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

Monday, January 26, 2015

Myakka River State Park Part 2

Sunday January 18-We got up early and got ready to attend a church that was just up the road. The service started at 9:00 a.m. but we got there early, really early because we needed to make reservations for next year. Our internet at the park is not that good. The closer we got toward town the better the service. Anyhow we just parked in the parking lot and tried to get some reservations. We didn't have any luck. So at 9 we went into the church (Suncoast) and boy what a surprise. To start they were super friendly. The worship was loud but we loved it. The preacher came up to us before we headed into the auditorium and explained the service. He said the first part is like a concert followed by the message. The worship was like a concert with all the musicians...sounding like professional musicians. The message was excellent. When we left both of us were excited to still be in the area for next weeks service. We got home and made brunch. Since Jeff's bike is fixed we decided to ride across to the other side of the park. It was a great day for that and again we saw lots of critters.

Monday January 19- Boy it started out really cold this morning, Jeff said 38...that's cold. It took awhile to warm up. We had planned to put the kayaks in today but it just wasn't gonna get warm enough for me. I did some things around home. Jeff decided to try some fishing. I stayed back and did some scrapbooking. He gave me a call to come and see this neat bird that was hanging around him so I did.

I got on my bird app found out its a Black Crowned Night Heron. Both of us were very interested in him and he with us. He didn't ever get really close but watched us from a safe distance. I'm loving this bird.

Tuesday January 20- It wasn't as cool this morning and it looked like rain. We did get our walks in this morning. Both of us had a hankering for a steak so we went in for lunch at Outback. It was really good and hit the spot. After lunch we went to the movie. Jeff dropped me off to get in line for tickets. We were running late and the line was long. I got tickets and here comes Jeff so we went in to find a seat, the place was packed and we had to sit closer to the front then we like. The movie ( American Sniper) was really good. Some of it was hard to watch. Sure makes you appreciate what our servicemen and women do. We headed home and the traffic was a bit crazy. With our bellies full of popcorn we had leftovers for supper.

Wednesday January 21- Here at the park they have a camper coffee on Wednesday morning. I made some cinnamon rolls to bring. It takes place at the log cabin from 9a.m. to 10 a.m. We were surprised by how many were there. We sat and visited with some and compared notes and places traveled. It was a really pretty day so Jeff and I loaded up our stuff and headed to the river to fish. We went to a spot behind the log cabins.

Well we found a place with a little sunshine and sat down. Jeff was fishing I was watching the wildlife. There were birds, fish and gators. One gator in particular came swimming down river. He turned and headed right toward me. He stopped around 3 feet from the shore. By that time I was moving back. He just set there and watched me. It was really creepy. I didn't know how I was gonna get my chair or phone that was sitting on the chair.  I moved down river some and the gator moved to so I grabbed my chair. I think someone has been feeding that gator.

Our day at the river was a beauty of a day, we got to watch the wildlife fly, swim and eat the day away.... I keep saying I've become my grandma because she loved animals and nature so.

To finish off the day we decided to take a bike ride. Stopped on the bridge like we always do and noticed all the people fishing and when I say fishing I mean catching. Jeff went back and got his poles to join in on the fun, and fun is what he had. He got some nice tilapia and brought them home to clean and eat later.

While Jeff was fishing or should I say catching and bringing in a fish this alligator came swimming real fast to try to steal that fish. He was moving. Jeff was quicker.

What an exciting day of fishing. The good news was we even brought some home.

Thursday January 22- Today we made a trip to Acadia to take care of some business and stopped at a Walmart on the way home. Unloaded our stuff and got the dogs out for a walk. Remember those fish from yesterday.....that was our supper tonight. Yes they were very tastey. Ended the day with a movie from redbox.

Friday January 23- We had so much fun last week at the dog races we wanted to go back. We got there and the place was really busy. It was also very windy today.

We went down where they weigh them before racing and get a real close look at the dogs. Jeff likes to look at there eyes. One tried to jump up and greet Jeff. What beautiful animals. We didn't come home with our pockets full of money but more in love with those greyhound dogs....... Stopped for supper before heading home.

Saturday January 24- Our last full day at this park. It rained all night so everything was wet. We started putting things away but had to wait for stuff to dry. Since it was a really cool day I put together some soup for supper. We walked the dogs, I put Soffee's coat on her, she gets cold easy. We decided to ride the bikes to the bridge and try one more time to fish. It was kinda busy because its the weekend. A group of scouts were trying to fish. The trip wa'n't a waste though because there was a group of Rosette Spoonbill by the rivers edge, so pretty. Not too far from the birds a giant gator. Isn't nature wonderful.

After leaving the bridge area Jeff went back to the spot behind the log cabin to try once more. Me again looking for critters. I spotted something up in the tree, I thought it maybe a owl or hawk. It was a red shouldered hawk. Quite a find.

Well all good things must come to an end and our time here is just about done. What a wonderful couple of weeks we enjoyed. Next stop Lake Manatee.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Back To Myakka

Sunday January 11- Its a good day to travel. No rain, not much wind and some sunshine. After Jeff did some research he found a different route, the good news is it cut off around 50 miles, the bad news is its a lot of 2 lane roads. We left around 9:30 and arrived a little before 1.00. We had to wait before going to our spot. Our spot is located in the Palmetto Ridge, the new area. Our site number is 88. Jeff did good on this site, its really big and private because its surrounded with trees. It was a little tight getting in but we got her in. Then we set up and unloaded. One of the things I love about this park is all those amazing trees. But with every park there are good things and bad things. The internet here is spotty at best. We even changed carriers and even with Verizon still no good. They do offer free Wi-Fi at the Myakka Outpost. I couldn't wait to go look for gators. I jumped on my bike to go down to the bridge. On the way I saw deer and turkeys. When I arrived at the bridge they were waiting....gators.


Another thing I really love about this park is all the wildlife you never are disappointed. It seems there are always some kind of critter waiting behind every turn or hiding behind a tree.

Monday January 12- Its cloudy out there today, I hope that rain isn't following us. I did get out and walk this morning, I took my umbrella with me and it had started sprinkling on my way back. We had planned to take Jeff's bike into town to get it worked on. He has tried to get it running right but no luck. While we were in town we decided to go check out a couple new spots. We looked at turtle beach, looks like a great place to launch the kayaks. Then we went over to Siesta Beach, its the biggest beach I've seen around here. This beach was so pretty and it was cloudy. I bet when the suns out its gorgeous. Hopefully we'll get to find out. We had lunch at Sonny's BBQ, it was good. We picked up a few things we needed and headed back home. Its fun to get out and explore for some new places.

Tuesday January 13- It was a real pretty morning and it makes me want to walk in the morning. The scenery is so pretty. When I got back Jeff had decided to do some more cleaning. He got up on the roof to clean it. I cleaned up the A.C. cover. It had mold and mildew on it. I used one of those mr. clean erasers. Boy do those work good, took all that right off. Didn't even have to scrub. Makes cleaning fun. well kinda. After cleaning we took the pups for a walk, the weather had started to change. The clouds were coming in. Still a good day we got some things done.

Wednesday January 14- It was chilly this morning. We had planned to go to the big R.V. show in Tampa. We went out for breakfast before hitting the road. The drive wasn't bad until we got close. Yikes the traffic was crazy....we were on the interstate bumper to bumper for at least 1 &1/2 hours. So aggravating. When we finally arrived and headed into the show we had to wait in line to get tickets.

Well after all that waiting we were ready to do some looking around. The place was packed, Jeff thought for sure they were giving away RVs, but that wasn't the case. We found a couple things we couldn't live without. We also got to check out some different RVs that we hadn't seen before. The good thing, I'm still liking mine. None I wanted to trade for.

If you are a people watcher than this is a good place to be. It was just too busy for us. We like people but not that many at a time. It was hard to look around in the buildings where the suppliers were selling there stuff. Then we didn't want to stay too long because of rush hour traffic. This was our second time to attend and I don't think we will make a third trip. When we got home we were tired. The dogs had missed us. So we walked them and called it a day.

Thursday January 15- Another cloudy cool day. Jeff and I decided to go back to the Canopy Walkway. We did this 2 years ago and I wanted to go back. We walked there, then you climb up a platform to the walkway that is suspended 25 feet above the ground and 100 feet through the hammock canopy. Then you climb up to the tower that soars 74 feet in the air to present a spectacular view of treetops and wetlands. With the weather, no crowds that's for sure.

Even with the cloudy skies the views were very nice. It was a bit chilly but the rain held off. I wanted to show Jeff a fishing spot, so we were walking back and both of us heard this weird noised. I think we thought a panther but after investigating we saw a alligator up river raising its head up and making these loud groans. Boy that was something to see and we did.

Friday January 16- Made plans to go to the dog races today. Jeff wanted to go to Bob Evans for breakfast so we found one close. I usually like there breakfast but I had the worst pancakes ever. Not a very good start to the day. We went to the matinee at the dog races. It was $.50 to get in and $.50 cent beer and hotdogs. The place was hopping. My favorite thing was the greeters outside. They had some greyhounds that were up for adoption. Boy it was hard to walk away from them. What nice dogs they are. We had a good day and the weather had changed. It turned into a beautiful day.

We even picked a couple winners, in this picture that was our dog #6. I picked it because its name was WIOWA SHIPPING, then when it was wearing hawkeye colors I knew it was a winner and it was. We aren't big gamblers, I think we had a couple winners and came out ahead. So that was a good day. We didn't stay for all the races because we know how traffic gets. We left just in time and missed most of it. We got home and the roast we put in the oven this morning was ready to eat. Don't you love a slow cooker.

Saturday January 17- Brrrrr it was really chilly this morning. We had planned to hike into the deep hole. We waited awhile to let it warm up. First we needed to get a permit for the hike. They only allow 30 people a day into this area. We hit the trail around 9:45. It was 2.2 mile hike into the deep hole. The hike is pretty easy its flat and easy to follow. I couldn't wait to see all the critters. Again we did this 2 years ago and I couldn't wait to see it again.

When we walked into the clearing we noticed all the gators in the water and around the shore. Then I noticed a tree that was full of roseate spoonbill. When we were walking I scared this one and it flew up to the tree with all his other friends. Jeff was checking out all the gators and we both couldn't believe the size of these monsters. We did run into some people there. We even saw a couple kayakers come into the deep hole. I was nervous for them. Its just amazing watching these incredible animals. I never felt threatened and I didn't want to leave.

We had to get back so I took one last look and we headed out, the walk back wasn't nearly as fun as the one in. It seemed long and had warmed up. What a great trip.

When we got back we had lunch and then we headed into town because Jeff's bike was ready to be picked up. He was really missing his bike in this area. There is lots to see and a bike is a great way to see it all. Oh what a great first week here. My only complaint is the time goes so fast.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Part 2 at Jonathan Dickinson

Sunday January 4- No rain this morning so we decided to load up the kayaks and head to the boat ramp in the park. We got in the boats and headed up the Loxahatchee River. As we were putting the boats in the water we spotted a sea otter, so the day started off good... a critter before we even left the shore. Our goal was to make it up the river to Trapper Nelson interpretive site...also known as the wild man of Loxahatchee. It was about a 4 mile trip up the river. It was a beautiful day and the river had lots of turns and curves. We picked a perfect day and even with it being Sunday, not crowded.

The upper Northwest Fork of the Loxahatchee River is one of the few wild and natural rivers remaining in southwest Florida It has remained virtually unchanged. The river winds from a completely freshwater environment to the saltwater mangrove community. There are lots of critters and the vegetation is remarkable.

On the way back we spotted a manatee and these crazy jumping mullets, and boy could they jump.

The trip down the river was a bit easier, there was a pretty good current that really helped us out. We had a great day on the river and would recommend this trip. If you don't have a kayak of your own they have rentals at the park, or you could go on the guided pontoon boat tour from the park.

Monday January 5- We got up and Jeff had me go outside to watch the space station fly over, you could see it very clearly. Then I looked in the other direction and saw the biggest moon, what a sight...or 2 sights. We decided to go for a walk, we found a nice path that went through the woods. Some of the path was sandy and some was paved. Very quiet and very nice. Makes you want to go for a walk. Today we headed to town to get a few supplies. Had planned on doing the lighthouse today but it clouded up so we decided to wait. It seems to do some kind of raining almost everyday.

Tuesday January 6- Another great day for a walk. I always do better when I have a planned route to walk, takes the guess work out of it. When we got back the weather still looked good so we headed to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse. When we arrived we saw a bus so there were lots of kids there. To go see the lighthouse you have to buy a ticket and you take a tour. The ticket was $9.00 and our tour guide Wibb was full of interesting information. We picked a great day it was beautiful. Another bonus was this awesome banyan tree at the base of the lighthouse. Pictures don't do it justice.

After the tour, Jeff went in the museum and watched a short movie, I hit the gift shop. It had lots of neat stuff but one thing in particular..a pink flamingo which our granddaughter ordered. So of course I made a purchase. We headed back home and I tried to get the laundry done before the rain came, I almost made it but thank goodness they have laundry facilities here. I used the dryer to finish up.

Wednesday January 7-We decided to ride our bikes this morning. The more we see of this park the more we like. When we got home we both somehow started doing some cleaning. Jeff on the outside with some more waxing, me I worked inside.

Thursday January 8- There was a cold front that arrived last night. It was so funny watching the weather this morning. The weatherman said you better bundle up its gonna be cold out there with a wind chill. In his next breath he said the high would be in the high 60's. When we went out for our walk I put on a hooded sweatshirt and I had to take it off because I got hot. Boy if they want to experience cold they should head north. Took advantage of the cold weather and made soup for supper. Since the weather was cool and rainy we took in another movie. Went to see Wild with Reese Witherspoon...pretty good.

Friday January 9- Jeff worked on a year end report. I went for a nice bike ride. I took some different paths. Again I loved it.  I ended clear down by the river, a real nice ride. On my way home it started sprinkling so I picked up the pace. As soon as I got home the skys opened up and it poured. I'm glad I made it home before that happened.

Saturday January 10- Our last full day here at Jonathan Dickenson. It was a nice day so we got busy putting stuff away. Loading up the bikes and boats. Jeff has been wanting to go to Tiki 52 since about the first day we got here. Its a bar not very far from the park
with live music. He got on the internet to check out the music and its a good thing. The night he had picked to start was something neither of us would have liked. Tonight was different. When we arrived a big football game was going on so the music started late. The bands name was Killbillies. Can't really classify there music but both of us really liked them. It was a nice evening with great entertainment.

Well again those 2 weeks really flew by. It was our first visit to this park but it wont be our last. We will definitely be back. We love the park and what it has to offer and also love the area around it. So much more we need to see here...til next time bye bye Jonathan Dickinson.


Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 End of Year Recap

Well 2014 has come to an end and I am looking over some of our year end facts and figures.  I use these as I prepare our 2015 budget.

For people that like to track and compare these kind of things I have prepared a short summary of our 2014 activities and some expenses.

5095 towed miles

14038  miles driven

1102 Gal. Fuel   $4005.00

Ave Cost 3.63 per gallon

MPG  12.74 Combined

28 Campgrounds  $6117.00

13 States

We started 2014 in Florida spending time in 7 State Parks and 1 COE park. After Exiting Florida we made our way north stopping in Alabama, Kentucky, Missouri and then on to Keokuk, IA to do our annual doctor appointments and visit with family and friends.
Mangrove trail at John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo
Alligators at Myakka River State Park near Sarasota
Dolphins at St Joe Peninsula State Park

Alabama Space and Rocket Center  Huntsville,AL
We then traveled to Palo,Ia to Camp Host at Pleasant Creek State Park for 5 months and spend time with the Kids and Grand kids. On Oct 8 we headed south to Keokuk to attend a wedding and then straight east through Illinois,Indiana,Ohio,Pennsylvania,and landing in Maryland to spend a week in DC.
World War 2 Memorial
On  From there a week in Williamsburg,VA, a week in Kitty Hawk,NC and a visit with friends in Charleston,SC.

Yorktown Victory Monument,VA
Wright Brothers Memorial Replica Flyer
Meeting a Charleston Fire Fighter
With the weather starting to change it was time to get to Florida with  a repeat stop at Sebastion Inlet for Thanksgiving and then to Bahia Honda and Curry Hammock for most of the month of December, bringing in the New Year at Johnathan Dickinson State Park located in Hobe,FL just north of Jupiter.

Sunset from our site at Bahia Honda
Launching kayaks from Curry Hammock

Jonathan Dickinson State Park

WOW  What a year!