Sunday, December 29, 2013

Christmas on the beach!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We decided to be a bit non-traditional this year and spent the day on the beach at Gasparilla Island State Park.  It was wonderful...and warm!  :-)

We've been relaxing, playing a little pickleball, and I'm reading lots of books.  It's nice to see some familiar faces here from 2 years ago as well as friends from out west. Thanks again for transporting our package, Ken and Faye!
Faye and Ken - great to see you again!
We are currently in Wauchula staying next to the Peace River so we took the opportunity to get our kayaks out, dust them off and take them out for a float down the river.  We put in at Paynes Creek Historic State Park and floated approximately 12 miles down to our campground - 4 hours.  It was a beautiful day to be on the river and we saw at least a hundred turtles, dozens of beautiful birds and FIVE alligators!!  They really are not a threat but they certainly get the heart racing a bit when they quietly slide from their resting points on shore and enter the depths of the water somewhere underneath us (note:  we have inflatable kayaks)!

Paynes Creek Historic State Park
This big girl lives at the park and has many young ones in the waters with her

Strawberry Picking!  We were excited to go back to a local farm to pick their sweet strawberries.  There is a new owner this year who planted a different variety.  While they are not as big as last time they are certainly sweet and yummy!  We picked 11lbs and ate them in 4-5 days.  We'll go pick another big batch tomorrow to take further south with as as we're moving to the Punta Gorda area for the next 5 weeks.

We enjoy seeing all the decorations in the campgrounds around the holidays.  I think this one takes the cake in the blow up category!

Til next time...Happy Trails and Happy New Year!  Blessings, Peace and Joy for 2014!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wintering in Florida

Although I'm missing the mountains I can't say I miss the cold weather everyone seems to be getting these days!  It's strange to be in an area that is so flat (and low elevation!) after living at elevation and climbing mountains for so many months this year but we're soaking up the sun and enjoying some "down" time.

On one of our morning walks we were pleasantly surprised to run into an old friend, Jennifer, we met here almost 2 years ago.  We lost touch as she had lost her cell phone and had to get a new number (what would we do without these things!).
Cheers!  Becky and Jennifer
We've also run into some friends from out west and enjoyed an evening at a dinner show.

Matt & Connie with our awesome host for the evening

Thanksgiving used to be "our holiday" back home so it's always strange to not be busy in the kitchen all morning preparing a feast.  We did get to spend the day with family in Largo with Michael and Sharon, Tom's cousin and wife.  We took a drive to the beach before feasting on turkey and tofurkey.
Thanksgiving day with Sharon & Michael

Michael and Sharon showed us Ryan Howard's (Philadelphia Phillies - 1st base) new home (mansion!) he's building on the beach.  I wonder if he'll invite us over for the grand opening since we have season tickets (to sell - sales pitch for Tom).

A friend from where I used to work in PA was in Disney with her mom and son for Thanksgiving week.  It was so great to see you Susan, Nicholas and Mrs. Sherr!  We had a great time at T-Rex Cafe and walking around Downtown Disney.
Susan and Nicholas

Nicholas and grandma (Mrs. Sherr)

Nicholas with lego Hulk
Lake Louisa State Park is just up the road from us so we spent a few hours checking it out.
I don't think we'll take our inflatable kayaks here!

Tom's niece and here mom, Bri and Kim, were down from Ohio for a soccer tournament in Sarasota so we met them for dinner in Anna Maria.  We enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the beach before dinner; our first gulf coast sunset in a few years.

Bri and Kim
On Monday we head further south to Wachula for 2 weeks and then to the Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte area for 5 weeks.  If you're sick of the cold up north, come down to visit!

Til next time...Happy Trails!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

New Orleans!

It's sort of fun being back here for the second time as we're a little more familiar with the area and could find our way around much easier than last time (hard to believe it was a year and 8 months ago!).  We also did the tourist thing and took a sightseeing bus around the city.  We practically had it to ourselves as everyone stayed away from the city a few days as it was quite chilly.

the above ground cemeteries

Mardi Gras House - where the parade floats are made

House on Tree - statue from Katrina

Jackson Square

Lots and lots of pralines (did you know it's pronounced prawlines?  neither did I)

Joan of Arc statue

We had hoped to take a Swamp Tour but due to the rainy weather we had to forgo it this time.  Instead we ate gumbo and beignets and strolled around town.  

We met a beautiful artist, Jemu, on Jackson Square and had her paint us a picture for our bedroom.  Recently we had a frame fall and break during a move so we had one open space.  The picture she created signifies our life on the road, seeing a new and changing sunrise/sunset each day and our motto of "simplify".  Thanks, Jemu!  It was great meeting you!

We took a drive across Lake Pontchartrain (which we understand is the longest bridge in the world - 24 miles!) to Abita Srings and toured the Mystery House.  A little strange to say the least!  Lots of junk and one man's "art".  

Lake Pontchartrain Causeway - 24 miles over the lake

Hot Sauce House
Today we start our 2-day drive to Clermont, FL.  We'll spend tonight in a Wal-Mart parking lot (great accommodations!  :-) ) and arrive in Clermont Monday afternoon. 

Til next time...Happy Trails!