Monday, June 29, 2015

Once Again, We are On Our Way.

After 4 days in the Hill Country (not a bad gig!) we are, at least after tonight, fixed and on our way.
Mercedes/Benz of!
What a slick operation. 
 It is the only Sprinter dealer/repair outside of Houston
(and who needs THAT headache?)
We spent several hours in comfy chairs, served water, coffee, pastries.  They had a cafeteria and bought our lunch.
Surrounded by $100,000-200,000 cars, the view wasn't half bad.
The bill was a bit ouchy, but  had to be done.  They found several issues, fixed them with a smile all the way to the bank.
One of the very nicest things that happened and reinforces our belief the Sandpipers has THE VERY NICEST PEOPLE AROUND! is after reading on the blog that we were marooned in Boerne with tempermental AC (which Jim fixed, thank you God)
Sandi & Brad (#4) called with an invitation to their guest room.  What a wonderful caring gesture!
Although we didn't need it,
I will forever remember their kindness.
Now we head to Iowa to have our hydraulic jacks serviced.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

We are outa here!

Like rats fleeing a sinking ship, we have left Sandpipers to stew in it's sewage. But we pay...we pay big time!
  No turbo boost which Jim feels is a very big deal.
Nobody wants to fix it, so we have ended up in Boerne at a Mercedes-Benz dealer..or will on Monday morn. ( at $40 a night at Alamo Fiesta RV, 4 nights, thank you very much)
 while our AC is on the fritz, we are sweating bullets.
Jim has sorta fixed the AC but we now need to find new breakers.
and I hate my haircut!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Latest From the Trenches!

It rains, it pours, it continues...

Posted on the Members Only Site:
Yesterday's rain did the bathhouse septic system in.  We are trying to get it fixed, but we can't even get to the tank for all the ground water.  I am putting this out so that you are aware to conserve your water usage because  the septic systems are now maxed out.  The toilets are now shut down at the bathhouse but we have opened the ones in Flip Flopz until the water resides.  Please limit the shower usage as well.  Thank you.  If you have any questions, please give us a call.

FYI:  trying to pump a septic tank with all this ground water is a futile attempt of accomplishing nothing but spending $95 per tank/pump as the ground water runs in fast as we pump it out.  IF (thats a big IF) it does not rain anymore for the next week, we can try to have the pump back out.  I have had a few of you say that you are interested in this service, so I wanted to let you know how much it is and if you want to have your shared tank pumped, you can let the office know. 

Saturday, June 20, 2015

It Has Happened AGAIN!

Edinburg really got hammered.  The park got another inch or so, but parts of Edinburg got as much as 7 inches in just a few hours.  Seminary Rd. is a nightmare of deep potholes to navigate.
Pumps are at it again, water is under some houses. We are all starting to mold.

And in case you are tardy checking Karen's you go...

When will the rain stop??

It is so discouraging with this weather. As I am typing it is dark outside and the thunder is again rumbling. All of the work that was going to happen on Thursday was again cancelled. We have the fence contract in place but am still working on the road bids. There is much needed repairs all over the resort and with the one bid in over $300k, you just want to ………
The ditch north of the resort has been dug, but we think they need to get back out there and dig a real ditch, not the little thing they did. In fact we were trying it out yesterday, and the county workers came to the office and asked us to stop because the water berm west of the resort gave way.

With the July 4th weekend just two weeks away, I thought we could have a picnic type lunch on Saturday at noon. We seen a Carls Jr commercial with a “hotdog, hamburger and chips on the sandwich, they called it the All American Burger. So guess what we are serving …..hamburger/hotdog/chips and watermelon. Please bring your beverage and a small side to go with our lunch.
Last Wednesday Tom and Rachel showed up to wash, well on Wednesday night I thought that cursed us as the rain poured down. As a reminder, please have your wash permits in advance. If you need to wash your home because of the green mold, please keep in mind to conserve water as the ground is full and more than likely you are running water over septic field lines that are currently at their max. We want homes to be maintained but with all this water sitting around, it makes our septic systems full.
Also we have had some ask about the water in the bath house. We are in our summer mode where the solar is the heat source. We always turn them on from June 1 to September 1 to keep the bath house cooler as well. One side of the showers tends to be warmer than the other and the “hot” water does not last as long as ten minutes at a time so less water is out in the septic lines during all this rain.
I am trying my best to enjoy life in this weather, sure hope it stops raining so much each time soon.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Our Hellenic Adventure - Part 7

On Jun 12th we bade adieu to Greece and flew to Prague via Istanbul. Anaturk airport was interesting. Firstly, it is a modern airport with many shops. There were at least 4 very large duty free stores selling every thing from chocolates to some very expensive clothes, electronics, wines and spirits. 
Secondly, the diverse nationalities, from Belgium athletes on their way to the European games in Baku, the many people from every Middle East country, African, European, South Asia and the Americas. Also there were a few Canadians wandering around. We have been at many foreign airports but Istanbul was by far the most diverse. 
We arrived in Prague late in the afternoon. For only the second time on our adventure did we get our passports stamped. The Czech Republic is not a member of the European Union. We spent Monday night and Tuesday touring this ancient city. We visited the Prague castle built by Charles IV. The church he started, St Vitus, in the 12th century was finally completed in the 20th century. The work done to complete the building is seamless with the original work.  Without being told one would never know where the old ended and the new began. A picture of the stained glass is below. Prague is a nice clean city with modern buildings mixed in with 14th to 18th century ones.

Our trip to Prague was just a deviation on our quest to Slovakia, the home of Mary's parents. We visited three of her first cousins and several second and third cousins. We rented a Skoda Octavia and drove to Osikov. Osikov was founded in 974. Being always prepared for something unexpected, we ended up driving through Poland and the city of Kracow. Again another country with no customs at the border. Our GPS was programmed for the fastest route and this is how we got to to our pensione in the small town of Bardejov where we stayed. This was only a 15 minute drive to meet Mary's cousins. If you want to know more about the family reunion you will have to ask her. 

On Monday we returned to Prague, this time driving across Slovakia. We drove through many small villages on this route. The Tatra mountains still had snow on their peaks. The scenery was spectacular. 

We arrived back in Prague late Monday afternoon. We spent Tuesday in Prague visiting the Old Town and the Prague Castle, the oldest castle in Europe. 
Wednesday we fly to Amsterdam and Thursday we return to Houston. We will post a postscript on the last 5 weeks but only after we return home. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Margo & Stan moving help

Calling all able bodied men and women...Margo & Stan are moving on Tuesday the 16th and need a little help loading boxes into a trailer.
Our intent is to form a line and pass the boxes down so no one has to carry the boxes a long way.
We need about 6 to 10 people to help out.
If you would like to help, please come by their home at lot 30 between 8:30 and 9AM on Tuesday the 16th.
And a big "thank you" in advance for your help.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Our Hellenic Adventure - Part 6

We arrived in Santorini June 3rd after a 3.5 hour ride by ferry. Santorini has more visitors than any other Greek island.
 Tourists come for the scenery,
black, red and white beaches and the sunsets.

Santorini was formed by a volcano in the 16th mellium BCE. Since its inception it has been ruled by numerour volcanoes. At about 465 BCEthe volcano erupted with such force that a large part of the island disapeared into the Agean Sea leaving what now looks like a cresent shaped like the moon at a new quarter.
These are two volcanic islands in the lagoon formed where the sea replaced the island.

 One of these islands is where the many volcanos have erupted.  
The last volcano eruption was in 1950. There have been volcanos in 197 BC, 46 - 47, 726, 16th, 17th, 18th centuries, 1925 - 1928, 1939, 1941 and 1950.

Our tour of the island included a boat ride to Nea Kameni the volanic isle. Here we were able to walk on the remains of the volcano. There is no habitation on this island. Only large black boulders, stones and other volcanic debry. No stores, no supplies, nada. A person visiting this island must wear good walking shoes and bring their own drinking water. We bought ours on the boat. After spending two hours walking to the crater we sailed about 30 minutes to an inlet where hot springs can be found. This is water generated from deep within the volcano. The temperature of these springs was about 25 celcius. It was not possible, due to the shallow water, to get more than 100 feet near the hot springs. The boat anchored and anyone who wanted to enjoy the hot spring had to jump off the boat and swim to the hot water. We stayed at this hot spring for about 30 minutes and then proceeded to the island called Thirassia about 45 minutes away.

Few live on Thirassia. There is one small area there the tourist boats dock. There are restauants and gift shops but nothing else. We ate lunch, spend about rwo hours here and left for Santorini and the village of Oia (pronounced Ia). This village is where Santorini's picture post cards photos are taken. All the buildings are white with blue roofs. The buildings are atop the cliffs that have resulted from the part of the island disappearing into the sea. We estimated the village was atop a cliff 180 to 200 meters above sea level. The only options were to walk up 300 steps or ride a donkey. We elected neither and took the boat back to Thira our starting point.

From the port of Thisa to the top of the cliffs takes about 9 hairpin turns. Buses, trucks, autos and scooters have to navigate this road which is about 15 feet wide. Vehicles cannot pass each other on curves. Each must wait their turn. The length of this trip is about 2 miles with an elevation of about 300 meters. Scary is not the word. You need nerves of steel if you want to drive this.
We left the driving upto the bus drivers.

The people are friendly. When having a meal, if you don't have dessert, you most likely will be treated to a dessert, coffee or a shot of ouzo on the house. Restaurants are more expensive here as are the shops than Mykonos.

We took a local bus for 2.20 euros from the street corner near our hotel and visited the capitol of Fira. Another day the took the same bus to Fira and for another 1.60 euros went to Oia, the village mentioned above with the 300 steps.

We spent a day on the black sand beach. The last full day we rented a four wheeler and in about seven hours toured the rest of the island. The four wheeler will never replace my Spyder.

Santorini produces about 35 kinds of wine. All but 5 or 6 are sold outside the island. They do not grow grapes the way we see in the USA or Europe and all other wine producing areas. The grapes are let to grow in bushes on the ground. This us due to the constant winds that would rip the plants apart if grown the conventional way. The wine was good but we did not taste any gold medal winners.

Today is June 9th and we say goodbye to Santorini. I write this as we sail on the fast ferry to Noxos, Mykonos and our destination Piraeus. This is not what we booked as it was supposed to be a direct ferry from Santorini to the port of Piraeus. But in Greece one has to be prepared for all eventualities.

Tomorrow we say Goodbye to Greece and head to
Prague via Istanbul.