We finally got the floors redone – YES, AGAIN! Amongst other stuff.

To those who follow our travels, you probably might remember reading about our decision in August of last year to get Palmetto RV to replace our floors, the door jams to the bathroom and bedroom and to replace the rv four door refrigerator with a residential refrigerator.  They came highly recommended and when we interviewed the owner, he was insistent about the quality of their work.  Well, all I can say is that after taking three weeks longer than they promised, after a while, EVERYTHING they touched, somehow needed to be either redone or repaired.  Understand that at plain sight when we picked up the RV, nothing looked out of sort.  However, as time passed and we rolled down the road, portions of the flooring planks started to lift, we noticed that some had been nailed down when instead they should have been glued, the door jams in the bathroom had begun to separate and the food inside the refrigerator was always in between the doors and the shelves no matter what I did to try to secure it.  I also had to bungee the doors shut.  I realized that the refrigerator was not properly secured or tied down and that it was only by the grace of God, that it had not totally tipped over onto the island.  Had that happened, who knows what kind of damage it could have caused.  (Kudos to John for driving so carefully!) Even the slides were beginning to show signs of strain, as the flooring apparently was installed higher than it should have been.  Palmetto RV broke our electrical door cover and promised that they would order one, get it painted to match our RV and then install it.  However, after eight weeks, the cover had yet to be received and they claimed it was on backorder.  It was only after I bypassed Palmetto RV and called Heartland directly to find out about its status that I learned that Heartland had tons of those covers in stock, both in either white or black, our choice.  Heartland told us that they had never received such a request from Palmetto RV.  We immediately ordered the cover and upon receipt, had it painted on our dime, got it installed and got it done.  So simple yet, so aggravating.

Also, since Palmetto RV happened to be a Heartland dealer and our outside tv was not working properly and it happened to still be under warranty, we wanted to get it either repaired or replaced.  Palmetto RV suggested we buy a replacement and they would install it.  They would then return the broken tv to Heartland for reimbursement.  After two months on not hearing anything, I contacted Palmetto RV for a status and they told me that the request was in process.  So I waiting a few weeks and decided to again contact Heartland directly.  We were informed that the delay was not on their part as they had requested the serial and model number from Palmetto RV about two months prior and had yet to hear from them.  It took me two minutes to provide Heartland with the proper model and serial number for the broken tv and voilá our check was issued in their next billing cycle.  Go figure!  There is nothing more frustrating than having someone not level with you and then blaming you because you bypass them.  My life motto has always been, that you need to level with people, you may not like the answer, but at least you are on the same page!  Ughh.
While wintering at Torrey Oaks we shared our frustration with several people.  We soon learned that several people had upgrades done to their RVs and surprisingly they all recommended this one particular company in Lakeland.  We were invited to see their flooring.  After seeing the workmanship on their RVs, we were impressed.  The owners were very happy and had nothing but good things to say, although we were duly warned, we would be very happy with the end product, but it would be expensive.  

We struggled with this issue as we had already invested quite a bit, however, in the end, our only recourse would have been to take the RV back to Palmetto RV in South Carolina for a re-do, bring a suit against them which would require us staying in the jurisdiction and putting our travel plans on hold for who knows how long, plus the aggravation connected with that, or just forget it and get the work redone by real professionals.  

We decided to make an appointment and to Lakeland we drove.   From the moment we walked in the door, we were treated with professionalism.  We were expected and they met with us on time.  We met with the owners and with Frank, a representative of Classy Coach Works, who was assigned to help us.  Frank was incredibly knowledgeable, very professional and spent as much time as necessary showing us around the facility, which was clean, orderly and very well organized.  He even took us inside some of the RVs they were working on.  We immediately, realized this company was  180º different from the facility in South Carolina.  We had never seen an RV company as organized as this one.  They have a separate department for woodwork, flooring, furniture, etc.  We were so impressed with their production and workmanship that we agreed they should do the much needed replacement and repairs.  We received a detailed, itemized work order indicating line by line everything that would be done to the RV and since Classy Coach Works’ work is in such demand, we had to schedule the work two months out.

When we dropped the RV at Classy Coach Works, Frank again went over the work order with a fine tooth comb.  We were very fortunate that they happened to be installing a similar floor on the RV parked next to ours so we were shown what our flooring would look installed.  
Original flooring from factory (nothing wrong – we just didn’t like color of vinyl and the quality of the carpet)

Pictures of Palmetto RV flooring job (when we picked it up and it looked good)

Second flooring attempt by Classy Coach – beginning stages.  They suggested it be installed on a 45º degree, as it would make the area appear larger.

Since we were homeless for a couple of weeks, we decided to visit John’s mom, who is 89 years old.  She was in need of family time, so we stayed with her a few days and took her out to dinner.  It was actually funny watching her eat and eat and eat some more.   She would laugh at times and that was really nice to see.  We were able to FaceTime with Randy, Carolyn and Camden.  It was the first time she was able to see Camden “live” and it was really nice to watch.  Sadly, due to the advanced stage of her dementia, she will not remember even that we were with her.

When we left John’s mom’s home, we visited Rick and Susie’s home in Lake Placid.  Rick and Susie are John’s brother and wife and they are the bestest.  They were incredibly generous to allow us to stay with them in their new home while the RV was being worked on.  It was really fun staying with them though, we got to see beautiful sunsets and wake up to peaceful lakeside mornings.  We watched various kinds of birds and ducks and, of course, we kept an ever watchful eye for the resident alligator.  Some mornings the view of the lake is beautiful and clear, and others, well not so much, however, almost before you finish a cup of coffee, the fog lifts and the beautiful view is back.

On the day we left, Jackson was typically anxious.  He climbed in the truck and would not leave it.  However, as we were about to leave we received a call that the RV would not be quite ready so we would have to leave a little later but thankfully on the same day.  A bit later, we attempted to leave again but this time Jackson was not quite ready so he bolted away and off to the lake he went.  We would not get out, no matter how many times we called him.  He was just frolicking in the water and jumping into and out of the cat tails.  I was bent over the neighbor’s seawall when Jackson decided to come near me.  I had begun to lift him out of the water when John quickly changed his tone and firmly told me to get him out of the water.  He didn’t want to freak me out, although his tone had.  When Jackson was out of the water, John told me he had changed his tone because he had seen the gator not even 20 feet away and it was slowly swimming towards Jackson.  That dog is simply going to give me a heart attack!

We bathed him and off to pick up our rolling home we went.  When we finally saw the RV we were filled with joy.  

We absolutely LOVE IT!  FINALLY, properly installed floors, backsplash, door jams, carpet, etc.

Before –


Pictures just don’t do it justice.  The colors are perfect and finally we are at peace.  Now on with our trip.  See you soon!

The End of 2014 and Beginning of 2015 – A Wonderful "Snowbird" Experience

While in Charleston during the months of November and December, we enjoyed the time we spent with our first and only adorable grandson, Camden, holding him and admiring his beautiful little facial expressions, which we absolutely love and miss terribly.  We did take plenty of pictures and our daughter in law, Carolyn, is really good at taking constant pictures, and also… thank goodness for FaceTime.  

We had not been there a week and it got really cold.  For the first time we had to use the yeti package (the heated blankets that wrap around the holding tanks and pumps on the RV), which we swore we would never use.  We learned how not to burn the tanks, how to turn on the furnace, and how to properly dress to keep warm.  Ashley, our youngest, flew in from Curaçao and stayed with us until after Christmas, while waiting to receive the appropriate residence permits for her to return to warm weather.  She then flew to New York City for New Year’s Eve and then on to Denver, where she learned to snowboard while having a great time with friends.

We spent Christmas Eve at Carolyn’s parents’ home and had a wonderful evening with the Battaglia Family and Jenny’s husband, Will’s family.  We felt fortunate and elated to have all the Lindstroms together. 

From left to right:  Randy, Camden, Carolyn, Katrina, Ashley, me and John

From left to right:  Randy, Camden, Carolyn, Lindsay Battaglia, Jenny and Will Waterhouse, Rosemarie and Michael Battaglia


From left to right:  Cora and Rick Waterhouse, Jenny and Will Waterhouse

While in Charleston however, we did manage to eat at several fabulous restaurants, had plenty of steamed oysters (harvested in clusters and which I learned to shuck), walk the streets downtown and again admired Charleston’s beautiful architecture, went bar hoping in Folly Beach, befriended some wonderful people, took Jackson to several dog parks, and attended the Festival of Lights on James Island.  All in all we could not have had a better time.

Ashley, John and Jackson

These pictures of the Ravenel Bridge were taken by Ashley. 

Rainbow Row

Love these alleys

Our sweet Camden

As many of you know, John is a third generation Miamian thus we had never given any thought to becoming snowbirds.  This year we were fortunate to secure a spot at Torrey Oaks RV Resort in Bowling Green, FL.  Right about now you are probably wondering where?  Well it’s a very small town near Avon Park, north of Wauchula, within 30 miles from Sebring and 45 minutes south of Lakeland.  Anyway, should you sneeze and happen to close your eyes, you could easily miss this metropolis.  Nevertheless, Torrey Oaks enjoys hosting many friendly people from both the US and Canada and holds more activities than any one person could do on any given day.  It is also surrounded by a golf course.  John has been encouraging me to learn to play golf and went as far as buying me a gently used set, so we will see how that goes, if nothing else, they appear to be excellent weapons.

Early in January, we experienced what I named “mini-querque” right across from the golf course, seeing as we will be in Albuquerque in October for the Balloon Fiesta.  There were about 20 hot air balloons ascending right from the golf course, within walking distance from our site.

After seeing these balloons, I am really excited as Albuquerque is just going to be fabulous!

In the meantime, I’ve been busy doing aerobics, weights, learned some line dances and even learned to play pickle ball.  I have ridden my bike frequently, all while John played golf, golf and… well, did I say golf?  The park holds various theme parties and my favorite was the Pirates and Beggars dinner.  Many people dressed up as either pirates or beggars, acted as such and had an arghhh good time. We have also participated in group bike rides along nature trails, where all kinds of wildlife were just feet away from the trails.  We also went kayaking and canoeing on the Peace River.  Wow, Jackson has now been on a Cesna plane in Bar Harbor, ME; a ferry on the way to Martha’s Vineyard; on a gondola in New Hampshire; a pedicab in Provincetown, Cape Cod; and now, a canoe!  Literally, many humans have never been in as many modes of transportation as this lucky canine.

Torrey Oaks holds annual Can-Am games.  The games consist of all the sports usually played at the park by both Canadians v. Americans.  They use a funky scoring systems, but it works well.  it all begins with the Can-Am parade of golf carts.  All decked out with either Canadian or American paraphernalia.  To really begin in good form we passed out our version of bloody marys to the Americans participating and cesars for the Canadians.  Cesar is clamato juice in lieu of Mr. T’s or V-8 or even Zing Zang.


Line Dances:

Pirates and Beggars Dinner

Biking at Circle B Ranch in Bartow

Canoeing/Kayaking down the Peace River

Jackson has received much attention ever since “Miss P” won the Westminster.  So I am a proud mommy to have the #1 breed of the year.  LOL.  On a serious note, he has lost six pounds, 1 more to go.  (I just may start nibbling on his food, as it is working so well for him.  Haha)  Jackson enjoys running alongside the golf cart, which we rented during our two month stay at Torrey Oaks, although he much prefers to ride.  Lazy dog.

The ladies at the park enjoyed attending a ladies’ luncheon held at Streamsong.  For those of you who may not be aware, Streamsong happens to be an upscale golf resort, even more hidden than Bowling Green.  It has two golf courses, both of which rate in the top 25 in the country, fabulous restaurants and even a helipad.   Streamsong was built by Mosaic on a former phosphate mine and it is surrounded by huge man-made dunes, which only adds to its beauty.  I think the hotel looks a bit like a conference center, but the lobby was built in the shape of a leaf and its ceiling is absolutely beautiful.  We had the pleasure of having dinner with friends at Fifty Nine, located at Streamsong’s clubhouse.  We enjoyed the most amazingly tender and delicious steaks in who knows how long.

Streamsong Hotel:

Views from the rooftop bar

Rooftop bar

Lobby ceiling

Back at Torrey Oaks (the other side of the tracks, lol), we frequently enjoyed the luxury of having our very own chef who cooked delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners.  The dinners were followed by dancing to the music played by an excellent DJ.  All this for less than what a burger, fries and soda would cost at a local eatery.

For those and many more untold reasons, we opted to again winter here and embrace being the snowbirds we now are, after all, nowhere else in the country is winter more pleasant than right here in our beautiful state of Florida.  To all our friends at Torrey Oaks, we will return mid-November and resume our nomadic lifestyle around mid-March.

We will be hanging around Florida until the end of March when we will go to New Orleans and north from there.  Stay tuned as the ride has only begun!