Monday, January 9, 2012

Plant City, Florida

As we have mentioned in a few posts now, we came up to Plant City (just east of Tampa) on Friday for the Florida Grace Conference, a conference put on by the Grace Church's of Florida (Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth). We heard about this conference somewhere between our drive from Jerry Lockhart's Church in New Braunfels Texas to Steve Gotberg's in Montgomery Alabama - I can't remember exactly how - undoubtedly through fb.

Looking at the map, our first thought was - NOPE - can't do it - just look at all those roads - WAY to busy for us!

However, upon closer inspection it looked like we may just be able to squeeze through on a less traveled road. Sure, ok - well MAYBE we can do it.

Well of course after all the mayhem of Southern Florida Derek has become quite the pro on these busy roads and so really the trip into Plant City was pretty darn easy. We are glad we came.

Although we had written to the Red Rose Inn & Suites weeks ago to inquire about whether or not we could park in their lot for the duration of the conference, we hadn't heard back. So, we were a bit worried about where we would be staying. Fortunately, and we are very thankful, the front desk girl didn't even blink and directed us to the back by the conference hall - to a nice and quite area with even a bit of grass! What a spot!

Doesn't even look like we are parked in a hotel parking lot. There is a strip of rooms to the right but they weren't renting them over the weekend.

 A very nice conference building.

We had a great weekend. Great teaching from the various Pastors and we met some great people and families. Great, great, great..... (I may need a new word).

AND - Maude - remember her from Valdosta - was there - a total surprise for us! Boy - do we ever love Maude. Maude's family - sister's, brother in laws, and nieces live in the Tampa area and also attended the conference. Maude has one of those families that you wish you were a part of so you would have an excuse to hang out with them - what wonderful people. We will miss Maude - we invited her to come visit us at home - she smiled and didn't say no - so who knows.....fingers crossed.

We also met a family from the Jacksonville Florida area - Laura and Mark and their six kids. Cassia and I spent some time in the playroom and with the 3-5 year olds and we met Laura and her kids there. It was nice to see Cassia interacting with other kids albeit all much older then her. Later we met up with Laura's husband Mark. They are considering - maybe - going out on the road. Of course, I am always willing and ready to pass on information about such a lifestyle as ours. Roofous was also very popular this weekend and was visited regularly by both the kids and adults.

Cassia 'enchanted' by the big kids playing football - notice - mostly girls and in skirts no less.

Derek chatting with Maude. I didn't get any more shots inside as the room was very dark.

The conference ended on Sunday around noon and pretty quickly everyone was gone - more goodbyes to new friends. Derek went to check if we could stay where we were for the night and got the ok.

So what are we doing still here?

I am glad you asked. Last week when we posted on fb that we were headed to Plant City - a fb friend commented that Pastor Curt Crist was going to be in Plant City also - January 9th!

Well now that is just too crazy for words.

Derek and I have been learning through Pastor Curt Crist by way of his videos on the internet for a few years now. Since he lives in North Carolina we thought that we wouldn't meet him until next year's Grace Trail of Fellowship. 

So we quickly got in touch with Curt (also a fb friend) to set up a meeting - we thought we could meet for lunch and be on our way OR if we could find a place to park we could stick around for his bible study on the 13th. Thankfully Curt found us a place to park our rig.

BUT THEN - last night he wrote to us that his daughter had to cancel her trip at the last minute and her hotel room was available since it was non refundable. Would we like the room from Monday to Thursday? 


And so today we got ourselves ready and headed back down the 39 to the 60 to come here, closer to Tampa. Imagine our excitement when we realized we would have to go right by the Strawberry Palace. 

Of course a return visit was in order. We still needed to try their cuban sandwiches and we may as well get some more strawberries.

mmmmm - strawberry shakes......

Our cuban - and Derek going in for OUR shake.

Too busy to look at the photographer.

And so we got to visit with our Strawberry Palace friends again. Stay tuned a third trip may come to pass since the bible study is back towards this area. 

Speaking of this area - we are in love with it

Oh Plant City, Plant City, Plant City how we love thee... ha ha - just joking. 

But yes - we feel very comfortable here. We drove through the historic downtown (well we had no choice the 39 goes right through). Anyway, the area feels just like the Okanagan area of BC to us and specifically Keremeos where we used to live - lots of fruit stands. And so - it is now officially on the list of places to consider living longer term during the winter. We loved Micanopy for it's old Florida feel and quietness, we love this area for the agriculture and easy access (well not quite easy - but accessible anyway) to our favourite beaches near Sarasota. 

The Birthday Boy and his dog.

AND before I forget - a huge ***HAPPY BIRTHDAY*** to my husband Derek - 47 years old today - yup! He's not lookin' too bad now is he for an old grey stallion (his words)! Since his birthday is at this time of year we are always on the road - last year was a bit of a dud since we were freezing our butts off at Imperial Dam. But here he was in 2008 - all smiles in Texas.

And so - here we are, feeling pretty darn fine in our room at the Marriott (not our usual - we are usually in the no-tell motel types). The truck and trailer are nicely tucked in a corner with grass for Roofous and shade during the day for all of the animals. It is HOT here right now.

We have been to the pool room TWICE already - first when we arrived and then for a swim after dinner. Cassia isn't nearly as happy with the whole thing as mom and dad, wishing for the camper. But she is fast asleep in our HUGE king sized bed. Ahhhh the luxury of running water and non stop electricity.

So - we have 3 days stretching out in front of us. I have NO idea when we are going to do but we will no doubt think of something. Right?

Thanks for stopping in and reading my ramblings.


Today's Interesting Link: Ok - so I don't think I have pointed out this blog directly yet - maybe I have - well if I have it deserves another mention. Please visit Cave Dwellings when you get a chance and read Donna's blog - man - she is funny! I crack up every time I read her posts. They are over in south Texas right now - at Falcon State Park. We stopped in there in 2008 and couldn't get out of there fast enough in the morning - but they love it and that's great. I hear from Derek that they are headed over to Goose Island and Goliad State Parks - two of our favourites as well.


  1. Wow!! To be in the right place and fall into a FREE hotel room!! God had that planned out for you!!


    Safe Travels! John

  2. Thanks John! Yup - we are truly blessed! We have realized that you just never know what is around the corner - good and well yes sometimes bad. We are just happy for these few days and also the chance to fellowship with Curt and Debbie Crist.

  3. Happy Birthday, Derek !!

    Glad to see things are falling into place on this trip !!

    Enjoy your conference ... TnT

  4. Thanks! Still in Terlingua we see! Lucky you! Hey are you guys on fb? do you share your email address?


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