Wednesday, February 29, 2012

1st Full Day at Rock Crusher Canyon Campground

We are now located at the Nature Coast of Florida!  There is so much "natural stuff" around here!  Crystal River's claim to fame is King's Bay.  It is spring fed by 50 springs that keep the temperature at 72 degrees and is home to over 400 manatees in the winter. It is the only place in the United States where people can interact with the manatees in their natural conditions!

So, we headed out around 9:15 this morning to use our inflatable kayak on the Crystal River.  It is appropriately named for it is so clear you can see the whole way to the bottom.  Ken was so excited at the prospect of seeing his 1st manatee!  Well, his wish came true very quickly.  We paddled to 3 Sisters Springs area and saw our 1st manatee when we got near that area.  Then there was a small roped off area where a dozen manatees were "hanging out".  So cool!!  There are many boat tours that come to that area so people can snorkel and swim with the manatees.  It can get rather congested but the manatees don't seem to mind!  On our way back towards Pete's Pier and Marina we had such a thrill - we got up close and personal with a manatee and her baby calf.  We got to sit in our kayak and be right beside them for at least 10 minutes and we were the only people there at the time!  So special!

We did more kayaking around the area and saw a few additional manatees.  Then we paddled to Hunter City Park and ate our lunch - a small, but cute park!  Kayaked for about 4 hours and felt very tired when we left Pete's Pier, but happy!

Back to the campground to unload the kayak and dry it off before putting it away.  Took a walk around the campground and are amazed at the number of acres it covers and how most sites (398) seem so private and natural.  Really does feel like a state park or Corps of Engineers park. 

Found out there is a Rails to Trails bike trail about 15 miles from the CG that goes for about 40+ miles.  We plan on doing at least some of it, but I think we may need a day to recoup before we tackle our next adventure.  I don't think we have taken a day to just relax since we arrived in Florida!

The weather here continues to be incredible.  We have had only 1 day with alittle rain since we arrived.  Today was 84 degrees - amazing!

I really love Florida!!

Great site for Willie!

Love the natural vegetation and the private sites!

This shows you the depth of each site!

Paddling into the 3 Sisters Spring!  So serene!

Lots of manatees together in one area!

Lots of boat tours for snorkeling and swimming
with the manatees!

Coming up for air!!!

A mother and her baby calf.  The babies are white!

Information "station" our in the middle of King's Bay!

These campsites are unbelievable!

The heated pool at the campground! 82 degrees!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hello from Crystal River near Homosassa!

Today was a travel day!  We were up by 7 and worked together inside and out to get ready to leave Royal Coachman CG at Nokomis. We had such a good time in that area.  No trouble getting out of our site and we were on our way by 10 after saying our good-byes to our nice neighbors, Ray and Barb!

The drive went well and we pulled into Rock Crusher RV Resort around 1:15.  What a beautiful CG.  It really has the feel of a State Park - large, level, private sites with plenty of trees and vegetation.  Full hook-ups too!  Already met 2 of our neightbors who gave us info on bikes trails and areas for launching our kayak.  Ken and I decided to take a drive to the Chamber of Commerce  for additional info and then to Pete's Pier to check out the kayak launch.  Then to the only beach in the area - Fort Island Gulf Beach.  Very nice area, but alittle too far from the CG to launch our kayak.  This area is famous for manatees, but we didn't see any tonight.  Hopefully we will see them when kayaking!

Tomorrow I will post some pictures of the CG.  They have so many activities in the park including bike rides,  motorcycle rides, card making, yoga, beading, wire wrapping, etc.  The pool here is enclosed in a lanai and is 85 degrees.  They also have a hot tub.  Looks like another place for having a fun and memorable time!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Our Last Day in Venice Area!

Can't believe it is time to leave this area!  These 2 weeks have flown by! 

Today was a very special day!  Our camping friends from Pine Island, Betsy, Coy, Regina, and Paul came to visit us today and check out this area.  Ken and I had gotten up at 6 and headed to Caspersen Beach for our last chance for this year to find sharks teeth.  According to the "locals", this was not a good day for finding teeth.  Ken only found about 6.  I only found 1 for I was busy looking to shell pieces to make more wire wrapped jewelry.  I was much more success with that than the teeth!

Our new friends arrived around 11 and we were busy all day.  We became their "official tour guides" and had so much fun doing it!  We walked around the Royal Coachman CG and showed them all of its amenities.  Then we went to downtown Venice to walk along the shoppes and to have a pastry from the Upper Crust!  Betsy and Coy opted for milkshakes!  From there we went to the beach at Sharky's and then to Caspersen Beach to ride bike on the Intracoastal Waterway Trail.  But, we had to stop to feed peanuts to the Florida Scrub Jays.  They could not believe that they would sit on your hands to get the peanuts you were holding up for them to see.  It took awhile, but eventually 2 of them came to get the goodies!  One sat on Paul's hat! 

Then the 6 of us rode in our truck to Casey Key Fish House to have an early supper or late lunch - whatever!  We drove them past the "mansions" on Casey Key Road that ends up at Nokomis Beach.  They headed back to Pine Island around 5:45.  We were so thankful that they took the time to come and spend the day with us.  Camping friends are so special and to think we just met both of them this year!

Ken and I spent time packing up both inside and out for our departure tomorrow and our trip to Homosassa.  We will spend the next week there.  It is new area for us so we are excited.  The weather there looks warm and beautiful!

Today was actually the warmest day we have had since arriving in Florida.  They had predicted some rain and cloudiness.  Instead, it was sunny and hot all day - up to 85 degrees!

Our new and special friends from Pine Island! 

Betsy getting up close and personal
with a Florida Scrub Jay!

Don't give him the peanut until we get a picture!

Riding on the Intracoastal Waterway Trail

Having a late lunch or early supper at the
Casey Key Fish House with our camping friends!
We are so blessed!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Relaxing Day!

Ken and I attended the 9:30 church service here at the CG today.  Our neighbor, Barb plays in the CG Dulcimer group and they were providing music at the service today.  There are probably 15 members in the group and they really do a great job.  200 fellow campers attended the service which was so well done!

Chatted with our neighbors for quite awhile.  Great people from Maine.  Wish we were here a little longer to get to know them better.  They have an annual site here and love it. 

Ken and I played some shuffleboard, but got chased off the court when the 1:00 "intermural" group came to play.  They were very nice and asked us to join them.  It is a much different game when you have good equipment and the discs are waxed and the courts have glass crystals on them.  The discs literally fly down the court.  We really had a fun time and held our own!

After lunch we took diesel to the CG's vehicle washing area.  Great set-up! Diesel actually looked yellow from all the pollen!  We played some pinochle and then I cut Ken's hair.  1st time I did it without Jamie, our youngest daughter who is a hairstylist, helping me.  I think Jamie would be proud!  Then I made several more pieces of wire wrapped pieces of shells while Ken cooked dinner.  What a guy!

A relaxing evening in Willie!  Can't believe we are leaving here on Tuesday.  Our 2 weeks here have gone so quickly. 

Tomorrow Betsy, Coy, Regina, and Paul, 2 couples we met in Pine Island are coming here to see the CG and tour the area.  None of them have been to Venice, so we are looking forward to showing them the area we love so much!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Our Time in Venice is soon coming to a close!!

Today it was abit cooler and partly cloudy, but great day for riding bike and seeing some of our favorite areas.  After breakfast, we got on our bikes and headed down the Legacy Trail to downtown Venice.  We enjoy the Farmer's Market that is on the square every Saturday with crafts, food, music, etc.  The gal who did my class on wire wrapped jewelry has a stand there so I got to check out more of her creations.  From there we continued riding, but this time on the Intracoastal Waterway Trail to Caspersen Beach.  We returned to our CG by 2:00 after riding 17 1/2 miles.  What a great ride!

After lunch, Ken took me to a local Michaels Craft Store to buy some supplies to start my jewelry making projects.  Those of you who know me well realize how hard it is for me to "limit" my purchases when it comes to crafting, but I did a pretty good job!  Back to Willie after stopping for some groceries at a local Wal-Mart. 

We are planning on a relaxing evening playing some cards and I will hopefully find some time to start some jewelry creations!  It seems so hard to find the time for anything extra.  There are definitely less days in a week and hours in a day here in Florida!

Maybe tomorrow morning we will head back to Caspersen Beach to look for more sharks teeth!  It gets addictive!!!!!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Phenomenal Weather in Nokomis/Venice Area

What a fabulous beach day!  Ken and I got an early start and were on Caspersen Beach at 7:00 to look for more sharks teeth.   The tide was very strong this morning, so there were lots of waves in the Gulf.  Don't see that to often!  So, not the best day for finding teeth.  Of course we were told by several people that yesterday was a great day for finding teeth!  We went on Wednesday and today, so we just missed it!!!!  Who would have thunk it!!!!!  But, we still found around 60 teeth, but not many larger ones.  Ken talked to one gentleman who showed him a tooth he found on the beach today.  Ken had to have a picture.

We only left the beach at 9:45 and stopped at the Upper Crust for a freshly baked (warm) blueberry scone.  The  best!!!  Did play 1 game of shuffleboard and Ken won by 1 point.  Wow, what a shock for me!!!  Stopped by  "Willie" to change, have breakfast, and then head to Nokomis Beach.  It was a perfect beach day!  Bright sun all day and around 80.  What more could a PA person want??? 

We left the beach around  3:30 so I could take a jewelry wire wrapping class with Lynne, a local jewelry craftsperson.  She makes such beautiful things.  I had taken a class with her last year, but felt a refresher course would be very beneficial.  I had a one on one class with her that was so helpful.  Looking foward to going to Michael's tomorrow to get a few supplies so I can do some practicing while the techniques are still available to my forgetful mind.  Somehow things seem more complicated then they used to!

Then we stopped at one of my favorite places to eat while in Florida - Sonny's for their delicious pulled pork sandwiches.  What a treat!  Did take a walk around the park around 7:30 since it was a clear, warm evening - 72!  Even sat outside and played a game of 2 handed pinochle.
Did talk to our youngest daughter, Jamie, this evening.  Our 3 year old granddaughter, Cali, was diagnosised with pneumonia last evening.  Got early so she should be much better in a few days.  Lanie, and her 2 children Samantha and Katelyn, ages 10 months and 3, just got over a 24 hour "bug".  The crazy warm weather in PA this winter seems to be causing a lot of illness.  I think we will have to stay in Florida till these infirmities have ended.  Not good to take any chances!!!!

Did I tell you how much I love Florida in the winter??????

Caspersen Beach around sunrise this morning!
Pelicans flying overhead!

Lots of wave action on the Caspersen Beach early this

The large shark's tooth found by a lucky searcher!

A special sand sculpture!
Pieces of shells I found on the beach and then learned to
wire wrap for jewelry!

Today's find!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Another gorgeous day near Venice!

Today was a fun and busy day.  We decided to try canoeing on Dona Bay which borders the CG on 1 side.  The CG offers canoes for free to registered campers - a really nice amenity.  We would have taken out our kayak, but the water here tends to be very shallow and has some oyster beds.  Plus, why have to inflate it, dry it, etc. when we can use the CG's canoes for no charge.  Dah!!!!  It was very breezy which made the current rather strong, but I thought we did well.  It is so peaceful and quiet out on the water.  The bridge we went under is along the Legacy walking and biking trail.  It really is a beautiful bridge.

We decided to go the the Casey Key Fish House for lunch around 1, but there was an hour waiting time.  So we headed to Nokomis Beach for about 2 hours.  It was gorgeous weather again today - 78 and mostly sunny.  We sat along the Intracoastal Waterway for 20 mins. or so enjoying watching the boats and the pelicans. 

Then back to Casey Key Fish House so Ken could get another Grouper sandwich, his favorite fish in Florida.  The setting is so nice! Then back to the CG for 2 more games of shuffleboard - we each won 1.  This game can be so competitive and challenging.

There is an annual fellow camper here at the CG that has such a unique site.  Enjoy the crazy signs he has on the tree.  He invites folks to stop by for his campfires so they can be part of the Deadbeat Senior Club.  Once you stop by, you are in!!!!
Did I tell you how much I like Florida???????
 Canoeing on Dona Bay by the CG!

Notice how close we were to the CG!

Notice the face and signs on the tree!

So peaceful watching the boats, pelicans and bridge!

Casey Key Fish House.  We ate out on the deck over the water!

What a gorgeous setting for shuffleboard!

Beautiful sky and campground!

Check out todays photos at:

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Myakka State Park

Ken and I decided to do something different today and go to a place where we have never been before - Myakka State Park.  A couple on the Legacy Trail yesterday recommended that we check it out for bike riding and hiking, so we headed there right after breakfast. 

What an interesting area!  There are miles of trails, both for hiking and biking, plus lots of birds and alligators.  The park also offers narrated boat and tram tours, bike and kayak rentals, and a wonderful cafe area that offers great food plus beer and wine - in a state park! They have 3 different camping areas plus remote campsites that you can only get to on foot.  After following the 1 hiking trail you climb 2 large towers connected by a suspension bridge.  This is called the canopy bridge that is above the treetops.  It gives you a view of the land plus the insects and the air ferns, etc.  We hadn't taken our bikes so we just did numerous hiking trails!

We were back to the CG by 3:45 and played some shuffleboard.  It was my day to shine!  Fun for me!! 

Mama and her Baby!

What a beautiful natural place!

Quite a large fellow!!!!

Enjoying a relaxing moment!

Daring Ken!

Suspension Bridge!  Relatively new!

Quite a view from the observation tower!

We really loved this area!
This morning was were up at 5:15 (actually Ken was up from 3:30 on) and left by 6:00 AM to go to Caspersen Beach to look for sharks teeth.  He was so anxious he just couldn't sleep!  We were told you can find a lot of teeth in the early morning at low tide!  We had parked Willie near the CG gate so that we would not wake up the camping folks when we started up our loud diesel in the eary morning hours.  We were on Caspersen Beach by 6:20 in the dark.  Using our flashlights, we started our search.  We had no luck the 1st 1/2 hour - why did we get up so early for this?????  But, once it got light and we got further down the beach, bingo!!!!  We started finding lots of sharks teeth.  We only left the beach around 10 after finding about 150 teeth.  Wow!!!

We spent the afternoon on Nokomis Beach.  It was so beautiful today - sunny and in the upper 70's.  Can't get much better!  More shuffleboard and we each won a game.  How can you be so competitive playing shuffleboard????

Can't believe a whole week has gone by since we arrived at the Royal Coachman!  Time in Florida goes by quickly!!

A shell tree on the beach!  The shells "stuck" there with the tide!

Caspersen Beach early this morning!

A successful morning of shark teeth hunting!!!

When they built the walkway at the restrooms at Caspersen
Beach they added sharks teeth to the cement!  Rather "cool".