Tuesday, January 31, 2012

On to Pine Island

Could hardly believe it was time to leave the Naples area!  1 week went so quickly!

We were on our way to Pine Island by 10 this morning to head to a familiar campground - the KOA at Pine Island (also owned by Encore).  We have been there the last 2 winters, so it felt good to see both familiar faces and scenery!  We were on our site by 12:30 after a very easy drive and no problem getting into our site!  That is a blessing!!

Talked with 2 couples that we met here 2 years ago - so good to see them again.  I am actually going to play tennis with Ed tomorrow morning.

Looking forward to riding the camp bus to Ft. Myers Beach on Thursday and then the big Super Bowl Party here on Sunday.  There is also a craft show on Saturday.  So much to do here!  We are so happy to be back on Pine Island.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Where Does the Time Go!!!

Well, I hoped to keep up daily with my blog, but busy life just got in the way!  We have been having so much fun and got in late the last two nights, so I was too tired to blog.  We spent the last 2 days with Barry and Deb and as Barry says, "Deb crams 20 days of activity into 5 days, so we just have to try to keep up".  We got to see a lot of great places and do many things, so we are just grateful for all of Deb's hard work in planning our activities while here in Naples.

On Saturday we spent about 3 hours paddling our kayak on the Henderson Creek.  It was really our 1st trip using our new inflatable Sea Eagle Kayak.  We looked like quite a "caravan" out on the water.  Deb has a Hobie Kayak that you peddle instead of paddle, Barry's is one you put together on site, and then ours is inflatable.  Quin, their dog enjoyed the ride in Barry's kayak.  We were amazed how well our kayak handled.  It really is very stable, you can actually stand up in it and it will not tip!  It manuevered well with little effort.  I know we will have many hours of fun using it.  In Florida we will have plenty of opportunities to use it.

Deb pedals instead of paddle!


We enjoyed happy hour at Barry and Deb's CG and then they made us a delicious supper.  We ended the evening playing 5 Crowns.  We  certainly celebrated life that day, but are amazed at how quickly time is flying while here at Naples.

In the morning on Sunday, Ken and I drove into Naples to have a cup of tea and enjoy just relaxing and walking around the downtown area.  When we  arrived we notice many police and heard a Dixieland Band playing.  We quickly realized that it was a Rally for Romney, who was to arrive around noon.  What excitement!  We left before Romney arrived, but it was interesting.  Ken was probably out of place in his "Green Earth" T-shirt! 

 After lunch we joined Barry and Deb for a 2.2 mile walk along the Marsh Trail.  We saw a few alligators, gorgeous butterflies, but Ken was in all his glory when we viewed dozens and dozens of Roseate Spoonbills.  They are definitely 1 of his favorite birds.  Their bright pink coloring (almost look like flamingos) and their flat large beaks are so unique!  Then Barry and Deb came back to "Willie" to have dinner with us.  Ken made some of the Sheephead fish he had gotten from Dave Horst and made those on the griddle part of our grill along with some salmon.  Then we introduced them to the game, Sequence, and ended the evening with another game of 5 Crowns.

Hard to imagine that tomorrow is our last full day in the Naples area.  There is so much to see and do here for the beach person and the nature lover.  The last 3 days they predicted rain, but it never amounted to much nor did it interfer with any of our planned activities.  Most days have been around 80 degrees.  Not hard to take!

We need to explain what is going on if you happen to see a picture with a plush starfish on it .  That starfish is sending notes to our four young granddaughters telling them what Grandma and PaPa are doing while they are away from home.  So, the starfish travels with us daily and gets included in numerous special moments and adventures.  Thank goodness the starfish is small and can fit into PaPa's pocket!
Life is Good!!!!

Roseate Spoonbill in Flight!!

Friday, January 27, 2012

What a Day!

Ken and I left by 9:15 this morning and drove towards Marco Island to go to see Dave and Sharon Horst.  We know them from working with them at Bird-In-Hand Market and then Ken helped them with some Real Estate Transactions.  They are originally from New Holland PA and now have a gorgeous log home they built in Central PA.  We see them every year when we come to Florida and they are the most gracious host and hostess.  Like previous years, they took us out on their boat to an island to go shell hunting.  Sharon is an expert when it comes to the name of shells plus interesting info about them.  Again, we found some wonderful and unusual shells.  I thought I would only bring back a few this year, but whenever I go hunting, I just can't resist taking lots of them home with me.  We shelled from noon to 3:15 and had a blast.

Then we went back to their home and had a very nice visit.  Dave made blackened shephead fish for Ken that he had caught in recent days and Sharon made a huge tray of fresh vegetables that we cut up, sprinkled with olive oil and some spices and placed in the oven.  Since I am not a seafood lover, Dave made me a boneless pork chop.  What a delicious meal with Key Lime Pie for dessert.  Dave and Ken picked grapefruit, star fruit and lemons for us to bring back to "Willie" and then Dave gave us some ring bologna, deer bologna, jerky, and some deer sticks.  Dave is a butcher!!  He also gave some additional shephead fish for Ken to make on the grill.  As I said before, they are some of the most generous people we know.  It was a positively wonderful day!

Tomorrow we are going kayaking with Barry and Deb, launching the kayaks right from their CG.  Looking forward to a wonderful time.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Lots of Alligators!

After a good breakfast, Ken and I drove towards Marco Island to the KOA CG where Deb and Barry are staying.  Deb and I went in their car and Barry rode in "Diesel" with Ken and we headed towards the Everglades (about 1 1/4 hour drive) to Sharks Landing.  Here you can take the tram, walk, or bike ride the 15 miles round trip along a canal that helps drain the Everglades.  There are alligators all along the pathway and many varieties of birds.  It was a slow ride to the observation tower, stopping so many times to check out the alligators, especially the little baby ones.  It must be hatching season, for we saw about 4 diffferent baby families.  Also saw a flock of wood storks.  There were also numerous turtles along the path.  We ate our packed lunches at the tower and then rode back to our cars.  The ride back was so much easier, for we really had the wind in our faces a lot of the way to the tower.

Stopped back at the KOA CG with Deb and Barry and walked around their park.  Relatively small, but very nice and well managed.  A great place to stay.  Then we all went to a family type, rustic restaurant called Cracklin Jacks.  When you ordered a meal they served you all the vittles you could eat including collard greens, a corn type souffle, real mashed potatoes, fabulous cole slaw, white beans, etc.  It really was a delicious meal.  Ken had his 1st grouper, his favorite food to have when we eat out in Florida.

Got back to "Willie" around 8:45 and 3 of our neighboring camper couples were sitting outside.  They said, "You were gone all day!  What were you up to?"  So, we shared some of our adventures.  Nice when people you hardly know are interested in what you are doing.

Our 1st alligator spotting!

What a nice bike path!

Baby Alligators!

More Baby Alligators!

Taking Ride on Mama!
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Flock of Wood Storks!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Our 1st Day in Naples!

Ken and I slept in today.  Still so tired from all the driving!  I was tired from being the passenger - such pressure!  After a cooked breakfast, we took our 1st walk around the campground.  Nice park that is very well maintained.  There are many seasonal sites and all units can't be more than 10 years old, so people take pride in the properties.  Nice pool area! 

Barry and Deb came here by 10:30.  So good to see them again.  We drove into Naples and rode our bikes to the downtown area.  Hade a delicious lunch at Tommy Bahamas.  I had my 1st of many to come pulled pork sandwiches.  Then we took a bike ride along a road bordered by huge homes.  For the ride back, we went along the water, stopping to walk the fishing pier.  Ended the day by walking along 5th Avenue in downtown Naples.  Quite an exclusive area.  Tired by the end of the day.  Still need to catch up on our rest, but so good to spend the day with Deb and Barry.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

We have reached our Destination! Hallelujah!!

Today we drove another 250 miles and arrived at our 1st campground, Rocky Creek on the outskirts of Naples.  It appears to be a very friendly campground with many seasonal campers that return year after year.  The sites are nice, but close together.  When we 1st saw our site, we were not sure how we would get into it, but we worked well together and got into it in a relatively short time. 

It took us a long time to get organized both inside and out, since we had taken almost everything our of "Willie" since our last trip in October.  Most of the food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, drinks, and electronics were in our truck, so it was a process to get everything in place.  Ken had to de-winterize the unit and he had so much trouble getting the plug back into the water heater.  We actually had to go and get a new one and we are even having a problem with it.  We will work on that again tomorrow.

Both of us were exhausted by the time we finished the set-up around 6:30.   Did talk to Barry and Deb.  We will get together tomorrow.  Also talked to Dave and Sharon Horst who have a place nearby.  They used to live in New Holland and were owners of New Holland Meats.  We will get together with them sometime this week also, maybe Friday.  Tonight we are ready to relax and go to bed early.  We need a good night's  sleep! 

When we left Ocala this morning it was 62 and by the time we arrived at the CG it was 82.  My kind of weather!!  Our jeans looked out of place!!!!!  The forecast for the rest of the week is for mostly sunny days with temperatures between 75 and 82.  No wonder we love coming to Florida!!! 

Let the good times roll!!!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Plenty of Driving Today!

Once we get on the road, Ken keeps his hands on the steering wheel and we keep heading down the road!  We drove from 60 miles into North Carolina to Ocala, FL, another 560 miles starting at 6:45 this morning and arriving at the Hotel (yes we opted for hotel living for another night!) at 6:00.  We stayed at the Comfort Suites both nights and they proved to be very nice accomodations. 

The drive has gone well except for about an hour today when a ABS light came on.  It has to do with the braking system.  It came on right before we got to the border of Georgia.  Made our hearts skip a couple beats, so we stopped at a rest stop and made a call to our diesel guy back home.  Since it didn't stay on, he says it is probably nothing to be concerned about if our brakes are working properly.  They are, so he said it is probably a malfunctioning sensor and we should just continue driving.  So, that is what we did and the light never came on again.  Hallelujah!!  Could we please just have 1 long trip without any "truck events"?  It would be so nice!!

We are hoping to be on the road no later than 8:00 tomorrow and arrive at our campsite at Naples sometime around noon!  It will be good to unload the truck and get "Willie" set up for our weeks in Florida.  We have so much "stuff" in the truck since it was below freezing till about 8:00 this morning.  All the canned food, cosmetics, drinks, electronics, etc. need to be put in place in the 5th wheel once we reach our destination tomorrow.  Also, we will have to dewinterize.  Then the fun and adventures begin!  We are ready!!!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

On the Road Again!!

Well, we were able to get out of "Dodge" today, Sunday, after studying the weather reports along Interstate 95.  We had some icy roads in PA last evening, so we decided we would not be able to leave too early in the morning.  Felt we had a window if we left home at 10 and got below Richmond no later than 4:00.  They were predicting freezing rain for the Baltimore, Washington DC area and even close to Richmond late afternoon.  Fortunately we were through those areas before there was any rain.  Traffic was relatively light and we stopped at a Comfort Suites arond 5:30 at Wilson NC.  Hope to get into Florida tomorrow and on to Naples by Tuesday.  So good to be back on the road.  Would have stayed in "Willie" tonight at a CG, but really too cold and they are predicting rain.  It is about 38 degrees here in NC.  Thought we could get an earlier start if we stayed in a motel!  We got here early enough to see the last 3 minutes of the Ravens game - what a sad ending!
The prediction for tomorrow is rain, but not the freezing variety!  We are so ready to get to the warmer weather.  Florida, here we come!!
Just a side note!  My friend, Deb Eberly and her husband, were heading back to PA today from a 2 week trip in Florida.  We talked to each other several times today as we were both traveling on Interstate 95.  We actually passed each other between Richmond and DC.  They tooted at us.  What a hoot!!!!  I'm just glad I am heading South instead of North.  (Couldn't resist that "dig", Deb!)  Hope you avoided the freezing rain close to home!
Looking for a continued, uneventful trip on our journey to Florida!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Snow!!!! Why?????

Snow?????  What is that all about????  We were hoping to head out around 5 AM tomorrow morning(Sunday), but we woke to about 5" of snow followed by some freezing rain!!!!  How could it be so mild most of the winter and now when we are anxious to leave, we get snow and freezing cold temperatures????  So, we are hoping to leave no later than noon tomorrow, but only after we get an update on the weather along Interstate 95.  We do not want to take any chances of being on ice while pulling Willie.  We could wait to leave until Monday, but that certainly would not be our 1st choice!

Getting out of "Dodge" just isn't easy!  We are sad to leave the family, for we have had such good times with them during the 3 1/2 months we have been home.  But, we are also excited for the many adventures to come and the friends we will see while in Florida.  We just try to keep it all in balance!

See you down the road!

Ken and Bonnie

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Willie is back home!!

Well, Willie is back in our driveway after being gone since the beginning of October!  Makes us smile everytime we look out the door and see him there!  Seems like such a long time since we slept inside!  So ready to get back on the road, hopefully without any mechanical problems with Diesel, the truck. 

The dealership put the TV's back after being stolen while in their gated storage area and replaced the new door since the thieves had forced open the old one with a crowbar.  We were able to get a different door that I am sure we will like better.  The old one only had jealousy glass and no screen door.  We were able to get a new one with a screen door.  I feel it is a definite improvement - you have to make lemonade out of lemons!

So, today began the loading process!  Both of us made numerous trips putting our clothes into Willie!  I feel like we packed way too much, but the weather can be so changable from morning till night when in Florida.  We have probably packed something for every temperature change and every activity imaginable!  We are waiting to pack the food, cosmetics, toiletries, etc. until closer to Sunday due to the very cold weather.  We don't want things to freeze!  They are also predicting a possibility of some snow showers on Saturday, so hopefully we will be able to depart on Sunday. 

We have a reservation at Rock Creek RV Resort near Naples for a week starting next Tuesday.  We are excited to spend time with Barry and Deb from Canada and Dave and Sharon Horst from PA.  Then on to Pine Island for 2 weeks followed by 2 weeks at Royal Coachman near Venice, one of our favorite areas.   February 29th we will arrive at Rock Crusher Canyon near Crystal River, an area we have not been to before.  It looks like a great place for biking and kayaking.  So, if you will be in any of these areas, please say Hi! 

We are looking forward to a terrific time in Florida filled with special times, wonderful people, and exciting new adventures that will create lasting memories!  Hope to see you!


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Countdown to Florida

Hi Everyone!

Well, Ken and I have begun the countdown to leaving for Florida.  We can hardly wait.  These 3 months at home have been fun, but it is time for our traveling dreams to continue, plus it is getting too cold here in PA.    We are just hoping that the temperatures will stay above normal until we pull out on Sunday, Jan. 22. 

Last week I had a follow-up visit since my surgery in October, and everything was great.  Matter of fact, the Dr. said he will see me again in May or June for further testing, and that was 2 months longer than he initially said I would need to see him.  Hallelujah!

We hope to get "Willie" back from the dealership on Thursday with all the minor repairs completed and the stolen TVs replaced as well as the door that was crowbarred for the thieves to gain entrance.  Then the fun begins - placing everything back in Willie that was taken out because of the cold weather.  A small price to pay for 7 or so weeks of sun and fun in Florida!

We will be celebrating both of our daughter's January birthdays as well as our granddaughter, Sam, who turns 3 on Jan. 20.  It will be a fun time and a great send off!

Hope to see you on the road!

Ken and Bonnie

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year and I hoped you had a very special holiday season!

We had a wonderful time celebrating with our 2 daughters, their husbands and the 4 granddaughters.  My parents were able to join us too for the Christmas meal on Dec. 24.  It's so much fun to watch the little ones excitement and joy during the holidays.  It adds such a special dimension to our lives.  On New Years Eve we had a party with our card club group, 8 of us who have been meeting once a month to go out to eat and play cards for about 20 plus years.  We were together from 6 to 12:45 and had so much fun eating, playing charades, cards, etc.  So nice to have special friends to share special times.  Numerous years the 8 of us had celebrated New Year's at the beach, but it was nice to spend it around home.

Well, it has been quite awhile since I posted anything, so here goes!

We are still at home in Akron PA but looking forward to leaving for Florida on Sunday, January 22.  It has been such a long time since we have spent a night in "Willie", our 5th wheel.  Our last trip was the very beginning of October.  So, it is time to get back into the vagabond life!!!

About 3 weeks ago, we got a call from some local police asking if we owned a 5th wheel that was being stored at the RV dealer nearby.  Turns out our rig was broken into and the TV's in the Living Room and our Bedroom were taken.  Everything else was intacted.  The thieves left the crowbar in our rig, as it was the last one they had broken into.  Out of all the rigs in the lot, they attempted to get into 5 but only got into 3, ours being one of them.  Fortunately, by the time they got to ours, they had learned how to get the TVs out within any damage to the TV or our rig.  Hallelujah!!!!  So, we will be getting 2 new TVs and a new front door.  They better hurry and get it repaired before the 22nd.

We will probably take 2 days to get to Florida and then head towards the Naples area to meet up with our Canadian friends, Barry and Deb.  They had visited us at our home in Akron in September, so we are looking forward to reconnecting soon!!  The 1st 2 weeks of February we will spend on Pine Island and then the last 2 weeks near Venice Beach, one of our favorite areas.  We love to ride bike there and go to many of the wonderful beaches nearby including Caspersen, Nokomis, and Venice Beach.  The bike trail follows the intercoastal waterway, so it is a beautiful bike ride.  Downtown Venice is so "user friendly" and offers so many quaint shoppes and cafes. Wonderful scones at one of the bakeries.

So, we are getting excited to leave for Florida in about 3 weeks.  We are looking to make reservations at a campground near Naples, so if you have any ideas for that area please let us know.

Have safe travels if you are a snowbird and heading to a warm destination.  Hope to see you on the road!

May 2012 be a special years filled with good health, joy, peace, and many memorable moments.

Be Safe,


Note the gift from Grandma and PaPa.  A CAMPER!!!!

Grandma and PaPa with Bria, Katelyn, Sam, and Cali!