the same problem.  I suppose the moral of the story is either deal with it as we are or trade your Winnebago in before the 10 year mark..  We are still very happy with Winnona and are pleased that this is actually the most expensive problem we’ve had with her.

Later on Tuesday afternoon,  I divided 3 loads of laundry in the free laundry room (nice perk Candlewood) and doing 10000 steps on the treadmill  in the adjacent gym.  Great idea to place them next to each other to encourage exercise rather than waiting although while I was there others came in and did their laundry but just left and came back..  The fella in the picture had no laundry.  He was on the eliptical that David also used later in the day.



IMG_0852AOn Wednesday, David had to go to the Cancer Center for Myeloma Treatment in the afternoon so I took the car in the morning, early, and headed out to the Florida Botanical Gardens where the grounds opened at 8 but the visitor center not until 10.   I was determined not to do another 10000 steps inside on a treadmill.   I pulled into the parking LOTS for the Gardens, shown on the map above the red line by all the Ps, and the entire lot as well as the roads leading to it were completely parked full of utility vehicles.  Seems the gardens share their parking lot with the city’s utility division and there was a meeting this morning, of course there was, and every single worker had driven a separate truck.  Not a parking spot in sight.

I drove on down the road to the adjacent Heritage Village and pulled into their parking lot.  The Village doesn’t open until 10am but the grounds were obviously open.  After looking at their map (above) I could see there was a bridge connecting the Village to the Gardens.  GREAT!  I parked at the yellow star near the bottom of the map started out on the red trail toward the bridge with the blue star.

When I got to the bridge it was locked.  Hmmmm.  I looked back at the map and saw there was  another connection at the other end of the Village Grounds but it was probably locked too.  So, being all alone here, I just climbed the fence at the spot of the red arrow, took this picture looking back and headed on over to the Gardens.

As is often the case, the map looks easy and the facts not so much.  When I get across the bridge it doesn’t look anything  like the map but I wander around here and there until I find what I’m looking for, an entrance to the Natural Trail Area.  This turns out not to be as nice as I’d hoped.  It’s pretty much a trail around the edge of the property and the road adjacent with two short trails crossing the middle.  Notice the green star.  That’s the biggest bat house I’ve ever seen.


I wonder if it has any bats?

Sections of the trails are nice.

I spy a pilleated woodpecker with something fuzzy in his beak.


He’s a striking bird and always surprises me with his size and his call.  When I hear him, I can imagine I’m in a jungle.  We had resident Pilleateds at the farm so they always bring a smile to my face when I see them.

This was the only other hiker I saw on the trail this morning as I went round and round and back and forth.

After wandering around the “Natural Trail” I headed over to the Botanical Gardens where I found it must have been clean up day.  There were workers and workers and volunteers with machines and mowers and tools everywhere.   This isn’t my idea of how to visit a gardens so I checked my map and found that I could pass through the gardens and make a big circle back to my car.  Map reminders make it easier to tell this tale.

Notice the purple star near the top of my red route, that’s where I did get detained for a bit by a family of what the Cornell Ornithology Lab is now calling the Common Gallinule but will always be known to me as the Common Moorhen.


Mom and Babies.

Actually there seem to be two moms and lots  of chicks.  I watch for a while.  They are really cute.

Even with that big red circuit, I only had about 6700 steps so I came back, got on the treadmill and finished it up.

David takes the car and on the way to his Cancer Center appointment stops for lunch at Big Storm Brewing which is also conveniently right down the street from Candlewood.  He provided these pictures and said their beer was excellent.  So excellent he brought some back with him.



He reports that it was an excellent place to visit and they have particularly good Imperial Stout.


While David was gone all afternoon, I spent some of my time sitting by the heated pool and reading Shakespeare Saved My Life by Laura Bates.  I highly recommend it as an easily readable interesting story about the impact of Shakespeare on the author and on the prisoners, one in particular.  It’s a very though provoking look at parts of our prison and “justice” system.  Yes, Shakespeare in prison.

The pool is not salt water and I  might have braved the chlorine if there had been a hot tub but otherwise, no thanks.  It was nice being outside though even with the noise of the traffic from nearby Ulmerton Road as background.


It’s Thursday which we hope is our last day in Clearwater.  It has been touch and go all week about whether Winnona would be ready on Friday.  I had only booked Candlewood for 4 nights as Dar Fortney of Collisiontec said that was his estimate of the time to do the work..  So we’d brought her in at 10am Monday.  Unfortunately Mike Howard of RV Window Replacement hadn’t been able to come and take the glass out.  They are the ones replacing the windshield.  Dar is doing the metal work.  So now Dar is a day behind.  We are crossing our fingers as we leave to spend at least a few hours at the beach here in Clearwater though it is 13 miles from the hotel.   I REALLY don’t want to do any steps on the treadmill.  Even with a book on tape it drives me crazy.

LOTS of traffic on the way so it takes nearly an hour to go 13 miles.  It is spring break I remind myself.  Of course parking is a joke – $30 for parking all day in a dirt patch?  Really??  I don’t think so.  After a bit of  looking around we find a spot on the street for $1.25 an hour and pay for two hours.  That should be more than 10000 steps worth and neither of us feels the need to sit on a beach this busy.

Clearwater Beach is a lovely broad white sand beach with clusters of people, umbrellas and little igloo looking sun tents clustered all along the edge of the water.



Looking North, the beach seems seems not so inviting for a walk


Looking south seems a tad better so I set off that way for 5000 steps and turn around.


There is a fairly wide line of shells along the edge of the sand.  Lots of people are walking along and picking them up.  They are about the size to use for one of those shell filled glass lamps.

As with most public beaches, if you walk far enough you move beyond the high rise developments and there are now houses and fewer and fewer people.  Beautiful skies, gorgeous water.  A great hike down the beach.


We’re pretty happy when Dar calls and says that he has finished the metal work and Mike will be over to put the glass in so we will be on schedule to leave in the morning.   They’ve done it inspite of all odds.  So we will be leaving tomorrow and get back on our schedule after so many park cancellations.   Tomorrow it’s Paynes Prairie.

S&D at Clearwater Beach


  1. Love the Mama crane sitting on her eggs. The video of the crane talking was something. I've never heard one- quite an odd sound. The woodpecker was handsome. I like them too. I'm glad that Winnona is all better. You'd think that they would figure out a way to fix her and prevent the same problem from happening again. The beach looks inviting but I do hate the high rises on it. The last time I was in Florida years ago), we were walking and the high rises were so close to the water that we had to walk behind them to continue on the beach. Well, it was in the 70's today and tomorrow, when Willie and I are doing the Bow Wow Walk, it is supposed to snow@#@! xxxooo

  2. I've thought about you often. Glad to hear you jumped over this hurdle. Looks like Davids appetite is doing okay. Enjoy the warmth!

  3. So frustrating when medications work against each other, and then insurance companies add to the issue :-( Hope the side effects are behind David now. Love being able to Skype with Ezra - he also loves to entertain us and make us laugh. Congrats to the whole family on the upcoming baby boy!! That windshield frame is crazy - I'm sure you'll feel better having that fixed. Wonderful they were able to complete the job on time. Safe travels as you get back on the road.

  4. I was visited in North Carolina by more kinds of woodpeckers than I knew existed. They can really do a number of your trees though. Before I moved I had to have two trees removed with trunks that were nearly totally hollowed out by them.

    I'm with David - you should never pass up a good craft brew. I found a wonderful red ale and a little place not two miles from my house, in a sort of industrial park.

  5. Sounds like some progress was made since your last post. Just hope David's meds get straightened out soon, very soon. But yes he still has a wonderful Appetite.

    Now that your RV is all fixed and you can enjoy some new places stay safe.

  6. Drug interactions is something insurance companies should understand, but alas ... We did not have to worry about that, but trying to get the company to ship the standard 90-day supply after the 30-day ℞ we got leaving the hospital was a challenge to make sure it arrived before Mui ran out of his supplies was on a challenge. Enjoy your future travels ... if all goes well we’ll be on our west in a couple of weeks.

  7. Heartless Bastard Insurance Company!!!
    Hang in...

  8. Hopefully, by now, all the medical issues have been worked out, and with the repair you have been able to escape the concrete jungle you dislike so much.

    With Dave's knee and back issues on this trip, we have quickly decided we do not want to deal with medical issues on the road, and will head home to Houston in the fall to begin the process of deciding life's next adventure.

    Wishing you and David all the best. . .

  9. So nice to have that windshield repaired. We expect lots of rain today so we will see how well the repair went. Great pictures of the Sandhill Cranes & of course I loved the Skype with Celia & Carrie - that was too funny watching her pack her bags and put them over her shoulder and head for the door!

  10. Glad to hear the repairs are done and you can move on!! Hopefully this is the end of THIS season and on to a new & better season:o)) Can't get over how much Celia looks likes her Mama:o)) Such a joy at this age!!

  11. If you haven't received the new statin, check its price on GoodRX.com. Sometimes, especially if it's an older drug or generic, the coupon will make it affordable. Here's hoping the interactions will get sorted out.

  12. Congrats on the second grandchild! Such a startling view of Winnona. I know you'd rather walk in nature yet am impressed with your dedication to the steps. Glad your home repairs are done for a while and you're back on the road.

  13. Congratulations on the impending arrival. Insurance companies are frustrating, under the circumstances, so I hope things go smoothly for David.

    The pileated woodpeckers seem to have quite a range. We have them up in Ontario, though I don't know if they winter here.

  14. Do so appreciate your blog, Sherry, and the honest details of David's struggles. I know his struggles are your struggles also. Soooo excited to hear about Carrie and Matthew's baby boy to be born. Glad that big crane strolling down the sidewalk was friendly. Always enjoy your beautiful photography....and your zest for life.

  15. Those woodpeckers are such beautiful birds. I used to love seeing them in our woods in Maryland. They can do unbelievable damage with those beaks. Hope David's treatment gets things back on track - that was a long hiatus. However, his recovery from the open heart surgery was very impressive. It was nice talking with him this morning and good to know you were able to move into a State Park finally. David told me about Celia's antics - very cute.

  16. Oh hurray!!! You're back on the road and at Payne's Prairie! Don't miss the new nearby Sweetwater Wetlands Preserve. The birding is fabulous. But you had some pretty sweet birding in your RV Park with that mama Sandhill Crane sitting on her nest. What a treat!
    You guys have really been through a huge ordeal (several ordeals, actually) the past couple of months. We're so glad you're on the other side of it all. Enjoy your freedom (no more 10,000 steps around the RV park or on the treadmill!).
    Such exciting news that you'll have a new member of the family come September. Hugs to you both!

  17. That was quite some rust! So glad they got it accomplished. Lovely bird pictures. Definitely a step out of your normal to stay in a hotel! Always neat to see myself and Celia on the blog :) It's in the 40s here again...where is our warm?! Ah beach! Even if crowded, the waves are such a lovely sound.

  18. I too am hoping to finally get my windshield replaced soon..

  19. Sure hope David gets things workout with his medication and the side effects have subsided. How sweet to have face time with the family:) Poor Winnona looks so sad without her front. Hope you got her back in time! What a gorgeous white sand beach in Clearwater.

  20. Wishing the best for you guys. Thanks for the rust pics.

  21. So very excited about new grandbaby!!!!
    That beach looks very crowded there at first... I noticed that with the Florida beaches just walk a bit and you would have it to yourself!!

  22. Congratulations on the new grandson coming, how exciting! Winnona will get good treatment it sounds like. Candlewood Suites are usually nice, but yuck on smelly carpet!

  23. I am glad to hear the windshield was done on time so you could leave town. Lucky you.

    Sorry about Davids myeloma numbers and hopefully he will be able to get them back to where they were. Good luck finding a statin that won't bother him. Al quit statins and is taking high fish oil.

    We've been watching the crane family and I'll take some pics for you when they hatch, although I hesitate because I hate to get attached when so many things can happen. There are a lot of newly hatched babies around this area.

    That bat tower is cool. There was a huge one in the Keys that we only recently found. Fortunately, we were able to get pics last year because the hurricane destroyed it. It had been there 100 years I think. It was so sad.

    Enjoy the prairie. I hope you see the buffalo and wild horses.

  24. I've said it many, many times, but it's worth saying, again. You and David are an inspiration. Loved your woody wood pecker, and as always you find bright spots and silver linings no matter what. I think of you often.

  25. Hope you can get the meds isues worked out in your favor soon. Winnebago is well known for thier poor windsheld design. Our 2006 Meridian suffered from these faults as well. Most places will not even deal with them due to the risk of breakage. We finally found a place that would work on ours.

  26. Wow, this was a lot of information in one post. First, I'm sorry to hear David's news and hope that y'all can get the meds corrected soon. Second, I'm excited to hear Carrie's news. That's great. You will have a girl and a boy grandchildren just like me. So wonderful. I really loved this post because it had a little bit of everything. I wonder if some people do trade in their Winnebagos every 8 years or so. I can't imagine it.

    I love your determination, Sherry. Locked gate? No problem. Too many people? No problem. Smelly room? No problem!!! Thanks for sharing. Hope that things are looking up for David soon. Take care.

  27. Dave looks forward to trying all those FL craft beers. Hope David's numbers are better soon. Great job on all the steps, we're now in Durango and I'm certainly not getting mine in, have to get our routine going again...always takes a bit when we settle in somewhere new for awhile. Cool bat house, glad you've had the cranes to keep you company. I sure don't look forward to the crowded beaches next winter in FL.

  28. We are alwasy in the mercy of this Insurance crap, and I hope you have already overcome this set of challenge. I can imagine your frustrations and worries of drug interactions, but again you guys seem to just take it a step at a time. And look you got a new windshield, back on the road and taking things on stride. Hurrah!


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