Saturday, March 28, 2015

The winter season is winding down


The calendar changed from winter to spring last week, and the migration form southwest Florida to northern states has begun in earnest.  RVs pull out of here every day as the snowbirds head back to their northern summer homes.

The wildlife is still around, though . . . egrets and herons, including this Great Blue Heron that was enjoying the solitude of the new lake in the back of the resort.

Great Blue Heron

He only had to share his space with a couple of Wood Storks.

Wood Stork


Wood Stork


Tom and I have had a few interesting wildlife encounters . . . last week, a fellow camper reported a large turtle on one of the sites on the lake.  We made our way down there, and found her laying eggs in the grass between the site and the water.


Several weeks ago, we were driving through the construction area in the back of the park when we happened upon a very large tan cat . . . we were shocked to see it, and determined that it was a panther.  Wow!  That was really cool . . . and I wish I had my camera with me!

We’ve gone back to the same area several times since then, but haven’t seen it again . . . just footprints . . .


We’ll keep looking for it, until we leave . . . and I’m going to keep my camera handy!

Meanwhile, last night was the resort’s Farewell Dinner Dance with the Chicago Mob.

Chicago Mob

(can’t get very good pictures with my phone in the low light!)  The band was really good, and very entertaining! 

Luckily, Bryce’s basketball game was on late, so he was able to help Bob with the dishwashing.

Hard at work

Bob is always glad to have Bryce’s help . . . and he likes to goof off a little, too!     and a little goofing off!










Watch out, Bryce . . . you’re going to get wet!!

We’re starting to get ready to move on, too.  Nicolas made our reservation up at the base for the last week of April, and we’ve been busy planning our stops on the way there, as well as a little vacation with Nicolas after his graduation  We’re really looking forward to it!

It’s been really hot down here in southwest Florida this past month – it’s felt more like mid-summer than early spring!  A cool-down was predicted for this weekend, and we were actually looking forward to a few cooler days – we could give the A/C a break! 

Tom and Bryce took advantage of the cooler day today to wash the RV, and I gave the inside a good spring cleaning, and packed several things away . . . it was a long overdue cleaning day!

Tomorrow . . . we’ll take some time for fun!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

An excellent day at the beach

We set aside Saturday as a “day off” so that we could spend it at Lovers Key State Park with our friends, Debbie & Ken, who we had volunteered with there 2 years ago.

After stopping off at the farmer’s market, we arrived at the park by noon.  After catching up with them for awhile, and a few other volunteers and rangers, we decided to ride bikes down to the beach.  Tom and Bryce borrowed a couple of bikes from the maintenance shop, but I had my new bike with us.


It was a beautiful afternoon, and there were lots of people at the beach!

Crowded beach

Lots of people enjoying the water











We headed straight for the water . . . it was a wonderful 74 degrees!

We even got in the water!

We just tried not to think about what could be swimming around in the water near us!!

After cooling off, we took a walk on the beach to the south end of the state park.     Walking along the shoreline









There are lots of osprey nests along the beach,  Osprey Nest

and we saw several of the large birds hunting for fish along the estuary.


We arrived back at our towels, and were able to snag a few rental lounge chairs that had been deserted.  We all soaked up a little sun . . . some more than others, and they were paying for it later!!

The beach started to empty out as people packed up to catch the last tram ride back to the parking lot. 

The beach is emptying out

A beautiful day at the beach











Luckily, we had bikes, and could stay as long as we wanted.  We’d had enough sun, though, and were getting hungry, so we decided to head back.

Riding back from the beach

Lovers Key State Park is not a campground, but there are 6 resident volunteer sites near the maintenance shop.  We headed back to Debbie & Ken’s site, where we enjoyed a BBQ of salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, corn and watermelon . . . and chocolate chip brownies for dessert.

After our delicious dinner and more catching up, we enjoyed one of our favorite activities from our days at Lovers Key – biking to the beach at sunset!  There were a few others with the same idea . . .

Quiet beach at sunset

Enjoying sunset at the beach

We walked along the beach, enjoying the beautiful evening sunset!

Sunset March 21

Spectacular sunset











This is definitely one thing I miss . . . we don’t have these excellent views in our RV Resort!

Sunset March 21

Truly spectacular!


The folks on this boat were probably enjoying the view, too!

Boat on the horizon

Ken & Debbie

Debbie and Ken

Tom & I and Bryce


We continued our walk on the beach, and found several more osprey and their nests.


We also ran into some friends . . . volunteers Kevin & Doris, and their son, Sean, who they had just picked up from the airport. 

Volunteers on the beach

A few more shots of the glorious sunset . . .

Sunset March 21

Sunset March 21











. . . . and then it was time for everybody to leave the beach . . .

The day's end

Back at Debbie & Ken’s, we ended our evening with an excellent campfire and roasted marshmallows!  It was a great way to end a beautiful day!

A great way to end the day

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

St. Patrick’s Day Parade and folks are starting to head back north

He was totally into it!


The resort was having a St. Patrick’s Day parade on Tuesday afternoon, complete with fire trucks and a marching band.  We hadn’t planned on participating, but we ended up directing traffic so I had a good vantage point for pictures.

Bryce was hanging out with a big crowd at Bob & Nancy’s house, and managed to snag a green moustache and several strands of beads . . . he wore that moustache all afternoon and evening!



When the fire trucks arrived, Tom & I led them back to where the rest of the parade was gathering, and the band was warming up.

Getting ready for the parade

Then it was time for the parade to start!

St. Paddy's Day Parade

Paul was the Grand Marshall on his motorcycle, followed by two fire trucks, and the little parade princess.

Every parade needs a Mustang Convertible!

Then came the dogs . . . all decked out in their green!

Dressed-up Dogs

More dogs and the band is coming











We were going to let Casey ride on the cart with us, but between the fire truck sirens, the marching band, and the other dogs around, she was a little freaked out . . . so we put her back in the RV.

Next came the Dunbar High School Dancers,

Dancing Girls

and marching band.

And the band!












Bringing up the rear were the decorated golf carts.

Decorated Carts

Bob deserves a prize!


Bob was the only one with a decorated bike – and he went all-out!  I missed getting his picture  during the parade, but I caught up with him at the clubhouse at the end of the route!








Just as Tom and I were getting ready to meet the walkers at the other side of the park to direct them toward the club house, Tom noticed smoke coming from behind one of the RVs in front of us!  Several people ran over there where the mulch on the site next door was on fire!  They were trying to smother the flames, but every time they moved some mulch, flames popped up somewhere else.  Finally, the guy who’s RV was right next to the mulch got his water hose unhooked from his RV and used it to put out the fire.  The firemen in one of the trucks must have seen the smoke, and they quickly brought one of the trucks over, and finished making sure that the fire was completely out.

It was a little more excitement than we were looking for, but thankfully no damage was done . . . other than a little burned mulch!  We still don’t know what started it though!

Over at the clubhouse, the band played a few more songs, and then everyone enjoyed iced tea and cookies as prizes were awarded for the best decorated dogs and vehicles. 

Bryce posed with a couple of his biggest fans!

Bryce's Fan Club

Bryce and Bob had matching moustaches, but Bob was losing his!

The season is winding down here in southwest Florida, and lots of people are moving out and heading home.  Our road is back to looking the way it did when we arrived back in November!

We're all alone again!

As much as Bryce thought this resort was going to be too fancy for us, I think he ended up really enjoying himself here.

He and Emily became good friends, and they were both well-accepted as part of the pickleball club.

Playing pickleball

I got this picture of them the other night as they played pool – I said I needed proof for Grandma that Bryce had a friend!


Yesterday they had a “tournament” of sports against Emily’s parents – the adults won shuffleboard, the kids won pickleball, and Bryce suggested cornhole as the tie-breaker . . . that wasn’t fixed at all!! LOL

Teaching Emily and her parents how to play cornhole












Got one last picture of them before she left for home today . . . and he finally lost the moustache!

Emily & Bryce

So, things are winding down around here, but we’ve got about three weeks left before we move on . . . and we won’t be all alone; there’s a small group of people sticking around until after Easter!