Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Mark Twain

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Myakka River State Park/ Sarasota Florida

Monday January 20, We weren't in a big hurry to take off so we left around 11am. It was a beautiful day to travel, we knew the route, and it was a short trip. There was a little construction on I-75 but it didn't really cause any delays. The park seemed a little busy but then we remembered it was a holiday...Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We drive right to our spot and backed her in. One thing I really like about this park is all the live oak trees that are dripping with Spanish moss.... Love them ! Our site number is 79, it's big, spacious, and private, so nice. It's also a full hookup so I got busy catching up on the laundry. Then we took a walk around our campground loop. Our site is in the newer section, Palemetto Ridge. Both of us are excited about the next 2 weeks.

Tuesday January 21, we decided to do some running today. Jeff had found a Hobie dealer and West Marine and he needed to visit both. He had a list of things he needed to get for the kayaks. He's still trying to get everything put back on like before. When Jeff walked into that Hobie store his face lit up like a kid in a candy store. I said its a quilt store for men. Jeff found almost everything he needed. This store also has lots of fishing supplies as well. I got a pair of hot pink fish grippers, so that was cool. Next we checked out a park Jeff found not to far from the Hobie store were you can launch your boats . It's called Phillippi Estate Park. We both thought it looked like a great place to try. We went to lunch at Five Guys....yummy burgers and fries. We both enjoy a yummy burger and fries occasionally. Next to West Marine to finish out his list. We saved the best for last....Walmart. I don't know about Jeff but I was ready to be done shopping. While we were in there I hear a sudden downpour of rain.... Oh no! All my clothes are hanging outside. I think they're going to be out there awhile now to get dry. By the time we got out to the truck the sun was shining again.

Wednesday January 22, Kinda cool this morning. Jeff left early to return some of his purchases yesterday. I stayed back. I went for a walk to look for alligators and it was successful. It's not to difficult to find them. Jeff spent a lot of the day working on the kayaks. He's trying to set up his boat a little more efficient this time, so he wants to make sure before he starts drilling holes. Later on in the afternoon we got on the bikes and rode to the other side of the park.  Mine wouldn't come on. We have electric assist bikes. Jeff took a closer look and my lock (what holds the battery in) is gone. We looked in the bike cover to see if it was in there but couldn't find it. I think we lost it. The good news is my bike did come on, think there was probably some moisture in there. Note to self when you pull into a campground don't leave the cover on your bikes, give them some air.

Thursday January 23, it's a chilly morning so Jeff made us a campfire. It's been a long time since we've enjoyed one of those. It always make you feel so campy . We both took walks, trying to get back into some kind of exercise routine. Jeff still trying to figure out our kayaks, I finished up  sewing the rows together on this quilt I've started. I got all the rows together and the seams pressed. The rest of the day just kinda stayed busy doing nothing.

Friday January 24, Today we left early to do more running. Jeff got an email saying Best Buy would buy back your old phones and also recycle your old computers. Well they did recycle the computer but wouldn't take our phones. The good news Best Buy had a Michaels and a Petco next to it. So I went and looked in there. The dogs got some sheep ears....they love them. When we got back our weiner dog Soffe was acting stranger then usual. She's having issues with her anal glands. It makes me very worried because we are down here and don't really know what to do or where to go. I stayed up with her, sleeping in the recliner. It was a long night.

Saturday January 25, Both of us didn't get much sleep last night so we were slow getting started this morning. It's another good morning for a campfire so that's what we had. Didn't really want to leave Soffee alone so we pretty much hung around here most of the day. We did manage to get a walk in though.

Sunday January 26, Our dog feels a little better so we decided to head out to church. Last year when we were at Lake Manatee we visited a church there called Bayside Community Church. We both loved it. Well they have a satellite church here in Sarasota so we thought we'd give it a try. Even though the preaching was via satellite, still very powerful. We both left feeling blessed. We came home and fixed brunch. The weather man was definitely wrong today. It was cloudy all day long, not what they predicted. We watched a movie and stayed in. My night ended on a happy note....a wedding. For all you Bachelor fans I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Who doesn't like a wedding?

Monday January 27, Finally a really nice day. Warm enough to get out on the water. The wind wasn't a issue either. We packed up all our kayak gear and headed to Phillipi Estate Park. This was the park we checked out earlier. I brought Soffee with me, didn't want to leave her home that long. We got the boats in the water and headed out to do some exploring. It was a really nice area. Jeff tried fishing but not much luck there. Soffee loved coming along. We stayed out for a few hours. We saw some clouds moving in so we headed back. When we got back to the campground we picked up our mail that we had forwarded. A nice surprise in the mail, my sister and brother inlaw sent us a Christmas card with a gift card from Red Lobster....Jeff's favorite. We closed out this day with a walk with the dogs."

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Ortonna South / LaBelle Florida

Saturday January 11, moving day... I was ready to leave Pennecamp, not my favorite park. We feel the sites are way to close and it's really busy. We got an early start around 9 a.m. We had most everything already loaded up. It was a short trip, around 160 miles. Another good thing about a return trip, you know what to expect. The road construction that we dealt with last year was completed, but now there was more going on closer to the park. Still it was an easy drive and the weather was good. It was so different from our keys campsites. When we arrived in the park the hosts were at lunch so we just went to set up. This park is so neat, it's really well taken care of, I love it. As we were setting up on site #10 the hosts came to our site with our sticker for the truck. How's that for service didn't even have to go back they brought it to us.  After getting set up we walked down to look at the locks. Last year the gate was locked so you couldn't get down to watch the boats go through. I guess I should tell you this campground is located on the Okeechobee waterway. You are constantly entertained by watching some really nice and large boats lock through. Another thing that tickled me was we have TV.......yeah!!!! I was really starting to miss Al Roker. We decided when we started this adventure that we didn't need a dish or satellite and  that decision has worked for us. Most places have some available tv and we are happy with that. Down in the tv but a couple Spanish speaking stations, and if you don't speak Spanish not really much entertainment in that. The park was full and our neighbors on both sides were friendly. Not only do we have TV but the Internet is great and the phones work well. The one thing I don't like about this park, the water. It's horrible... We have a filter outside and put the water through another filter before filling the bottles. There is an odor and the taste that won't go away. Well you got to take the good with the bad and the good defiantly outweigh the bad. To bring this day to a close.... The Bachelor it's Juanuary......I missed the first show and they just happen to show it again tonight before the 2nd show tomorrow, my lucky day!

Sunday January 12, Jeff was up early and started washing the rig. It's been driving him crazy, we spent the last 6 weeks playing so it's time to get some things done. I looked thru the pantry to see what we needed, we are going to have to get to town soon. I had quite a list. We had lots of sunshine today and that felt good. Made a nice supper and dessert.

Monday January 13, it was a really nice day, it started out cold but warmed up nice. I helped Jeff change out a couple of windows that fogged up. We had a spare and Jeff couldn't stand looking out that fogged up window any longer.  Jeff did some waxing on the rig. I even helped a little I did the underneath, by the hitch. I washed my bike and took it for a ride. Boy what a productive day! 

Tuesday January 14, We have started on our reservations for next year. Kind of planned to go west but after our stay in the keys we just both want to come back. It's really foggy today, it didn't last long. We walked around the park, across the waterway is a tree that a bald eagle likes to hang out. Today we were lucky enough to see 2 positioning for the same top branch. It didn't last long, I guess the weaker one settled for a lower branch. I got in another bike ride today. This park is kind of out in the middle of nowhere. We like that. Loaded up and decided to make the Walmart run. The parking lot looked fairly empty considering, but the place was packed. They either walked or car pooled. It was crazy and they didn't have all we needed. After that trip we were done for the day.

Wednesday January 15, today we stayed here. Jeff was working outside to clean up the rig. I worked on the inside. I would start on one thing and then see something else I wanted to do. We are expecting a cold front tomorrow so I decided to take advantage of the winter weather and make some homemade noodles. We like chicken noodles when it's cool. It was cool today too, not really the temperature but the wind. 

Thursday January 16, Brrrr they were right it got down to 32 last night. That didn't stop Jeff, he got up and washed the truck. We got some new neighbors today and Jeff was talking to him. He's a retired firefighter as well and they had a lot to talk about. I started a new quilt project and when it gets cool I love to sew and bake. So I also made cookies. Those new neighbors gave me a poinsettia.... So now I need to try and keep it alive. Our supper, chicken noodles so yummy.

Friday January 17, They were right, really cold this morning. There was frost everywhere and the waterway looked Like a hot tub. Jeff made a fire this morning and we haven't had one of those for awhile. The temperatures started out cold but it warmed up to 70, I'll take that. Since the weather was almost perfect we decided to get some more things done. Jeff waxed the back of the camper and treated the truck cover with 303. I got inside the truck and took everything out to vacuum it all. We looked like we were having a garage sale. Its really surprising how much stuff you can cram in your vehicles. We walked the dogs around the campground talking all the way. I think this park has to be the friendliest campground we've visited. It's really hard to get things done cause people want to visit. Anybody that knows me knows I LOVE  to talk. Our neighbors Lee &Katie came over to visit. We ended the day with leftovers which were delicious...

Saturday January 18, it was a nice sunny day but the wind was chilly. I wanted to put together blocks for the quilt I started. I got out my machine and got busy. We talked with our new friends and I got on my phone and called an old friend to catch up. Every once in a while I'll call someone I haven't talked to in a long time just to surprise them and catch up. The rest of the day was pretty laid back.

Sunday January 19, Brrrrrr it was really cold last night. It got down to 28.... I don't think they expected it to get that cold. It did warm up nice though. I made breakfast this morning..Belgian waffles. Those are Jeff's favorite. He puts fresh fruit and whipped cream topped with syrup. Didn't have much on the agenda today. We were outside and saw a huge boat heading to the locks. We went down to watch it lock through. Found out its 92 feet long... WOW!!! Pretty fancy float. Then somebody said there were manatees by the locks. I would definitely rather watch them than a fancy boat. There were 3 of them and it looked like the mom and baby were inseparable. So neat to watch them. Got back in time to watch the Blackhawks win over the Bruins. It was very exciting, they had overtime but they won in the shout out. YEAH!!! Also had to see who was gonna make it to the Super Bowl. Sunday is a good day to catch family at home so we talked to my sister and Jeff's brother. Tomorrow we have to move along. It's always a bit sad to leave a nice park with friendly people but that's part of it. We packed up some of our stuff to prepare. So long Ortonna south til next time.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Week 2 @ Pennecamp

Saturday, January 4
 I guess we are getting some winter weather here in the keys. Well maybe not winter but rainy. We have really been lucky with the weather we've had. I had stuff to keep me busy inside, I got busy scrapping those pictures I developed. Jeff went for a ride to check out a kayak launch site. He had been researching the area for spots and thought this one looked interesting. He came back with some movies to watch. To sweeten up the day I made creme brûlée..... Yummy! The day was a long one but so better than up north, they are breaking records. Not complaining...

Sunday,January 5
Again cloudy and rainy. We tried to get the dogs walked but those bugs were super hungry so we cut the walk short. Spent the day inside. The good news, the park is not as busy. It's finally cleared out.

Monday, January 6,
Today is suppose to be a good one. Jeff checked the weather  and it's suppose to be the pick day. Rain might roll in this afternoon. We got our boats loaded up and headed out. We went to garden cove to launch, the spot Jeff had found. There was a wreck about 1 3/4 mile from shore and there's suppose to be lots of fish. We got out on the water about 9 am. The water was extremely flat and the sky was really cloudy. You couldn't tell where the water ended and the sky started. Kinda eerie. We made our way out to the wreck. The wreck was an old concrete barge, I didn't know there was such a thing as a concrete boat. As we got close to the wreck Jeff scared all the birds on the boat and they fluttered away. We circled the wreck as Jeff tried catching some of those fish we could see.
We noticed a terrible stench. It  appears all those birds must live on the wreck, they left evidence.

Garden Cove Wreck

Headed back in towards shore but decided to investigate some of the canals. It was interesting to see the homes and look at what they had parked in there back yards.(boats)  Went back to the campground and since the rain never showed up we walked the dogs. Our boys called and told us it's 40 below zero.... Yikes I'm glad I'm down here.

Tuesday,January 7th
 We got the cold front today that everyone else has been dealing with. It only got up in the 50's today, with some rain and wind. I just decided to do some cleaning, sorting through things and getting rid of what we don't need. We got a call from Todd, at the Hobie shop. He told us they have decided to replace our hulls for a reasonable amount plus shipping. A bonus was we could get the 2014 Sport, which is what we have now  or we could upgrade to the Revelation 11. It's 2 foot longer than our Sports. When we got these kayaks we couldn't get anything bigger then the sport cause we put them in the rig when we traveled. Last summer we bought a roof rack so we could get something longer. After Jeff researched what the differences were and what would work for us he decided to get the Revelations. We called them back and told them. They even let us just take 2 from there inventory instead of waiting for them to ship. Jeff was just tickled with that news. Kudos to Hobie and Florida Bay Outfitters of Key Largo, FL.

New 2014 Hobie Revolution 11

Wednesday, January 8th
 Its another rainy day and we have to remove everything from our boats before we take them in.   We kept waiting for the rain to stop but that wasn't happening. We loaded them up to take them to the outfitters, a lot lighter with all the extras removed. We got our new boats loaded after a seat modification and brought them home. We wanted to really check them out more but the weather wasn't cooperating. We were both happy to have that problem taken care of.

Thursday, January 9th
Another cloudy rainy day. Jeff couldn't wait any longer, he started messing with his boat. He wanted to see where he would put all his stuff. We had to put our seats back in, the rudders back on. Jeff was seeing where he was gonna put the amas. With the different shape and size of theses boats they have to go in a different place. It requires drilling holes we want to make sure before drilling. While Jeff was busy with that I took advantage of the full hookups here and did our laundry. I also finished up all my scrapbooking and cleaned up that mess. I really feel like we got things finished up today.

Friday, January 10th
The suns out!!!! Jeff was happy, we can take out our brand new kayaks....decided to put them in right up the road, it's right by a picnic area here. All we took with us was our coffee. We did some cruising through the mangroves. Both of us really like the boats. We just stayed out a couple hours. Wanted to make sure everything worked ok.  Came back and rinsed the salt off of everything. The sun stayed out so after lunch we rode our bikes up to the beach. It was a good day for that, we had a breeze and Jeff found a spot that was shady. We came back and started picking things up since we move tomorrow. With this weather we thought we should put things away in case it decides to rain again. We decided since we haven't really gone out much and with it being our last night here we would go to a local spot called Shipwrecks. Jeff looked it up and all the reviews were wonderful. We cleaned ourselves up and headed out. As we were leaving our neighbor stopped to let us know our dogs bark. Well that kinda ruined our evening so we ended up cutting it short. It's just too bad that we had to have a great day dampened by a grumpy neighbor. We informed him of the good news... We are leaving tomorrow. I think we were ready to take off. I just wish we could have ended our stay on a better note....

Sunday, January 5, 2014

John Pennecamp State Park/ Key Largo Florida

Saturday Dec. 28th we packed up and headed towards our next destination, John Pennecamp Coral Reef State Park. We were happy to be heading north cause those traveling south had bumper to bumper driving. After a short 47 mile drive we arrived without incident and backed in to site #7.After we set up we took off for a walk around the park to see what had changed since our last visit. This park is a very popular park and is busy. They offer scuba diving and snorkeling trips, kayak rentals and a couple of small beaches. The layout of the park was as we remembered it, but the campground had been much improved with paved roads and full hook ups although the sites are much too close for our liking.

Birds that hang out behind our site

Sunday Dec. 29th Decided to make a breakfast this morning. We got to visiting with our neighbors, they have been coming to the keys for 10 years and love to kayak. They gave Jeff there card and it contains a lot of launch sites they've used and like. Here is a link to their site:
Drove to the Hobie dealer because of our leaking boats. After Jeff emailed them they asked us to bring them into a dealer so they could look at them and get pictures. When we got there we talked to someone but not the boss so they asked us to bring them back on Monday. When we got back took another walk without the dogs so we could look at the visitors center, it's really nice with lots of things to see with the main attraction a huge aquarium full of unique critters. The place was so busy. Hoping that after the weekend things will settle down.

Monday December 30, Again we drive over to the Hobie dealer, it's just right up the road. Todd was the guy that came out to look at the boats and take some pictures. We also gave him our information to contact us when they hear back. Since we were out we headed to the Bass Pro Shop. Jeff had a few things he wanted from there . It was a long drive (23 miles ) cause we were the ones heading south this time, bumper to bumper. After shopping at Jeff's favorite store we headed north, stopping at a flag store I spotted earlier. They had every kind of flag you could want. They just happened to have one I liked, imagine that. One last stop at Kmart. I've decided to get me some clippers. I already cut Jeff's hair and groom Belles, why not cut my own....the clippers cost about as much as 1 haircut.

Tuesday...New Years Eve... It was rather cloudy and gray today and forecasting rain. Went into town to get my pictures developed at Walgreens. I used to develop so many pictures, I like to scrapbook. Now I mostly just scrap pictures of the grand kids. I had pictures from our summer in Iowa and I needed to clean off my camera. While I was there Jeff was at Divers Supply. It started pouring down rain while we were there. After it slowed down I went to look at Divers Supply with Jeff. He seems to still have lobster fever so he purchased a lobster lasso. We came back home and didn't have anything planned for welcoming in the new year. I figured we could do that in the morning.

Wednesday January 1,2014.....Happy New Year!!!!! I was right we didn't make it to midnight but others did, I heard the fireworks. It was pretty out this morning so we thought we'd put the kayaks in here at the park. Took them to the kayak launch and put them in. We headed around the island and right away I could see mines still leaking. This is really starting to make me mad. The water around the mangroves was a bit choppy but once we got into the mangroves it was really calm and so pretty. We got sprinkled on a little. Didn't stay out that long because we wanted to head to a sports bar to watch the Hawkeyes play in the Outback Bowl. Still no TV here. We drove to D Hookers to watch the game. The Hawkeyes didn't do so good but we did meet an interesting guy who told us some funny stories. Never know who you'll meet. He kept us laughing.

Mangrove trails
Thursday January 2, Really nice day today. Jeff wanted to go to the Hobie place to rent a tandem island. We called ahead to make sure one was available, it was. Headed over and got loaded up. That place was hopping. This boat is a double seated kayak with amas and a 90 square foot sail. I got to sit in the front. That just happens to be the wet seat....I got soaked. We had brought some stuff so I was trying to keep it dry. That didn't happen. The wind and waves picked up so we stayed close to shore sailing around the Bay Area. We rented  the boat for 1/2 day. Here's a short video below:

Friday January 3, A cold front came through and temps only reached about 70. Jeff went to get milk and wanted to stop and wash the truck. He came back with the milk but said the car wash was a joke so brought the truck back dirty. I cleaned the RV and then scrapped most the afternoon since the weather was cloudy and cool. We also took the dogs for a walk and the cool weather has drove the bugs out  Jeff made homemade chicken and noodle for supper. It was good................One week down one week to go. The weather here hasn't been the best but compared to what they are getting up north I'll take it. They are breaking record cold temperatures and getting lots of snow, so I guess cloudy and windy is fine.