Monday, February 28, 2011

Another Day in Paradise!

Today was another perfect weather day!  Sunny and in the 80's.  We got up and got on our bikes to ride the Legacy Trail into downtown Venice.  We thought they had yoga on the beach at 10, but it was over when we arrived.  It had started at 9.  So, to help with our disappointment, we went to the Upper Crust to get a blackberry scone.  If you get to downtown Venice, don't miss the opportunity to stop at the Upper Crust to have a fresh baked scone.  It is sooooo worth it!!!!  The ride on the Legacy Trail is a wonderful experience too!

When back to the Campground, we played another game of shuffleboard, and I was excited to be the winner again.  We played a short game of which Ken was the winner - at least that is what he says.  But, I am contesting that win.  I am sure his one play was not legal!!!!  He was just desperate!!!!

Then we began the job of packing up, cleaning, and washing for our departure tomorrow to our last 2 week stay.  We are heading to the Bradenton/Sarasota area to stay at another Encore Park - Manatee Quarters.  After about 2 hours of WORK, we headed to Nokomis Beach for some reading and walking along the beach.  Back by 6:00 to do abit more organizing for tomorrow's trip.  I certainly hope we can get out of our campsite easier than we backed in.  I know Ken is alittle apprehensive about the whole process.

My sister and her husband arrive on Wednesday to join us for about 6 days.  They will be staying at a Holiday Express about 1 mile from the campground, but will join us everyday for sightseeing and to have dinner together.  We look forward to their arrival.

Sunday at Royal Coachman in Venice!

Heading towards the Legacy Trail Bike Bridge!

This bridge is only used by bikers and walkers on the Legacy Trail

It was a full day yestereday and I was too tired last night to do a post.  Imagine that!  So, here is a report on our fun Sunday!

Royal Coachman Campground has 4 canoes, paddles, and life vests that you are able to sign out for free and enjoy paddling around some canals.  So, 1st thing yesterday, we headed out for a canoe ride.  You have to go when the tide is in or you walk in "muck" for quite awhile.  You leave right from the campground and go along Dona Bay.  It was so quiet and beautiful.

Leaving the Campground

You can see the campground from the Bay

After canoeing, we played some shuffleboard of which I was the winner.  Yes!!  Not a good start to Ken's day.  The courts here are well maintained and fast!

We ate a late cooked breakfast in Willie and then headed to Nokomis Beach.  Our warmest day yet since we arrived in Florida.  The weatherman had said at the beginning of February, that we may not see rain all month.  We just said to each other, "sure".  But, he was positively right! 

We left the beach at 3:15 and got on our bikes to ride down Casey Key Road, a must ride when you are in the Venice/Nokomis area.  It is breathtaking!  We rode 4 miles to the Casey Key Fish House where Ken got to enjoy another great grouper meal - this time a salad with grouper.  It is a wonderful setting on the water plus good food at very reasonable prices.  They have 175 feet of dock for boats that stop in to eat!  The tiki hut bar area gets jammed with patrons.  It is a crazy place.  If you do not get there before 5:00, you have to wait quite awhile to get a table. 


We got back on our bikes and rode the 4 miles back to Nokomis Beach to look for sharks teeth, of which we found several, and then got to watch the beautiful sunset. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Unbelievable Weather Today!

This was our warmest and most sunny day since arriving in Florida - in the 80's.  After breakfast, we headed to Sarasota to the truck garage to have the new part put on our truck.  Only took about an hour, we only hope it corrects the problem.  We are not "truck savoy", so we have to depend on their knowledge and honesty.  No more "wrenches" on our dashboard, we hope!!!!

Not sure what this is all about!!
We packed our lunch, loaded our bikes and headed to Caspersen Beach.  First we rode bikes on the Venetian Waterway Trail and stopped at the airport where the Italian Feast was going on.  Lots of food, rides and some entertainment.  Only there about 30 minutes.  Then we continued on our bike ride.

Back to Caspersen Beach to eat our lunch watching the surf.  Then we spent about 1 1/2 hours walking the beach looking for sharks teeth.  Only found small ones and pieces, but loved being on the beach. 
Looks like our own private beach.  What a backdrop!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Enjoying our Time in Florida!

All of these are from pieces of shells
I collected on the beaches of Florida
Today was a rather uneventful day, but still lots of fun.  Ken washed our very dirty truck and we took a walk around the park.  I took a jewelry wire class in a neighboring community from a lady who goes to craft shows with her unique designs.  She made it look so easy, but it was abit challenging.  I used pieces of shells I had picked up on the beach and was happy with the creations she helped me do.  I think it would be a fun craft to continue doing, but time will tell. 

After the class we headed to Nokomis Beach to read and soak up the sun.  It was another very warm and sunny day - near 80.  While we were there, there was a wedding on the beach.  What a great place to get married.

Truck goes back to the garage to get the part installed that was ordered the end of last week, just in time for towing Willie to the Bradenton area.  We will hope it solves all of our truck problems.   We can only hope!!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Great Day with Great Friends!

Today was a special day for Ken and I.  Our friends, Deb and Barry that we learned to know in Pine Island, came to spend time with us in the Venice area today.  We had so much fun together and the weather was gorgeous! 

We met them at Snook Haven to listen to the Gulf Coast Banjo Society play at 10:30.  Hard to imagine about 30 banjo players coming together every Thursday at this location to practice outdoors for their upcoming concerts.  Hundreds of people come each week to be entertained. 

From there we headed to Sharkys, just south of Venice Beach to have lunch.  Great grouper sandwiches and pulled pork for me.  Enjoyed walking on their pier while we were waiting for our table.  

Then we headed to Caspersen Beach to have them bike ride with us on the Venetian Waterway Trail.  We all like to ride bike and we wanted to share with them this great trail. 

Wanted to share a photo of the newly bearded guys that Deb and I are traveling with.  Don't know if the beards will follow them home - time will tell!

I did 2 earlier posts today that include photos that Barry took - hooking up Willie and beautiful pictures of wildlife here in Florida.  Very worthwhile photos to view!

Quinn's Florida Adventure!

Here are additional photos taken by Barry and Deb and narrated by their dog, Quinn.  Some great photos of the wildlife in Florida.

Thanks Barry and Deb for these special photos!

Here is the link:

Hitching Willie and Leaving Pine Island

Barry took this series of photos hitching up Willie and leaving Pine Island!

Here is a link to the photos!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Another Day in Venice!

Ken and I started the morning with a walk around our campground.  It really is a very nice place!  After a great cooked breakfast we got on our bikes and rode to the Legacy Trail, about 1 mile from Willie!  We rode north towards Sarasota reaching the end of the trail after going 9 miles. On the way back we met up with a gopher turtle.  Has a pretty shell and long claws.  Back to the campground by 1:00, just in time for lunch after going 18 miles.  The trail is a rails to trail and such a great place to ride.  All the resting areas along the way are replicas of what it would look like when sitting on the platform waiting for a train.  So well done!

After lunch we headed to Nokomis Beach to enjoy walking along the surf looking for shells and sharks teeth.  It was a gorgeous day with full sun and around 80 degrees.  It was another wonderful day in Venice!  You can't help but love this area with all the great beaches and fantastic biking trails.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Fun Day with Great Friends!

Yesterday was just a relaxing day at the Campground for Ken and I.  We actually worked - did laundry, and then I shopped alittle at the Bealls Outlet and we spent time at the campground pool.  Spent the evening in Willie. Talked to our friends at home - Fred and Doloris, Sam and Kathy, and Gary and Marcia.  So special to talk to them.  Other than that, it was a rather uneventful day!

But what a day we had today!!!  Ken and I headed to the grocery store early to buy some special snacks and to get some spumanti and orange juice to make mimosas when Dave and Sharon arrived to visit us for the day.  We also went to downtown Venice to a bakery to get some fresh blueberry scones.  Sharon said they had never had any.  They wanted to see Willie, for they had a 5th wheel at one time and several motorhomes when they were doing more traveling.  Then we headed to Caspersen Beach and walked out to the Venetian Waterway Trail.  On our way back to the beach a bobcat crossed the bridge in front of us and ran into the marshland.  Wow, couldn't believe we actually saw a bobcat.  We all thought it was a dog when we first saw it.  Then we headed to the beach to look for sharks teeth.  It was a rather foggy day with only alittle sun, but warm.  The water was rather choppy and we found very few sharks teeth. 

We sat outside on the deck to enjoy the delicious food.  They all had grouper fish sandwich baskets.  Not being a fish eater I had the hamburger basket.  Great setting right on the water.

This bird watched us eat!

Left beach by 3, went back to Willie to change clothes and then headed to Casey Key Fishhouse for dinner. 

From there we headed to the jetty at Nokomis Beach to view the sunset.  Amazing how many people go there each evening at this time.  It was a beautiful sunset with dolphins surfacing right in front of the sun.  Sharon and Dave left our campground at 7:30 to pick up some friends just east of Sarasota who will be staying with them till the weekend.  We were so happy they came to spend the day with us.  It was a blast!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Oops!! Forgot about Saturday!

Saturday was an interesting day in the Venice area!  We headed to downtown Venice to walk around their Farmer's Market, which was a combo of food and crafts. There were some nice products and very friendly people!   

Before we headed to Venice, Ken had gone to Nokomis to do a session of Yoga while I went to the craft show here at the campground.

After our trip to the Farmer's Market, we packed our lunches and by 2:30 we were on Nokomis Beach to read and relax.  There was a craft show at the beach that started around 4:00.  We walked around and then headed back to the beach for the evening entertainment - a drum circle.  What an interesting event.  So many drummers plus hula hoopers, belly dancers, and dancers just feeling the music.  They actually sold beer and wine on the beach, but we had taken our own bottle and wine goblets.  By the time the sun set, there were at least 500 people on the beach celebrating.  It was a site to behold.  The amazing part is that this is done every Wed. and Sat. night on Nokomis Beach. 


Great Time at Marco Island!

Almost to Sharon's Beach
The Lump!!

Yesterday we had such a fun day at Marco Island with Dave and Sharon Horst. (They are former residents of the New Holland area). We got to their community at Marco Island around 9:30, had fun chatted, changed, and then headed to where their boat is docked.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Another Beautiful Day In Florida!

Let's begin by saying we are not going to talk about our truck problems anymore.  Hopefully we are on the right track to have it repaired by the middle of next week!

The Pool at Our Campground

We left the CG at 12:30 day on our bikes and took a ride on the Legacy Trail, which was within a mile of our CG.  We looked like "old folks" as we installed a basket on the front of Ken's bike to carry our lunch and beach gear!  The trail is wide, flat, and crosses 2 bays and then a major highway heading into Venice.  In Venice we stopped at the Chamber of Commerce which we have done the last 3 years.  They are so friendly and accomadative.  We got so much information on events and things to see in the area.  From there we got back on our bikes and got on the Venetian Waterway Trail that follows along the Intercoastal Waterway to Caspersen Beach.  We got off the trail there and spent about 2 hours on the beach and found about a dozen sharks teeth.  We will get serious later and take Ken's Florida snow shovel there to do some intense shark tooth hunting.  Back on the bike trail and we returned to the CG around 4:30.  We probably rode about 18 miles, but it was a gorgeous sunny day around 75 degrees.  No bad!!!

On the way back we saw the 2 bald eagles in the tree. 

On the Legacy Trail
Venitian Waterway Trail
Spotted the Bald Eagles Along the Venetian Waterway Trail

Caspersen Beach

Shark Tooth Hunting at Caspersen Beach

Our Treasures from Caspersen Beach