TGO Challenge Training begins Feb 7 2014

90 days to go till the TGO challenge and time to get serious about training again. I have had some issues with my hip over the last 6 months that finally culminated in a cortisone shot in my hip on Friday, surgery will wait until after May. So the doctor told me that Saturday would feel like a normal day (pain) and the shot would kick in on Sunday. I wanted to get out and do some miles to see if I could walk on it the way it has been ( I can and feel like I could do the challenge regardless) but I wanted a benchmark for when the pain goes way and how much better it feels. So I snuck over to Lost Valley this morning and did 8.5 miles in 2 hours and 10 minutes with 6 pound pack (just some water and a jacket in my Golite Jam50. The temperature was 32 when I started and 54 when I ended and the trail turned a bit muddy in spots. I only saw 4 bikers, 3 people walking dogs and two guys hunting squirrels which was odd to see two guys with 12 gauge shotguns walking on the trail in a conservation area (no hunting).

Temperature was rising fast today, but still plenty of nice frozen water over the rocks

Site 76, one of the old buildings that used to be on this property many years ago
Trail was muddy

Glad to be out for the first time this new year walking

Winter Trip to Florida December 2014

I took off a couple of days so my brother Chris and I could visit my parents who have retired to Florida. It was nice to get away from the single digits in St.Louis to almost 80 degrees in St.Petersburg Florida.

 My parents are in a nice community with many small inlets and lots of wildlife. some wild

and some not so wild!

seems strange to be in 80 degree weather and then have Christmas lights all over downtown.

walking around in short sleeves and shorts to view Christmas Lights

sunrise down at the harbor of St.Pete

St. Petersburg Skyline

While my brother and Dad fished off the dock, my mom and I walked around the Nature Preserve

Lots of wildlife I am not used to seeing

This is a nice recreation area for kayaks

everything grows well in Florida

I certainly took advantage of all the fresh seafood
I.C. Shark fish market and restaurant

 The Gulley's

Silver Dollar City Christmas Parade and Train Ride

This is the companion video for the weekend at Silver Dollar City. We saw the Parade both nights along with the train ride.

Silver Dollar City Christmas Light Holiday November 7-9 2014

I know it is a bit early for Christmas activities, but Vicky made reservations for us to go to Branson, MO and Silver Dollar City to see the Christmas Festival and Holiday Lights. We took the opportunity to take the RV one last time for the season and of course had to invite the kids along with everything else that entails.

 The RV park is actually owned by Silver Dollar City and is only a mile away. They have a shuttle service that takes you too and from the park and that is what we did the first night.

 The colors were still sharp down in Branson and it was a warm and sunny weekend

We arrived on Friday afternoon and the RV park wasn't yet filled up, but it would be packed in the next few hours as more people arrived for the weekend.

The sunset the first night was dramatic, and then we headed over to Silver Dollar City on the Shuttle.
Our tickets were for Saturday but if you arrive after 7 pm the night before you can get in on your ticket and then come back for the next day as well.

The entry to Silver Dollar City was brightly lit. They have over five million lights in the park.

This little guy was enjoying the heat lamps that the ticket takers stand under. He was quite happy to just sit on the wand and not move even though thousands of people walked right past. 

One of the attractions of Silver Dollar City is the awesome park food they have - giant cinamon rolls, funnel cake, pigs in a blanket, Apple turnovers with ice cream, etc.

The lights inside the park are dominated by a musical tree with 250,000 lights that play to music everty30 minutes
 Lights on every tree with great icicle hanging lights that look like they are dripping off the trees

 On of the other attractions is the blacksmith and the glass blowers, both were out entertaining the crowd and making great looking products

The lights were everywhere and on everything. We stayed the first night for the Rudolf parade as well

 The next morning we had the day to ourselves in the beginning. we were meeting the kids for lunch later before we would take everyone to the park later Saturday night.

The RV park has rustic cabins you can rent as well as the RV spaces
 We walked all around the RV park in the afternoon and took in all the views and chatted with the very friendly RV people.

 One thing you do notice is that for a small town it has tons of power lines strung every where. Branson is a very touristy town and needs lots of electricity to work.

 We went back to the park at dark and the kids wanted to ride the roller coaster, elephants, the tea cups and the Ferris wheel, so we took them all around the park. We also watched the parade again ( see the movie) and then we went on the train ride.

The train goes around the entire park and for this holiday there was a special surprise. 
 The train stopped and we listened to "grandpa" tell the story of the Nativity.

with all the wise men and animals coming to life in lights
 The next morning everyone came over to the RV park before they went home and we played in the playground and went to breakfast at Bill Gail's Cafe. This has been an institution in Branson for almost 25 years and it was voted best breakfast in Branson and it was also right next to the campground we just walked down the hill.
Unfortunately it is not a secret and we had to wait 2 hours to get in
 It was all fantastic and the pancakes were as big as your face!

 Sunday night left Vicky and I alone at the RV camp. Most of the campers had gone home so we had a quiet night out by the fire. We picked up some hillbilly decorations for the RV with our lighted bears and peppers/catus lights on the RV awning.

The wind picked up and the temperature dropped overnight. We went to bed when it was in the 60's and woke up in the 30's!

It was now a work week for me so we packed up and headed from Branson to Joplin for a set of meetings. we arrived at the KOA Joplin RV park around noon and it was 28 degrees
 Everything on the RV froze during the night and to top it off I ran out of propane on one of my propane tanks and had to go outside at 3 am to switch it over and it was 22 degrees out.

RV season is over, but we took advantage of using the RV until the last possible moment. It is now safely winterized and covered up at the RV harbor.
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