What a great week we had here in Florida! We did so much while here! The weather was probably the best we have ever had for Florida, too. We had low humidity with temps around the mid to high 80s and most days, no clouds.
We left New Orleans and headed west on a local road, Route 90. 90 mostly parallels Route 10 running East & West, but goes through the smaller towns and through the countryside. It is a slower ride but it’s so much more enjoyable. We stayed on 90 for about 100 miles before getting back on 10 for the remainder of the trip to Holt Florida. Holt was our first stop on our way to Sarasota.
|Back in Florida after a 3-year absence!|
|Getting on Route 90|
We set our sights on finding shrimp for sale along the roadside and we did just a couple of hours from New Orleans near Biloxi Mississippi. Can you believe it, just $4.00 a pound for huge shrimp? The shrimp were the 16/pound size although they still needed to be peeled and deveined as well as deheaded. As I found out, that was a lot of work. Glad I only bought 2 pounds!
|Had to stop for the fresh shrimp!|
|This is where we found a spot to pull over so I could walk back to get the shrimp. It was about 2 blocks.|
Our first stop was at the River's Edge Campground in Holt Florida. We stayed 2 nights before heading on to our next stop near Madison Florida. We stayed at the River's Edge during our first year as full-timers back in 2012. We recommend this campground to all who pass this way. It’s a Passport America place so we paid just $20 for the 2 nights. You can’t beat that!
|I think we had the best site in the park!|
|Spelling lesson is needed (damges)!|
|Love the sun shade!|
|This was a very expensive unit years back. We were told it has been here unused for the past 10 years! The roof is leaking and is now destroyed! What a shame.|
|Steps that come out of the under belly!|
|Very cool herb garden!|
Our next stop was at the Yogi Bear Jellystone Park. We also stayed here back in 2012 on our way to Florida for the winter. It makes sense that we have stayed in the same places as back in 2012 as we are still traveling the same way. We travel a maximum of around 200 miles a day and these places meet that criterion. We stayed just one night at Yogi Bear’s place and then headed on to Ocala Florida.
|Our site at Yogi's place!|
|Sun set at Yogi's place!|
Finally, we are staying at a first time place for us, the Ocala Sun Resort. Too bad it was just for one night again. We wanted to be in Sarasota by Friday the 6th of May so we had time to get set up for a party on the 7th at our friends' house, Tony and Connie. It was about 280 miles from Yogi Bear’s place to Sarasota which was too far for us in one day so we divided it up and now only have 130 miles to travel on Friday to our place in Sarasota.
|Getting some rays around the pool|
|Ocala Sun had great trails to walk/run.|
Patty found this place in Sarasota that was perfect for us. We stayed at the Windward Isle Resort just off of 75 on Clark Street in Sarasota. This resort is just 5 miles to Siesta Key Beach and just 3 miles to our friends Tony and Connie’s house. Also, they accept Passport America so it cost us just $112 for 7 nights! What a deal! Windward Isle is a 55+ resort and is mainly a snowbird place and most everyone has left already for the summer. They only have 8 sites for transients; people like us.
|Very nice murals on the property fence at Windward Isles.|
We got settled in and headed over to Tony and Connie’s place for a visit and to see their house here in Florida for the first time. They have now been down her for almost 2 years. Tony retired from his legal practice 2 years ago while Connie has a great job where she can work from home. They have a very nice ranch house where they have put in a lap pool with the typical Florida screen enclosure. Their backyard is now perfect for entertaining.
|Tony and Connie's lap pool|
|Tony's baby's, his orchids.|
On Saturday afternoon we met up with Patty’s cousin Lee Griffin and his wife Aimee for lunch. Lee has been here in Florida for many years and works for the local NBC affiliate station. The last time we got together with him was in 2013. Since then, he got married, bought a house, and has a new baby named Adilynn. All of this he has accomplished in just the past year! He has had a very eventful year, to say the least!
|Patty holding Adilynn, she is just 3 weeks old!|
Saturday evening, Tony and Connie hosted a party with their naturist club for us while were there. How great was that! We met a lot of very cool people and had a great time. We even made some new friends! Tony and Connie did a fantastic job and have great friends here in Florida.
Sunday Tony and I played golf in the morning. I did my usual and scored a 103 and Tony beat me with a 101. Then we all went to Siesta Beach for Sunset and the drum circle. If anyone is in the area on a Sunday you need to go to Siesta Beach for the sunset and the drum circle, what a blast that was! To end a perfect day, we had drinks and dinner at a Tiki bar in Siesta Key.
|Alligator came up to watch us play golf!|
|Tony, Patty, and Connie on the beach|
|Connie and Patty dancing in the drum circle.|
|A few of the "acts" in the drum circle.|
|Sunset over Siesta Beach. Almost gone!|
|After beach drinks and snacks at the tiki bar|
Monday was a recoup day for us. We got some laundry done and we picked up a new RV vent cover for our RV. The weirdest thing happened; the original vent cover blew off on our way to Sarasota on Friday. I know it was Friday as I have pictures of it being on in Ocala. To make it even weirder, it came off from the vent flange and took all of the hardware with it while we were in motion. I can’t imagine how that happened! Anyway, I got a new one for $35.
|We have 2 vents with covers like this one.|
|Now this one is missing!!??|
This trip has had some really weird things happen to the RV. First was the vent cover blowing off, and then we had the vanes from our electronic wind gage blow off too. The wind vanes have been on the RV for over a year and have never blown off! Then lastly, we somehow managed to have a large gouge appear in the driver’s side front tire. The gouge went all the way into the side wall of the tire. I think this happened when I parked at Patty’s cousin’s house. I parallel parked the truck on the driver’s side next to the curb. The front tire was pushed into the curb at an angle. When we left, I pulled forward while turning the front wheels and I think I damaged the tire doing this. I’m still not sure this is how it happened but it is all I can come up with. I had the tire replaced at a Ford dealer close by for $371, what a deal!
Tuesday Patty and I took a kayak tour of the Mangroves in the Lido Beach area. This was something different to do and was a first for us. The tour lasted about 2 hours winding through the Mangroves. Mangroves are natural shore bushes that grow along the shores of Florida. Within the Mangroves there is what is called “caves”. The caves are actually pathways within the bushes. We were told that the caves are part natural and part man made. It is a challenge to get the kayaks through the caves without tipping over or getting your face smashed by low limbs. Neither of these did we do! We did see a couple of Manatees and a bottle nosed dolphin though.
|Patty getting in the kayak. I didn't get the one where she flipped out in to the water.|
|Looking back to where we got into the water.|
|Our guide Will.|
|Lining up to enter the Mangroves.|
|Some of the limbs are quite low!|
Wednesday I got the tire replaced in the morning and then we went out for dinner with Tony and Connie again. This was our last night with them as they are flying out to New Jersey for their son’s graduation from Rutgers. Pretty cool that President Obama is giving the address to the graduates! After dinner of Tex-Mex food we had some Ice Cream before calling it a night.
|Tex-Mex at the grasshopper|
|Ice cream after dinner|
Friday we closed up the RV and headed out toward our new adventure to Daytona Beach. Daytona Beach is just 130 miles away so it was short drive in distance. The drive time was long though as we drove into an accident in Orlando. We sat in traffic for an hour, 20 minutes! We think that was the longest we have ever sat in traffic since we have been RVing!
More on Daytona in the next post!