We've been much busier and have had much more to do than expected in this sunshine state.
Our new addiction: Pickleball! We had never heard of it before RVing but it's quite the popular sport in many campgrounds. Check it out: www.pickleball.com. In addition to playing almost every day, we continue to meet new friends through this game and spend time with them both on and off the court.
As I mentioned in the last post, we've been enjoying the citrus fruits around here. We've also been enjoying the strawberries and the fun we're having going to pick them every few weeks. Lots of strawberry shortcakes and daiquiris! This is Jen, Tom and I with 6lbs of strawberries for each of us. It only took approx. 10 minutes to pick 18lbs! Thankfully it took a little longer to eat all of them.
Key West and the southern most point in the continental US. Since Tom had never been there we took a quick 3-day, 2-night trip to Key West to take in the sites. Although we had a great time, we both agreed we don't need to go back for a long, long time. A little too commercialized for us. On our way back we enjoyed a nice bike ride out to Pigeon Key along the old 7-mile bridge.
Center Great Apes - We were fortunate enough to have a tour of this center with several others from our campground. This one is right up there on my list of favorites along with swimming with the manatees. I've always had a passion for apes and was in ape heaven during this tour. Unfortunately, I cannot share any pictures of the precious animals with you as they request nothing be posted on the internet to protect their privacy (check out their website www.centerforgreatapes.org). This center houses apes (Chimpanzees and Orangutans) who were previously pets (people don't realize how large these animals get and then can no longer take care of them) and retired entertainment animals. They are incredibly smart and loving creatures. One is even getting an iPad in the upcoming months! It was a spectacular time and when we come back to this area I am definitely spending some volunteer time there!
We've been spending lots of time with my Aunt & Uncle who reside in Port Charlotte for the winter months as well as time on the beaches shelling, searching for shark's teeth and soaking in the breath taking sunsets. We've also enjoyed bird watching (and alligators too) at Six Mile Cypress and just about everywhere we go (including gazing at the Sandhill Crane who was strutting down the road in our campground-not pictured below).
Lake Placid - the town of murals. Not far from us is this great little town with over 40 murals in its downtown. Many of the murals have items hidden in them so not only are they beautiful to look at but a challenge to find the items. This town is also home to over 1,200 acres of caladiums but unfortunately they are not in full bloom until late summer-early fall.
We couldn't leave Florida without visiting the Everglades! We took a trip down to Everglade City and hopped on Captain Mo's (with Captain Doug's Tours) airboat for wild ride in the Everglades!
Hometown America - Bean Depot Cafe - El Jobean, FL
What a joy it was to enjoy the Bluegrass sounds of the pickers who came out to this cafe (very popular cafe) each Wednesday evening. Dear little Dolly went to town playing her spoons along with the group and various other instruments: banjos, guitars, resonator (steel) guitars, fiddles, standup washtub base and a harmonica. Tom especially enjoyed one of the evenings here with a friend from school who he hasn't seen in over 30 years. Catching up in a place like this is great!
It's hard to believe we're only here another 1.5 weeks until we fly back home to PA for a few weeks. We thought we'd be counting down the weeks until we left FL and headed out west but now are looking forward to another trip back here in a few years to meet up with friends and check out more of the area. Who would have thunk it! :-) Don't misunderstand, we are still thrilled to be heading out west at the end of March.
Til next time...Happy Trails!