Winding Down and Winding Up
Our time here in Bushnell is rapidly winding down. Soon we'll be getting ready to wind up to begin our spring and summer travels. We'll be heading to South Dakota this year to renew our drivers licenses, but we'll be taking our time getting there so we'll be sure it will be warm. After South Dakota, we are tentatively planning to go back to Santa Fe by way o Denver and southern Colorado before meandering back east for doctor appointments in the Pittsburgh area in the fall.
In a few more days we'll be joining flocks of snowbirds heading north out of Florida, and we expect the roads to be somewhat crowded. Blueberry Hill is starting to look empty because quite a few people have headed north already. Except for the first week or two of March when there were numerous retirees, families, and several rallies here on spring break, Blueberry Hill was never very full this year. Now as we approach the end of March, we're really getting lonesome.
Although we got to do some sightseeing this winter, we had intended to do a little more. One reason we didn't was because after a fairly hectic summer of travel again last year, we just didn't feel like going out too often. The other reason is we were spending a good bit of time working on putting the third year of our online blog into book form. We finished that up and got the hard copies last week. We're real pleased with the results.
We explained how we published our books is a post last year, but we thought we would touch on it again. We use blurb.com that provides free software called BookSmart that makes it possible to extract the text and photos from most of the popular blog-hosting sites. You can use one of their templates or customize the layout to suit your individual needs and desires. Of course, getting the content downloaded is the easy part. Formatting the text and photos for a custom layout, which is what we do, takes a lot of time. BookSmart can be used to create many kinds and sizes of books. The next photo shows a page layout for of one of our books.
And the next photo is a screen shot taken during a page edit and shows the custom layout process. Boxes are created for text and photos, then sized to fit with each other on the page.
Laying out the book for our third year of travel took longer than the books for our first and second years because we did such extensive traveling and sightseeing our third year, our blog wouldn't all fit into one book. Not only that, but we also have been increasing the number of photos we put into the blog. We wanted to make the photos a nice size so we can see them better when our eyes get older, so we decided it would be necessary to expand to two books for our third year.
As soon as we uploaded our information to the blurb website and ordered the two books for our third year of travel, they sent us a digital coupon for 20% off any future purchase. Since we only order one copy of each book, the books are fairly expensive. (The more copies you order, the less expensive they are per copy.) Therefore, we decided to try to finish the book for our fourth year before the coupon ran out on April 4, especially since we knew the book for our fourth year would also have to be expanded to two books. Margery is working hard doing the main layouts, and Paul with his engineer's eye is making sure all the edges of the text boxes and photos are lined up and straight. So far, we finished Year 4 Part 1, and we're making good progress on Part 2 so we think we'll make it.
The next photo shows the custom-designed cover for one of our Year 4 books.
With the weather warming up (it's been in the mid-80s), Margery decided she needed some new sleeveless lops, and she did some shopping at Kohl's online. Unfortunately, when the tops arrived, some of them were too big. When she went online to order them in a smaller size, they were out of stock already. Therefore, she decided we needed to take time off from working on the book long enough to run up to Kohl's in The Villages to make returns and to see what they had in stock in the store.
Since we have been slaving over a hot computer much of the day recently, we decided taking time off to go to Kohl's would also be a good excuse to go out to eat. We were both hungry for Chinese food, so Margery found good reviews for China Gourmet III. China Gourmet has three locations, one of which is in a strip mall in The Villages near Kohl's.
Like the new Hong Kong Chinese Restaurant near the Walmart in Bushnell that we tried last year, China Gourmet specializes in take out, although they do have a several tables inside. You order from the extensive menu at the counter.
China Gourmet has a lunch special from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM for $5.25 that includes an entree, soup, and fried rice. Margery had egg drop soup, and Paul had wonton soup for starters.
We both love General Tso's chicken, so that's what we both had for our entree. We also ordered egg rolls which were excellent.
The restaurant is nothing fancy (food is served on plastic plates and in styrofoam cups with plastic tableware and on plastic table cloths); but the food is good, especially for the price, and there's plenty of it. We almost couldn't finish our meals.
With a moderately successful shopping trip to Kohl's and having had a good meal, we headed back to the motor home. We got back just as the rain started, and just as the weather radio went off. That was the start of 24 hours of wind (45 mph gusts), rain (over 7") and weather alerts (severe thunderstorm and tornado watches and warnings). There was some wind damaage (possibly from a tornado) in the area (especially farther south toward Tampa), but we fared well.
The forecast is calling for clearing weather which is what we need to be able to check tire pressures, check oil, and put things away in preparation for our departure. We'll let you know where we end up in our next post.