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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Rainbow Springs State Park/Dunnellon FL

Monday February 17, Moving to Rainbow Springs today. We packed up and pulled to the dump station and I tried to help Jeff by hooking the hose up to backwash the black tank, well I didn't get it tightened down so the water ended up going someplace it wasn't suppose to and was running out the bottom of the RV. It ended up not being a big  problem, just tightened the fitting and all was well.  We finished up there and got on the road about 11:00 AM.  It was a really nice day to travel our 160 miles. After our arrival we registered and then pulled into our pull through spot #3. This was the same site as  last year. It's a full hookup with 50amp service with great views out the doorside of the woods and the bald eagles that hang out here.  Jeff went to plug in and our power management box said low voltage.... Yikes not that again. We already had started unloading and had the rig unhitched and everything. Another thing learned, always check your power source  before unhitching. Jeff came inside to look for a paper he had printed out, procedures to check the voltage on the rv pedestal. He  wanted to make sure that it was ok to plug in. We both looked and neither of us could find it. Jeff went to open up our slide, I was outside when Jeff stopped and came out to ask if I heard that? I didn't hear anything so I followed him in and saw that a cabinet door was left open and it was in the way of the slide opening. So he brought the slide in so I could close the cabinet door. The slide went out fine and good news the cabinet door survived as well. After all that Jeff  checked the voltages and our power source started working. Now to finish this set up. Just when you think this set up thing is easy you run into a big snag, but we got through it. We love our spot and this park. I walked around our loop to just get out and look around. The day was over before I knew it.

Tuesday February 18, It was a bit chilly to start but a really pretty day. I got my walk in. They have a nice place to walk. It's actually a tram road they use in the summer. When I got back I saw we had some neighbors with Iowa plates so I talked with them to see where in Iowa they were from. After chatting for awhile with Dan and Carie we decided we would all get together for a drink or an outing later in the week. Jeff wanted to go to Camping World to look for a new toilet so he could see it before either buying or ordering one. The Camping World was a very nice one and they let us open the box to see what we wanted. We found and purchased everything we needed and also had our propane tank filled there, you save a dollar per gallon if your a Good Sam Member. I just happened to see a fabric shop so we stopped there on the way home. For lunch we  stopped at Sonnys BBQ. This was our first visit to this chain restaurant, and I loved my sandwich. Would definitely go back there. When I got home I did laundry. Then I decided to freeze the rest of my strawberries. Since our lunch was so late and large we just had some leftovers for supper.

Wednesday February 19, We had a tragic start to our day....the coffee pot died. Jeff could use it to make coffee but had to boil the water, it was quite an ordeal. We went to Walmart for groceries and gas. Came home and had lunch. It was so pretty out we decided to take the kayaks out. We loaded up the boats, put them on the carts and rolled them to the launch. We, Jeff, me and Soffee jumped in the kayaked and paddled up to the head springs. It was a beautiful day and the river was as pristine as I remember. We floated back down the river looking at the wildlife and the scenery. It was a nice day and a nicer afternoon on the water. A bonus we noticed Soffee was feeling better.

Thursday February 20, We had decided to go to 3 sisters springs today. Talked to our neighbors and they said to go early because it's so busy. Well when we woke up it was very foggy so we didn't get the early start we wanted. We did leave around 8:30 and it was about 30 minutes away. First we drove to a visitors center who was of little help. They told us about a launch at Hunters Bay but we couldn't find it. We drove in circles trying to find it. We pulled into a place called Pete's Pier and I was gonna ask directions. The lady said we could launch here. She even let me borrow a map she puts in the kayaks they rent. I thought that was really nice. We got in the water and headed over towards the springs. Our neighbors were right it was crazy busy. It wasn't to bad going down the canals but as we got close to the springs it reminded me of Disney.... I love love loved watching the manatees so it was so worth the trip over for sure. We got to see many different manatees. We had a couple that swam between our kayaks for quite awhile which was really special. The water closer to the springs was so clear but with all the boats and people we chose not to kayak back in there. We got lots of pictures and sweet memories. Another special adventure.....

Friday February 21, The weather forecast was calling for rain but I did get my walk in. Since the weather is yuck, Jeff decided to install our new toilet. Both of us were a bit nervous because it involved cutting a water line and installing a new fitting. Jeff jumped into the project and surprisingly it went in with no problems. Both of us were happy about that. Then the rain came in and boy did it rain. Along with the rain was wind, thunder and lightning. It was kind of a long day but I kept busy quilting. It did clear up after supper so we walked down by the river with the dogs. We ran into our friends John & Joan and visited with them. 

Saturday February 22,  Really cloudy and foggy this morning. It seemed to take forever to clear up. I noticed the bald eagles were up in the tree behind our rig. I got my phone out and opened up my bird app. I found the bald eagle and hit the speaker which does the birds call. I was also trying to get pictures of them. All of a  sudden they start talking back. It was pretty impressive. I even got a picture with his beak open. So cool.........Then we drove over to Yankee Town which is about 20 miles west of the campground to check out a launch site that we are thinking about using. It puts you into the Gulf. On the way over we spotted a sign FollowThat Dream. It seems this is where a lot of that 1960s film with Elvis Presley was shot. We arrived at the launch site and with the weather it was a bit eerie. It looked like a place we would enjoy. Just have to wait for the right weather. When we got back the weather had cleared so we sat outside watching the eagles. One had landed in the field behind us. He either caught something or was digging up stuff for a nest. Really neat to watch him. He was there awhile and I got some pictures. Jeff invited our neighbors from across the street over. They are from Iowa too. We sat outside and visited with them til into the night. It's always so fun to hear were others have gone and what  they've seen.

Sunday February 23, Mermaid Day.... We had made plans with Dan & Carie to go over to Weeki Wachee Springs to check out the mermaids. I have to admit I was really excited about this. We arrived at the park and the admission was only $13.00 each. They have mermaid shows, animal shows, a boat cruise, and beach area with a place to get in the springs to swim. In the summer there are water slides. I pretty much came for the mermaids. They have been swimming here since 1947. The show was great and after we got on the boat cruise. It was very short but gave us a view of the very clear water. We would love to come back and kayak it. They also showed us a bald eagle nest that had eagles in it. It was a wonderful day... I loved it. After leaving we wanted to get a bite. Dan had heard about a place that had a crunchy fish sandwich. We found out the name of the restaurant and headed there. All of us were surprised when we arrived at Betty Jacks. A very small and unusual place. I think they had about 6 tables inside. We got us one and looked around. Very quirky but I loved it, so did everyone else. This was before we ate. The guys got fish sandwiches, Carie fish tacos and me a burger. All of us loved our meals. The food was great, the service was great and the prices very reasonable. We all drove home with full tummys and a great memory of a fun day. So glad that we met Dan & Carie.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Lake Manatee Week 2

Monday February 10, It's a beautiful day today. It started off a little chilly so we turned on the fireplace. It turns on but only runs for little while then shuts off. Jeff got out the manual to see about trouble shooting, nothing really to do. He got on the internet to see if anybody had ideas, the general concensus is it's the thermostat. He called the company they said if it's the thermostat you should take out the fireplace to remove it. They also said might pull it out and clean it, so that's what we did. Put it back in and it's working good so far. Hopefully that will take care of it. Since it was so sunny out I decided to get my walk in before the day gets away from me. While I was out Jeff emptied the grey tank so I could do laundry. It didn't take long for our clothes to dry with all that sunshine. We also sat outside to enjoy the sunshine. We took the dogs for a walk and noted other campsites we might want to use next time. We are excited that the Winter Olympics are on both of us like them. It's a good way to experience winter.

Tuesday February 11, Really a nice morning. We have been watching the weather so we could make a trip over to Desoto. This was the pick day, but before we took off we had to make some reservations for next year.  With that done we took off to Desoto. It was a little farther away than other launches but instead of driving thru downtown we jumped on the interstate. Much less traffic. The ride was really nice and the view of the bridge, Sunshine Skyway Bridge was awesome. There was a charge to cross it, I think $1.25. We were heading toward Fort Desoto and before we got to the park I noticed a launch on the right side. I saw some others putting in there kayaks. I told Jeff and he turned around the truck to check it out. It was called Shell Key Preserve. He thought it looked perfect and now no charge to get in the park, win win. We unloaded everything and got in the water. The weather was perfect for me. It's warm, sunny, and no wind so the waters flat. The bad part was when we put in and headed out the water was very shallow. We kept thinking it would deepen up but nope. The bay was really shallow. We kept going and it got so shallow that Jeff got out and pulled his boat. Not me I saw those little jelly fish and I didn't want to walk thru them. I took the long way around. I just figured all the paddleing was my upper body workout.  We finally found our way out to the ocean. It was beautiful, the water was so pretty the sand was white. That's the reason we keep coming back to these areas. We pulled onto the beach to look around and stretch our legs. I was just asking Jeff if there were dolphins around  when I spotted 2 out there. I got in my kayak and headed back out. I had my camera in hand and watched and listened to see if I could capture them in pictures. Jeff had brought his fishing stuff and I was content with just taking in the sights. The dolphins were around keeping me on my toes. All the sudden Jeff catches a pretty good sized jack. He hollers at me so I head over to get a picture. Just as Jeff goes to grab the fish a dolphin swims over and takes Jeff's fish. He couldn't believe it. Then the dolphin takes off swimming pulling out Jeff's line. He reacted pretty quick and cut the line. Just as he did that the dolphin jumps out of the water with that fish in his mouth. Then he spits the fish into the air.....we couldn't believe what we were seeing. I felt like I was in national geographic or something. Wow what an exciting thing to witness. We hung around in that area for awhile before heading back in. We took a different route back. We found a way with water this time, so we could peddle most of the way. It was a great day out on the water. What a wonderful place to kayak and there was so much more to explore there. We can't wait to come back. This place is gonna be hard to top.

Wednesday February 12, After skipping my walk yesterday I made sure I got her done today. It's pretty nice this morning but it wasn't to long til the clouds rolled in. We had rented a movie All is Lost with Robert Redford in it, only a couple words in the whole movie. We liked it. We had plans to go to the movie theater tonight and watch The Monument Men, it was very disappointing we thought. Well the weather man was right, it's was pouring rain when we left the theater. When we arrived back at the campsite you could tell just how much rain we got, our rug was almost floating. Good thing we had made homemade chicken noodle soup before we left.

Thursday February 13, When we woke up it was kinda messy outside, we had a lot of rain. It cooled off some but not as much as we expected. That came later in the day along with some wind. We went to The Cracker Barrel for lunch. Hadn't been there for awhile and it was really good. I even got to do a little shopping in there gift shop. I found edible Easter grass, I thought that was cool for the grand kids. Looks like we 'll be back home for Easter. We came home and I told Jeff they was having some live music at the pavilion, so we decided to go. Remember when I said the cooler weather came, well it came while we were at the pavilion. Brrrr that wind got cold. We watched some but we left early. It wasn't really our cup of tea. We came back home to get warmed up and watch the Winter Olympics. We got to watch the USA sweep the metals in the new event Slope Style Ski, it was really exciting especially with those results. Go USA!!!

Friday February 14, Happy Valentines Day!!  It was a really a beauty of a day. I wanted to make it back over to the Red Barn and get some more fruit and produce, so we left around 10:30.  That place was hopping again. We went right to the produce and got what we needed. Jeff found out there was a Red Lobster close so we went there for lunch. We had a gift card to use. It was busy and the food was great. We had planned to go to the dog races but it was 2:00 o'clock after lunch so I figured it was to late, we'll go next time. Came home and walked the dogs. It was a nice day. Not to busy, not to boring, but just right.

Saturday February 15, It's another pretty day. I wanted to get up early cause USA men's hockey team was playing Russia. We just get the TV that's free. They (NBC) didn't even put it on, instead they went over what I watched last night. I had my son keep me informed. It was exciting for me and all I got was some texts to keep me up on what was going on. We won not at the end of the game, not at the end of OT, but after the 8th shot in the shoot out. I made homemade cinnamon rolls for breakfast. They were delicious. Our weinie dog seems to be under the weather, she hasn't wanted to eat much. I'll have to keep my eye on her.  She is getting older, I know her habits and she just isn't acting herself. It worries me.  We didn't do to much the rest of the day. I did decide to give our schnauzer Belle a haircut. Again tonight watched the Olympics. 

Sunday February 16, We went back to Bayside Community Church. We both love this church. The message was delivered by a different preacher. I have to admit I was a little disappointed when I saw that, but after the message I was not disappointed at all. I felt blessed. Came back home and had brunch. It was so nice out we took the dogs out for a walk on the paths. I figured I would have to carry Soffee but she surprised us and had some spunk. She still isn't eating very good so I'm still concerned. We enjoyed the nice weather. We also started picking up stuff for our move. Really like the feel of this park. It's a beautiful place, close to town if you want to do those kinds of things, but far enough away so it's very peaceful. They don't offer full hookups here. Our over the air TV was good, the internet via hotspot was also good and I didn't have any problems with our cell phone reception. We both really like this park, it's not just one thing but a combination of lots of things. We 'll be back....

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Lake Manatee/Bradenton Florida

Monday February 3, Another moving day....the good news it's sunny with blue sky's. We had most of our stuff already packed up so not a lot to do and our next site is a very short trip. Again lake Manatee is a repeat so we know what to expect. What was really funny as we were hooking up with those pretty blue sky's it starts sprinkling...what's up with that? We left around 11:45 and the traffic was kinda heavy. I guess everyone was going out to lunch. We only had to travel a little over 30 miles. We checked in and headed to site  #38. It's on the outside of the loop. It's very big and private. If you look really close you can see the lake. When were getting ready to back in our neighbor across the road offered to move his car. That was really helpful for us. That's one thing we remember about this park, it's fairly friendly. As we were setting stuff up people stopped to ask about our kayak rack. Never had so much interest in that before. We continued to set up, I went inside to finish getting stuff out in there. I hear the dogs start barking and look who's here....John & Joan, we met them here last year. We visited a bit with them. They had just come in off the water. So they needed to unload there stuff. We walked the dogs around the loop to have a look see, yep it's as nice as I remember.

Tuesday February 4, It's a beautiful day. I've decided this is were I'm going to get back into my walking. I got my walk in and when I got back Jeff was talking  to John & Joan. He's loading stuff up to go out on the water. I gathered up what I needed and we headed across town to Robinson Preserve. We went there last year with John & Joan. It's really a nice park. It's got a nice launch site and a place to hose off your kayaks when your done. . They also have walking/ bike riding paths. What's really good people are using  them. Jeff had looked on a map to see how you could get out to Tampa bay. We tried that this time. Had a little trouble cause we had to go under some walkway bridges and Jeff's fishing gear was to tall. Then there was current to get out there so that just added to the trouble. When we got out there, more trouble..... No water. Well it was an adventure. We could see the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. That was cool. We headed back and went another way, still no fish but plenty of people. We made it back, loaded back up and headed towards home. Then I saw a 5 Guys Burger joint...hmmm let's get an early supper. It's hard to pass those up when it close to a meal time. We got home safe. We unloaded the boats and cleaned up. That was a full day.

Wednesday February 5, It's really humid today, while I was walking my glasses kept steaming up. This is a really nice park to walk. I just walk the road, Jeff does the paths through the brush. The scenery is nice and it's so quiet. When I got back I got started with some cleaning. Doing woodwork, windows it's a never ending job. I get started on one thing and even before I finish that I think of something else I need to do. We headed out to the grocery store. We stopped at O'Briens farms to get some strawberries. So now I needed to get an angel food cake mix. Managed to fill our cart, getting all we needed and more. When I got home I made the cake and fixed up the berries. I love strawberries!! I finished the day with a bike ride.

Thursday February 6, Cloudy day today, not as humid. I wasn't sure if I would get wet on my walk but I didn't. We decided to go to the movie today. We sat outside for a little but then it did start sprinkling. When that stopped we took the dogs for a walk to the day use area to see if John & Joan were still there. They are leaving today, but we'll meet up with them at Rainbow Springs. We left a little early to head to the movie theater. Jeff wanted to get some stuff to replace our toilet. He's going to order the stool but needed to get the hardware. We've been having some issues there. It's leaking behind the foot pump. Tired of worrying about that. Jeffs been on the internet and it's seems to be a problem for a lot of people. Well we found our theater and got our early bird seats.($5.50) We also purchased our annual popcorn bucket. We use that when we go back to Iowa. The movie was Labor Day and we both liked it. It wasn't what Jeff expected though. We drove home in the dark so we got to use the gate code. It was successful home again. 

Friday February 7, Cloudy and cool this morning. It was sprinkling at first but it stopped so I could walk. When I got back I tried to put together my quilt top so I can get started on the hand quilting . First I tried to lay it out inside. Well that didn't work no room. I took it outside on our rug and that seemed to be ok. I got it all pinned together now I can start the quilting part...( my favorite)  We decided to go over to the Red Barn. It's a giant flea market/farmers market. When we got there that place was hopping. We found us a parking spot and headed in. We were mostly interested in the produce. Can't get too much else to put in the camper unless I'm ready to part with something. Jeff says if I bring something in something needs to go out. Funny I don't usually see much I can't live without. Got some chocolate and some produce. Lots of strawberries and boy are they good. Successful trip for sure. When we got back I fixed up more berries. It was cloudy all day. Tonight is the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, I love watching them, so excited about that. I prefer to watch the sport part of it not all the stuff they think they need to add.

Saturday February 8, Cloudy again today and kinda chilly. We headed up to site #1 for campers coffee. I made some mini blueberry muffins to share. It's always a good time. Quite a few people show up. It's good to meet new folks. They have everyone tell there names and where they're from. We talked to a number of nice people. Came back to the rig and just sat outside. It started to warm up a bit. After making those muffins I guess it put me in the cooking mood. I made some caramel corn. Then for supper chicken stir fry. Everything turned out good. We usually don't plan a lot on the weekends. We did try and get the dogs out for a walk but we got a bit wet it started misting. So we went back and settled inside for the rest of the evening. Watched some Olympics.

Sunday February 9, We got up early for church, this week we got to attend the home church of Bayside. We weren't disappointed  the worship was awesome and the message was too. The church always makes you feel welcome. After we got back and made brunch. Belgium waffles with fresh strawberries. Then since the weather was so wonderful we decided to take the kayaks out on the lake here. We have never gone out on this lake. Since getting our new kayaks we haven't tried sailing them. Jeff had put all our rigging back on, so we thought we would give it a try. It was a bit tricky putting it all together. We don't sail them that much, but we got it done and in the water. It seems to me that the wind had picked up a bit. I'm not that good of a sailor, I'm kinda wimpy. Not very comfortable with it. I get all worked up until I figure out what I'm doing. After a while I felt a bit better. Jeff doesn't have any problems just me. Sailed around a bit then the wind picked up so I rolled up my sail. We headed back into the dock and it seemed everyone had the same idea. We  took everything apart loaded up and headed home. It was a really pretty day out there. When we got back we unloaded and cleaned up. Supper then we watched the Olympics/Beatle Tribute.... I think we saw the best of both.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Myakka River Part 2

Tuesday January 28, Another pretty day. Jeff took his walk this morning, I've been doing this squat/push up routine, today I'm doing 45 squats and 25 push ups. That doesn't sound to bad, but you have to do 3 sets. The squats aren't so bad but the push ups...yikes. I even do girl push ups. I also did some laundry, it's nice to have a full hookup. Jeff found a movie theater in Sarasota that has a special on Tuesdays. It's $6.00 seats all day. We even had a Fandango card to get our tickets with. A Christmas gifts from the kids. We saw the movie Saving Mr. Banks. We both thought it was ok. We came home and gave the dogs a bit of attention, took them for a walk. Jeff made some veggie soup for supper. Didn't need much with all that popcorn we put away.

Wednesday January 29, It was cloudy and sprinkling this morning. We planned to drive over to Peace River Shores and check out our lot over there. We thought we would put it up for sale. When we bought that lot about 10 years ago we had plans to maybe build on it. When our grand kids arrived that idea really didn't appeal to us any more. The real estate office that was right on the highway has closed. It doesn't look like much is going on in the area, so I think selling it probably won't happen anytime soon. We left and headed over to the Alligator RV Park. We were going to meet up with Ron & Mary Meyer, Gary & Nancy McCarty. Some friends from our hometown. They come down here to spend the winter. We visited for awhile, then headed over to Fishermans Village for lunch. We went to Village Fishmarket for lunch. We had the dogs with us and they have outside dining. The food was really good. The onion rings there are sooo yum!!! The place was hopping. I think this cool rainy weather has brought everybody in. We had a great time catching up. We even ran into more people we knew from Keokuk. The weather was getting cooler. We headed home and made a stop at Walmart, I'm trying to get some fabric to finish up this quilt top. Success, got everything I needed to finish up this quilt. It rained the rest of the day and temperatures kept dropping.

Thursday January 30, It rained again today. Jeff had ordered a part for his kayak and they called to say it was in. He also finally got his prescription filled. So today we would be running to pick those up. While we were out Jeff wanted to get lunch. We had a gift card for PF Changs and there just happens to be one close to the kayak store. Our lunch was good, but our desserts were better. Another Christmas gift from the kids. Nice to go for a lunch and not have to pay...On the way home we stopped at a Winn Dixie. Right next door was a Petland so we got to go look at the puppies. Every time we go in those stores I just want a puppy. When we got home tried a new recipe for chicken pot pies. Only have 4 ingredients  baked inside biscuits and they turned out so yummy. I'm not even that fond of chicken pot pies...but I have to admit these are really good. Gonna add those to our menu list.

Friday January 31, The weather man is wrong's raining again. I did finish up my squat/push up routine today.  50 squats,30  push ups...3 sets, man that was hard. Jeff worked on cleaning the tanks, he back washed them. I finished up my quilt top, next I have to put it together so I can get to quilting. I can't believe it's almost time to move. The time here has really passed so fast.

Saturday February 1, Again the weather man said today would be nice but guess what, it's cloudy, humid and rainy. We did get the dogs out for a small walk before the rain. I also  gave Jeff a haircut. When it was rainy I made some snicker doodle cookies. We had homemade pizza for supper. Tomorrow is suppose to be nice.

Sunday February 2, Got up to foggy weather. We headed back to church at Bayside. Again the message was spot on. Today being Super Bowl Sunday everyone had there mind on football and the preacher managed to use football in the message. Really love this church, always feel better when I walk out..blessed. Came home and walked up to say goodbye to Tom & Jane, they are pulling out today. We didn't get to do much with them because of the weather. We came home and I made us brunch. Took a bike ride and on the way back a black snake slithered across the road....yikes!!!! We decided to load up the bikes and kayaks today, just a couple things we won't have to do tomorrow. We finished up this night with the Super Bowl which was anything but super. We didn't care about the teams but ugly is ugly. Tomorrow we will head to Lake Manatee. These 2 weeks here have flown by....we'll be back for sure.