Saturday, February 28, 2015

Our Last Day at Ramblers Rest Near Venice!

I can't believe we leave here tomorrow morning after spending 14 days - where does the time go?  Also, it will be March 1st.  These winter months are flying by!

Ken and I woke around 7:30 but stayed in bed watching the CBS Saturday Morning Show.  They do such a good job relating interesting stories.  We were up by 8:30, showered and made another cooked breakfast.  Ken went outside to do more preparation for tomorrow's move, such as loading the bikes, putting the carpets away, cleaning his gas grill, etc.  I did the inside prep work. 

Cindy had called and let us know that John had left his hat here last night, so we volunteered to drive to their CG to return it and then play some shuffleboard. We packed our lunch and were on our way to Harbor Lakes by 12:30.  The 4 of us sat outside at their picnic table while we ate our lunch. Then we went to the shuffleboard courts and played 2 games.  The men "creamed" us!  Cindy and I must have had a "magnet" drawing us to the 10 off.  It was ridiculous! Noela and Ernie were in their truck leaving the campground when we were going back to Cindy and John's campsite!  It was nice to talk to them again.  

I think there were magnets on our discs and the 10 Off space!
That must be the explanation of why we lost so badly!

Looking good, Cindy!  Great form!

We left there at 3:30, stopping at Wal-Mart for a few groceries before we head to Pine Island.  Wal-Mart is a good distance from that campground, so we wanted to "stock up".  We were back to Waldo by 4:30 and Ken decided to backwash the black tank ad then dumped both tanks.  I made a veggie tray with dip and put shell peanuts in a dish to take to Happy Hour at Tom and Becky's. We had invited them to our rig, but they knew we were leaving in the morning and said we should come to their site and they would have a campfire.  How nice!

We got there at 5:30 and had such a nice time.  We enjoyed the fire, but had to move under their awning when it started to "drizzle".  They will have a permanent site near our home in PA from mid April to mid Oct. so we will see them again when we return from our Western trip in July.  We will look forward to sharing life again with them and they have promised to help us learn more about geocaching.  Thank you!

This is what you call a "Healthy Happy Hour"!

Tom, Becky and their dog, Moxie!
As soon as we got back to Waldo the rain began.  They had predicted a cloudy day with some showers, but a lot of today was sunny and mild with no rain until this evening. We watched some TV and I worked on this blog.  We have had a wonderful time these last 2 weeks!

I did talk to Nancy Savage today.  We will see her and Neil back in Pine Island starting tomorrow.  We are also very excited to see Chuck and Melissa.  We haven't been with them since last fall, and we miss them!

Friday, February 27, 2015

It's Cloudy with Showers, So Time to Shop!

Ken and I got up at 6:45 so we could prepare for our 4 dinner guests this evening.  We chopped all the veggies for a large salad, prepared the fresh green beans, and then cooked breakfast.  With our slide not working properly and having to be "in", the refrigerator is in a very tight space.  We can open the doors most of the way, but you have to have to pass things to each other since you can't get past the door.  This morning with the many times we were in and out of it, the crowded space got to Ken.  I have to admit, it is getting a little old! Having said that, we are thankful to be able to continue our adventures and realize this is just like the highways - a temporary inconvenience for a permanent improvement!

After phone calls to our daughters and Doloris, we left at 9:30 and Ken dropped me off at a mall at North Port to meet my sister, Cindy.  Ken then spent the day with Noela and Ernie doing hikes and trying out his new camera.  They hiked the Oyster Creek Park Trail and Cedar Point walking about 5 miles.  They got to see an eagle and eaglet.  They enjoyed their packed lunches along the trail.

Oyster beds under the bridge!

Walking on the pathway at Oyster Creek!

Love those mangroves!

An osprey!

Isn't this a crazy looking tree??

Nice shot, Ken, of the woodpecker!

Our special friends, Ernie and Noela!

Visitors Center at Cedar Point!

Mommy and baby!

The eaglet!

Proud Mama!

Last week when Ernie and Noela were here, they ate their
lunch on this pier and had their feet in the water.  I guess it
was low tide today!
Cindy and I enjoyed shopping together spending almost 3 hours at the Bealls Outlet.  We tried on so many different things!  Then we went to Ross.  I enjoyed having time with my sis!  At 2:00 I had an appointment for a haircut at Ulta. Jamie is the only person that has cut my hair for about 10 years, so I was a bit nervous.  But, Heather appeared to be very good at her job and I was pleased with the results. We left the mall around 3:15 and drove back to Waldo.  Ken and John got there close to the same time.  

I started cutting up fruit and Ernie and Noela got to Waldo at 4:30.  We enjoyed a short Happy Hour and then the cooking began.  Ken grilled pork, chicken, and salmon and I sauteed green beans.  We had planned to eat outside, but it was cool with some light showers.  So, we were rather crammed inside, but we had a great time.  Cindy and John left at 6:45 for karaoke here at the CG.  Cindy has enjoyed participating in that activity.  The 4 of us played Skip-Bo.  Ernie and Noela left at 8:45, but we have plans to get together while we are at Pine Island.  We want to go to Sanibel, a park to see manatees, and do a kayaking adventure together with Chuck and Melissa.  We are excited to have Ernie and Noela and Chuck and Melissa meet.

Can you see how narrow the hallway is?  I am standing at the
open refrigerator!
sI was tired, so I was in bed soon after they left.  It was another fun day for all!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cloudy Day with Scattered Showers! Good Day to "Catch Up"

Ken and I had a leisure morning and only had our cooked breakfast around 9:15.  We decided it was a good day to go back to Costco and check out their cameras one more time!  On the way, we stopped at Home Goods and Hobby Lobby to look for a small table that had legs that could go under our sofa. When I have a drink while sitting on our sofa, I have no place to put my cup.  Becky had a table in her motorhome that was perfect and she had gotten it at Home Goods.  Unfortunately, they did not have what I wanted, but Hobby Lobby had a cute black table that the legs went under the couch and it wouldn't be in the way when walking by.  The added bonus - it had a small rack in the front for magazines, etc.  Perfect!  I was thrilled!  (Ken actually was too!!!)

From there we went across the street to Costco and Ken re-evaluated the cameras.  Like I stated before, point and shoot cameras appear to be less available and the new ones are a bit larger but offer extra features and higher zoom (the latter being important to Ken).  We left with a Panasonic Lumix with a 60 zoom and Ken is so excited.  He read lots of reviews before we purchased it, and it had good reviews from all people.  He has 90 days to try it and then he could return it to Costco if he isn't happy.  Ken has a new Toy!!!!!

We were back to Waldo around 1:45 and had lunch.  Did some clean-up and then we went to Quest Diagnostics so I could get some necessary Lab work done before I go for my routine procedure when we return home in March. Quest was only about 4 miles away and I was in and out in 10 minutes.  Ken didn't even have time to take a nap in the car!!!

Back to Waldo so Ken could check out his camera and get it charged for picture taking.  I worked on my blog and I tried to downloaded photos from Ken's phone - not an easy feat!!! Never did succeed!  We spent until 6:00 working on the blog, Ken talking to our insurance company and Quest regarding a mix-up in the billing process from November, and Ken playing with his new camera! 

At 6:15 we decided we needed to go for a walk.  As we were leaving Waldo, Tom stopped by with a gift for us.  He buys 12 Skywatch Magazines at the beginning of the year and gives them to people who have a passion for life and an interest in the stars.  We qualified!!  Ken and I had discussed previously how much we enjoy Tom and Becky and their zest for adventure.  We enjoy spending time with them.  They are full-timers who have a seasonal site from May to October about 30 minutes from our apartment in Lititz.  So, we look forward to visiting with them when we return from our trip out west.  

We ate our salads and cleaned up.  Ken did some work on his computer and then made plans to hike with Ernie and Noela tomorrow.  Ken is anxious to try his new camera.  I am meeting my sister, Cindy, to do some shopping!  

Sorry there are no pictures today!  Without a camera, we are pictureless!!!!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Another Great Day In "Paradise"!

Ken was up a bit earlier than me.  I didn't get out of bed until 8, but I only went to sleep after midnight!  We talked to Ernie and Noela and we are going to be at their campsite at 10 to do a hike at at preserve near there.  

We made a great cooked breakfast, packed our lunches and were at their campground right on time.  Ken was still so disappointed that he hadn't bought a camera, so the 4 of us headed to Target (no luck, but Noela did get a very nice sweatshirt) and then to Best Buy.  No luck there either, but did you know that when you buy a camera from them, it DOESN'T include the battery, case, cords, or the memory card and they aren't any cheaper than Wal-Mart which at least includes the battery. You have to purchase a "bundle" to get those things.  So, when you leave the store with a camera, you can't even use it!!!  What is that about?????  I guess we get spoiled when we buy at Costco - they include a case, battery, needed cords, and a memory card at the same or cheaper price and give you 90 days to try it.  If you aren't happy with it for any reason, you can return it with no questions asked!  That is service plus!!!!!  

We left without a camera and drove to Lumberjack Preserve to hike. You hike to Lemon Bay where we saw turtles, geckos, heron, ibis, and Ken's favorite, the roseate spoonbills.  He was so disappointed he didn't have a camera!  This man has turned into quite the photographer!!!!  We ate lunch at a picnic table and then took another hike to Lemon Bay Preserve and had a rather long walk after a few wrong turns.  It was a good day for a walk - warm, partly sunny, and a slight breeze.  And, we were with Ernie and Noela which made it extra special. We never seem to run out of things to talk or laugh about.

That is one overloaded with turtles log!!!  No room at the inn!

What a beautiful bridge out to the Bay

This osprey is ready to have lunch!

Hard to tell but it is an alligator!

Not very clear (it was far away) but it is Ken's roseate spoonbill!

Cute little gecko!  

More roseate spoonbills!

What an arch created by the trees!

After the walks, Noela said we needed to stop at Wal-Mart for a few groceries, because she would like us to stay for dinner.  How nice!  She asked me to call Cindy and John and ask them to join us too.  They were happy to join the party. We were back to their CG around 4:15 and we started to get supper prepared. Then the 6 of us sat behind their 5th wheel overlooking the canal and enjoying all the wildlife activity - an osprey and bald eagle trying to show "who is boss", a cormorant that swallowed a large, whole fish, turtles, great blue heron, a woodstork, and an egret.  All that while sitting and enjoying glassed of wine!  Not bad!!!!

Ernie and Noela had a delicious dinner and we were able to eat outside - 3 kinds of grilled meat, grilled zucchini and squash, and a tossed salad.  Cindy brought dessert - a large container of fresh fruit salad.  What a meatl  We moved inside after dinner and had a delightful evening chatting and reminiscing.  We listed to Lady Gaga's tribute to Julie Andrews via U-Tube - it was amazing!  Who knew she had such a gorgeous voice???  We left around 9 and went back to Waldo. Another special day with very special people!

Noela allowed me to download the pictures from her camera or I wouldn't have any on this blog!  Thanks, Noela!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A Great Day Except for 1 Thing!!

We had such a busy fun-filled day until Ken tried to balance his camera on his bike seat to take a picture of the 4 of us in front of a mural in Venice. Unfortunately, it fell off and landed on the closed lens, but now it won't open. Another camera probably bit the dust!!!! 

We began the day by having a delicious omelette breakfast that we made. Then we packed our beach and bike bags, Ken loaded our bikes and we were ready for today's adventures!  We left at 9:30 and met Ernie and Noela at Caspersen Beach where we started riding the Venetian Intracoastal Waterway Trail.  We did stop near the beginning of our ride to feed peanuts to the Florida Scrub Jays.  What fun.  This was the 1st time Ernie and Noela got to experience this adventure!  We headed on passing gopher turtles and ending up at the Upper Crust to enjoy another delicious scone with Devenshire cream. It was soooo good!  Back on the trail and more fun feeding the Scrub Jays again.  

I love the coloring of the Florida Scrub Jays!

They are so tame!

We were so glad the Scrub Jays were around today.  We
tried to feed them peanuts before when we were with Ernie
and Noela and I'm not sure they believed our "tale"!  Now
they are believers!!!!

The tunnels the gopher turtles dug are huge.  They can go
for 10 to 30 feet! 

Tell me these don't look tempting???  They were even warm!

Do we look happy or what?????

The weather was not too great today!  It was supposed to be sunny starting around 11, but the sun only came out at 4.  Before that it was misty and in the upper 60's.  The fog and mist was so heavy that it felt like a light drizzle at times.  After the 11 mile ride we went to Sharky's to have a late lunch.  The setting is very nice, but I am not overly impressed with the menu or the food.  I find it rather pricey and only average food!  We left there around 3:30 and walked around Maxine Barritt Park 2 times for a total of 1 1/2 miles.  On that trail we saw 2 alligators, anhingas, blue herons, a snake, and a raccoon in a tree.  The sun had come out and it felt so much warmer!

This was a good sized raccoon and he seemed pretty calm
around us!

Not a bad sized alligator!!!!

Ernie and Noela enjoying the view
in the park.  They are looking towards
the Gulf!

The anhinga is drying his/her wings!

This is a photo of the Maxine Barritt Park.  It was only
built about 3 or 4 years ago and it is gorgeous!

The 2nd alligator we saw while walking around the park!

This snake was along the trail too!  Definitely not one of
my favorite critters!

Ken decided he had to try and find a camera.  Imagine my cameraman without one?  Picture taking is part of his everyday activities.  We decided to go to Costco about 10 miles away and Ernie and Noela were happy to go with us. We did get a prescription Ken needed and some groceries, but they did not have a camera that Ken was happy with.  We were back to Sharky's parking lot by 6:30.  We said our good-byes after a wonderful day.  We always have a good time with Ernie and Noela.  

Ken and I stopped at Wal-Mart to do more camera hunting, but again, we were unsuccessful.  Ken really wanted to buy the same camera (he really liked his last one) but it appears it may be a discontinued model.  Wal-Mart had one on display and it was on clearance, but of course they were sold out!  We were back to Waldo by 7:30, a rather long day!  We watched The Voice and spent so much time trying to get photos from his phone onto the computer so I could put them in this blog.   After much trial and error, we got them onto the computer, but I am not sure we know how we actually did it.  It would take a lot to repeat the procedure!

Monday, February 23, 2015

A "Catch Up" Day!

Ken and I were up by 7:45 and decided it was a good day to accomplish some necessary chores!  So we headed to the laundry, put in the wash, and then walked around part of the CG.  Back to the laundry and I stayed there until all of the wash was dried and folded.  Ken went back to Waldo to soak and clean all the shells and sharks teeth we had found over the last several days.  He did come to the laundry and took back the damp clothes and hung them outside. What a guy!  

After a quick breakfast we headed to Wal-Mart for some much needed groceries.  By then the sun came out and it was a beautiful day.  It was 12:45 when we returned to Waldo and both of us were rather tired.  We ate lunch and I decided to go the pool from 2 to 4.  I did get wet one time, but other than that, I read.  It felt good just to relax.  Ken took a short nap in Waldo and then went on the computer to pay those ugly things called "bills".  

We decided to take a walk around the campground to complete out 10,000 steps.  It was a beautiful evening - mild and calm. We walked to the back of the campground where it is bordered by the Myakka River.  We saw a beautiful giant blue heron and a woodstork!  Ken grilled and I made us salads and fresh sauteed green beans - YUM!!  We ate outside watching the news.  What a tough life!!!

We spent the evening watching some TV.  Talked to Fred around 7.  They were 100 miles from the southern border of VA and were hoping to sleep at a rest stop for a few hours and then continue their journey to PA.  A lot of driving for 1 day! We did walk over to Tom and Becky's campsite to see if they were outside to view the passing of the space station.  They were not aware of when it was visible.  We were only there about 2 minutes when Tom pointed to it.  It went by so quickly!

It seemed rather strange to stay in the campground most of the day! Tomorrow we plan to spend the day with Ernie and Noela and activities include a bike ride, eating at Sharky's, and spending time on the beach.  We are looking forward to being with them again!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Another Gorgeous Beach Day, But Sad That It is Fred and Doloris Last Day!

Ken and I were up at 7:15 and while I got ready Ken got breakfast prepped! What a guy!  We packed our lunches and then I got caught up on my blog!  We left at 9:15 and drove to Manasota Beach. It was in the upper 50's when we got up and went to the upper 70's during the afternoon.

Fred, Doloris, Ken and I arrived at the beach parking lot at the same time!  Amazing!  It was the nicest day since Martins arrived and we were all so excited to spend their last day in Florida on Manasota Beach.  They enjoy looking for sharks teeth as much as Ken and I do!  It is so addictive!  We spent very little time in our chairs because t  he sharks teeth and shell pieces kept calling us to the shoreline!  We had so much fun and found 100's of teeth.  John and Cindy joined us on the beach at 10:45 and it was so full that John had to park across the bridge!  Cindy and John left around 4:00 and we were on our way back to Waldo by 5.  Fred and Doloris stayed a bit longer, after all, this is their last beach day before going back to the freezing cold weather!  

The Happy Beach Goers! 

These pictures show how crowded the beach was today!

They came to Waldo to join us for dinner and we were able to eat outside!  As soon as we finished eating (large salads) we sadly said our good-byes.  We were so glad they spent these days with us and we had so much fun showing them all our favorite things in the Venice area.  They are very special friends.

Ken and I cleaned up and spent the evening relaxing and watching the Oscars. We will have to come up with an agenda for this next week here at Ramblers Rest.  We will definitely spend time with Cindy, John, Ernie and Noela who are camping at Harbor Lakes about 20 minutes away.  Tom, Becky, Paul, Deb, Larry, and Marie are staying here at Ramblers Rest so we will hopefully see them too!  It should be another fun-filled week!