Saturday morning we were up with the rooster and on the road by 8 am for a long day of driving ahead. The weather cooperated with bright sunny skies and temps most of the day in the 70’s. We arrived in Grove City PA (70 miles south of Erie PA) shortly after 5 pm for our final night in the RV – in a Walmart parking lot! How romantic, eh.
Today we drove 500 miles (800 km) which was our longest driving day of the entire trip. This would make our final leg home on Sunday about 230 miles. We left Grove City by 7:30am and after a few stops for gas, Canada Customs and the Fort Erie municipal sewage dump, we arrived at Bryn’s house before 1:30 pm. We had a great reunion with Matt, Bryn, Melissa and Emily for the afternoon. Oh yes, all the dogs and cat too!
As we were pretty tired we had an early dinner of pizza, wings and caesar salad and were back at home in Burlington by around 5.
Thursday morning we continued our trek north (brrr) leaving the Charleston area around 9:30am. Wayne and Lynn had already departed earlier as they had a couple of long driving days ahead of them to get home by Friday evening.
After 225 miles, we arrived in Charlotte NC – the racing mecca for NASCAR and home for many of it’s premier drivers and team shops. We pulled into a Tom Johnson Camping Center which is just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway – a 1.5 mile track. It was a warm day with the temps in the 80’s, however this changed later in the day as the rain set in. Not a good sign for race cars! The following morning it continued to drizzle until around 10am. At that point we hiked over to the track to see if the “ride-a-long” would still go at 11:30.
Today, I was booked for a drive-a-long where I’m a passenger is strapped into 725 HP stock car, driven by a young man (Adam) 22-24 years old taking me around the track 3 times at 160 MPH (255 KPH). YES, I can’t wait. However we did for a couple of hours as they dried the track. This was OK, as it provided me with lots of time to speak with the “Petty Driving Experience” employees, drivers and get lots of track shots. This company was started by Richard Petty who is called “The King” for his dominance and presence in NASCAR.
Finally, the track was ready and so was I, so they strapped me into the car around 1:15pm. By 1:18 I was out of the car, after enjoying the rush of doing 1.5 mile laps in about 38 seconds! The banking on the turns is 24 deg (see pics) so when the driver heads into and out of those turns you want to make sure the car “sticks” to the track! And it did! The G forces and in car experience gives me an even greater appreciation of the skill, strength and endurance these drivers (and their pit crews) go through when competing at these levels during a 4 hour race. Add to that the high temps in the car when they are racing in warm temperatures, which is often. Oh, by the way, we did 160mph on the straightaways, whereas the pro’s during the race are doing 200 mph(320 kph) with 43 cars on the track. Stop and imagine rush hour at those speeds with cars all around you!
It was awesome, what a thrill!
After getting back to the RV for a quick lunch, I biked over to the Hendrick Motorsports Complex to tour some team shops and their museum. Rick Hendrick owns over 70 car dealerships and arguably is the top car owner in NASCAR. The complex is all encompassing as they make every thing in several different building – engines, chassis, bodies, seats, roll cages, tanks, etc.. I was able to tour the fabrication shops for the four teams (Jeff Gordon, Kasey Kahne, Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.) It was a great tour.
All in all, the weather cooperated and I had a great day.
We departed Savannah on Monday morning for a short drive up the coast to another historic US city, Charleston SC. The convoy included 3 rigs – ours, Wayne and Lynn’s and our California friends.
In 1670, Charles Town was founded by the British. Approximately 200 years later it would become Charleston when the American’s defeated the Brit’s in 1865. The city is much larger than Savannah, but still expels a significant amount of “southern charm” with it’s friendly residents (they leave their garden gates open for visitors to “look in”, but please don’t enter), architecture, religion and unique culture.
We decided on Tuesday that we would go on a 2 hour guided walking tour, with a lifelong Charlestonian while the other’s decided on a 2 hour guided bus tour. Our tour started at 10:30am and it went to about 12:45pm. Our group had 14 people in it and the guide was great and we really enjoyed it. We learned a lot and walked a lot! Our final recommendation from the guide was a recommendation on King Street for some authentic South Carolina BBQ. (they take claim to the term southern BBQ – which usually means pork). After a great meal and some cold libations (another hot and humid day touring), we decided to head to some areas of the historic area that we hadn’t seen. After a couple more of hours of walking (and sweating), we reconnected with Wayne and Lynn and headed back to camp arriving around 4:30pm. We had decided earlier to have a BBQ (burgers and salads) and a camp fire after dinner. Our California friends(Bill and Marilyn) where invited to join us and we had a nice evening (warm) chatting.
Wednesday, the four of us were up and in Wayne’s truck by 9 am heading to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. That morning, the weather was tenuous but the weather held out with pleasant temps of the high 70’s and only a couple of sprinkles around mid afternoon. Magnolia has a long and storied history just like Charleston which I won’t get into in any depth. Arriving around 9:45, we purchased the all inclusive package with 4 guided tours (45 min each)which covered the nature train, the house tour, the Nature boat and the Slavery to Freedom tour. There was also a self guided “swamp tour”.
Magnolia use to be a 2,000 acre parcel and is now approx. 500 acres. In the 1800’s it was a working rice plantation. Around 1870, the plantation was opened as a tourist attraction by one of the Drayton’s, John who was an ordained minister, who needed the money to keep and maintain the property. A beautiful property and definitely something to see. If you want more information – http://www.magnoliaplantation.com/ or take a look at a few of our pics below….
More Magnolia pics to follow once we get better internet service…
On Friday morning when we left St. Augustine, the weather was still quite warm in the mid 80’s and humid. It would be a reasonable drive of about 175 miles up the coast to Savannah (SA). We left early arriving shortly after noon. Wayne and Lynn arrived less than 1 hour later so after setting up and having some lunch, we got together and shared stories of what we had been doing since we last saw them in Ft. Myers back in mid March. The park we were in wasn’t the best, but it was shady and we had great company. The four of us discussed the plans for the next two days in Savannah and dined on Kathy’s world famous homemade lasagna that evening.
The next morning the 4 of us were out at the camp gate waiting for the trolley shuttle to take us to town. While we waited we met a nice couple from California (Bill and Marilyn) who happened to be parked beside us that told us that they had a free pet walking service at the park, so I quickly arranged this before we left.
We arrived in town before 10 am and embarked on a 90 minute trolley tour of the historic part of Savannah. SA was founded in 1733 by James Oglethorpe and is a very unique city as it was one of the first designed in a true grid pattern. Within the grid of the old historic area, there were originally 24 “Squares” that would be ½ to 1 acre in size. Twenty two still exist today. In their day, these squares would be a central meeting area for residents neighborhood. Today, not only are the parks adorned by many huge old live oak trees, but the entire historic downtown is covered in a canopy of trees, many being large oak as in the pictures. Combined with the Spanish moss hanging from the trees, the area is quite amazing.
In its day, SA had the world’s second largest Cotton Exchange. (see pic). See the attached pic about “Savannah’s Waving Girl. For 44 years she waved at every shipped that arrived or departed the Port of Savannah with a handkerchief, using a lantern at night.
After our guided tour, we grabbed some lunch (a disaster) then Kathy and I headed out on foot to retrace a bit of the tour route and then some to get a closer look. Even with the abundance of tree’s, it was a humid day to say the least. We arrived back at the camp by shuttle at around 5:30 with tired feet.
The next day, Wayne decided to drive into SA, so the 4 of us headed in around 11 and we spent the afternoon touring other areas that didn’t get covered the prior day. This would be primarily the water front with its shops and eateries. Another hot day in SA, but luckily we dodged some bad weather that was circling in the area.
Lots of interesting and historic sites had been seen over the two days. We would definitely recommend a visit to SA for its beauty and old world charm. It has lots of history, but part two coming up trumps it!
Moving on up the coast tomorrow (April 13th). Stay tuned…….
On Wednesday April 8th, we headed for our last stop in Florida – St. Augustine(SA) We left Port Orange (Daytona) around mid morning heading to the local Walmart to stock up on supplies as our fridge and freezer was looking a little baron. After that stop it was a short 1 hour (60 miles) drive up the coast to SA.
We arrived and had set up camp and had lunch by around 2 pm. Kathy was feeling a bit tired from the hot days we had the prior week and today proved to be just as hot, so she had a rest. I always seem to be a little more energetic to explore the new area and find out what I can so I looked at some local tourist maps and embarked on my bike for a tour. SA was 4.5 miles into the town limits so I decided to head in that direction to see what the route was like that we would likely take the next day. I reached the city and decided to continue over to the tourist center to pick up some additional information to help us plan the next day. I was into town and back in about 1 ½ hrs – hot and sweaty! Mission accomplished. Now I knew the lay of the land.
St. Augustine is the oldest city in the U.S. with its founding 450 years ago in 1565. SA is a very quaint, compact and walkable city. On Thursday we set the A/C in the RV for Jazz and headed off on our bikes at around 9 am getting into the town for the crowds started assembling. The day before I had witnessed heavy congestion on the narrow streets with people and traffic congestion. We arrived in around 9:30 and locked up the bikes for the day.
We wondered the streets for a few hours reading plaque after plaque at all the historic buildings and sites. During SA’s 450 years it has been controlled by 4 countries. The Spanish from 1565 when Don Pedro Menendez founded it to 1765. The British controlled it from 1765-1784. The Spanish regained control in 1784 to 1821, when the US took over control until present day.
We walked out of town a little to the famed “fountain of youth” that has been traced back to Juan Ponce de Leon who landed in this vicinity in 1513. We didn’t go into this archaeological finding as the entrance was $15 each and another $7 or 8 for a “sip” of the magical water. Back to town we went. After a few hot hours walking the streets of SA, it was time for some lunch and hydration at the Mill Top Inn under some large shady trees and a nice breeze coming off the Matanzas Bay. After lunch we toured some of the narrower streets that are only for pedestrians checking out a few shops but knowing we couldn’t really carry too much on the bikes, we didn’t buy anything.
After a few more history lessons we decided we had seen everything we wanted and headed back to camp arriving back around 3 pm. Luckily the park we were in was nicely shaded so we could chill out for a the balance of the day outside. We enjoyed a small pork roast from the BBQ that night as we prepared to break camp on Friday morning for Savannah GA., where we would meet up with Kathy’s brother Wayne (and Lynn) who we had seen back in Ft. Myers in March.
We arrived in Pt Orange just after lunch time on April Fools Day. Our plan was to spend a week in the area doing mainly nothing with a couple of side trips in between. Our campground had a lovely pool and for once, even though it was heated, it did not feel like a bath tub. The water was very refreshing and we enjoyed laying by and being in the pool all week long.
On Thursday morning we jumped on our bikes and biked down to the beach in Pt Orange. Pt Orange borders south Daytona Beach which borders Daytona Beach. The beach was absolutely great to bike on as it was packed down hard. Many cars and RV’s drove on the beach and parked for the day. We had planned to find a spot to eat lunch at on the beach but there was very little there by way of restaurants so we ended up just returning to the RV instead. In total we biked about 18 miles that morning. After lunch we spent the afternoon by the pool.
On Friday morning we set off with Jazz for a very long walk in the hot weather. By the time we got home we were soaked with sweat and decided to just take it easy for the rest of the day.
We had picked up a local bus schedule on Friday during our walk so on Saturday morning we took a bus to Daytona Beach and brought our bikes along on the bus so we could check out what it was all about as we had never been there before. As it was Easter weekend it was very busy to say the least. (see pics). We enjoyed biking around the beach strip and on the beach. We found a great beachside restaurant called Surfside Tiki Bar where we had lunch. We then biked around some more and then went back across the bridge to the mainland to try to catch a bus back to Pt Orange. Unfortunately, when the bus arrived at our stop, it already had 1 bike on its rack and the bike racks can only hold 2 bikes. So, we decided to bike back to the campground instead. It was a 10 mile bike ride and by then the temperature was in the high 80’s. But we managed to do it in 50 minutes which was only 10 minutes longer than the bus would have taken. Needless to say, we were proud of ourselves!
Easter Sunday we spent a quiet day around the campground. We spoke to Bryn and Melissa on Skype . We had spoken to Matt and Emily on Friday so it was great to catch up with our Family on Easter weekend! Sunday night we had a campfire on our campsite which was great. We hadn’t had a campfire since November we think so we really enjoyed it.
Monday morning we packed up the RV and headed 8.8 miles to the Daytona International Speedway (DIS)where we went for an All Access Tour. Needless to say, Rob was in his glory and honestly, I enjoyed it as well.
DIS is presently undergoing a $400 million renovation called Daytona Rising which will transform this raceway which was built in 1959 into a multi purpose facility possibly hosting Football games, concerts etc in addition to the regular racing schedule. There is a lot of history at this track which I won’t go into. The track was built by Bill France who was one of the Founders of Nascar. Originally car racing in Daytona was done on the beach but moved to this 2.5 mile speedway when he built it. The biggest Nascar race of the year is the Daytona 500 held at DIS.
We toured the actual track in a trolley. We saw pit row, the car garages and inspection garage. We stood on Victory Lane (see pic), watched a video in the Driver’s meeting room and had a tour of one of the renovated grandstand areas with a great view of the start/finish line and the whole track. We also got to see Joey Logano’s car that won the 2015 Daytona 500 (see pics). It was a great tour and well worth the admission price.
As we were leaving DIS, Rob spotted an Olive Garden across the street. He has been craving Olive Garden for a few weeks now (I think because of TV commercials) so since we were so close, off we went for a delicious lunch of all you can eat Soup, Salad and Bread sticks plus we added a little pasta.
We did go for a walk later on that day to walk off all of the food we had eaten.
Tuesday, we walked up to the local mall not too far away from our campground and did a little shopping at Bells and Ross. Rob had more success than I did but neither of us bought that much since we really didn’t need anything. Tuesday for dinner we went to Booth’s Bowery which was just down the street from our campground. Booth’s is the place where the locals go to enjoy the best in Buffalo Wings . It brags that its wings are “World Famous” so naturally we had to give them a try. They were very good and the place was very busy. We hadn’t had good wings in a long time so it was a great place to go for dinner.
Today, Wednesday, we packed up and after doing a big grocery shop to hopefully last us until we get home we headed to St Augustine, Fl. We will be here for the next 2 days so will let you know what we find there in a couple of days.
When I think of history, I think of something that occurred a 100 years or more ago……..
On a warm summer day, my Dad arrived home to our summer residence, a two storey log home (our cottage). My father and brother tore down the house log by log and transported it about 30 miles and rebuilt it, log by log beginning in 1967.A few years later, the rebuilding of the cottage was well underway with only floor joists on the main floor while the second floor had a full floor, 3-4 beds, a bathroom and a kitchen area – all temporary living for a while.
On that specific day, he arrived home with something we didn’t have at the cabin at that time, a 19” TV. He had rented (yes rented) one for the weekend to allow us and many of our cottage neighbors to witness one of man’s greatest accomplishments of the 20th century – landing and walking on the Moon. Apollo 11 landed on Sunday July 20, 1969 – which also happened to be my 10th birthday. This day and event will forever be etched, no carved, in my memory.
“One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”
One of the destinations during our RV journey was a visit to the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) at Cape Canaveral, Florida. We arrived at our new park on Sunday for three nights with the intention of doing very little with the exception of the NASA tour. Cape Canaveral was about 23 miles away, so on Tuesday we packed up the RV and arrived at the center just before opening at 9 am. What did we do with Jazz you ask for a whole day? The KSC has a free kennel on site, so she went a made some new friends for the day.
We left the KSC at around 5:30 that night, full of new information and facts we learned during the day. I don’t plan on trying to repeat this in the blog. We spent the full day but you could easily spend two days as we didn’t go into at least 3 of the buildings. Seeing some of the actual lunar capsules (Apollo 14 – see pic) and the Space shuttle Atlantis left me awe struck. I could have just sat and looked at the Atlantis for an hour – imagining all the ventures it went on and the astronauts taking space walks building the International Space Station (ISS). Seeing the Canada Arm (2 of them) proudly mounted and identified on the Atlantis was a good feeling.
We visited the memorial site as well reflecting on the fact that with great triumphs comes many failures and sometimes great tragedy. Apollo 1 didn’t even get off the launch pad, when a fire occurred in the command module killing all three astronauts. Apollo 11 landed on the moon with only 30 seconds of fuel remaining when it missed its planned landing site by several miles. Apollo 13 barely made it back to Earth when they had to abort their landing mission. And then there was the Shuttle program, with the loss of 14 lives on two separate occasions losing both Challenger and Columbia orbiters. Risks are very high but rewards even greater!
At the height of the Apollo program, 1961-1972 KSC employed some 21,000 people. During the shuttle program, 15,000. KSC now has approximately 8,000 people on staff, with many working on the future space program and module – the Orion which is meant for deep space travel. They are talking about Mars and 3 year missions…. 6 months to just get there!
So much information!!! It was a great day and extremely interesting. Worth going to if you are in the vicinity.
On April 1st we will be relocating to Port Orange (a suburb of Daytona Beach) for a week of R and R.
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.
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.
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!!!