Sunday, January 22, 2017

Bonita Springs, Collecting Sea Shells and Making More Travel Plans

Boy have I been falling down on the blogging job! 

We are currently in Bonita Springs on the West coast of Florida. We moved on New Year's Day. The move was only about 150 miles so it was an easy drive. Most of the drive is across Alligator Alley which runs through the Florida Everglades. I love this part of Florida because of the beaches and shelling. 
Sanibel Island, Florida
Those are seashells you see in the photo above. They are several feet deep in some places and if you look carefully you'll find some amazing treasures. 
       Some of my favorites from just one trip to the beach.
Rob keeps asking me what I'm going to do with my shells. Um... I have no idea but I refuse to part with them. I know I'd like to make some home decor items with some of them eventually.
My first Alphabet Cone
Shelling is an art form. Who knew? There are specific places on the beach where you can expect to find shells and they are not only found right in the surf.
Nutmegs

Two years ago when we were here I was a novice sheller and had no idea what I was doing but found some spectacular shells. This year I'm still learning but I know more about the proper conditions for great shelling like wind direction, tides, etc. Right now we are having a pretty good storm with high winds and I can't wait to get to the beach and see what might be there.
Lightening Whelks
The other day Rob, Murphy and I drove down to the Everglades and did a little looking around. We were so disappointed to only see two birds, two deer and NO alligators. We do have photos but they are currently trapped in Rob's camera. 

When we leave here on the 31st of January we are headed to Disney World where we'll be meeting on of Rob's daughters for some Magic Kingdom fun. Until yesterday we had no idea where we were going after Disney but I found a newly opened park in Orange Beach, Alabama where they have plenty of space for us to spend a few weeks. The park is close to the beaches and close to Pensacola, FL so I can shell those beaches too. 

After Alabama we'll start making our way toward Elkhart, Indiana where the Forest River factory is located. They have agreed to do some repair work on The Little RV at no cost to us. These are ongoing issues and we'd like them fixed once and for all so to the factory we go. Along the way we will be able to fill in our last two of the lower 48 states, Tennessee and Kentucky. 
Some spaces left to fill in here.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Fabulous Florida Keys and Christmas Preparations in the Little RV

Since my last post we finished up our month in paradise and have moved to Lake Worth, Florida. We loved every minute of our time in Marathon and Grassy Key.
It was almost painful to leave. Our friend Nan took this photo of us. We went to Key West with Nan and her husband Ron. We rented a four seat electric car to tour the town so that Rob could enjoy seeing the sights without all of the walking. It was a great way to see the area.


There was no shortage of subjects to photograph. This iguana was even willing to pose for me one afternoon. 

Nan and I went to the Dolphin Research Center one afternoon. There are dozens of dolphins in residence there and they work with them constantly. Visitors can go and watch casual training sessions and the interactions between the trainers, interns and the dolphins. It's amazing how intelligent these creatures are. 

And those sunsets...

But time marches on and November came to an end ten days ago. Christmas is coming fast and I'm just not ready. 

I have done all of the decorating I can do in our tiny space. The tree is up and a garland hangs in the front window. 

Gifts for all seven of our grandchildren have been purchased and shipped. That's it! That's all I have done so far and with only 13 days left until the big day I'd better get with it. 

On January 1st we head for the West coast of Florida where the shelling is amazing and I plan to spend a the month treasure hunting. 

If I don't manage another blog post before Christmas, have a great one and an even better new year!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Gone Fishin'

Today we went out on a fishing boat for a morning of reef fishing. We had a great time. Our friends Nan and Ron came along to show us the ropes. 
Left to Right, Rob, Nan and Ron. Just look at those happy faces!
We were on the Marathon Lady and out of the harbor at 8:30 am sharp. There were about 30 people fishing with us today. We motored out to the reef and the fishing began. Rob and I caught grunts.

Blue Striped Grunt
We ended up with 18 of them but some were caught by Nan and added to our kitty.

I caught a Yellow Fin Snapper but it was too little and had to go back and grow more. What a bummer it was to see him swim away.
The whole boat's catch.
Nan and Ron took home some great larger fish and Ron filleted our fish along with theirs. Thanks Ron! We had some pretty tasty fish for dinner this evening. 

There were dozens of pelicans waiting for the fish cleaning. They get the scraps daily. 

This guy was trying to get the advantage. It didn't work.

We are hoping to go out again before we leave the keys on the 1st of December.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Crazy Fellow Bloggers and This Girl Learns a New Trick!

The other day we had the pleasure of meeting some fellow bloggers who just happen to follow our blog. The Crazy Marlins came for a visit! These folks are warm and friendly and we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know them during our brief visit. Safe travels Crazy Marlins and thanks for stopping by!
Snagged from CrazyMarlins.blogspot.com

Friday was free entrance day to Florida State Parks so we took advantage and headed to Bahia Honda State Park about 20 miles south of Marathon for some beach time. The water was 79 degrees. Warm!
Bahia Honda State Park
We met our friends Nan and Ron there and spent several hours enjoying the sights and sounds and especially the water. We were even able to get Rob into the water to cool off a couple of times. Nan snapped a photo of us slowly making our way back to shore.


We also encountered a Portuguese Man-of-war. Creepy little creature but very pretty colors.   
Portuguese Man-of-war

These critters are dangerous! They can sting you from up to 165 feet away but the average tentacle length is 30 feet. If you want to know more click here.  

The highlight of the day for me was snorkeling! 
Ron loaned me his gear and Nan took me out into the water and ever so patiently taught me the basics of snorkeling. I later found out she was a life guard and swim instructor in a previous life so I was in very good hands. 

Seriously, how long does it take to master those stupid flippers?  I'm ready to go again!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Little RV is Enjoying the Good Life in the Florida Keys

We are enjoying ourselves in the sun (with a little rain mixed in) here is the Florida Keys. 

The time change has not changed Murphy's internal clock at all. He's still on the same schedule as before only now we get up between 5:50 and 6:00 am instead of 7:00. Hopefully he will adjust soon. 
Yesterday we had a quiet day of dog park visits, sun, and swimming followed by dinner with our friends Nan and Ron who are staying just a few sites down. They are regulars here in the park returning each winter.
We all went to one of their favorite places, Lorelei Restaurant & Cabana Bar in Islamorada about 30 miles north.  As you can see they have outdoor seating and live music. 

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset and a great dinner. 
 This was the view from our table. 


While we were enjoying our dinner a pirate ship motored by. 

Fortunately there was no plundering.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

We're Having too Much Fun to Blog in the Little RV

After months of anticipation we arrived in the Keys on Monday, October 31st. We are not at all disappointed. Our site is amazing, the weather is perfect, the campground staff and residents are kind, helpful, and friendly. It's going to be tough to leave this place on December 1st. 

We booked this reservation last winter in hopes Rob would be well enough to make the trip. We are in a very small park with only 38 sites including boat slips. This is a map of the park. Our site is in the upper, left corner. They call it the point. It's perfect. 

We have been in the pool every day since we arrived. I haven't been in a bathing suit this much for 40 years. The temperatures are right around 80 degrees during the day and in the low 70s during the night. If the humidity is low we can leave the windows open. The breeze is so nice. 


Neither of us has been in the Keys before so it's a whole new experience. Murphy seems to be enjoying it as well. He loves to nap on his cool mat on our little beach in front of the Little RV.


Yesterday I took Murphy to the local dog beach. He had a blast playing in the water.  Unfortunately he drank A LOT of sea water and got sick. He's feeling better today though. I'm not entirely sure how to keep him from drinking the water aside from keeping him off the beach and that's just sad. 

While we were at the beach I was able to do a little shelling. There were a ton of shells but they are the tiny ones. I just happen to love the tiny ones. You really have to look to find them but they don't take up much space. That's a good thing.


There are wild iguanas all over the keys. Quite a bunch of them are right here in the area surrounding the park. The come out to sun themselves. I had no idea they could swim.


We had a little fender bender on the way down here. I've driven this thing over 12,000 miles and just 14 miles north of our southern most destination we ended up in a tiny parking lot with no outlet and I got the rear passenger side tangled up with a guardrail. I was so disappointed in myself. 

A couple of the other campers here in the campground did a little magic and reattached the end cap. It looks so much better but will have to be repaired. Fortunately it's only cosmetic. 
video
 

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

The Little RV's Eleven Hour Odyssey Through Post Matthew North Carolina

It's been more than a week since Hurricane Matthew left behind 18 + inches of rain in North Carolina and the horrible flooding continues. We had been stalled in Virginia and Northeast North Carolina waiting for I-95 to reopen. It didn't reopen so we just decided to power through and get south of the flooding so we could continue on our way south for our November 1st reservation in Marathon, Florida. 
Red arrows indicate flooding and detours.

 We were on the road at 9 am but hit our first detour within an hour. The detours were very poorly marked and at times I wasn't sure we were on the right path. I get a little nervous driving something so big on tiny back roads because there are often low underpasses and trees hanging over the roadway. 

Once safely on I-95 South we continued on to our next detour. This one was much worse in that we were moving at 3-5 miles per hour. The local police and National Guard were directing the flow of traffic at all intersections. There wasn't much to see along the way but we eventually made it back onto I-95. 

 At this point we were nearing the Fayetteville and Lumberton, NC areas where the flooding was the worst. We were detoured again but this time it was easy to follow the incredible line of traffic. We just tagged on and slowly made our way through Lumberton.  
Mattresses hauled out of a motel.

Nothing could have prepared us for the awful situation these people continue to endure. Rob snapped a few photos along the way.

 We saw many homes, churches and businesses deep in standing water. 

 In the end it took a total of eleven hours to make the 275 mile drive. It was a long day for us but for the people whose lives have been changed by the storm damage, it's not over yet. 
Entire neighborhoods are under water.

 We finally stopped for the night in just over the North Carolina, South Carolina border. 
Murphy has become a great traveler.

 We continued south the following day and right now we are in Central Florida spending a few days in our second Thousand Trails campground.