Along the way to our next location, we needed to pass some time before we could check in. I had a solution for that! I located a quilt shop, Kay's Quilt Shop, in Fort Meyers. So I spent some time there enjoying being among the bolts again! Not a real large shop, but they like batiks, so I found a few small souvenirs to take with me!
Outside the shop I found a beautiful hibiscus. I can't help but be amazed at the varieties and colors!
We made our lunch in the trailer in the parking lot of the quilt shop, which we often do on travel days. I got a bit of time to start a new book, Thirst, by Heather Anderson. It's her account of walking the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mexico border to the Canada border. And trying to break the record to be the person who has done it the fastest. She was a seasoned hiker and had done the trail before, but it still was very challenging, especially keeping water on hand. It was more than challenging, it was grueling just to read about it! Big reflections on making a plan and sticking to it during hours of walking, day after day.
In the afternoon, we drove south to near Naples and just south of that to Collier Seminole State Park. This is the first time in weeks that we have been at a site that allowed a fire, so we got out the Solo Stove again and Bob got it going. He always loves a fire to stir. We discovered that there are a lot of mosquitoes around, and little gnats or no-seeums that can get through the screens. Thankfully, we had our new electrocuter along! We really had some fun being able to make sparks. We were left with insect carcasses all around!
A great day today! We actually washed windows all around the trailer (13) plus the truck inside and out! I can see clearly now!
We did some walking to look around this park. Bob told me before we left that red is supposed to attract mosquitoes. Did you know that? Still, I wore a red shirt and used bug spray. And I got 2 mosquito bites right through my shirt! A few pictures from our walk -
That round leaf on the left is the Sea Grape (Coccoloba). I don't know the name of the pink flower yet. And the dainty little spirals of vegetation amongst all the swampy jungly growth just caught my eye. This morning we listened in on a program by a retired ranger from this park, he had so many pictures of the birds and animals here that he has collected over years, and lots of info and stories about them. He really likes snakes so we heard a lot about them.
In the afternoon, we went to Wooten's Airboat Tours for something we've never done before! Captain Tom took us out through the swamp to look for gators, and we found a few. But we saw plenty more in the lagoon they have for wildlife. The airboats are super duper loud, so we wore headphones and still I wished for my foam earplugs! It was a clear and sunny day for it, and we enjoyed being shown the life out in the waterways. I'm glad we got to go because now I can say that's done and I don't really need to go again!
That little baby alligator sure felt different to hold than I expected. He/she was totally relaxed. The skin on the belly felt so soft and smooth, but I could tell that it felt thicker than a baby's bottom!
We moved on to our next spot, which was just recently reserved at a KOA park. We were in a conundrum a week ago. Looking ahead at our reservations, in order to secure a spot for the weekend we had found a state park, Highlands Hammock. But it was just 2 nights, and not in the area that our route would be taking us. We couldn't extend at either of the parks before nor after the weekend. We did find this last minute 2-nighter at the Fort Myers/Pine Island KOA which aligned better with our route, so we weighed the higher price at the KOA against the 119 miles each way to Highlands Hammock. Pine Island won that one. Gas being about $3.50/gall, and getting almost all of our fee back from the State Park, helped swing the needle. After driving to our new campground, we're very happy to be here. Pine Island is a small island just off the coast from Fort Meyers. It seems like this is a low key spot, without crowds. We've only explored the southern part of the island so far, but have only seen small hotels and restaurants. The pastel colors of beach houses are the theme here, even the Dollar General has the island theme!
We ate a great dinner at the Waterfront Restaurant, overlooking the canals coming in from the Gulf. We had a very good grouper basket and fish and chips. Both rated 2 thumbs up!
We went for a bike ride this morning that was a nicely paved route along the main road that runs north/south on this island. We really enjoy riding our ebikes. And it's so flat here! Instead of gravel for parking areas and roads, they use crushed seashells! And we saw a different kind of pine tree on this ride, the needles are really fine and have little nodes along them. I hope that shows up in the picture of them. They are very soft and drape from the branches, kind of like a weeping willow. Bob looked for it in his reference and it might be the lob lolly pine.
I keep putting pictures of our trailer in here, not because I'm completely obsessed with it, but because it helps me later to remember the campgrounds! Although I am a wee bit in love with it!
Today we made it to the beach! We left earlier than yesterday and found our parking spot without waiting terribly long in traffic to get there. In comparing this location (Delnor Wiggins Pass State Park) with the beach on Anna Maria Island, this one came in second. Not as much space between the trees and the water and a lot more people. The water was much calmer here and less wind. Great people watching!
I'm noticing that my recently purchased sunglasses that I can wear over my regular glasses make me look like one of those senior citizens that don't really care about looking cool anymore! Truth is, I would rather wear the nice Goodr sunglasses that I have but that's not working out! My Goodr sunglasses have a bit of a rubbery texture to the frame and they stay in place on my face.
We stayed a couple hours, moving from sun to shade and back to shade again. Back at the RV park, we lounged at the pool for awhile, it's a popular place but there is plenty of chairs and space to once again find my shade! Bob picked out a place to go for dinner, Riptide Brewing Co., where we had some good tasting beer and shredded pork and chicken sliders with their own special sauce. Very good! Then a quiet end to a very nice day.
Nothing on our schedule today, just the way we like it! We walked around the streets of this RV community, it's way bigger than I had initially thought. I took some pictures of the nice flowers and vegetation all around us.
The temp has been in the mid-80's for several days, and continues to be forecasted for that temp over the next several days. Not much wind moving, so a quick dip in the pool is the best way to cool off, then relax with some good reading.
These 2 book have been on my bedside table lately. I just finished Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult. I've read several of the books she has written, and have liked each one. This one has not been high on my list, the middle of the story really seems to drag on. The storyline is good, however, and thought provoking, as are all her books. She writes books about current issues and events of all kinds. The other book, Bones, is typical of the other Kellerman stories about Milo Sturgis and Alex Delaware. Honestly, I didn't even finish it because I lost interest. That's my review and I'm sticking to it!
Dinner tonight was chips and guacamole! Livin' the high life!
2/22/22- The day of 2's!
This was a moving day again, driving further south to a place in Bonita Springs, near Naples. We have gotten so good at preparing to take off that we have to slow down a little so we don't have to wait around for our reserved spot on the other end. Most places have a 1PM check-in, and we try not to get there earlier. I guess that my days working in retail realy changed my thinking about customers who disregarded start and ending times, complicating the job of the staff. I don't think that was the case in my nursing jobs, because everything we did ran on a pretty tight schedule. I remembered feeling relieved when I left that because I could leave my watch off for days!
Our spot for a few days--
We are in the Imperial Bonita Estates, a private RV community where almost all the spaces are occupied by either permanent, seasonal or long-termers. Except a few, for people like us that are searching for something in the area and have run out of luck finding something in a state park or county park. And we made these reservations in November or December, I think. You really have to plan ahead to get the good spots reserved. So if you want to stay at the primo Florida state parks next February, you need to be online on March 1 to snag a spot. And there are some beautiful beach state parks here.
There is a fantastic mix of old and new mobile homes, trailers, RV's, 5th Wheels and some that are more like modular homes. There are some really cute old ones on some of the sites, straight out of the 60's! And they are looking generally pretty good, not trashy or abandoned. The grounds are very well kept by a staff. In reading through the by-laws, there is a requirement that any newly added units have to be less than 10 years old. So the oldies but goodies will pass on, someday.
Some of the roads through the homes are pretty narrow, not really built for large trucks and rigs. Bob had a challenge to back into our spot, but he doesn't let something like that spoil the day! Later, we walked up to the pool and enjoyed cooling off there for awhile.
Bob's birthday! I made bacon and blueberry pancakes for breakfast, which seldom happens because we are both trying to maintain our slim and trim figures! That's a joke! We talked a bit about the fact that now we are both closer to 70 than to 65, so we are looking to do more of the things that we want to do while we possess the strength!
We headed west to spend time on the beach. There seems to be less public access to the beach here, most of the coastline is swallowed up by buildings, developments, condos, etc. We wanted to go to Delnor-Wiggins Pass State Park because it's not too far from us and right on the ocean. We drove there, but soon realized that we would have needed to get there about the time I was serving pancakes, so the entrance was closed because all the parking was filled. Bummer. Instead, we went back to the trailer and then spent time at the pool and ate the picnic lunch there! Bob grilled us some very good steak for dinner, since I'm pretty hands-off with grilling. That's something Bob likes to do, and does it well. We talked with all the kids and grandkids through the day, and that's a special gift!
It has been getting pretty hot here in the afternoons, upper 80's. That's about 10 degrees above the normal for this time. We have air conditioning to help out and that keeps me from getting cranky. It cools off in the evening so we can sleep with the windows open. A simple pleasure!
We are spending part of this week near Ruskin, easterly from Tampa Bay. It's a small town, getting swallowed up by suburban sprawl. We are staying at River Vista RV Resort, which is part of Cove RV parks. There are improvements underway or already made to this park, one being level concrete parking pads with a little patio area, outdoor table and grill. There are a couple of new small buildings under construction, I'm pretty sure they are for laundry, maybe showers or restrooms. I know for sure it will be laundry, because right now the laundry is temporarily in a party tent in the site next to us! A little annoying, but if my windows are open I can catch bits of gossip. It's a bit of a gathering place during the day. Plus, it's free! There is also a nice facility for groups, including a big firepit and a great deck overlooking the Little Manatee River. It's nice to have comfortable outdoor spots, because it's been hot and the breeze and shade make it much better. And it's February!
Bob's birthday is coming up on Wednesday so I went out shopping by myself this morning but didn't really find what I was looking for. And since I don't know what I'm looking for, that's not surprising! It can be hard to come up with something inspiring, something of a moderate price and something that will fit in the trailer. But, just now, I think I might have thought of it! Now to find the place to purchase it! We have been generous with ourselves with some of our purchases for ourselves this past year, so we usually think of that as a gift to each other that doesn't need a birthday nor holiday to happen.
Bob is reading a couple interesting suspenseful medical mystery books. They are not by a big name author, so probably not known by thousands, unless you worked with him in the Emergency Department! Tom Combs was an emergency M.D., very good to work with, easy to laugh and I don't think I ever saw him angry! Which says a lot about him, because we worked in a trauma center in an area of the city not known for fun and games. It was mostly a wonderful clientele, but there were difficult moments to be worked through. That's why we got bulletproof glass for the entrance. Anyway, he's a good guy, and Bob says he likes the books, so maybe you should look for them! If local bookstores and libraries fail to help you track down the books (4 of them) then Amazon will help!
Big things happening for us! We are growing by leaps and bounds! Specifically, one new little boy expected in August, from our newlyweds Dan and Loti! They live in northwestern Montana, and love cozy cabins, hiking, biking, skiing, rafting and the great outdoors. So this little guy will be learning all those things, and more, following along with his mom and dad. They are thrilled with this, and so are we! Already planning a trip to visit there, and the cute little stocking caps and quilts I can make for him!
And, a new darling little puppy joining the Burke family soon! She is adorable, and the boys are so excited. They've had a pet cat but never a dog, so there will be a lot of learning going on. They live in the mountains just north of Lake Tahoe in California, and they love a lot of the same things that Dan and Loti do, so the pup will be learning, as well! She's a berniedoodle, Bernese and poodle mix. The Burkes just spent the weekend in San Francisco, a place that was home to Ben and Brita when they fell in love, got engaged and were married, so it holds a lot of special memories that they want the little boys to know about. Plus, it's just a great city to explore and visit. And not nearly as wintry as their home!
So, we have a lot more to be thankful for, as our circle grows!
A day spent kicking back, enjoying life, no pictures! We did enjoy some phone calls with family and friends, walk around the farm, take a nap, all the important stuff!
We went back over to Anna Maria Island to enjoy the sunny day. But first, a warning! Don't try to drive the 684 bridge to Bradenton Beach at midday! It is bumper-to-bumper traffic for a long way leading to the bridge, then the right lane ends, and if you are unlucky enough to not know about that, other drivers are not nice about letting you merge into the through lane. Sad, but true. We should have used the northern bridge, Hwy 64, to get over there. We would have had extra time for sunburning! The circled area on the map is roughly where we have found some parking on side streets and easy access to the beach that stretches all along the gulf side of the island.
There were a lot more people on the beach today, more children and vacationers. And fewer places to park! On the way back home, after the sun and the waves and the breeze had nearly lulled us to sleep, we stopped for a few groceries and decided to try the Publix Key Lime pie. It's a mini pie pan, and looks so pretty! The slivered almonds on the crust are a nice touch! However, this pie is not at the top of the competition. About what I would expect from a grocery store bakery! And no, we didn't eat it all at once, we are both showing some real control and eating just one piece. At a time.
A quick pack up, well, quick for us because we tend to lounge a bit in the morning! But check out at a lot of places is 11 and we have never missed it yet! On the way out through the farmyard area, we stopped to admire the gnarly horns on these goats! I didn't inquire about the breed, but these horns did look different than usual. It's a warm day, already about 80 at 11am, so the breeze really feels great.
After we made it to our next spot (staying for 4 nights there) I did run the air conditioning in the trailer for awhile to bring both the temperature and the humidity down. But it cooled off later in the afternoon and we could sit outside in the shade and be comfortable. Except for some nasty little tiny black bugs that really pack a strong bite for their size! Maybe these are the no-see-ums that people have talked about, but I can definitely see them, if I have my glasses on!
Today we packed up and moved along down the road, a little further south to a spot near Bradenton. We found Bradenton/Hunsader Farms KOA, a nice spot in an agricultural area. KOA stands for Kampgrounds Of America. It's a membership based campground chain, nice because there is a standard required for the owners to maintain. It's not real expensive, and we get a small discount on camping in a KOA park. This campground is on the property of a working farm. There are fields of hundreds of tomato plants, plus something else just starting to show green leaves. And that's just the fields right by our campground, there are plenty more around. Also, bison, ostriches, goats with curly horns, llamas and a big bull who just glowers all the time! The spot we're in has some nice room to set up our chairs and there are new and very nicely done restrooms, showers and laundry, in addition to the livestock and crops!
In the late afternoon, we saw this beautiful small sundog in the sky to the west. I was pretty surprised, since the only times I've ever seen a sundog were in the winter with ice crystals in the air. Either way, I bet it's a sign of good luck and good fortune for all who see it. And perfect for a Valentine's Day celebration!
We drove over to the gulf today and ended up on Anna Maria Island, a fun and special place for us because we were here 3 years ago with friends, Bob and Debbie. We had such a great trip, staying in a rental for a week and enjoying a warm week near the beach. Now we're back to the same spot, and wish Bob and Debbie were here!
We got started on our quest for the perfect Key Lime pie, and we are still working on that. Today, we had lunch at the Sandbar and had some delicious pie for dessert. This one gets 4 thumbs up (2 from each of us) and is leading in the competition.
A bunch of these guys were hanging around, waiting for crumbs from our graham cracker crumb crust! It was a sunny day, not very crowded out on the beach, and a cool breeze. Who could ask for anything more?!
Thank you for stopping by! I appreciate the time you have taken to look for and read my story. I hope you find something that you like!
Hi! I'm Pam! Join me on this journey through the next steps of life!