Thursday, February 28, 2013

Arrived at Ramblers Rest CG near Venice!

We got up early and took a walk around the CG.  Stopped to say good-bye to Norm and Sheryl from Rothsville, PA.  They gave us a tour of their new Allegro 32' Motorhome.  It was so nice both inside and out.

We had breakfast and were packed up and on our way to Ramblers Rest CG just south of Venice by 10:30.  Got to our next CG by 11:30 - not a very long trip.  The CG is bordered on one side by the Myakka River, which has lots of alligators.  Probably not a good river for using our inflatable kayak!!!  Most of the sites have trees and shade, but can be alittle challenging to get into.  Ken did a great job getting Willie into our space with a tree very close on both sides. 

The Myakka River and 2 herons!

This sign is at one of the small ponds/lake in the CG!

Makes sense to us!!!!

Unique and interesting plants here at the CG!

After getting all set-up, we ate lunch and decided to head to Venice Beach - about 25 minutes.  We were there about 1 1/2 hours and it was interesting to hear all the coughing that we did and all the people around us.  There was a sign that the red tide was on the beach and that it causes coughing and problems with folks with respiratory problems.  It is amazing how quickly it affects you! 

Venice Beach!

Back to the CG by 4:30 and we decided to go for a walk around the park.  It is a large CG with many permanent trailers and park models.  It offers many amenities and ongoing activities including Bocce, a pool hall, great swimming pool with hot tub, 10 shuffleboard courts, etc.

Made supper outside and then were indoors for the rest of the evening.  A good day when you move and it is uneventful!!!!  Also, day 3 of 10,000+ steps.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Last Day in the Bradenton Area!

Can't believe our two weeks at Manatee Quarters CG are over!!!  Where does the time go?

Ken went to Wal-Mart for groceries this morning while I made us a cooked breakfast.  What teamwork!!!  After breakfast we walked to Tom Bennett Park which is beside the CG and we only finished by the Florida Parks and Recreation in 2011.  What a beautiful area with plenty of walking and bike trails.  We talked to the caretaker there, Dan, we gave us lots of info and places to eat that are mostly known by the locals.  He recommended Annies Bait and Tackle Shop right before you cross the bridge onto Anna Maria Key.  Not fancy, but delicious grouper sandwiches.  We packed our lunches and then decided to head to Holmes Beach on Anna Maria Key.  It was an off and on sunny day with the temperature around 70.  Felt cool to us when the sun went in and the breeze continued - I know you don't feel sorry for us and I don't blame you!!

What a fancy and high lifeguard station on Holmes Beach!

Large waves on the Gulf today!

Back to "work" on the beach shell piece hunting!

We are definitely heading to Ramblers Rest CG in the morning which is only about a 45 minute drive from here.  It is just south of Venice, one of our favorite areas, so we are excited to spend more time in that area.  We cancelled our reservations at Bulow CG on Flagler Beach at the recommendation of the couple beside us.  They didn't like all the drunken partying that went on while they were there by a lot of the permanent campers.

We took a walk around the CG stopping to play shuffleboard.  What a game!  Ken was ahead by MANY points to my "minus" points.  We cut the game short when it got to be 6:45 and Ken won by 9 points.   He spent time taking some of his incredible sunset photos looking over the lake at the CG.  So beautiful! 

Another gorgeous sunset!

There is something special about these Florida sunsets!

We spent sometime getting ready for our move tomorrow and I worked on jewelry while Ken read.  Plan to be on the road around 10 tomorrow!  No big hurry - we are only going about 40 miles to our next CG.

This was Day 2 of 10,000+ steps!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

An Uneventful, Relaxing Day!

Ken and I watched Good Morning, America and they listed the new cast members and their partners for the upcoming Dancing with the Stars.  I am excited to see Dorothy Hamill, Kelli Pickler, and the football player from the Ravens.  Should be a good season, but I'm not sure about Wyonna Judd!

We packed most of our outside "stuff" - carpet, chairs, grill, clothes rack, etc. since they were predicting heavy rains and strong winds for later today!  We decided to take a walk and try to get in 10,000 steps today and then for everyday until we get home.  We have been "slacking" off on the walking during most of this trip.  Just when we were ready to turn around and head back to the CG, it started to rain.  Not heavy, but we were wet and had dripping hair till we got back to Willie.  Actually it felt kind of good to walk in the rain - haven't done that for a long time and it was warm. 

It rained steadily from noon to 3 so I worked on jewelry and Ken did some reading.  Then I cut his hair.  He offered to cut mine, but I declined the offer!  The sun came out and we decided to continue our walk to get the rest of our "steps".  We stopped and played 2 games of shuffleboard and I was victorious again!

After short naps (all that walking made us tired!), we talked to our neighbors while cooking dinner outside.  They are a young family with sons 9 and 15 who are home schooled.  This is their 4th year of full-timing with the 1st 3 years in a Class C without towing a car, only bikes.  Can you imagine?   Just this year they bought a 41' Fifth Wheel since the boys really wanted to continue the full-timing but felt they needed more space.  (They were sharing the bed above the drivers seat)  They used the bathhouse at CG's because they had to put shelves in the shower for additional storage.  I guess anything is possible if you want it badly enough!

After talking to our neighbors, we decided to try to change our reservation for our next CG.  We were supposed to go to Bulow near St. Augustine.  It was the one CG we were not certain about - not as nice as some and it is the week before bikers week.  She said it is a big party CG and not very well maintained. So, we talked to Encore and it looks like we will go to Ramblers Rest in the Venice area, since it is probably our favorite area.  We will know for certain tomorrow if it can be changed.  (It is less than 48 hours before we are to be there)

Today really did turn out to be a much better day weather wise than was predicted.  We didn't get the strong winds nor the heavy rains that were expected!  It was only the 2nd day of rain since we left home on Jan. 20th.  Not bad!!!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Checked Out Some New Areas!

Ken and I were on the road by 6:45 to head to Manasota Key which is south of Venice!  We wanted to look for sharks teeth and shell pieces on Blind Man's Pass, a beach just between Manasota Beach and Englewood Beach.  This was an area that we had not been to before.  Nice beaches, but both of us were bothered by the red tide - lots of coughing and burning eyes.  We found lots of teeth and shells, but decided to leave when the coughing got out of control.  We planned to take a bike ride on the Pioneer Trail which was even further south, but we had enough driving for 1 day.

Manasota Beach is a large, public beach with very few people.
Of course, we were there from 8 to 10, not prime beach time
unless you are there for low tide to look for sharks teeth!

More shell hunting.  Have to take them home in Diesel.
Too heavy to keep in Willie!

Ken was patient and sat in the truck while I went to Michaels and Joann Fabrics for additional beads and "findings" for my jewelry making.  Back to Willie by 2 and we headed to the pool.  It was a gorgeous day with temperatures in the mid 80's and plenty of sunshine.  We played 2 games of shuffleboard and split the wins.

Plan to have a relaxing evening in Willie and probably the same tomorrow.  Appears that there is a good chance for rain.  Time will tell!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stayed in the Campground All Day!

This post will be a bit boring compared to most of the ones I do!  I don't even have any photos to post - didn't think one of us doing our laundry would be of much interest!  This is the 1st day since we left home that we stayed in a CG for the entire day!  It actually felt good to slow down! 

After doing our laundry and taking a walk around the CG, Ken did some clean-up outside including loading the kayak, chairs, etc. since there is a chance of some rain Mon. or Tues.  We would like to have everything dry when we load for our departure on Thurs.  Then he spent time inside paying bills and on the internet to search if there is a new beach would would like to explore tomorrow. 

I spent the afternoon making jewelry on our picnic table.  It was a very nice day - sunny and in the 80's.  We have gathered so many shell pieces that Ken says they have to go in Diesel.  Too heavy to keep in Willie!

Before making dinner, we took another walk around the CG and stopped to play shuffleboard.  It was my night to shine winning both games.

Tonight I will make additional jewelry while watching the Oscars!  Felt good to have a slow down day, but tomorrow we are ready for more adventure.  Looking to go to Manasota Beach on Manasota Key and riding bike and shelling while we are there.  It will be a place we have never been to before, so we are excited to check it out!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Sunny Warm Day on Caspersen Beach

Ken and I only got up around 8.   Our last 5 days with Sam and Kathy were lots of fun, but very busy.  One of the 1st days Ken and I have been alone since we arrived in Florida almost 5 weeks ago.  Decided to relax and not hurry to do anything today.    So, we left around 11 and went to Venice to get another scone and walk the downtown Farmer's Market.  Then we headed to Caspersen Beach to hunt for sharks teeth and more shell pieces for wire wrapping.  It was a successfull beach day and a warm and sunny one!

A small farmers market in downtown Venice!

I took a wire wrapping class last year from the lady who has
a jewelry stand at the market!

These beautiful flowers grow on a large tree in Venice!

The center island in downtown Venice!

Only got back to Willie around 6:45 and made dinner.  It was a relaxing day!

Gorgeous "Summer" Day in Florida!

Today was our warmest day in Florida with a temperature of 84 degrees and total sunshine.  Another perfect bike riding and beach day.

Ken made a great cooked breakfast and we got organized for our fun filled day on Bradenton Beach!  Sam and Kathy were here by 10:30 and we loaded the bikes on Diesel and drove to the new Riverwalk Trail in downtown Bradenton.  What a gorgeous 1 1/4 mile walk passed the skateboard park, volleyball area, and a great playground with an interactive waterpark for little ones!

This is the skateboard area on the Riverwalk.  Impressive!

There were cement chairs in many areas along the trail as
well as wooden and metal benches.  Even some swings!

They were comfy and definitely cool!

They spared no expense when it came to planting trees!

This painting along the trail shows all the activities that are
available in Manatee County!

A very fun playground for the little ones!

We never saw a water fountain for dogs and one for filling
water bottles!

Just a gorgeous place to take a walk!

Then we drove out to the Holmes Beach area.  The traffic was terrible and it took us so long to get there.  When we got to the beach, there was no place to park in the large parking lot.  We finally found a spot on Bradenton Beach, about 4 miles down the road.  So, we spent time on that beach which is not crowded and very nice. 

This is a section of Bradenton Beach.  Not very crowded!

We got on our bikes around 3:15 and rode over the bridge on Route 41 (Cortez Road) to the Star Fish Company where Ken says they serve the best grouper sandwich.  One employee said he filleted 1000 lbs. of grouper on Saturday.  You eat right on the dock amongst the herons, pelicans, and egrets.  Quite a setting.  We have told many folks about this place and all agree they haven't had better fish anywhere!  Make sure you check it out if you are in the area.  Rode bike back to Anna Maria Key and up to Holmes Beach.  After a stop for homemade ice cream we watched the sunset on Bradenton Beach.  We rode about 9 miles today and a total of 40 miles the last 5 days with Sam and Kathy.

A blue heron watching over the pelicans in the water!

We had a prime spot for eating at the Star Fish Company.
We were at the middle table on the dock.

Ken had to take his pelican picture of the day!!!

We rode bike to Holmes Beach after dinner.  A bit more
crowded than Bradenton Beach.  They had live music, a food
court, and sold alcoholic beverages!
At Bradenton Beach we experienced another gorgeous sunset!

Back to Willie by 8 where the 4 of us looked at our blog to reminisce about our 5 days together.  We certainly kept busy but where able to share so many of our favorite places with Sam and Kathy.  We loved having them here with us and are sad to see them leave.  Special friends are a blessing!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Another Wonderful Day in Paradise!

 Our neighboring campers were leaving this morning and it was the 1st X we actually got to talk to them.  She commented that she love my coconut fish on our picnic table and was so sorry she didn't buy one from "the lady" at the craft show.  Also, she asked what I planned to do with all the shell pieces that were drying on our picnic table and then asked if I saw the jewelry a lady had at the craft show.  When Ken and I told her we were the folks with the jewelry and the fish she was so excited and bought 2 of our fish!  How nice of her!  If we would have met sooner, I would have given her some instruction on wire wrapping, since she really had an interest.  Maybe we will meet again during our travels!

Kathy and Sam arrived at 10:45 and we played some shuffleboard here in the CG.  We stopped at 12:30 with the women in the lead.  We drove to Sarasota and crossed into St. Armands Circle and the Lido Beach area by way of the Ringling Causeway!  What a beautiful drive!  We ate lunch in a park along the causeway - what a view for a picnic!

Perfect place for a picnic lunch!

Wonderful statue commemorating WW2

A little native friend!

The Ringling Causeway over the Sarasota Bay into Lido Key!
We made a drive through St. Armands Circle, a very
exclusive shopping area, so we only drove by!

The Snowbirds with their PA friends, Sam and Kathy!

From there we drove to Siesta Beach which was listed as the most beautiful beach in America in 2011.  The sand is so white and feels like cornstarch.  No shells to be found, but the beach is exceptional.  It was sunny and in the low 80's, so a perfect beach day.  We really enjoyed watching the pelicans "dive bomb" for food.  It was the 1st time we saw groups of 6 or 7 all dive into the water for fish at the same time.  They actually created a wave action.  We stayed to watch the gorgeous sunset.  Quite a sight!

An explanation for the white sand at Siesta Beach!

Siesta Beach

The pelicans are "dive bombing" for their mid afternoon snack!
They are crazy to watch!  They hit the water at such a high speed!

The lifeguard stations on the beach are each painted a different
color so you don't get lost when walking the beach!

Another wonderful ending to a perfect day in Paradise!

Can't believe Ken was able to catch the pelicans in flight before
diving into the ocean!  Not easy to do!!

What a gorgeous sky!

Only got back to the Bradenton area around 8:00 so decided to stop at Sonny's for another pulled pork sandwich.  Everyone was happy to have another meal there!  Sam and Kathy took us back to Willie around 9:15 and they headed back to their motel.  We were all tired from such a fun-filled day.

Did talk to Jamie and our 2 granddaughters today.  So good to hear their voices.  The little ones had heard a message we had left at their house earlier today and thought we were back home.  When they talked to us they said they missed us and were ready to have us come home.  Little ones can certainly melt your heart!

Can't believe Sam and Kathy only have 1 more day with us.  This week has gone by so quickly!