Big Storm in Orlando means one RV’er is NOT a Happy Camper!

Big Storm in Orlando means one RV’er is NOT a Happy Camper!

Just saw this feature while cruising some news sites. What a story this is!

I have camped here, twice. Very nice park. I have not camped where this gentleman was because the park has separate areas for RV’ers and tent campers like yours truly. The RV section is on the left about a quarter mile before the tent spaces; they are much closer to Turkey Lake, the showers and the cabins.

When this big storm hit us yesterday evening, I was impressed, to say the least! I was absolutely hoping that we didn’t have issues with a window or some part of the roof being wind-compromised and suddenly having to deal with water in the house. (I’m renting in a 60 year old home that’s not in the very best shape.)

Grateful that, in the end, I didn’t have a problem with this huge Florida thunderstorm, but Mr. James Williams certainly did. A very large limb from a large oak came down and not only ripped a huge gash in the RV, but blocked our unhappy camper from getting out of his now-destroyed RV!

The stalwart survivor of this camping catastrophe did dial 911. The City of Orlando Fire and Rescue crews did what they do, and the Red Cross is giving James, and some others around the Orlando Metro area, secure and dry shelter for now.

A closing thought: camping is so much damn fun, I hope Mr. Williams is able to go on enjoying this awesome American pastime moving forward in spite of Wednesday’s vicious storm.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit: Ben Lawrence Basile is the owner of this photo that shows the park on a much, much nicer day. November 27th of last year, to be precise!

After thoughts: the park’s official name is Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, but although I’m often a stickler for precision, I call it Turkey Lake Park as many locals do. This fine park and resort is the only camping spot in the city’s park system; it sits less than two miles north of Universal Studios.

I’ve posted here before about camping in this nice enclave of tranquility inside Orlando city limits. That post is right here.

 

Why I really love libraries!

Why I really love libraries!

Here’s the short list of why I really love libraries! Libraries are a place to borrow books on almost every conceivable subject and digital media of any kind–including, but not limited to–CD’s, DVD’s and instructional media on a wide variety of subjects and areas of learning without paying rental fees. I’ve taken advantage of their language instructions DVD at no cost whatsoever.

I can do most of those things via the ‘net, but there are almost always costs and fees involved. Not at your local library.

If you have a library card and create an ID and log-on, you can do on-line language learning and other stuff on-line through the library’s master user account and, again, pay no fees at all for educational and self improvement courses that others do on-line without paying the usual subscription fees. I’ve done a couple of those.

Libraries provide free, high speed internet access and PC services for folks who use the internet but cannot afford a computer. They do computer class on subjects ranging from beginning PC and word processing use, to power point and microsoft word.

They do seminars for classroom learning on many subjects and endeavors using outside experts or, in some cases, library staff who are trained and certified in different areas.

Libraries have low cost access to copying and printing for people who have computer access but don’t have a copier or printer. Like me. I go to my local branch about once a month just to print that rare doc where a hard copy, paper format is necessary. The last time was to print a resume.

Libraries host many community activities at low or no cost. The ones I’ve seen at the SW branch, close to where I was living in 2014 to 2016, are the Orlando Chess Club, and the Vista Toastmasters Club. That one has meaning for me as I served as the President of that awesome club many years ago when it was still associated with Disney.

At the branch closest to where I live now, I’ve seen meetings for clubs associated with the Puerto Rican community and an awesome seminar on the accordion. That was terribly entertaining and it was well-attended. I know that was the first exposure to the accordion by many attendees, many of whom were kids. Thank you, Corky Wisneiwski and the Orlando Accordion Club.

Libraries are a safe, appropriate place for kids to go after school so they’re doing something positive and constructive until their parents can come and pick them up. Basically, an informal and no-cost after school program. I’ve seen many kids take advantage of this at the Chickasaw branch, which is right across the street from a thriving charter school. They can do homework and use the free internet services.

The main branch of the Orlando Public Library has regular music performances by local artists. I’ve seen friends I’ve played with perform there. There’s a permanent stage there on the first floor in the dept where the CD’s and DVD’s are available for check out.

I’ve seen performances on that stage from Improv groups whose venue is right around the corner. But doing a show at the library gave them exposure to a new audience.

Libraries serve as polling places in Orange County for early voting. I have voted in three elections at the Southwest branch.

Libraries put on regular sales where the materials that are passing out of their inventories are offered to the public. I’ve bought vinyl albums, CD’s and many books this way. They have those awesome library stamps and stickers on them, but I think that’s okay. These sales are put on by friends of the library. Those folks are volunteers. I enjoyed my time as a FOTL years ago and think I’ll soon get involved with them again, too.

I loved being a volunteer docent for the main branch way back in the 80’s when the library built those 3rd and 4th floors and wanted the Central Florida community to see what their new facilities had to offer.

This post only covers library services and activities that I personally have used or gotten involved in; no doubt there are many others. I love libraries and promote them every chance I get.

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

© 2018 Ben Lawrence Basile

Photo credit Ben Lawrence Basile

 

 

What’s Bulldog to do when he can’t get away for a camping trip?

What’s Bulldog to do when he can’t get away for a camping trip?

I’ll tell you what he does! He cruises over to one of his fave city parks here in Central Florida and fires up the grill.

Sometimes he does the full monte breakfast; it’s always fun to fire up that two burner camp stove.

There are a thousand reasons why I don’t get to camp or hike nearly as often as I like; could be a work schedule issue. Could be a budget thing. Very often it’s because my fave campgrounds are all booked up.

Boo-hoo-hoo!

The header photo for this post is of Downey Park on Orlando’s east side. This spot was very well-planned and put together and has way more grills than most parks. And even thought it’s usually mobbed–especially on the weekends–I usually have no trouble finding an available grill.

Lake Downey is a lovely spot on the eastern edge of the park; it’s a very nice place to take a photo or two. Or fifty or sixty. So here are a couple of photos I especially like of this corner of Downey Park.

I hope your week is off to a good start. I’m planning a beach getaway for later this week. Will let you know if I pull it off!

 

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credits Ben Lawrence Basile

 

Turkey Lake Park is a Peaceful Place

Turkey Lake Park is a Peaceful Place

I did enjoy my second outing to Turkey Lake Park. I returned from that relaxing two day visit last Tuesday.

By the way, there is no “Turkey Lake Park”, strictly speaking. The official name is Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake, but since I find that a bit cumbersome, the more concise descriptor works for me!

I’m preparing a thorough write-up of my visit, but posting that will have to wait for another day. For now, I’m content just to post a pic and go on the record as saying that I truly love this tranquil setting.

This photo is taken from close to where campers must park and points in the direction of the camping area; as you can see, it’s quite a hike to the actual site where one pitches his or her tent! A very nice spot, nevertheless!

The upside of this arrangement is that it does make your camp site a bit more peaceful and natural-looking; the downside is that it’s a looooooong way to haul your gear!

Another detail that may be of interest: that gentle slope from right to left in the photo leads right to the shore of said Turkey Lake, though that’s just out of the picture.

I will be following up with a more thorough account of this recent trip with more pix before long. In the meantime, let me implore you to put aside some of that stuff on your to-do list for a while and get outdoors!

 

Bulldog Ben Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

A Visit to the Hunters Creek Applebee’s

A Visit to the Hunters Creek Applebee’s

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar
13500 John Young Parkway
Orlando, Florida 32837

Call 407 206-5039

I’ve dined at the Applebee’s location in the Hunters Creek area of Orlando many times. If you’re from metro Orlando or visit much, you probably know that’s very close to the tourist area and only a mile from the Osceola county line. But this one is mostly patronized by locals, many of whom work in the tourism industry.

I’ve eaten at seven Applebee’s locations all total and this one is not very different from the others. I like the crew here, the bartenders especially and go there fairly often. I still have not tried the dining room, opting to sit at the bar. Sean and Ariana and a couple of other crew members have always taken good care of me. They have a decent beer selection and the “always happy hour” thing is awesome. That’s 2 for 1 ALL DAY, but on domestic drafts only. Beer lovers, you gotta love that!

There are seven or eight TV screens in the bar so there’s always something good on. This location has become my go-to spot for sports viewing, especially for games I can’t get at home. However, they don’t carry the pay-per-view events, such as UFC fights or those PPV championship boxing matches.

I like just about everything I’ve tried here and can recommend several appetizers. The Spinach and Artichoke Dip is always good, as are the Mozzarella Sticks; but my fave is the Sriracha Shrimp. Just the right amount of heat, you can’t beat this one!

I usually dine solo so I haven’t had a chance to go the “2 Entrees for $20” route, but it looks like a good value. What I had on my last visit was the Bourbon Street Steak and it was damn near perfect. And their garlic mashed potatoes are to die for!

The one draw back here is that their usual good service is not so good when the place fills up. I don’t like it, but it’s a common thing at chain restaurants. Management in chains are very, very focused on payroll costs and you can’t really staff for the hour and a half of each day when the place “blows up” as you’d have too many crew members for the other 80% of the shift. I get it, but I don’t like it. I hasten to add that it’s no worse here than most places I’ve visited.

This Applebee’s is quite family friendly. If fact, you’ll find many families with school-age kids seated in the bar area on just about every night. If you still have small ones in your posse, you can be seated wherever you like, bar included. (Not AT the bar, but in the bar area!)

Quick summary: moderate prices, great place to watch sports, good service, decent beer selection and very tasty menu offerings.

One more thing: there is a designated entrance to pick up take out orders on the north side of the building. Your order will be waiting in the bar area.

A little info to help you find it: this A-bee’s is an out building in a very large shopping complex and there’s lot of parking. It’s not all that easy to see from John Young, especially if you’re northbound. It’s across JYP from the Gator’s Dockside which is much easier to spot, so look on the west side of the road. The complex is just a wee bit south of where the 417 exit for John Young cuts through.

 

Bulldog thinks the menu is one of the best things about Applebee’s.  View it here:

 

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

 

The Road Construction Project That Wouldn’t Die!

The Road Construction Project That Wouldn’t Die!

One of the things you get used to pretty quickly around metro Orlando is that we have road construction going on constantly. The project to improve I-4 is the mac-daddy one happening now. I’m not going to whine about that one, not at all. You can actually see the progress when cruising along I-4.

The one that I’d nominate for Worst Road Project in Metro O’do would be the job to widen/improve the intersection of John Young Pkwy and Sand Lake Rd. (Yeah, there should be an award called “WRPiMO”, shouldn’t there?)

It’s a major snafu. It makes it nearly impossible to get in or out of a major shopping complex used by locals and visitors alike; and it’s been going on for way.too.long.

When you cruise around this accursed intersection, you might not see any work being done. When you see that happening–or NOT happening, I should say–it can be very vexing, to say the least. Orange County needs to light a fire under this contractor.

When you do see work, it’s just one or two crews, and never more than two or three front end loaders. I’ve never seen a project inching towards completion like this one. And I’m over it. Completely over it.

I’m not daft enough to think that my rant today on this obscure blog will change anything. But I do feel better for getting it out of my system. Until the next time I have to go that way, that is!

Wherever you’re heading today, I hope it’s all sunshine and green lights! Little-to-no traffic, happy police with no quotas to fill and NO effin road construction!

 

“Bulldog Ben” Basile

 

Photo credit Benjamin Lawrence Basile

WKMG: Jamie Seh getting sports show – Orlando Sentinel

Bulldog writes: This is a very good development for Central Florida TV viewers, especially folks like me who are loyal to Channel 6. Jamie has been doing very solid work as the weekend sports anchor for WKMG for over five years and she’s definitely ready for prime time!

Ping, aka David Pingalore, was good at his craft but his shtick could get so annoying. So this is good news both because I think it’s a good move and because I had gotten really tired of Ping after ten frickin’ years! Details here on the new 30 minute show:

 

WKMG sports director Jamie Seh will headline a year-round sports show at 11:30 p.m. Saturdays.

Source: WKMG: Jamie Seh getting sports show – Orlando Sentinel