Friday, March 28, 2008

Airstream Ranch Update

Early in January, I posted about the new Airstream Ranch display off I-4 in Dover Florida. Bates RV set eight old Airstream trailers on on end and partially buried them, a la Cadillac Ranch in Texas. But this is metropolitan Tampa and neighbors complained.

So it went to court and on March 15, the County gave Frank Bates 30 days to tear it down. Naturally, he is appealing. The Tampa Tribune newspaper carried the full story (complete with expert testimony on what constitutes art) called A Monumental Dispute.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Our Itinerary

Ed & I have our last baseball game at Legends Field on Thursday the 27th and will be leaving Tampa on Friday. We'll head up to Orange City for several days, visit with Mark & Gina and, hopefully, Norm & Donna. I'd love to have a day at New Smyrna Beach. After leaving Florida, we may stop and visit Todd & Stephanie in South Carolina if it's convenient for them and then pretty much make a beeline for home in CT. The earliest we can get into Cha-Wi-Ma will be April 12, when they turn the water on. Normally, we take a month to travel up north. But this year, we want to get the RV Toy Shoppe open by April 15. So to all our friends and family in CT, see you in a few weeks!

Plant City Florida Strawberry Festival

From February 28-March 9, Plant City hosted the 2008 Florida Strawberry Festival. Mark & Gina came down from Orange City so we could all spend the day there together. First order of business - get homemade strawberry shortcake! We were offered our choice of biscuit or sponge cake (we like biscuit) topped with luscious perfectly ripe and juicy strawberries and real whipped cream.

We scouted the food vendors for lunch later on, then Gina & I hopped aboard the ferris wheel to get a birds-eye view of the Fairgrounds.

The Berry-Go-Round looked like it would be fun for the young 'uns.

We toured the barns with the livestock competition then the exhibit hall with all the arts and crafts, including a cake-decorating competition.

The Strawberry quilt won the blue ribbon.

A variety of entertainment kept us amused. How about the Native American folk dance of the wild turkey? You don't see that every day.

A 50-60-70's band called Trash played unconventional instruments made from old cans and bottles. Their energy level was amazing and they had us cracking up with their humor.

Ed contemplated buying this belt with "Redneck" carved on it and a Confederate flag but would have also had to invest in a giant shiny metal buckle to go along with it. Tough to imagine this Yankee wearing that, huh?

The Strawberry Festival grounds are home to one of the oldest original post offcies in Florida.

Outisde the old post office, a Cracker demonstrated the tools historically used by the original settlers.

FOR SALE - handmade wooden spoons.

By late afternoon, I was ready for a real strawberry milkshake, made from fresh strawberries and real ice cream. YUM! The shake was scrumptious but I loved the booth display.

The source of all the strawberry merriment, strawberry fields - forever!

And a flat just had to come home with us!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Long View RV Goes to the Rally in Perry, GA

From March 14-17 2008, Long View represented Gulfstream Coach, Inc. at The Rally in Perry, GA, the largest rally in North America. Despite the news media constantly trumpeting doom and gloom, RV buyers were out and about and we nearly sold out our complete display. Why? Innovative floor plans from Gulfstream and awesome deals from Long View RV.

For example, look at this Endura, a class C motorhome on an International truck chassis.

It's a 34' motorhome with an International 300HP engine, Allison 2500 transmission, 7' interior head room, a 13,000lb. hitch, solid wood cabinets, leveling jacks, and all the appointments you'd expect in a Class A motorhome without the Class A price tag. And anyone can drive it - no learning curve as with driving a bus. This particular floor plan has two slide-outs with bunk beds. They are a total of five other floor plans available, including the Grand Hotel that sleeps 10 and has a bath and a half. Gulfstream has the exclusive right to build motorhomes on the International chassis.

If you want something smaller that averages 18mpg, check out the MB Cruiser, built on the Sprinter chassis with a Mercedes 3.0L 6-cyl. engine.

The new B Touring Cruiser GX2 on the Workhorse chassis is 30' long with 3-slides and includes the new Sky Cap, an automotive windshield set into the cab overhead that lets in light but is tinted to block out UV rays. The interior height is 7', same as a Class A, but with the drive-ability and lower price tag of a Class C.

But for those folks who still feel that the Class A is "king of the road", Gulfstream introduces two new models for 2008 with the TV enthusiast in mind. First is the Crescendo 40K with a full-wall slide on the passenger side, a super-slide in the living room on the driver's side, and a bedroom slide with a king-size bed.

The 40K has the kitchen/dinette in the front. The living room holds two couches on either side of a 37" LCD TV mounted on the wall mid-coach.

Not enough space for you? Check out the new Gulfstream Tourmaster 45G Constellation with a full media room including stadium seating in the rear. The Constellation is built on the Freightliner tag axle chassis with a 400HP Cummins engine. Look at the full wall slide and the beautiful painted graphics.

The interior is birds-eye maple, hand-crafted by the Amish.

What sets the Constellation apart is the use of a Murphy-bed. With the bed upright, viewers can enjoy the 37" TV from the comfort of two recliners with cup-holders, the type found in high-end movie theaters.

But with the bed lowered, there is still enough room to walk around, even with the recliners foot-rests extended. The door from the back of the bedroom leads to a full-bathroom complete with a stacked washer/dryer and a walk-in closet.

All of us at Long View send a huge "thank you" to Tony, Sally and Dave from Gulfstream, the hardest working show team around!

For more information on Gulfstream coaches at Long View RV in FL and CT, visit our web site at

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Tribute to Roxie

With great sadness, we report that our beloved Sheltie, Roxie, crossed the "Rainbow Bridge" last week. She died peacefully at the vet's office after a six-month battle with congestive heart failure. Roxie had just reached her thirteenth birthday four days prior and we were blessed to have her in our lives for nearly three years.

In 2005, Ed had decided that our first Sheltie, Duncan, needed a sister. I found this picture on the web site for New England Sheltie Rescue. We fell in love with that adorable face!

Lisa, Roxie's foster mom with Peppertree Rescue in Albany, NY, brought Roxie to meet us and Duncan. After a two-week trial period, Roxie officially became ours. She was ten years old at the time. Her matted fur had been shaved by Peppertree.

It took several months for Roxie to really blossom and become a real dog again. With love and patience and some help from Duncan, she learned to enjoy walks in the woods, the joy of chasing a stick, and bonding with the "pack." She's on the right in this photo. Look how happy she is with her "daddy" and Duncan on Driftwood Beach at Jekyll Island.

Roxie especially enjoyed living at Cha-Wi-Ma, our summer campground in CT. She could spend an hour circling the woodpile playing hide-and-seek with the chipmunks. We had hoped to give her one more spring season there but it was not to be. And we will especially miss her terribly when we get back there next month. But we will always treasure her memory.

Roxie Lee Pronovost - March 1, 1995 - March 5, 2008

Sunday, March 02, 2008

NY Yankees Baseball - Opening Day of Spring Training at Legends Field; Tampa, FL

Spring has sprung! On February 29, Ed & I attended the NY Yankees first game of the baseball spring training season. Legends Field here in Tampa is the home-away-from-home for the New York Yankees for the month of March each year. The stadium is a smaller replica of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, New York City.

Prior to the game, United States Special Forces parachuted onto the infield, dropped from a plane 5000 feet above the stadium. Each sky diver carried a different flag. First up - the US flag.

Here are two parachutists about to land, including one bearing the Yankees team flag.

Touchdown on the infield!

Here's the Yankees dugout with Derek Jeter standing in the background.

After introduction of the Yankees legends who were present for the occasion (including Yogi Berra), the coaches and the players, both teams lined up for the singing of our national anthem. The opponents are the University of South Florida (USF).

During the singing of the "Star Spangled Banner", the color guard stood by as the giant American flag was unfurled.

Time to play ball! It was a fun game to watch. USF did manage a Grand Slam. Final score was 11-4, Yankees.