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The HOT Florida Keys

March 23-28

Monday morning we left Cypress Woods by 8 am for a 4-5 hour drive to Islamorada in the Florida Keys. The temperatures continued in the high 80’s and where quite humid but the A/C in the RV kept us comfortable as we drove along Alligator Alley and eventually on Hwy 1.

We arrived at our site at San Pedro RV park and where set up by 1 pm. It was a tight spot to get the RV into and nothing special, but it was basically across the street from my brother’s condo, so very convenient. Shortly after, Stephen and Sue arrived at our site by bike for a reunion and some cold beer. After some catching up, we got our bikes out and the 4 of us went for a tour of the area and their condo. We came back to the RV later to freshen up as we would get picked up at 5 to head out with them as they had been invited to a friend’s BBQ in Key Largo in an RV park. The host Tony (and wife – can’t remember her name) were having about 16 people over for the evening. They have a great spot right on the water and we enjoyed the BBQ and meeting my brother’s friends that evening. Another camper in the park, a retired Boston Fire Chief came by later to play the bagpipes for us. He wasn’t too bad for only starting to learn 4 years ago.

Tuesday’s plan was to head off to the sandbar after lunch at Dillon’s. It would prove to be another HOT day, so what better spot to be than in the cool ocean waters at the Sandbar! Water temp was about 84 degree and it felt great. After a few hours out there we headed back to freshen up for another night out. We must say, Jazz was a real trooper with very little outside time. I’m sure with the heat she enjoyed the cool RV A/C. After freshening up, we were off to the Marina for happy hour with some more of Stephen and Sue’s friends they made when they lived in a boat there. We met a fun bunch of people and I partook in a few games of corn hole.

As the sun was setting, a few of the men grabbed their conch shells and in island tradition, they blew their “horns” to celebrate the sunset and praise the transition of the day into the night.  Off to the Ocean View restaurant for dinner.

Wednesday morning I was up early for a short bike ride with Stephen before we headed down to Key West (KW) for a couple of nights.

We arrived in KW after some shopping in Marathon around noon. As we were going into KW for the evening, we decided to have a “lupper” (lunch and supper) at 3 so we could catch the 4 o’clock bus to town. We had BBQ’d salmon with rice and salad. The bus took about 45 minutes with many stops for the 5 mile ride into town. For those that don’t know, we have been to KW a few times before, so we are pretty familiar with the streets, the sights, restaurants and the bars! If you haven’t been here before, KW is quite unique and very eclectic with beautiful old homes and interesting people. It also has a lot of history. (put it on your must visit list)

At 5 o’clock it was still quite hot, so after a short stay at Louie’s Backyard, it was off the our favourite dive bar, the Green Parrot – go figure! This place is a KW tradition dating back to 1890 and in some respects it looks like it, filled with locals and tourists. We left here at about 6:30 and headed to Mallory Sq. to join the hundreds of people to watch the sunset. This is a nightly KW tradition filled with buskers, magicians and musicians entertaining as the sun is setting. After sunset, we headed over to the Schooner Wharf Grill for some appetizers and listen to some great live music. The last bus leaving town was at 9:30, so we were on it heading home. The outside temp was still over 80 back at camp.

Thursday’s plan was to bike into town for the morning for breakfast and some shopping. At 8:30 we headed in for a 5 mile ride along the west side (marina) of KW. The temp was good and sun wasn’t too high so it was a nice ride in. We parked our bikes outside Two Friends restaurant and had breakfast as it was one of the top rated places on Trip advisor.  And it was. We then headed out to do some shopping, loading up on lots of souvenirs and stuff! We packed a small duffle bag and managed to buy enough things to stuff it full. At 12:20, we headed out along the east side of the island by all the beaches which turned out to be the longer way home… in the heat of the day! We arrived back at the site at 1:30 quite exhausted due to the heat. We spent a cool afternoon at the site and by the pool.

Thursday night we took the bus in later planning to bring a cab home. The bus was able to drop us at our first stop – the Green Parrot as we knew they had a 5 member band starting at 5:30. We stayed and watched them for about an hour then headed towards the  Schooner Wharf again to watch the sunset from their 2nd floor deck and listen to their live music – 2 guys with their steel drums and guitars. They were called the Island Time Band and as you can imagine they played lots of our favourites with an island theme. They even had there own song called Minnesotaville played to the music of Margaritaville. Fun! After a little more carousing around Olde Town KW, we grabbed a cab at about 10:15 and headed back to camp.

Friday morning we were relocating about 35 miles north, so we had a sleep in and a later start. After some gas and groceries in Marathon, we landed at Jolly Roger Campgrounds on Grassy Key shortly after noon. A change in the weather was about to occur, but yesterday was still a hot day. We spent some time at the pool then played some scrabble and managed to get our dinner/BBQ completed just before the winds and rain started. The awning went in and outside stuff went under the RV for a rainy and blustery night ahead. It’s hard to believe we are saying this, but today is 72 deg at time of writing and we are enjoying the cooler temps.

Tomorrow we head north for a longer drive to Cape Canaveral for 3 nights.

That’s this weeks scoop (or poop) from the perch!

Leaving out Ft. Myer's Resort
Leaving out Ft. Myer’s Resort
Cypress Woods entrance
Cypress Woods entrance
Checking out the Gators (Alligator Alley) -on the way to the Keys
Checking out the Gators (Alligator Alley) -on the way to the Keys

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Temps outside and inside the RV
Temps outside and inside the RV
A retired Boston Fire chief who took up the pipes 4 years ago
A retired Boston Fire chief who took up the pipes 4 years ago
Islamorada - on the way to the "Sandbar" - brother Stephen, sister in law Sue and Kathy
Islamorada – on the way to the “Sandbar” – brother Stephen, sister in law Sue and Kathy
The Sandbar
The Sandbar
At the Sandbar
At the Sandbar
A nice outing with family
A nice outing with family

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Note the pirate figures hanging in the upper deck at this island beauty
Note the pirate figures hanging in the upper deck at this island beauty
Islamorda - meting the Marina friends - Sue playing cornhole
Islamorda – meeting the Marina friends – Sue playing cornhole
The "Conch Band"  - blowing conch shells to celebrate the Sunset and the transition from day to night
The “Conch Band” – blowing conch shells to celebrate the Sunset and the transition from day to night

 

Our park in Grassy Key - Jolly Roger
Our park in Grassy Key – Jolly Roger
Grassy Key
Grassy Key

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Kathy at her chair - just like her 50th
Kathy at her chair – just like her 50th
Roosters are the island bird on KW
Roosters are the island bird on KW

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It's "things" like this that makes KW unique and eclectic
It’s “things” like this that makes KW unique and eclectic
Our site at Boyd's about 4-5 miles outside of KW
Our site at Boyd’s about 4-5 miles outside of KW
Our 6th month on the road and we finally made as far south as we are going
Our 6th month on the road and we finally made as far south as we are going
Yep, another Margaritaville - the original
Yep, another Margaritaville – the original
Sunset at Mallory Square - KW
Sunset at Mallory Square – KW

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Someone caught a small fish during the sunset and this buddy came right up beside me-3 feet away
Someone caught a small fish during the sunset and this buddy came right up beside me-3 feet away
Highway 1 - Mile 0 - it either starts here or ends here. Whatever the case what happens in KW stays in KW!
Highway 1 – Mile 0 – it either starts here or ends here. Whatever the case what happens in KW stays in KW!
KW Airforce base nearby our site - training flights
KW Airforce base nearby our site – training flights
Jet Training over the bay by our site
Jet Training over the bay by our site
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A “Wii” update

Mar 22

As mentioned in our last post, we were invited to a Wii bowling tournament yesterday afternoon (for happy hour), just down the street from us.

It was serious business with about 14 teams of two and three “lanes” (systems set up). Neither Kathy or I have used a Wii system or stick before. Lets just say that Kathy picked up on it better than I did and she made it to the semi finals with her new friend Bob as her partner. (see Pic) She even was able to play a game against her brother Wayne and another game against Lynn.

 

The tournament host Bonnie - from Oklahoma
The tournament host Bonnie – from Oklahoma
Kathy and her partner Bob plus brother Wayne seated(with ball cap on)
Kathy and her partner Bob plus brother Wayne seated(with ball cap on)
Serious entertainment with three systems set up out side a beautiful $$$ motorcoach
Serious entertainment with three systems set up out side a beautiful $$$ motorcoach
Kathy in stride
Kathy in stride
What form! Sign her up for the tour....
What form! Sign her up for the tour….
Intense facial expressions - brother Wayne sitting beside
Intense facial expressions – brother Wayne sitting beside
Wayne in form......
Wayne in form……
Lynn in form....
Lynn in form….
Kathy and her Wii partner Bob (Maryland)
Kathy and her Wii partner Bob (Maryland)
It was getting late; the face of disappointment - she really wanted the trophy
It was getting late; the face of disappointment – she really wanted the trophy

 

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Our Week (10 days actually) at the Taj Mahal of RV Resorts

March 13-23, 2015

Our drive to Ft Myers was smooth and quick compared to our morning drive on Friday. We took Hwy I 75 the entire way and fortunately there were no slowdowns heading south. We arrived at Cypress Woods RV Resort at 5:30 pm and were immediately warmly greeted by my Brother Wayne and Sister-in-Law Lynn and welcomed to our new home for the next 10 days. We were very fortunate to be able to set up on a  empty site owned by good friends of Wayne and Lynn’s who were not able to go south this winter and it is just a few doors down from Wayne and Lynn’s site. Thank you so much Jean and George!! Your site is  absolutely beautiful (as  is the entire Cypress Woods Resort) and we have really enjoyed our stay here. We refer to our site as staying at The Taj Mahal in comparison to any other RV site we have stayed at during our entire trip! (See pics)

Once we were set up, we joined Wayne and Lynn at their site for a few cold drinks during which time my Sister Donna and Brother-in-law Wayne arrived to greet us and also welcome us to Ft Myers. Donna and Wayne are staying in a lovely Condo at The Verandah Resort just a 10 minute drive from Cypress Woods. They have been there for the months of February and March. We had a great visit getting caught up with one another. It was so nice to finally be with Family again after so many months on the road.

As it had been a long hot day and lots of driving, we made it an early to bed night after an easy dinner of left overs.

On Saturday we awoke to beautiful sunshine and the day promised temperatures in the high 80’s which is what we have had every day we have been here. We have been waiting for this beautiful HOT weather all winter long and we finally have it!! First thing in the morning, Rob washed the RV and I gave Jazz her weekly combing. I then spent a couple hours at the pool and we then had a lazy afternoon until Happy Hour at 4 pm at which time we joined Donna and Wayne at Wayne and Lynn’s site for drinks and then a delicious “Welcome to Cypress Woods” steak dinner followed by wonderful Key Lime pie. Thank you Wayne and Lynn for making us feel so welcome and for touring us around the area all this week. (See pics)

On Sunday, Lynn and I were picked up by Donna at 11:30 am and off we went for a bit of shopping. I was searching for new bedding but I wasn’t able to find what I was looking for. But we had a great day anyway and I did pick up a few other things. While we were out, the guys went out shopping as well and Rob was able to find new walking sandals which he had been looking for for quite some time. So everyone had a good shopping spree. We then all returned to Wayne and Lynn’s and watched the Nascar race on their patio for a while. We returned back to our RV to watch the end of the race and then had Pork Tenderloin on the BBQ for dinner.

Monday was a quiet day spent lazing around the pool and reading at the RV site.  We had Wayne and Lynn over to our place for dinner that night and BBQ’d some chicken and sausages to go with with my Italian scalloped potatoes and Caesar salad.

Tuesday was St Patrick’s Day so Wayne and Lynn and Rob and I met Donna and Wayne and 2 of Donna’s friends who had arrived from London, Ont  on Sunday night in downtown Ft Myers at 4 pm. Ft Myers had closed down the main streets downtown and were holding a St Patrick’s Day street party from 4 pm til 10 pm with lots of food, drinks and live music. We thought to beat the crowds we should have an early dinner before joining in on the street party so the 8 of us had a nice dinner at Ford’s Garage (named after Henry Ford) See pics. It is quite a unique restaurant with a  Model T replica suspended over the Bar area which blew out fake exhaust (dry ice) from it’s tailpipe every half hour or so. In the washrooms, the sinks were car tires and the faucets were gas pump nozzles. It was a neat place! I had a really good Lamb Burger and even the bun it was on had the Ford logo on it. (See pic)

After dinner we roamed the streets listening to music and enjoying a few libations. We particularly enjoyed listening to a local band from Matlacha named The Hypnauticals.  Rob and I didn’t have any green clothing to wear for St Paddy’s day so we dug out the green beads from our Mardi Gras collection and all 8 of us wore the beads as we enjoyed the festivities.

Wednesday morning came early as the guys had a golf game arranged for 8:45 am and we girls had planned to go to Donna’s condo resort to go kayaking from 8:30 am til 10:30 am. It was a beautiful morning for kayaking and we were happy that we had planned our ride before the real heat of the day hit. Lynn and I rode in one double kayak and Donna and her friend Michelle rode in another double kayak. I must say that Lynn and I were very synchronized kayakers and we had a fun ride down the Orange River and back. We didn’t see any alligators thank goodness but we did see  birds and turtles on our ride. We then went back to Donna’s condo for a delicious brunch. Thanks Donna!

We then  returned to Cypress Woods where Jazz was patiently waiting for us in the comfort of the cool A/C in the RV. The guys had a good time golfing and after lunch they returned home at around 1:30 pm. The rest of the day and evening was quiet time.

Thursday was another early morning as we had rented a Pontoon boat at Ft Myers Beach and had to be there for 9:30 am to get all the paper work done. Wayne, Lynn, Rob, Jazz and I met Donna and Wayne and Donnas 2 friends Michelle and Susie at the Fish Tales Marina and by 10 am we were on board the boat and ready to go. We were also joined by another group of 8 people from Cypress Woods who had a Pontoon Boat rented as well. As their Captain had been on these waterways a few times before, we followed them for the day. Our Captains, Wayne Peck and Rob did a fine job of navigating the vessel. We had a wonderful day out on the water. It was another really hot day but there was no better place to be but on the water enjoying the beautiful scenery and the breeze. Even Jazz enjoyed her first pontoon boat ride. (see pics)

We had lunch and snacks out on the water and returned to the Marina around 4 pm. With all that sun and heat, we were all very tired so after returning back to Cypress Woods, to drop Jazz off at the RV, Wayne, Lynn, Rob and I went to the Texas Roadhouse nearby for dinner and then early to bed soon after.

On Friday, Wayne and Lynn took us on a tour to Pine Island which we really enjoyed. We first stopped off to see Ozzie and Harriot’s  nest and were able to see their new baby E6 sitting on a branch just outside of the nest. Ozzie and Harriot are bald eagles and are well known in the Ft Myers area and have many faithful followers watching them daily. Sadly, Ozzie was injured just a few days ago and is presently being cared for in a rehab facility as he has a broken clavicle. So. Harriot is all on her own for several weeks now taking care of her baby. (See pics)

After a nice drive, we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant right on the water on the Island. We were able to see 2 Manatees while we were there which was fun . (See pics) After lunch we headed back home but stopped on the way to go grocery shopping as our frig and freezer were looking quite empty.

Today, Saturday, we have been invited to some of Wayne and Lynn’s neighbours for a Happy Hour party at 4 pm where we will participate in a Wii Bowling tournament. This should be very interesting as Rob and I have never used a Wii before so we will have no idea how to do it. Apparently there is suppose to be 30 or more people at the party.  Rob combed Jazz first thing this morning and we will spend the day by the pool until it is time to get ready for Happy Hour later.  Tonight for dinner we will BBQ some fresh Salmon we picked up yesterday.

Tomorrow is our last full day in Ft Myers. Donna and Wayne have invited the 4 of us over to their condo tomorrow afternoon to watch the Nascar race and for dinner so that will be a nice way to spend our final day here.

On Monday morning, we will head out early to drive to the Florida Keys where we will spend the next 6 nights. Stay tuned for our adventures in the Keys. Key West here I come!! Yahoo!!!

We will squawk again at the end of next week.

Our welcome to Cypress Woods dinner on March 14th
Our welcome to Cypress Woods dinner on March 14th
Delicious steak dinner and great company!!
Delicious steak dinner and great company!!
Our beautiful RV site at Cypress Woods
Our beautiful RV site at Cypress Woods
Enjoying a cool drink on ourpatio
Enjoying a cool drink on ourpatio
Rob, Jazz and I on our patio
Rob, Jazz and I on our patio

 

 

Us and Wayne and Lynn at our place
Us and Wayne and Lynn at our place
Enjoying Happy Hour on our patio
Enjoying Happy Hour on our patio
Another view of our site at CW
Another view of our site at CW
My Lambburger at Ford's Garage
My Lambburger at Ford’s Garage
In the unique washroom at Ford's garage
In the unique washroom at Ford’s garage
Dinner at Ford's garage
Dinner at Ford’s garage
Green Beer for St Paddys Day
Green Beer for St Paddys Day
St Paddys Day dinner
St Paddys Day dinner
In downtown Ft Myers for St Patricks Day party
In downtown Ft Myers for St Patricks Day party
Lynn and I enjoying our Kayak ride
Lynn and I enjoying our Kayak ride
Donna and Michelle in their kayak
Donna and Michelle in their kayak
Our Gang on our Pontoon boat
Our Gang on our Pontoon boat
Getting ready for lunch on the boat
Getting ready for lunch on the boat
Jazz at the helm
Jazz at the helm
Stopping for a snack
Stopping for a snack
Captain Wayne at the helm
Captain Wayne at the helm
Jazz and her Mommy on the boat
Jazz and her Mommy on the boat
The other Pontoon Boat that joined us
The other Pontoon Boat that joined us
Jazz and Aunt Donna enjoying the ride
Jazz and Aunt Donna enjoying the ride
Baby E6  and Ozzie and Harriot's nest
Baby E6 and Ozzie and Harriot’s nest
Canal where we enjoyed lunch on Pine Island
Canal where we enjoyed lunch on Pine Island
The Manatee we saw while enjoying lunch on the water
The Manatee we saw while enjoying lunch on the water
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Cedar Key – Olde Florida!

Our site at Cypress Woods - Ft. Myers
Our site at Cypress Woods – Ft. Myers

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March 10-13

We arrived in Cedar Key and out RV park  (Sunset Isles) to friendly waves from fellow campers.  Shortly after, as we were setting up and sweating, we met Mary our neighbor who was coming back from the Schwan’s food truck (they sell frozen desserts, entrée’s, etc) with a box of ice cream bars offering us a couple! How nice and it actually cooled me down a bit. We read many good reviews about Cedar Key and especially this park and we received that same “vibe” very quickly.

First let’s talk about Cedar Key (CK). If you were to look at a Florida map, you will soon realize this place is remote with only one road in and out – 28 miles from Hwy 19.  It’s a great road that’s quiet and definitely worth the drive. Our first impression once in town was that of a “maritime” village. CK began as a fishing and clamming community back in 1859 and continues that tradition today. Today, 95 % of “farm-raised” clams in the U.S. come from here. Biking around the town’s streets offers up lots of history with older homes and evidence of fishermen and clammers all around with boats, traps, etc.. This is one destination we would like to revisit for a longer stay. The downtown area is small and quaint and biking around it was fun.

On Tuesday after setting up, we walked around the small park to check out the facilities and meet some of the other campers. In the friendlier parks, other campers are very anxious to tell “newbies” about the park and the area you arrived at. It was getting late in the afternoon and the first thing we learned was there was a Tiki Bar about 500 feet down the road, so we wandered down there and talked to more tourists picking up more information about the area, the local restaurants, etc. We enjoyed a nice sunset and back to camp for dinner.

Wednesday, we woke to warm temps and high UV’s. We unhooked the bikes and biked an easy 1.3 miles to town where we first toured the cemetery and boardwalk/park area north of the downtown area. After a walk on the boardwalk, we headed to the “downtown area” which is comprised of a short main street and a gulf front area where the fishermen and tourists hangout. It’s comprised of a a couple of large fishing piers and 4-5 restaurants with the same number of “tourist” stores. (no I didn’t by another T-shirt!) We where there for lunch time an managed to find a nice spot right on the water on the second floor with great views of the many surrounding keys. By the time we had arrived back to camp after it struck us that we had gotten quite a bit of sun as it took a couple of hours to cool down in the shade and played some Scrabble. A steak BBQ was on the schedule for dinner. No complaints.

Thursday we awoke to another warm and humid day – not complaining!! After breakfast, we decided to walk to town for some more exercise and took our furry friend with us. We basically walked into town, but some of “Tony’s” world famous clam chowder in a condensed can and a couple of grocery items. Tony, a local won the world championship in New England 2009,10 and 11 and they retired his recipe into the Chowder Hall of Fame. No one has ever done that before and he doesn’t need to compete anymore. We’ll try it someday soon. After arriving back to the camp, we had a light lunch and then it was beauty salon time! Thank goodness the A/C works well in the RV. Later in the afternoon we played some Rummikub. We had a quiet evening visiting the Tiki Bar for only one cold one. The sunset was too great, so we were back home early.

Friday we were up early, packed and on the road by 8:30am heading to St. Petersburg Beach area (Indian Shores) to visit with my sister Cheryl and brother-in-law Doug.  Parking was an issue in the area, as was finding an RV park, so what started as an overnighter in a Walmart lot for the night ended up with a short visit at their condo and lunch out. With the rising temps, dry camping as well as Jazz spending time in the RV wasn’t going to work. After lunch, we parted ways around 2:30 and continued down the road another 130 miles to Ft. Myers. We arrived at Cypress Woods around 5:30 to a greeting from Kathy’s brother Wayne and sister in law Lynn.  Our new and beautiful home for the next 9 nights! See pics.

We’ll squawk in a week or so!!!

 

En route to Cedar Key
En route to Cedar Key
Entering Cedar Key
Entering Cedar Key
We arrived
We arrived
Lots of Kayaking in the area
Lots of Kayaking in the area
the "Tiki Bar" - a 2 minute walk away - everyone is unique
the “Tiki Bar” – a 2 minute walk away – everyone is unique
an Osprey "dining" at sunset
an Osprey “dining” at sunset
Inside the Tkik Bar - note the "bottle wall"- most of it was constructed this way
Inside the Tkik Bar – note the “bottle wall”- most of it was constructed this way
Our first Cedar Key sunset
Our first Cedar Key sunset
the front of the Tiki Bar
the front of the Tiki Bar
Downtown Cedar Key- small and quaint
Downtown Cedar Key- small and quaint
one of many staying close to the many fisherman
one of many staying close to the many fisherman
Downtown from a different angle
Downtown from a different angle
 Read it carefully
Read it carefully

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A picture from our site at Sunset Isle - a unique little park
A picture from our site at Sunset Isle – a unique little park
The Tiki Bar also has a small strip motel - very eclectic
The Tiki Bar also has a small strip motel – very eclectic

 

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Less Civilization – Found!

March 10 – 7

Today (Tuesday) we arrived in Cedar Key as we left the Florida Panhandle and headed to south Florida. We had a longer driving day compared to the last few weeks with about 240 miles. Keep in mind, 240 miles (almost 400 km’s) is longer in an RV and especially when you are taking the “scenic route” along the coast through small towns like Port St. Joe, Apalachicola, Carrabelle and Sopchoppy. We left Mexico Beach after spending three relaxing days in a much slower paced beach town vs. the commercialism of Panama Beach, Destin and Pensacola Beach. Today was a sunny drive with temps in the 80’s. As we left Apalachicola (apa-lachi-cola) –easy right!….and spotted several schools of dolphins alongside the causeway.

Yesterday (Monday) was a quieter day with overcast skies and temps in the mid 70’s. Not hard to take. We did some household chores, went for bike ride around the town and did some reading – outdoors. During the bike ride, we just happened to stumble across a custom painted golf cart – was Jimmy in town? Likely not, but we had to take some pic’s of this beauty. (see below)

Sunday was a “funday”, as the weather was excellent up to 80+ with  bright sunshine. We started out the morning by going out for an early walk with Jazz walking a good 4-5 miles and came back to the RV for a late morning brunch – omelet, sausage, bacon and raisin bread toast. After this amazing meal cooked by yours truly, we donned our bathing suites, beach chairs, towels and books and headed to the beach for the afternoon. (yes we had a couple of cool ones in the cooler as well). What a great afternoon on the beach! Later in the afternoon we needed to check out the beach bar and grill (Toucan’s) right behind us to get a status update on the NASCAR race. A Gulf side seat, a pitcher of beer and the race is on – no complaints! We arrived back at the RV to see the final few laps of the race and it was time to BBQ some ribs. Yep they were meaty and delicious………..hmm, hmmm, hmmm.

Saturday, we arrived at Mexico Beach in the early afternoon to a “campground” called Rustic Sands. It was a bit rustic, but wait it gets better…….First of all, with our Passport America membership, 3 nights with tax cost $73 total including full hookup, cable and lighting quick wi-fi! Accountants like that sort of value!!!

The owner of the park informed us as we checked in that on Saturday nights they have live entertainment, food and happy hour in the clubhouse (see pics), so we decided to scratch our meal plans for the night and check it out. First of all, let’s get rid of the bad – the food – the wings (M&M style where not thoroughly heated through and were cold. The homemade pizza – OK, would be a stretch but it was edible).  On a positive note, happy hour for $2 gave you a beer or as Kathy had, a glass of their finest Cabernet – about 10 oz served in a styrofoam cup.  Not a big deal, as it actually tasted OK. Now the best for the night was the entertainment. (see pic) Randy and Art (the postman-yes really). Randy played the guitar and sang and Art looked like he was from ZZ Top with a long grey beard and cowboy hat playing the saxophone. What a sound combination that worked. The two of them were amazing…. really! We watched a couple of sets and really enjoyed their music and ability to relate to the crowd. They are regulars every Saturday. What a fun night.

One last fact for the Mexico Beach area. Saturday night/Sunday was time to change the clocks for day light savings. That was OK, however Mexico Beach lies right on the central and eastern time zone line so whenever an event was posted they had to list CST. We thought at first we would be losing 2 hours that night, but the “line” was 1 mile east so Tuesday we would lose the other hour.

Have a great week.

Great Saturday night entertainment!
Great Saturday night entertainment!
Art (on Sax) and Randy-vocals and guitar
Art (on Sax) and Randy-vocals and guitar

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Warm weather, a beach bar, a NASCAR race with my buddy
Warm weather, a beach bar, a NASCAR race with my buddy
Darn - no keys
Darn – no keys
Is Jimmy going to sue for patent rights?
Is Jimmy going to sue for patent rights?
Some custom airbrush paint job - hard core Parrot head
Some custom airbrush paint job – hard core Parrot head
On the MB pier
On the MB pier
Someone that doesn't like sand - really!
Someone that doesn’t like sand – really!
Mexico "Beach" day
Mexico “Beach” day
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Still searching for Jimmy……

 

March 4 – 7, 2015

Our drive to Destin along  the coastal Hwy 98 was rather interesting as for a lot of the drive, it looked like we were surrounded by snow. In reality it was all sand but when you see the pictures below you will see what I mean. We much prefer the sand! It had also been very misty for several days and that day was no exception which just added to the illusion.

We arrived in Destin  in the late morning and found a spot to park in the downtown area close to HarborWalk Village which is located right at the foot of the Destin Bridge so it was the first thing we saw as we entered Destin. We took Jazz out for a stroll along the boardwalk. It was a beautiful sunny  and warm day and it was really nice strolling along the water.
HarborWalk Village offers adventures for all to enjoy.   You can book tours there for fishing and dolphin cruises. They have water sport rentals, shopping, nightlife, weekly fireworks, seasonal festivals, live entertainment, and an array of restaurants including  Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville!!  Now you know the real reason we went there!!

Once Jazz had enough exercise, we took her back to the RV and Rob and I went to Margaritaville for lunch of course. (See pics) We had a fun lunch and enjoyed seeing this Margaritaville. For those who have never been to any Margaritavilles , each one is different so it is interesting to compare them to others. I liked this one in Destin.

After lunch, we returned to the RV and headed to our next RV Park which was located in the east end of Destin actually in an area called Miramar Beach. We found Destin to be very big and VERY commercial. Every store and restaurant chain imaginable can be found there.  Miramar Beach was a little less commercial  but we determined this really wasn’t the kind of place we enjoy. We prefer smaller towns with some personality

When we woke up Thursday morning it was very humid and was already 75 degrees. Rob went out for a nice bike ride at about 7:45 am and he checked out the area and found where the Outlet Mall was located. We had read that the largest Outlet Mall in Florida  was only 1 mile away from our park and sure enough, it was.  After Rob returned to the RV and we had breakfast the 3 of us set off for a walk along the beach. The beach was beautiful white soft sand just as it had been in Pensacola Beach. Unfortunately, our walk was cut short as it began to rain and by the time we got back to the RV it was raining very hard so all 3 of us were soaked. At least Rob and I could put on dry clothes but poor Jazz was not as lucky. She was damp for a good part of the day as with all the humidity, things did not dry quickly. The rain continued pretty well the entire day and the temperature began to drop drastically. At one point in the morning it was up to 79 degrees F. By 5 pm, the temperature was down to 40 degrees F. Unbelievable! Needless to say, we were inside the RV the rest of the day.

Friday morning was still cold outside but it was sunny so we walked over to the Outlet Mall for some browsing and shopping. We didn’t buy very much but it was a nice day for a walk anyway.

Saturday morning, we packed up the RV and were on the road by 9:30 am. We stopped on the way for groceries and by 10:45 am we had arrived at Panama City Beach. Yes, it is another “beach town” very similar to Destin. One of the main attractions in PCB is Pier Park which is right across the road from the beach. It is a mecca for entertainment, shopping,  fine dining, and fabulous fun in the sun.  They claim to have over 1 million visitors a year and to be well-known as one of the best places to visit along Florida’s West Coast.  Take a guess what one of the Restaurants in Pier Park was. You guessed it – Margaritaville!!  After wandering around Pier Park to see what it was all about we  returned Jazz to the RV and yes, we went to Margaritaville for lunch. We were able to sit out on the patio and it was a hot sunny day so that was great. But I have to admit, of all the Margaritavilles we have been to so far, this one in PCB was my least favorite. The food and drink prices in both Margaritavilles in Destin and PCB were quite high and this one in PCB just didn’t have that ‘fun” atmosphere that others have. But, we did have to check it out and now we know what it’s like.

Instead of staying in Panama City Beach, we decided to leave the commercial beaches behind and we headed further down the coast to what is called the Forgotten Coast – Mexico Beach. We arrived at Rustic Sands RV Resort on Saturday afternoon.

Stay tuned for more droppings about our time in Mexico Beach!

Our drive from Pensacola Beach to Destin. Is that snow on the ground - nope, it's sand
Our drive from Pensacola Beach to Destin. Is that snow on the ground – nope, it’s sand
Looks like a blustery winter day doesn't it
Looks like a blustery winter day doesn’t it
Looks like we are in a snowstorm but it's sand and mist
Looks like we are in a snowstorm but it’s sand and mist
We have arrived in Destin. This is HarborWalk Village
We have arrived in Destin. This is HarborWalk Village
Yes, another Margaritaville. This is in Destin.
Yes, another Margaritaville. This is in Destin.
Margaritaville is right on the water
Margaritaville is right on the water
This is in HarborWalk Village. See next picture of the tree
This is in HarborWalk Village. See next picture of the tree
The Magnificant Magnolia
The Magnificant Magnolia
Rob relaxing at Jimmy's place!
Rob relaxing at Jimmy’s place!
Us enjoying Jimmy's relaxing patio
Us enjoying Jimmy’s relaxing patio

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More at Jimmy's place
More at Jimmy’s place

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Rob trying to look like Jimmy
Rob trying to look like Jimmy
This is what Jimmy really looks like!!
This is what Jimmy really looks like!!
Rob & Jazz at Pier Park, Panama City Beach
Rob & Jazz at Pier Park, Panama City Beach
Yes, another Margaritaville!! This is in Panama City Beach Fl
Yes, another Margaritaville!! This is in Panama City Beach Fl
The Pier at PCB
The Pier at PCB
Kathy in Margaritaville at PCB
Kathy in Margaritaville at PCB
Boat Drinks Bar at Jimmy's, PCB
Boat Drinks Bar at Jimmy’s, PCB
Pier Park
Pier Park

 

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It took us 5 months but we have finally arrived in Florida!!!

March 1 – 4, 2015

We left Gulf Shores Sunday morning and after stopping to get groceries on the way, we arrived in Pensacola Beach Florida in the early afternoon. Pensacola Beach is another beach town and at this time of year it is very quiet with mainly snowbirds staying there. All this will change next week though when Spring Break begins for the U.S. colleges and we were told by many store and restaurant workers that they were gearing up for a very busy next 4-5 weeks of Spring Breakers taking over the town and the beach. Glad we won’t be there!! The beaches in Pensacola Beach are beautiful. This is the Emerald Coast and the beaches have beautiful white sand.

Pensacola Beach is located on Santa Rosa Island, one of the longest barrier islands in the world, Pensacola Beach has an old Florida feel with natural beaches, local hang-outs, first-rate fishing and historic Fort Pickens. Pensacola Beach has been named among the nation’s top 10 beaches by TripAdvisor.

The Pensacola Beach Pier is one of the longest in the Gulf of Mexico at 1,471 feet. Portofino Boardwalk features open-air bars and restaurants, shops, piers and shallow water for kids along Santa Rosa Sound. Visitors can access Gulf Islands National Seashore, the nation’s longest stretch of protected seashore, on both sides of Pensacola Beach, making it an ideal spot for biking, snorkeling or kayaking in the summer months.

Instead of biking, we did a lot of walking there. One of our missions while in Pensacola Beach was to visit Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Beach Hotel which we did. I have a goal to visit all the Margaritavilles  in places we drive through on this trip so the hotel was naturally on the list. (See pics). It really was a beautiful hotel. Unfortunately the Landshark Bar there is only open during the warmer weather so we were not able to get into it but we did have a drink at Frank & Lola Love Pensacola Bar and Restaurant in the hotel. It would have been great to have been able to spend a night in the hotel but guess that is just a good excuse to come back to PB someday without a RV!

On Monday evening, we stopped at a couple of bars before going out for dinner at a great restaurant called Hemingways. One of the bars was a restaurant called Red Fish Blue Fish. We entered into this open air restaurant through the side and just went directly to the Bar. As we walked across the patio, there was a group of people standing out there and we saw them look at us kind of funny but we didn’t think anything of it. At the bar, we ordered 2 beer. As one bartender poured our beers, another came up and asked us for our tickets. We said we didn’t have any tickets and we thought he must be referring to discount coupons or something. As it turned out, we had crashed a private event which had taken over the whole restaurant for the evening. When we realized this, it was too late. The Bartender said no problem, he wouldn’t kick us out. So we paid for our beers and went out onto their sand beach area and enjoyed our beers as we sat by their wonderful gas fireplace in lounge chairs. In hindsight, we should have went along with the guy who asked us for our tickets as he was all prepared to go and get us tickets from the reception person. Guess we are just too honest. (BTW – people continued to look at us strangely the entire time we sat there but we didn’t rush as it was so nice enjoying the fire – lol) We ended up returning to Red Fish Blue Fish the next night for dinner. That night it was open to the public.

Also while we were there we stopped at another local restaurant for lunch one day called Peg Leg Pete’s. Of course we had to try out their Seafood Gumbo and we shared a delicious Grouper sandwich. The great food just goes on and on……

On Wednesday morning, we packed up and headed down the road approximately 40 miles to our next stop,  Destin Florida, which is another Beach town – more of the same basically as we experienced in Pensacola Beach but Destin is much bigger in comparison. And yes, in case you are wondering, there is a Margaritaville in Destin! Whoo Hoo!

Will squawk in another day or two about our time in Destin.

We are at The Margaritaville Beach Hotel
We are at The Margaritaville Beach Hotel
Jazz and I at Jimmy's place
Jazz and I at Jimmy’s place
Still at Jimmy's
Still at Jimmy’s
The beach at Jimmy's place
The beach at Jimmy’s place

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Rob with Peg Leg Pete
Rob with Peg Leg Pete

 

Kathy enjoying a beer at Frank & Lola's
Kathy enjoying a beer at Frank & Lola’s
Parrotheads!!
Parrotheads!!
Jimmy's Landshark Bar and Grill. Wish it would have been open.
Jimmy’s Landshark Bar and Grill. Wish it would have been open.
The Pensacola Beach water tower is a beach ball!
The Pensacola Beach water tower is a beach ball!

 

 

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Sweet Home Alabama

Feb 26-Mar 1/2015

Our drive from Biloxi Mississippi to Gulf Shores Alabama took us through Mobile, Alabama where Jimmy Buffett was born and raised. I had wanted to stop in Mobile and go to the Carnival Museum as Mobile is where the first Mardi Gras was ever held and the Museum is apparently really interesting. Unfortunately, the museum is only open on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and it was Thursday that we were driving through. So, we decided not to bother going into downtown Mobile and just drove through it and onto Gulf Shores instead. By the time we arrived it was late afternoon so after setting up we spent the evening just relaxing at the RV.

Friday morning Jazz received her weekly beauty salon treatment  and we researched how we could walk to the famous  LuLu’s at Homeport Marina which was about 2 miles from our RV Park. LuLu is Lucy Buffett – yes, Jimmy’s Sister!! We figured out how to get there and headed there at 3 pm to spend the afternoon and evening enjoying the live entertainment she has every afternoon.

LuLu’s first began as a restaurant with a tiny gift shop, a little sand for kids to play in, and a great view of the Intracoastal Waterway in Gulf Shores. Now, a few years later, the view is still unbeatable, but the restaurant is more than just that—it has become a true family entertainment destination.

LuLu’s apparently serves 4000 people a day during the summer season.  Imagine!!!  They have different areas in addition to the huge main restaurant like the BAMA BREEZE bar to wet your whistle, the SUNSET GRILL overlooking the marina, the FOUNTAIN FOR YOUTH to cool off the kids, the MOUNTAIN OF YOUTH, a  three-story rope climbing apparatus for the adventurous kids.  In addition to the live music daily they also have a huge retail store, and a large sandy beach area equipped with pails, shovels etc that Rob really enjoyed playing in!

LuLu’s is also well known for her great food and her Crazy Sista specialties.  Rob and I enjoyed her famous Seafood Gumbo and then we shared a plate of Shrimp and Grits which was absolutely delicious. It was a bowl full of what I would call Shrimp Etoufee with cheese grits in the centre. I never thought I would call Grits delicious but the way she made these cheese ones, they were. After dinner we called a taxi to take us home as it was dark out by then and we didn’t want to be walking along a highway in the dark. It was a very fun evening out! (See lots of pics)

The next morning, we headed out on our bikes and biked right down into downtown Gulf Shores which is a beach community. The beach was very nice but it was a breezy cool day so we couldn’t spend much time on the beach. We stopped at The Pink Pony Pub which was right on the beach for a couple of beer and sat and watched the waves for a while. We then headed back toward the RV Park but stopped on the way at Hog Wild BBQ for lunch. We shared a BBQ Plate of ribs and chicken which came with homemade potato salad and coleslaw. Everything was delicious. We sure are experiencing a lot of delicious food here in the south!

The rest of the afternoon and evening we relaxed and got ready to head out the next morning to our next destination – Pensacola Beach Florida. Stay tuned.

We have arrived at LuLu's!
We have arrived at LuLu’s!

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Aerial photo of LuLu's
Aerial photo of LuLu’s
Rob playing in the sand
Rob playing in the sand
Crazy Sista is LuLu's trademark
Crazy Sista is LuLu’s trademark
Waiting for the taxi
Waiting for the taxi
Rob drying out his jacket in the breeze down at Gulf Shores Beach
Rob drying out his jacket in the breeze down at Gulf Shores Beach
Gulf Shore Beach
Gulf Shore Beach
Great BBQ
Great BBQ
The Intercoastal Waterway at Gulf Shores
The Intercoastal Waterway at Gulf Shores

 

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