Friday, March 25, 2016



Spent the day at the second largest fresh water lake in the US. Then, on to being a kid "COME AND WALK WITH ME...!"


Only a few hour drive from Fort Myers we arrived at Lake Okeechobee or as the locals call it "The Big O". We spent all day at the park walking the pier, hiking the trails and sitting in our lawn chairs enjoy the wild life around us.  The downside we did not have any encounters with alligators, but a lot of birds.

Had left over heals of bread in the refrigerator, easy way to clean out the refrigerator is to feed it to the birds. I Think it might have been a mistake.

We stayed until the sunset, then we turn east and saw the moon rising where the site was just as amazing.


The park has RV parking that cost $22 a day. Only $2 more than regular parking and has it's own parking lot. Down side, there is no pull through. We had to unhook the car and dolly and parked it right next to us. 

The price was steep, but worth it all as we were kids again .... at least for one more day. We got the one day two park pass where we spent 5 hours at Adventure Land and 5 hours at Universal Studios. 

This sign from Comic Book section of Universal sums it up perfectly.

You know that you are a well oiled machine when can hook up the dolly and car in low lighted park lot in less than 5 minutes.  There was no traffic getting out of the park as the parking lot was right next to the exit and main road.

We are hoping to put a video together for this three week road trip. There is just too much to show in this blog.

Continue north with a twist in our plans that turned out to be adventures and rewarding.  

Sunday, March 20, 2016



Our last week in Fort Myers and full of thing still to do. Finish our itinerary for our trip North. We have to hit the beach at least one more time to try and get a better timelapse of the sunset. Replace our house batteries in the RV. Squeeze in a few more minor league baseball games and practices.


The major league Red Sox had home games all week, so I'd only attended Twins practices this week. 


With the MLB team on the road I attended 4 minor league and major leaguers who were left behind practices. I got 17 baseballs 5 2016 FL Spring Training, 4 MLB and 8 MiLB ball.  I was able to get 14 autographs and 5 bats.

Monday I was in baseball heaven, the Gulf Cost League Twins played Bethel University, While the Low A played A and AA played AAA on three field at once. I was like a dog chasing his tail, I was running back and forth between the three fields. After the games finished I took a trip around the development field and found 5 baseball in the pond along the field. After fishing them out, I laid them out in the sun to dry when I got back to the RV. After the balls dry out, I'll probably give them away at a practice. After getting home and logging the days totals in my database I have noticed that I reached a ballhawk milestone. The fifth ball I fished out of the pond was my career 150th baseball.  

Wednesday the AAA & AA team played the Orioles AAA & AA team. I got 4 ball during practice before they took a break for lunch. The two games started at noon. The Twins do not allow you to keep foul ball during these games. (Another reason why I like Goodyear, you can keep minor league games balls). I was watching both games and when a bat broke I would write down the players uniform number so I could try and chase them down after the game. I would have been satisfied to go home with the four baseballs and two autographs I got. But, adding three game used broken bats to the days total was icing on the cake.

Thursday it was the Low A and A team to stay home and play the games where they took on the Tampa Bay Rays Low A and A teams. Another good day, 4 more baseballs, superstar autographs of Joe Mauer and Paul Molitor along with a few minor and major leaguers. I counted three time a bat broke. When the games were over I saw the grounds crew asking the Twins players for their broken bats. So, I went to the Rays player and asked for his, where he handed it to me on the way to the team bus.

Friday and my last day of spring training (spending the last three days in Fort Myers with my wife... priorities). I got 4 baseball at practice (gave 2 a way) before the Red Sox AAA and AA drove over to play their games today. I  got 2 autographs after the game and one more broken bat.

All-in-all it was a solid spring, I give myself a grade of B+.With limited access to MLB players after spring training games started. The practice fields being blocked off to fan getting access to players, BP balls and can't keep minor league game foul balls. Having only a small number of minor league players baseball cards. I did get my first ever game used bat this spring (getting 6 bats this spring... mind blowing), But, all my other numbers are down from a year ago in Goodyear, AZ. Spring training in Fort Myers, FL was fun, but NO WHERE close to as much fun in Goodyear, AZ. 2017 spring training.... making my reservations at Leaf Verde in Buckeye, AZ. 

My 2016 Spring Training Total Haul

Week total: 9 Games, 14 Autographs 17 Balls (2 give-a-way) 5 Bats 
Spring training total 13 Games, 66 Autographs 39 Balls (5 give-a-way) 6 Bats


Tuesday was our maintenance day for the RV house batteries, with the appointment at 9:00 AM, Monday night we unhooked and put everything away so when we woke we just got dressed and left. We had to fight the city weekday traffic, but still made it to Camping World on time. A job that I think should have taken a max of an hour turned out to be over three hours. The control panel was still not working, but I remembered that I had to unhook our propane gas alarm because it would not stop going off when our house batteries died. When we returned to the RV park I hooked the alarm back up and the panel display was working. I was going to get my headlight fixed too, but that was an extra $145 just to look at it. I think it's just need to replace the bulb. Once I have the right tools to remove the headlight from the frame it should be only a few dollars to fix. Unless, I have to replace the whole light that will require me to order the part. Now with daylight saving I have an extra hour of daylight to drive, but when the sun starts to set I will be done driving for the day. I'll get the headlight fixed in OH, I think I know a few guys who could help me out?

We hit the beach one more time. We had our chairs, sat far away from others. I set the camera up on a sand bar in the middle of the bay.

Wouldn't you know once people saw me walking on water they too came out and stood right in front of my shots again. However, the view was still amazing.

We need to find a spot were no ones goes. Time for us to start do some wild camping!

With our last week in Fort Myers coming to a close only means one thing... winter is almost over and time for use to start heading North.

Florida's Big "O", State Capitol Buildings, State & National Parks and of course what's a trip without seeing a minor league baseball game (fingers crossed).

Sunday, March 13, 2016



Week 3 autograph chasing is getting slim. Red Sox major leaguers all have but vanished, as they practice inside JetBlue Park and is off limits to fans. At the Twins complex there are a few players that sign, but I have already gotten then all at least once. Red Sox minor leaguers are all but willing to sign after practice, I just have to the find the few players I have cards for on five fields full of player all wearing red. The Twins minor leaguers are harder to find, they have not worn uniforms with their name on the back all spring. At least I can still watch practice and chase baseballs. A Twins coach could have been a good guy, but turned out he was not. A minor league player came to the rescue and was my hero of the day. The bad, the ugly and the disappointments of Shady Acres Travel Park in Fort Myers, FL.  


The major league players held practice inside JetBlue Park, that is closed to the public. I walked around looking for the minor league players I wanted to get autographs from. There is no player roster for the minor league so I was walking around the five fields.  With over 200 players and only a handful of them have baseball cards it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

When BP started I was the only person standing in the open area behind the fence in right field. With six left-handed hitters I was thinking there should be a lot of balls coming my way today. The Baseball Gods did not shine down on me as all the hitter had no pull power. The only ball I did get was a foul ball I chased down. However, at the second practice I was once again the only one standing in the outfield fence area and had a 3 ball day. I was watching the main field then from the corner of my eye I saw a foul ball that left the field next to me. I did not have to move, I just put my glove on the ground and the ball rolled right into it. The other two was a foul ball I chased down and a throw over from a minor league player. For the players defense, the wind was blowing in.

When getting an autograph of a minor league player sometimes I start a conversation. This way the player knows that I know something about them and not just trying to sell his autograph later. Trey Ball has grown his hair out this year and I said "I like your hair". He looked up, noticed my hair and said "so do I". Michael Chaves started asking where am I from. I told him "I live in a RV traveling all year chasing baseball games". He told me that's the life. I replied, "you're living the life, you get to play baseball everyday". Looked like he smiled before heading back into the Red Sox clubhouse.

Sunday's practice was inter-squad games. They held live BP for the pitcher not going to play today and got two balls. During the inter-squad games I caught one foul ball and a small boy was just looking at me so I gave it to him. A player came and took the ball away from him. For some reason you can't keep game balls. So I took one of the balls I had from BP and gave it to the little boy. Because fans could not keep the inter-squad game balls I did not count that ball to my totals.

With the MLB team on the road I attended 3 minor league practices. I got 6 baseballs 1 2016 FL Spring Training and 5 MiLB ball.  I gave one ball away. I was able to get  11 autographs. No superstar, but a few 1st round draft picks.


During Monday's practice, there was a ball along the fence line, so I tried to get it. I have a long string tied to my glove so I can use it like a fishing pole. I threw my glove over the fence several times rolling the ball closer and closer to the fence, so I could grab it from under the fence opening. After a few minutes the ball was only a few a feet away. One of the coaches walked passed, picked it up and .... threw the ball back on the practice field. Everyone watching me and myself included was disappointed at the coach. All that work gone for nothing. At least one of the minor league players on the field saw this and threw me a ball for my efforts.

Twins minor league had first full practice on Thursday, but players spread out over five fields and running everywhere tracking down the only two player I know was impossible. I hope I have better luck next week.

With the MLB team on the road I attended 2 minor league and major leaguers who were left behind practices. I got 3 baseballs 1 2016 FL Spring Training, 1 MLB and 1 MiLB ball.  I was able to get 1 autographs. The big name playeto sign was Byung Ho Park, Walking off the field after practice, I called his name out and I was the first he came to. I congratulated on his game the day before where he hit his spring training homerun.

Week 3 Auto's & Balls

The minor league spring training game schedule came out this week. I will be attending some of the games next week as they are free to watch with very few fans attending. Should be easy picking for foul balls and autographs from both teams players.
Week total: 2 Games, 12 Autographs 9 Balls (1 give-a-way) 
Spring training total 4 Games, 52 Autographs 22 Balls (3 give-a-way) 1 Bat


I usually don't like talking bad about the places we stay, but Shady Acres Travel Park is one I can't let off the hook. All the RV parks in Fort Myers are priced high for the snowbirds, and not taking that into account or the unreliable internet and lousy TV reception here are the reasons why we will never return to this park. There is a $5 a month fee to have a mail box to receive mail. This is optional, but still. Only one shower house with two showers for the whole park that has around 300 sites. The water pressure in the showers are weak and a pain when the water is just dripping from the shower head. The trash dumpsters are always full and trash stacked up all over the place. One night we went to throw away our trash and saw raccoons rumbling through the bags. The latest one that just made me boil was the electric bill. I was charged for the electric use by the people before us. I was home with my door open and the bill was shoved in my door handle, Just knock on the door and give me my bill. Also, how hard is it to read my meter when the worker dropped us off at our site, then this would not have been an issue. The bill issue did get fixed, it just took time to get corrected.

We spent a few hours at the local park. There was a flea mart and hiking trail where we saw turtles. Luckily, we did not run into any alligators. One vendor was selling bread in shapes of Florida animals. Then, on our hike Hiromi looked into water and spotted a turtle.

During our weekly grocery shopping we found some local delights. I have not seen these since I was in Thailand. No we don't eat chicken paws.

With two weeks left in Fort Myers we started throwing ideas around on what & where we are heading next. We have three weeks to get from Fort Myers, FL to Canton, OH. This will be our last road trip of the winter, as we have a spot in Ohio for the whole summer. I like to live in the moment and take my time to see if we can find the unexpected. But, having a plan is also helpful for our parents so they know where we are. Next week I'll give you a taste of our itinerary in "What's Next?".

What's Next?
Final week of spring training in Fort Myers, FL.

Sunday, March 6, 2016



Week 2 started off fast where I attended my first baseball games of the year. My gem of the week (probably all season) my first ever game used bat. Twins and Red Sox have home games opposite of each other. When the MLB team is on the road I will attend that teams practices. There is some needed maintenance for the RV before we hit the road. I played around with my cameras and editing software to practice my skills and made an YouTube videos.


I attended my first official baseball games of the 2016 season. It was a double header exhibition with Red Sox taking on Boston College and then Northeastern University. With the games not being an official game I had no idea what Red Sox players was going to play so I did not even bring my baseball cards to try and get autographed. I put my energy into getting baseballs. During BP I was in the outfield lawn seat area and I got four baseball thrown to me. The games were pretty lopsided as the Red Sox won both games that only went 7 inning each. The college players had a disadvantage and had to use wooden bat for this game while they use aluminum bats all year in college games.

With the MLB team on the road I attended one minor league and major leaguers who were left behind practices. It turned out to be a wast of time. Only the major league pitchers had infield practice and walked past the 50 or so fans without signing for anyone. To make things even worse, there was no minor league practice this day.


Last practice before the Twins start their spring training schedule was live batting BP. Lot of the pitchers holding live BP while the star position players took BP in the cage. Most of the pitchers today I had baseball cards of them so I was waiting for them to finish their workout.

No matter where you are when a bat brakes, when you hear that sound you have to turn your head and take a look. The barrel of the bat was fling down the first base line and the knob was still in Alex Swim hand. Alex, a minor league catcher who is in camp to help the pitching staff, broke his bat during live BP. I asked for his bat and he said after practice. I had to wait over an hour, but worth it to add my first game used autographed bat to my collection. The bat is sticky with pin tar caked up and down the bat. Because the bat broke in two, I was able to stick it in a 12 pack soda can box to keep the pin tar off everything else. I guess I can put the bat in a trash bag when I put it away when driving. I had to look Alex up when I got home. He's starting his four year in pro ball, never been pass advance A ball, no power numbers, but hits for average with a .307 lifetime batting average. Who knows what his career will become.

With the MLB team on the road I attended 2 minor league and major leaguers who were left behind practices. I got 4 baseballs 2 2016 FL Spring Training, 2 MLB ball and gave one away. I found the player development field and walk around to see if I could find any balls just laying around. One was floating in the pond behind the field, I grabbed it and brought it home to dry out in the sun. I would have given this one away too,  if it was not the 2016 FL Spring Training balls. I had the ball sitting in the sun for 3 days before it dried out. I was able to get 9 autographs. Twin alumni Rod Carew was at one of the practices. I was able to get a picture but sadly, he was not signing.

Rod Carew

Twins balls and autographs

Week total: 2 Games, 16 Autographs 8 Balls (1 give-a-way) 1 Bat
Spring training total: 2 Games, 40 Autographs 13 Balls (2 give-a-way) 1 Bat


Had some issues with the RV that I had to look into. First, I lost the lights on the display panel and noticed that the house battery is dead. I have to replace not just the house battery, but the auxiliary battery too. From what I have read and heard from others is that I will need to replace both batteries at the same time, so that both batteries are working together and one is not working harder than the other. Second, the right headlight is burned out. The headlight is mounted to the frame with no screws from the outside. I probably could do the replacements myself, but get it done right the first time. I'll ask if I can watch so I can do it myself the next time it happens. Made an appointment with Camping World to get the work done before we take off.

With so many beaches in the Fort Myers area we went to one to view the sunset. Next time we will bring our lawn chairs, we had sand everywhere when we got back home.

I tried to do timelapse photography with my GoPro, I was off to the side, but with the wide shots I picked up everyone walking. I took over 900 pictures but had to delete 150 or so with the people blocking the shot. After I finished my editing and zoom in, I ended up with 742 pictures to make a 24 second video. How does it look? VIDEO HERE Personally, I think the picture above turned out better than the timelapse. I wanted to shoot until the black of night, but the battery in the GoPro died. We have a few more weeks in Florida so I'm sure we'll find our way back out to the beach for another sunset.

Fort Myers, FL spring training week 3.