Friday, February 4, 2011

FLW Tour Kicks Off In Florida

Dave writes...

The first tournament of 2011 is in the books and it was real slug-fest. I have never seen weights like this in my experience and I’m just glad to have survived it with a 36th place finish. I had the chances to make the cut but I’m happy that I at least got a big check and a solid start to the year.

An Okeechobee Pig!
Anne, the kids, the dog, and I all traveled together to Clewiston, Florida in the Silverado HD dually. We towed the 5th wheel and camped at Okeechobee Landings. It’s funny, we packed the Suburban too the day before we left, but when we started driving south, I suddenly realized that we didn’t need to take both trucks. We had been planning on picking up my new boat in Florida and towing it home, but at the last minute I found out that it would not be done in time. Somehow it slipped our minds that we only needed one vehicle, so in the -10 degree wind chill, we unpacked the Suburban into the camper and all piled into the diesel. We were actually about 20 miles into our trip when I called Anne, who was following me, and told her we should be riding together, lol.

We pulled off at the next exit, unpacked everything, and then Anne took the Suburban home and got a ride back to Wendy’s where me and the kids were waiting with an early lunch. It was quite a fiasco, but well worth it in my opinion. The only bad part was not having the Suburban when we finally got to Florida. It’s cool because it has the sunroof of course. Both trucks have air conditioned leather seats though which is awesome when it’s hot like it has been.

Speaking of hot, it was 1 degree on our truck thermometer when we pulled out of the driveway, well actually my Gramp’s driveway. We stayed at his house the night before we left, there was chance that he was going to come with us, but he had some doctors appointments in the way, oh well, we’ll drag him to another one later.

As usual, the HD never missed a beat in the snow and ice and in the mountains of West Virginia and Virginia. This was the first time we’ve all ridden together in this truck, so we never really realized how big the cab was. The kids had a huge amount of room in the back and because the diesel engine is so quiet, they never complained about not being able to hear their movies, which was a problem in the old Ford. And it’s cool, the HD is a beast of truck, designed to work and tow, but it actually rides really comfortable, almost like a car. We enjoyed the 22 hour trip in Daddy's big truck, as Macy calls it.

Florida is great, hot, but great. We went to Palm Beach for a couple days before the tournament started to relax and watch the kids play in the shark infested water (read Anne’s blog to find out more, lol). It was nice to get away from the cold while the nasty winter storms covered the rest of the country, the timing couldn’t have been any better for us. But we are anxious to get home as always and get ready for the next trip in a couple weeks to Beaver Lake, AR. On the way home we plan to stop at the KOA just north of Jacksonville, FL to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday. Then on Monday we’ll start the long journey back to Union City, PA. GO STEELERS!!!!

Anne writes...

It is good to be back in Florida! We left three feet of snow and temperatures in the negative to be here.  We decided to come to Florida a couple of days earlier to thaw out!

We had an awesome drive down towing the camper with our Chevy Diesel. It is so comfortable, quiet and roomy. The kids and the dog had a lot of room to spread out in the back seat.

Everybody asleep in the HD.
We are so proud to be a part of the Chevy blogs again this year! Chevy is such a wonderful company and their staff at the tournaments is fantastic!   Kellogg’s is back and Dave will be sporting the Tony the Tiger/ Corn Flakes jersey this year as well. THEIR GRRREAT!!

We stayed at Okeechobee Landings which is on the southern end of the lake in Clewiston, FL. It is a beautiful place with a heated pool, shuffleboard and a recreational room with games and a pool table. It is also close to town and Roland Martin’s Marina, very convenient.

We went to West Palm Beach a couple of days to swim and hang out at the ocean. Thank you to Randy and Sara Tharpe for puppy sitting Isabella. She got to play with their two Beagles, Riley and Cooper for two days. They were 3 tired dogs after that! We saw Portuguese man-o-wars washing up on the beach and black tip reef sharks swimming very close to shore. It was unbelievable! We counted 5 different sharks. Obviously, we didn’t go very deep into the water after that. The kids are learning so much traveling the country. Every time they see something new, we have to run to the computer and Google search to find out more information. I love how inquisitive they are.

Mitchell is 8 and we are half way through 3rd grade. He is doing great in his studies and is very bright. He loves gymnastics and building Lego’s. Macy is 4 and just learned to swim under water with her goggles in the swimming pool here. A big accomplishment for her! We work on school with her also. We have a sight word wall in the camper for her which she can read 20 words and is also learning to add. They are both doing wonderful in school.
We had fun at the beach while it snowed back home.
Last but not least our puppy, Isabella! I don’t know if any of you remember when we got her last year while we were at the Dardanelle, AR tournament. We drove to Missouri to get her. She went to puppy school and did pretty well. She's still a little high strung because she is a terrier, but I think she is improving...well, kind of!  Anyways, she turns 2 this year and I’m hoping the puppy stage will disappear soon! She is a good girl, very sweet with the kids and loves everybody and every dog. I’m very thankful she is an awesome traveler. She is the first one in the truck wherever we go!
The first day of the tournament Dave came in with a 23lb-12oz bag.  He had a great practice and even took the kids and I out for a boat ride to see some alligators the last day. Unfortunately, day 2 of the tournament he lost a 10lber on a bed 3 times! It was hard for him to swallow being on winning fish and not making the cut. He ended up 36th which I think is great, but to these guys nothing is good unless you top 10 or win. I guess that’s what makes them the best!   

 We are leaving Sunday morning to get to the Jacksonville/ St.Mary’s KOA. It’s on our way home and the owners are HUGE Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Almost as huge as we are! We wanted to watch the Super bowl surrounded by black and gold and terrible towels.  GO STEELERS!!!

That’s about it from Lake Okeechobee, in beautiful, sunny, warm Florida! I will miss it and shed a tear every time Dave and I set foot outside to shovel the walk and snow blow the driveway. (Dave could care less as long as the ice is still thick enough to go ice fishing!)    

We will see you at Beaver Lake in Rogers, AR for the first FLW Tour Major event in two weeks! Don’t forget you can watch the weigh-ins live on . They have the full tournament schedule and times not to mention "on the water" up dates throughout the day during the tournament. AWESOME! (Many of the fishermen’s wives are glued to the computer during the tournament to check on their husbands!)

Take care and we’ll see you down the road,

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