Monday, February 23, 2015

Friends and Manatees

Rick and Kathy


We had visitors on Friday afternoon – Rick and Kathy (It’s About Time), from Ontario, Canada.  We had met them several years ago at an informal RV-Dreams gathering, and met up with them 2 years ago when we were last in Florida.

They stopped by the RV Resort where we got caught up (although we read each others’ blogs, so we pretty much know what’s going on with each other!) and enjoyed some snacks as we moved from the sun, to the shade, back to the sun . . .

We showed them around the resort, and then decided to go to downtown Ft. Myers for some pizza.  We had heard that the pizza at Capone’s was pretty good, so we decided to give it a try.

We were there by 5:30, but Ft. Myers is pretty busy on Friday nights, so there was about a 1/2 hour wait for a table.  The new thing with restaurants here is, instead of giving you a pager for when your table is available, they take your phone number and text you when it’s ready.  We chatted and studied the menu while we waited; then, when it had been more than 30 minutes, sent Tom to check on our table.  It turns out they had tried to call our phone, but the call did not go through . . . so they skipped us!  Well, that’s not a very good system!  We got the next available table, though.

Once we were seated, we ordered right away (since we had plenty of time to study the menu and decide what to get), and the salad and pizza proved to be very good.

After dinner, we walked around downtown, where there were performers and musicians on many of the streetcorners.


We found out later that this is a regular thing on Friday nights – they alternate between musicians and artists each week.  Most of them were really good!  It was a beautiful evening to be downtown!

After walking around for awhile, we parted ways with Rick and Kathy, looking forward to catching up with them again at the RV-Dreams Reunion Rally this summer.

On Saturday morning, we did something that I’ve been wanting to do ever since we got here.  Just up the road from us is the power plant, and Manatee Park. 


There’s canal that runs from the power plant over to the Orange River, and eventually out to the Caloosahatchee River, and the warm water being discharged from the power plant attracts hundreds of manatees.  










With the cold nighttime temperatures we’d been having the last few nights, we knew the canal would be loaded with manatees on Saturday morning . . . and we were right!

The park consists of a walkway along the canal with several overlooks,


ending at a fishing pier on the Orange River, and a trail along the river back to the picnic area and Visitor Center.  There’s also a canoe and kayak rental.     DSC_0339









We walked down to the water’s edge, and quickly spotted several manatees,












including a momma and a baby.


We moved further along the walkway, to a lagoon where a large group of manatees had gathered for naptime.












From our spot at the railing, I was able to get a few good close-up pictures . . . although the manatees never wanted to stay above the water long enough to get much more than their snouts!



Look at those whiskers!


This canal is man-made, and the bottom is lined with rocks, so there is no food available for the manatees.  So, although they come here for the warm water, they can’t stay long, and have to go back out into the river to eat.


The manatees can pass freely between the canal and the river, but there’s a fence that keeps the canoes and kayaks on the river side.

There were quite a few people on the river Saturday morning,


and there were also a lot of manatees swimming around with them.


The canal isn’t just home to the manatees . . . there are also a lot of birds that hang out along the shoreline.




Egrets and Great Blue Herons



This little guy reminded me of Casey when she goes into stalking mode!




We were only there for about an hour, but it felt good to be out in nature again . . . we’re definitely going to make a point of getting out and doing more hiking in our last 6 weeks down here!


The adventure didn’t stop there . . . we had more on Saturday night, but that needs to wait for another blog post!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Nicolas’ Long Weekend Visit

A few weeks ago, Nicolas found out that he was going to have a 4-day weekend for President’s Day, so he started checking into what he would need to do to be able to come down to Ft. Myers for a visit.  It was a bit of a drive for him (565 miles each way), but he wanted to see the RV Resort and get into some warm Florida weather . . . and we certainly wanted to see him again . . . so he put together his itinerary and turned it in with his request.

Bryce and I made valentine treats in anticipation of his visit!












He didn’t get his answer back until Wednesday, but his request was approved and he was able to come down for a visit!  He needed to break the drive up into 2 days, so he left Thursday evening after getting some of his homework done, and then finished the drive on Friday morning.

He pulled into our RV Park around 11am.

Our visitor arrived!



Casey didn’t remember his car, and she wasn’t too sure about him at first, either, but once he changed out of his uniform and sat down to pet her, she figured out who it was and she was happy to see him.








Nicolas had some things he wanted to do this weekend, and one of them was to look at some motorhomes . . . so after lunch, we took a drive up to North Trails RV to check out their inventory.


We saw some decent used rigs, but nothing that had me reaching for my checkbook . . . but the new London Aire sure was tempting!



Nicolas was giving them a thorough inspection!

Back at the RV Park, we went to the pool for a couple hours . . . and had the whole place to ourselves!


Unfortunately, we were having a little cold spell this weekend, and although the sun felt really nice, but the air was still a little chilly!  We spent more time in the hot tub than the pool!

Friday night was the resort’s Valentine Dinner, so the 4 of us enjoyed prime rib, scalloped potatoes and green beans . . . and valentine cupcakes.  The boys weren’t interested in dancing, so they left after dinner, but Tom and I stayed for awhile to help clean up the dishes.



By the time we got back to the RV, Nicolas was cuddled up in a quilt, watching TV . . . something he hasn’t been able to do for several months!


Another thing Nicolas wanted to do was go to the Flea Market, so after breakfast on Saturday, we headed over there with Tim & Denise.

There was the typical array of “stuff” . . .




as well as a few interesting items, and a variety of fresh produce.


This is the cart Tom needs!! Smile

When we’d had enough shopping, Tim and the boys decided to try some fishing in the pond in the back of the park.


They loaded fishing poles and gear in the back of Tim’s truck and drove out to the back of the park.


Tom and I followed in our golf cart . . . DSC_0140

and Casey came along for the ride!

Tom tried his hand at some fishing, too,


but Tim was the only one to catch anything . . . Denise said it was because he was using a fancy lure on his pole!




This osprey wasn’t too happy when Tim pulled those fish out of the water . . . even if he did throw them back in!

Casey was unimpressed!


Tom and I left the boys at the pond with Tim and took Casey back to the RV, and then stopped by to talk with another camper.  While we were talking, his dog was trying to get our attention!


His name is Chum Lee, and he’s a riot!  He decided he wanted a ride on the cart, too!


We had made plans with Tim and Denise to go to dinner at Ford’s Garage in downtown Ft. Myers, so we ended the fishing excursion and got cleaned up for dinner.

Fords Garage

Ford’s Garage is an automotive-themed bar, known for it’s burgers and craft beers.  There are pictures of Henry Ford all through the restaurant, and a Model T mounted over the bar.  The sinks in the restrooms are made from tires, and the faucet is a gasoline nozzle . . . it’s pretty cool in there . . . and the burgers are good, too!

Nicolas’ last request for the weekend was to go to the beach, so on Sunday after mass we headed out to Lovers Key State Park, where we had volunteered previously.


We visited with our friends, Kevin & Doris, who we had worked with in Colorado 2 years ago, and who just happened to be in the area and available to take our place at Lovers Key when we needed to cancel.  After getting caught up with them, we walked down to the beach to see the completed re-nourishment project . . . it had still been in progress when we were here in November.


35 feet was added to the depth of the beach, and all new dune grass planted . . . it’s amazing the difference it makes!


We walked along the beach, watched a little boy chase gulls,












and took a few pictures . . . selfies included!!













It was a beautiful day at the beach, and we enjoyed the warm weather and sunshine!  We walked back to Kevin & Doris’ RV, where they had grilled some hot dogs and put together a nice dinner.  It was really nice of them to invite us, and gave us a little more time to visit before we had to get Nicolas back so he could get packed up for his drive home.

He needed to split up his drive again, so he needed to leave on Sunday evening to get part of the way back, and then finish the drive on Monday morning.  We packed his stuff back in his car, and then went to the Clubhouse to enjoy a dish of homemade ice cream before he hit the road.

By 7pm, we had said good-bye, and he was on his way back north . . . it was great to have our family all together for a few days, and we miss him already, but we’ll be seeing him again soon at his A School Graduation in Goose Creek this spring!

It was a wonderful weekend, and we’re so glad he was able to come down for a visit!