For videos of our most recent time living in Central Florida, check out our 18-Month Florida Vacation Playlist on our new YouTube Channel.
We’ve stumbled onto this YouTuber – The Motorhome Experiment – and I’ve been binge-watching these videos. We’ve been kicking something like this around for some time, although we’d probably get a Fifth Wheel instead of an RV because we’d rather drive a pick-up instead of a bus (my parents had an RV and my aunt and uncle had a Fifth Wheel).
One of our fun outings is to walk Fort Wilderness at WDW to check out the various types of RVs. For now, we’re just dreaming – none of this will happen until Rich’s retirement, which is about nine or 10 years away.
Class A Motorhome – convenient snacks going down the road
Airstream Camping Trailer – small but adorable
Fifth Wheel – driving a truck vs driving a bus
In the meantime, Rich’s work brings us back to Las Vegas, and we’re very excited about it. We desperately needed a break from the desert and Florida has been, once again, a fabulous vacation, but it’s time to go home. Our Florida vacation is coming to an end. As one California friend said, “Back to Disneyland.” 🙂
Anyway, back to the Motorhome Experiment – they start out in Las Vegas with their countdown of going full-time by preparing and getting rid of extra stuff and selling their house in 2016. They’ve traveled to Florida and back, Mexico, and trips up the West Coast from Las Vegas to San Diego to Sonoma to the Oregon Coast, Washington and Alaska. Even stopped at Disney World and Disneyland! Simply amazing. It truly shows what an interesting life you can live if you’re the sort to drive/live in some sort of recreational vehicle.
Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Port Canaveral/Nassau 3-night cruise
What: Carnival Liberty
When: August 9-12, 2018
Why: Rich’s Birthday Celebration
I didn’t sleep much at all – either the big dinner or the chocolate cake at tea – but I was definitely ready to get off the ship. I couldn’t get to Port Canaveral soon enough. Maybe I was cruised out or maybe it was the oddness of the cruise or just too many short Carnival cruises. We do feel like we’re slumming it a bit when we’re sailing on Carnival – lol!
There are also highlights that are some of the best at sea, namely, the Alchemy Bar, the Steakhouse, and like we did on my birthday cruise, the Chef’s Table. You don’t even know you’re on Carnival then – no wonder they are our highlights. We’re already missing those – especially the Alchemy Bar. And the excellent service we had on our last cruise when we sailed in a suite. So even Carnival can come through for up-charge items and bookings.
But Carnival is always there to give us a quick fun affordable cruise fix when other ships aren’t available or too long or too expensive to do often. So I can’t say we’ll never cruise them again. But we’re both definitely missing a longer cruise on Princess and our mini-suite. 🙂
Our “Faster to the Fun” group met in the “any time” dining room where they offered tea, coffee, and pastries. We arrived at about 6:30 and were off the ship by about 6:45? Rich probably remembers better than I do.
The garage was right there, so easy to pick up our car, and drive the hour home, the fastest/closest cruise port we’ve ever traveled to.
Chocolate cake (amazing!) and Fruit Tart at Afternoon Tea
The Birthday Boy
Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise, Disneyland Resort, Newport Beach
What: Carnival Imagination, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
When: July 11-16, 2018
Why: Kathy’s Birthday Celebration (Catching up with SoCal)
As I mentioned here, we ate the leftover steak from Napa Rose for breakfast this morning along with some eggs from the hotel breakfast buffet. Then we headed for the port of Long Beach via my old stomping grounds – childhood home, high school, and other neighborhoods. I’ve posted enough pics about them so I won’t repeat that – lol!
We were a bit confused by the entry to the port due to some detour. But when we looked confused, a bus driver asked if everything was okay via a thumbs up? And so I rolled down the window and asked how to get to the port and he very nicely gave us directions. We were so impressed!
We parked the car in the garage and headed for the new check-in area at were directed to priority boarding and were onboard in no time at all. Because we were suite passengers, our room was ready so we dropped off our luggage and I noticed there were birthday decorations and a bottle of Prosecco that Rich had ordered. Yay! We met our cabin stewardess who was amazing and kept our ice and water well-stocked and cleaned.
We then headed for Guys Burgers for lunch. We shared the Straight Up – amazing!! Maybe even better than In N Out! Ohhhhh!!!
Then we made our way to the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar and Rich ordered a Blue’s Patron Margarita for me then ran over to the Red Frog Rum Bar on the opposite side of the ship and brought back his Rum Jumper (aka Rum Runner).
Rich’s Rum Jumper
Kathy’s Blue’s Patron Margarita
We did a bit of a ship tour, although we have sailed on two sister ships, the Paradise (twice), and the Inspiration. One of our favorite areas is the Adults Only Serenity Deck, especially on this class of ship.
We unpacked our carry-on bags and then it was off for the Muster Drill. Ours was located up on the pool deck. Carnival has improve somewhat with accounting for people by electronically beeping people’s Sail & Sign cards, similar to Princess but Princess is far more efficient. Then it was time for sailaway, although there seemed to be a bit of delay.
Our Prosecco was on ice waiting for us but due to the delay, we headed to the salad bar (Carnival’s is the best!). We made our way back to the cabin where chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, macaroons, and truffles awaited! Eventually, the ship began to move and Rich popped open the Prosecco, poured us each a glass, and we sailed away from our balcony.
I don’t remember doing much more after we sailed away. I think we pretty much just hang out on the balcony, which is our favorite thing to do on a ship. This is why we cruise. We texted with our pet sitter a few times before leaving range. We were pretty tired, as we always are on embarkation day.
We called 2017 the “Year of Repositioning” and many of you followed our journey from Las Vegas to Florida and the fits and starts along the way.
2018 is the “Year of Adjusting,” and I’ve really been struggling lately, actually even before the one-year anniversary of arriving in Florida. The first 7 months were spent in an apartment in North Orlando while we house hunted and then built our home in a beach city we’d never lived in before. So the adjustment period started all over again, although we might have been further along in our adjustment if we hadn’t had to split our time. But, then, this is our third time in Florida and I always get homesick. Hence, the upcoming birthday trip to SoCal, a short cruise to Mexico, and a couple of days at Disneyland Resort. I can’t wait to touch down once again!
Just for kicks, I looked at some pics of our Las Vegas home and the surrounding area and am so thankful we’re out of the desert – the best thing about living there was that feeling of home and being only 4 hours from Disneyland/SoCal childhood. I miss that! Sometimes I can’t believe I’m so far away now. How did this happen? 🙂
Anyway, here are two pics that show the contrast of living in Las Vegas and living in Florida – no wonder I struggle to adjust – it’s a huge change!
The back of our Vegas house – solar screens are popular as a way to block out some of that hot desert sun. We also had blackout drapes on the back side of the house for that intense afternoon sun.
This morning’s view from my screened Lanai where I sip my coffee every morning – glorious!
Two different worlds for sure!
Saturday, we shopped for the trip in the morning and then had our lunch at La Fiesta, which is so authentically Mexican, we’re there practically every week. At least the weeks we’re not at Disney. The Margaritas are amazing!! Growing up in Southern California surrounded by Mexican culture, margaritas and tacos are a taste of home.
Tequila, take me home!
Halfway through eating lunch. 🙂
We were shopping at Target the other day and we picked up some food items like tortillas, black beans, rice, tortilla chips and salsa and the clerk said, “Are you having a Mexican Fiesta?” I just looked at her and said, “Every night is a Mexican Fiesta for us.” The thing is nobody would say that to you in California or the West Coast or the entire SW. In this day of the Food Network and food education, I’m a bit shocked even somebody in Florida said it.
No doubt we’re having a blast in Florida, enjoying frequent trips to Disney and the beach – what a welcome change from the desert. Our house is wonderful, the golf community is gorgeous – both a dream come true. But it’s not home. And, as always, it’s starting to feel like we’re on another extended Florida vacation.
Everything is scary in the middle of the night. The apartment is smaller, the furniture looms larger, and I’m furniture shopping online. I see a couple of sofas that look smaller, wondering if we should leave ours behind and buy new on the other side. I read the measurements and climb down the stairs to measure our couch and compare. We would only save one-inch – lol! I don’t think that’s anything to bother with.
I’ve made lists of what can go with, what can stay behind, and the things that can go either way, depending on what space we think we’ll have. The things that will be left behind are things we’ve been meaning to ditch anyway. But we had space to fill, so we kept them longer than we would have otherwise.
We have two big dressers, one for me and one for Rich that also houses the electronics – we’ve both strongly disliked the one for Rich ever since it arrived. It was nothing like we thought it was when we saw it on the internet. We’ll toss that one and share mine. Today I’m going to pair down half of my dresser to make room for Rich. We’ve got our eye on a new dresser in the future, one that will match our somewhat recent new headboard.
The loveseat in my studio will finally go. We bought it when we were living in Orlando the first time around – it now has a rip in the fabric. We had to strong arm the salesman to deliver it when we needed it. That’s how you get things done there. People talk about how Disney applies pressure to the local officials to get what they want/need but I don’t criticize them for that. Otherwise, you’d never get anything done in Orlando.
The downside of all of this remote anticipation is that we’re not experiencing the pluses about being in Florida – just the fears. But once we’re there, I think we’ll be really excited. Just last night, shopping on the Rooms to Go website, I felt the excitement rising, realizing that means we’re going to be living in Florida again. Very excited about the good things.
Once we walk through our “vacation condo,” as I’m thinking of it now, I think our excitement will continue to rise. We imagined that the next new thing for us might be a condo and we pictured a sleek kitchen with stainless steel appliances, granite counter top, island, pendant lighting, under mount sink, wood floors, etc. This brand-new place has all of that.
Once I’m swimming in that pool, enjoying the cabana deck, and embracing writing sessions in the public lounge with coffee bar, I’ll truly be getting into that vacation lifestyle.
Once I’m enjoying our favorite barbecue joint, the writer’s group, choir, and local NSAI chapter, dropping Rich off at work to have a fun day at Disney, sharing all of that on this blog as I craft my video skills, well, life in Las Vegas will be a distant memory.
In the meantime, I’m listening to my Disney CDs, getting very excited for the future!
Heigh Ho, heigh ho – the move is back on. Rich was chatting with a co-worker who had recently relocated to the Orlando office and she and her husband had gone through several fits and starts before they actually pulled the trigger. So we don’t feel quite as nutty now. 🙂
We’ve been through a lot of cross-country moves with and without relocation. What’s different about a move like this is that you’re pretty much on your own and there’s no deadline so it’s easy to get cold feet and take some time to regroup.
After much soul-searching, realizing that Vegas will no longer work no matter what we do to try to fix it, it’s time to get our team together again and get this show on the road!