Sunday, February 28, 2010

Replacing my books with ebooks

A couple of days ago I mentioned (with very much enthusiasm) my new Nook. Well I am have been busy reading and replacing all my paperbacks and hardbacks that I can. So far I have been able to exchange 9 books for ebooks. I can hear our little Nissan Titan say “Thanks for the weight off my shoulders… now unload some more!” Well we are sticking around Florida in the winter at the Thousand Trails and MidAtlantic resorts the change in weight may not make that much of difference (except of course now there is space on the bookshelf in Maverick’s room) but this summer the change will be more noticeable as we head up the east coast like beach bums in search of waves.

Day 40 of 365

This post featured the Barnes and Noble Nook and their ebook selection:
Read in Style. Designer Covers and Accessories.

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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Pearl Izumi Running Shoes

Only 5 days left!!! To the Disney Princess Half Marathon that is. On March 7 at 6am I will be headed for my 13 miles through Disney World, starting and ending in Epcot. If I succeed in finishing those 13 miles in 3 hours and 30 minutes I will be granted the coveted princess medal. I am really excited. Many people talk about dressing up in princess costumes, wearing crowns, tutus etc. I thought about it myself but at the same time I am already slow, so I do not want more things to slow me down. So instead of wearing princess gear I am looking for the ultimate pair of shoes, and then I will buy running clothes to match my shoes. Pictured here is my latest pair I bought this week. They are a lovely aqua marine, have amazing heals and seamless uppers (really makes a huge difference). I think these may be the ones I wear during the race. Now to find aqua marine running clothes!

By the way one of the things my fellow runners ask each other is what Disney princess are you? When I signed up for the race they asked that in the registration information and I put Snow White. Not because I really identify with her, because in that case it would be Belle but I put Snow White because she has great hair and when I actually get my hair cut I go for the Snow White. :)

Day 39 of 365

This post featured the Pearl iZUMi Women's Running Shoes:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 38:Up, up and away

Up, up and away, originally uploaded by Amanda Perez-Carroll.

Well hot air balloons seem to love to travel over our neighborhood. At least once a week in the early morning hours you will be able to see them flying low over the resort. It always amazes me that they miss the trees as low as they fly.

Spotted February 26, 2010 at the Thousand Trails Orlando Resort.

Day 38 of 365

This post features the song Up, Up and Away:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Barnes and Noble Nook Review

Read in Style. Designer Covers and Accessories.

As a fulltime RVer the need to limit your possessions so as not to overload your RV is imperative. For avid readers such as myself this can be a bit of a problem. Not anymore. I have been following the Kindle, Kindle 2, Nook and the E-readers (such as Sony eReader) for some time now and trying to decide which reader would fit my needs and help to clear out my overwhelming traveling bookshelf. After months of research I finally decided that the Barnes and Noble Nook was the e-reader that would meet my needs.

While it is still new (just in its second software update since December 2009) it already is functioning at a higher level than the Kindle and the Sony e-reader. Some of my favorite features of the Nook are:

• Lend a book- now in its Beta stage you really can lend a book to your friends and they can lend books to you (hey Nook friends want to trade books!?)

• Touch Screen Navigation- while it take a little time to get used to the touch screen navigation is clean, simple and fast (there are some things that are hard to find in the touch screen navigation see things to be improved on the Nook for details)

• Audio player, PDFs and JPEGs all work wonderfully on the Nook (if you scan something in and use the Adobe professional software to OCR text recognition you will find that the images are small, but they will enlarge. Simply choose font/text size/Large. The Nook will then tell you that it is formatting your text and when done the PDF will look the same, not true click the next arrow on the side of the Nook and volia you have enlarge text that is easy to read. Now because of Adobe Professional a scanned text will often have symbols in place of pictures or letters that the software could not read. This is not a malfunction of the Nook but of Adobe Professional Software, it reads the same on the Sony e-reader and that one you have to click next to see the enlarged text.

• Wi-Fi is awesome on the Nook. It runs off AT&T 3G network so the coverage it great in most large to medium large cities. Buying books is really quick and easy. And if you like the book samples (I know I love them) they are available on the Nook as well.

• Registration to your online B&N library is quick. With the easy to use keyboard on the touch screen all you have to do to get our online e-books from B&N is type in your email address and password from your online account and there they are all your books from your online library!

There are some things that need improvement on the Nook:

• The Audio player is a little difficult to find. In the tour the tell you that from any top menu you can play the audio player… well the only one I could find the option from was The Daily. But once you find it no problems starting, going through tracks. Music plays perfectly while reading anything on the Nook.

• Opening the box. Wow that was difficult. When you get to step five and they tell you to pull the top plastic cover off you will more than likely become frustrated… I did. It does not really just pull off. The bottom plastic layer is thin and you can see where they connect. Put your finger nail in one of the groves and yank on the top layer. Once you have one end up the rest starts to come up with more ease.

• At first, I thought that it slept too often but then I found the settings and you can set it to sleep after 15 minutes of inactivity. I read a sample chapter on the Nook (about 20 pages) and no problems with the sleep set to 15 minutes I was able to read through without it falling asleep.

• The bookmarks are a little difficult to find. Once you are in the chapter that you are reading touch the navigation screen click go to/bookmarks/add bookmark.

• It is confusing as to how to load documents (PDFs, MP3s and JPEG) to your Nook. At first I was under the impression that I had to go through the B&N reader I have on my computer (with the Sony e-reader you do) but no simply have your Nook on the main navigation screen and plug it into your laptop with the USB cord that comes in the box. It will then open up the Nook folder, open it and you will see files like My Library, Music , My Documents etc. Drag items over into my Documents (PDFs) and Music into Music and then Eject the Nook from your computer and unplug the Nook. Go to my Documents and ask it to check for new items. There they are!

Reasons to buy the Nook over the Kindle and the Sony E-reader:

• Barnes and Noble is my number one reason for buying the Nook over the Kindle and the Sony E-reader. They offer the sample chapters, the Lend a Book and well, they are a bookstore with the following that will demand that B&N keeps the Nook up to date and with all the features B&N promised.

As I use the Nook more I will update you on how it functions, what changes have been made, what new features have been installed and so on. If you found this review helpful and you would like your own Nook please feel free to use my link below. I do get credit for your purchase since I belong to the Barnes and Noble Affiliate program.

Happy Reading…

Read in Style. Designer Covers and Accessories.

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Kilamanjaro Safari Animal Kingdom

Since we were just 10 minutes from Disney World the other day we decided to head over to Animal Kingdom and walk around. Of course a visit to Animal Kingdom is not complete without a ride on the Kilimanjaro Safaris. The wait was somewhat longer than we were used to (20 and sometimes 30 minutes) but with a fast pass we were able to walk right up. Boy it was packed! They were running a ton more vehicles through than I remember happening in the past and they flew through the preserve. But the animals were out and close to the vehicles. So many were right there next to (or very close to the vehicle) that our little Kodak camera without much zoom was able to get a couple of good shots. Check out my flickr album from our February 23, 2010 visit.

PS... Thousand Trails members the best place to stay if you want to have a quick trip to Disney World (besides actually staying in Fort Wilderness… which sometimes the commute to the parks is the same as the commute form Thousand Trails) is Thousand Trails Orlando. You can get there quickly by heading out on 27 and then taking 192 to Sherbeth Road which will take you right in by Animal Kingdom Lodge (beware the road is often congested and recently there has been a lot of road work). Turn right at the light to reach the parks (follow the signs for each park).

Day 37 of 365

This post featured the Kodak Easyshare camera:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cows at Thousand Trails RV Resorts

One of the things I love about the Thousand Trails RV parks and those parks associated with Thousand Trails and Encore is the animals that one can encounter just outside their door. A couple of weeks ago when we were staying at the MidAtlantic park Three Flags we camped in the back of the park and our first morning there we woke up to a strange noise outside. When we opened the curtains we say tons of cows all standing near a big tree behind our fifth wheel. All morning we could hearing the mooing and see the baby cows playing with each other. Talk about a great view. :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

"How Do I Love Thee? (Sonnet 43)" - Elizabeth Barrett Browning

Day 29 of 365

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Breaking in the new La Sportiva shoes

Since I will be walking/running in the Disney Princess Half Marathon (March 7, 2010) I have been walking a lot (about 30 miles a week). When I started seriously training for the Half Marathon in December 2009 I bought a pair of New Balance Walking shoes. Well after about 200 miles on those they probably have a 100 miles left in them so I have been trying out different types of shoes. I have a pair of Vasquez trail running shoes that walk well but they are a little heavy. So Norwood bought be a pair of La Sportiva’s and today was their first test run. I put 4 miles on them and so far so good. They have great cushion for the impact, a little heavy but not too bad. Since we are in Florida for the winter a lot of my training has been done in Thousand Trails Orlando. Doing the entire loop (including all of I, H and D) will give you 2.57 miles with small inclines. It is a good place to train for Disney Marathons because I have heard there are some pretty good hills on most marathon courses.

This post featured La Sportiva Trail Running Shoes:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Virginia Landing Thousand Trails

Where is Virginia Landing?

Virginia Landing is in Quinby Virginia which is a little island. You will need to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge which is $20. When you are nearing the park you will go down a long narrow road, if you use the GPS coordinates you will find the park so just keep down that long narrow road it is there. Here is the address:
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40226 Upshur Neck Road
Quinby, VA 23423

And here is the GPS coordinates (use these if it is your first visit):
N 37°29'11.08"
W 75°47'20.77"; elevation is 0 ft.

How many campsites does Virginia Landing have?
Over 800 acres there is 200 power and water only (there are a few sites that have full hookups now and they are usually open in the summer) 46 overflow sites. There are also 19 rental trailers.

What amenities does Virginia Landing offer?
Virginia Landing is a beautiful property. They offer the following amenities:
• Ball Field
• Boat Dock
• Boat Launch
• Clam Beds
• Country Store
• WiFi internet (in the family center)
• Family Center
• Family Pool
• Fish Cleaning Stations
• Horseshoe Pits
• Laundry Facilities
• Mini-Golf
• Paddleboats
• Ping-Pong
• Pool Tables
• River
• Shuffleboard
• Volleyball Court

There are also a couple of large pear trees near the family center for those who like pears.

Things to do near Virginia Landing:
Virginia Landing is a little far from activities, large cities and beaches. Some of the closer things are about 50 miles away and some you have to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge again. But if you are looking for peace and a place to clam or kayak you will love Virginia Landing.

Photos of Virginia Landing:
Flickr photos of Virginia Landing

A Few Words on Virginia Landing:
As mentioned earlier in this post in order to get to Virginia Landing you need to take the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, which for the RV to cross is $20. Crossing the bridge is a pretty neat thing to see. To see photos of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge check out my Cheeapeake Bay Bridge flickr photoset. Also make sure you have insect spray, there is a lot of water and a lot of mosquitoes.
The campsites at Virginia Landing and the club house are separated by a neighborhood. It is a little neighborhood and most of the people are polite and friendly. Overall the park is really quite (we visited in August).

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Orange Grove at Peace River

Peace River has two nature trails in the resort. One, the favorite of all that stay at Peace River, treks along the river itself where many find shark teeth and great photo opportunities of alligators and hawks. But there is another trail that is not traveled as often and that trail runs on the opposite end of the park (less than a half mile long) and at the end is an “orange grove.” Beware though the oranges you find in this grove are bitter oranges and will not be the best for eating or making orange juice. But if you feel like a little orange chicken grab a couple. Oh one little tip bring a long walking stick with you, many of the oranges are up high and unless you feel like climbing a tree you will want a little assistance.

The oranges pictured above were found at the Thousand Trails Peace River Resort in Wachula Florida. Peace River is also a Naco park. For information on Thousand Trails membership check out our Thousand Trails information post.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Becoming water on Peace River

“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless – like water. Now put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” –Bruce Lee

A great place to “become water” is on the bank of Peace River early in the morning. Before the sounds of the highway nearby, before the sounds of RVs coming and going there are only sounds of water, birds and in my case a little border collie sniffing at my ear.

This photo was taken at the Peace River Thousand Trails in Wachula Florida.

This post features an extra thick yoga mat:

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

tiny turtle

tiny turtle, originally uploaded by Amanda Perez-Carroll.
"Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

This little turtle was found at Three Flags RV park in Wildwood Florida after a big rain he seemed to have lost his way from the water so after a few pictures Norwood took him to the nearest little pond and he swam away.

PS: Thousand Trails members... if you want to use the Three Flags park which is just an hour from the Clermont Orlando Thousand Trails you can upgrade to the new Elite Connection which gives you access to all the MidAtlantic and Outdoor World parks. We just upgraded and are planning on using it all this summer so look for posts on various MidAtlantic and Outdoor World parks.

Monday, February 08, 2010

Three Flags RV Park Wildwood Florida

Three Flags RV Resort

UPDATE February 2011: The Clubhouse is undergoing renovation and therefore is not open for use.  Contact the park directly at (352)748-3870 for more information as to when the Clubhouse will open again. Also there are site closed at the park check the "Sites Closed at Three Flags RV Resort in Wildwood Florida" for more information.

Where is Three Flags (MidAtlantic)?
Three Flags, a MidAtlantic park that is available to Thousand Trails members who have upgraded to the Elite Connection contract, is in Wildwood Florida. It is about an hour from the Orlando Thousand Trails. The address is…

1755 E State Road 44 Wildwood, FL 34785 352.748.3870

And the GPS coordinates (highly recommend you use these if it is your first time to Three Flags) N 28°51'35.94" W 82° 4'27.36"; elevation is 0 ft.

How many campsites does Three Flags have?
Three Flags is right off of highway 44 and it basically has two sections; the front and the back. The front is where “non-members” park and the back is where “members” tend to park. The entire park (walking along the main roads) is little under a mile (it takes one whole loop and a half to equal a mile).

196 Full hookups
4 rental trailers

What amenities does Three Flags offer?
Three Flags offers the following:
• Fenced in dog park
• Laundry
• Lounge
• Clothesline
• Telephone (at the lounge)
• Showers and Restroom (1 bath house)
• Swimming Pool (at the front of the park on the side of the road)
• Putt Putt Golf
• Shuffleboard
• Fire Pit (the rules of the park say that this is the only place you are allowed fires but this unfortunately is not enforced)
• Horse shoes
• Dog Walk (signs pointing along the side of the road)

Things to do near Three Flags:
The Gulf is about 40 miles away and Disney World is about 50 miles away. There is also a Russell Stover’s Candy Store less than a mile away from the park. Tampa and Clearwater are not too far away for a day trip.

Photos of Three Flags:
Flickr Photos of Three Worlds RV Park

A Few Words on Three Flags:
As mentioned earlier in this post Three Flags is only available to those who are RPI members or Thousand Trails members who have Elite Connection contracts (those upgrades that include the use of MidAtlantic and Outdoor World). Although Three Flags is a nice park it is not like Orlando Thousand Trails or Peace River. It is much smaller than both and it is not gated like Peace River and Orlando Thousand Trails. It also does not have as many amenities as Orlando Thousand Trails or Peace River. For example, there is no adult lodge. Tengo internet is available at the park. Three Flags is known for becoming very muddy when it rains and causing some folks trouble getting out of their sites. People tend to leave their dogs alone in the fenced dog park so they will tell you when you come in to make sure you attend to your dog at all times.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Save $30 on Good Sam Renewal

Stuck at Three Flags (2)

Save $30 on Good Sam Renewal Click Here!!! Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service

Amanda and I just renewed our Good sams membership in preparation for all the traveling we will be doing this summer. I know a lot of members of thousand trails, Naco, Leisure Time, Outdoor World and Mid Atlantic buy the Good Sam road side memberships. You might find it interesting to know that if you use the link in the right side bar on weekly Zen you can save $30.00 dollars on renewals and new memberships and every other service they provide. Just click the link and enter your information and save. And if you don’t have Good Sams RV road side assistance plan you might consider purchasing it. Our Friends were just telling us how their Class A broke down on a summer west coast trip last year and it would have cost them 1000’s of dollars for the 50 mile tow. But Good Sams picked up the entire bill. Also I like having one number to call. I just don’t want to have a breakdown in the middle of nowhere and have to find a tow company on my own. And with Good Sams reputation I feel confident if a problem occurs we have a good network of professional at our disposal. So take a look and see if the God Sam road side service is right for you. Good Sam RV Emergency Road Service

The above picture is of a RV that was trying to get out of a site at Three Flags in Wildwood Florida which is a MidAtlantic park that Thousand Trails members who have the Elite Connection can use just like their Thousand Trails parks. Three Flags is known for being really muddy when it rains and apparently it is not uncommon for people needing a tow out of their spots. I hope these guys had Good Sams because they needed a semi tow truck to get them out.