Thursday, January 3, 2013

New year, new shelves, new friends, and a new location

 December 31-January 3, Zephyrhills and Cortez, Florida

In my last posting, I wrote about our Christmas present to each other: three sliding chrome Rev-A Shelves from Lowe’s to put in the cabinets above the loveseat that I use as a pantry. We got busy on December 30 and did the install. The biggest job for me was taking all the food out and cleaning inside the cabinets. As someone who loves to cook, I am guilty of carrying around too many condiments and all kinds of pastas, grains, etc.

This is not the right time of year for spring cleaning, but somehow the dawning of a new year has inspired me to do some serious purging in the motorhome. We try to do this task every few months, but I this time I wanted to add a modification that would help me keep our food items more organized. These cabinets are great for storage because they are quite deep (16" wide x 21.5" deep) but this depth requires me to stand on the loveseat to reach things in the back of the cabinet.

The shelves we bought displayed measurements of 15" wide by 22" deep. (Here is a link to the exact shelf at Lowe’s online, but they were 30% cheaper at the store itself.) They had one shelf on display at Lowe’s and I discovered the actual measurement to be 21.5” inches deep so we knew ahead of time that it was going to be a tight (any maybe impossible) fit. I only emptied one cabinet before trying one of the shelves to make sure it would fit.  At first we couldn't get the shelf to fit, but somehow putting in the backside first allowed the front to barely clear the front lip and voila—I was thrilled they were going to work.

The directions for installing the shelves said “even a caveman can do it.”  Well, Vic did not appreciate my sharing this with him, but he did admit it was super easy.  Basically, all it took was a cordless drill to secure four short screws to the plate on the bottom of each shelf.

To prevent anything from falling through and for added cleanliness, I added thick vinyl shelf liner to the bottom of the shelves. Before adding the rolling shelves, I had small plastic crates in the cabinets to separate different types of goods from one another. I wasn't sure if I would use these again but discovered that two fit perfectly on each shelf, so for the time being I am continuing to use these inside the shelves. (Although they detract from the clean look of the chrome shelves.) This project may seem like a small modification, but from my perspective, as the “head chef” of The Big EZ, this change makes a big difference in the daily task of hunting for ingredients.

On New Year's Eve day, we had a special treat—we finally met fellow bloggers Karen and Al of RV Travels with Karen and Al. Her blog is one of the first I started to follow when we were looking for RV parks in Florida last year during our first winter as full-timers. We had planned to meet in November when we were both in the Keys, but we left a little earlier than planned. Since their full-time motorhome park in Wesley Chapel is only about 20 minutes from Zephyrhills, I invited them over for an early afternoon New Year’s happy hour. It was delightful to get to know them in person and share all kinds of stories about our travel adventures. The time flew by so quickly I did not even get photos even though I brought my camera out on the patio to remember to use it. This oversight is testimony to how engaged I was in our conversation which covered everything from getting seasick while snorkeling to challenges in setting up a toad for flat towing. I love learning from others who have far more experience than us in pursuing this lifestyle. Thanks for a great visit Karen and Al.  I am hoping we can still get out on our kayaks together in the Keys later this year.

After our early happy hour, I had to fire up the espresso machine to get the energy to go to a New Year's dance at our park and stay up ‘til midnight. The park hired a “one man band” for entertainment  (I forgot to learn his name) and the evening was a sell-out for tickets (about 125 people).  The music was a little disappointing at first as he was playing a banjo when we walked in—just didn't sound too danceable—but then he switched to a guitar and played a good variety of familiar songs that were good for single time swing, foxtrot, and even a few waltzes.  

new years eve collage

We were seated at a table with folks we didn't know, but everyone was super friendly and, of course, the cocktails and vino made things more festive as the evening went on. The park offers line dancing classes once a week, so anytime there was song you could line dance to there was a pretty big group up on the dance floor practicing their moves.  Vic surprised me and joined in on a classic: The Electric Slide.

The only downside of the evening was the fireworks that were set off in the park and at a huge outdoor party nearby at Skydive City. Our dog Jetta gets extremely nervous about fireworks, so we decided it would be best to be home before the local revelers set off an even louder display at the stroke of midnight. She was panting really hard when we arrived and needed some distractions to help her calm down. One fun result of coming home early was getting to watch (from our little patio) several skydivers do a midnight jump with all kinds of lights attached to their bodies and parachutes. It looked like a bunch of shooting stars all going off at once. Too bad there was no way for me to capture it on my camera— too fast and too far away.

New Year’s Day marked the end of our time at Majestic Oaks in Zephyrhills and a short road trip of 75 miles south to Buttonwood Inlet RV Resort in Cortez, Florida.

Map picture

We discovered Buttonwood last winter, thanks to the sleuthing of our friends Mike and BJ who were staying at the nearby (and almost twice as expensive) Holiday Cove RV Resort. What we like most about this place is its location: one mile to some of the best white sand beaches on the Gulf Coast. We will be in this park for the month of January, so stay tuned for future posts that reveal why we have chosen to return here for an extended time again this winter.


  1. Hope we can get together while you are in Cortez! Loved to hear that you met Karen and Al. Great couple...and you're right, it's wonderful to learn new things and tips and stuff from fellow bloggers. I'm really eyeing those shelves for our rig! Thanks for posting how that worked out....

    1. The shelves are awesome and now I am eyeing all the other goodies they make. We are hoping for decent weather on Sunday so we can meet up at the drumming down the sun festivities together.

  2. Buttonwood Rv park looks like a great location. We may just take a drive down that way one day this winter.

    1. Please come over this month and check out our favorite beach. You could make it a day trip. It's only 75 miles.

  3. The shelves look great. Now I have to check them out at Lowe's, it might just solve our problem of things getting lost in the cabinets.

    1. We both agree they were worth every penny and wish we had done it sooner. Thanks for explaining PDD syndrome in your recent post. Glad to hear it seems to be in remission.

  4. We both agree they were worth every penny and wish we had done it sooner. Thanks for explaining PDD syndrome in your recent post. Glad to hear it seems to be in remission.

  5. Although we luckily have two pantries in Winnona, we still have lots of stuff in the cabinets and like you do too much digging even with bins. This is even harder for me than for most since I'm so short and unless I stand on the furniture can only see what's in front. I'm on the trail of those shelves although I think I still may have to stand on something to see in the shelves.

    LOVE line dancing. Wish I'd been there. Sounds like a fun party and a really nice new location. Sorry we missed you on the gulf coast. We'll be back around Tampa for 10 days in a couple of weeks.

  6. The shelves look good; an idea to keep in mind. Mui installed adjustable wire shelving in our cabinets; since he is taller, and he is the cook who has to get in and out of those cabinets, it works fine for him.


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