Saturday, December 13, 2014

Settling In, Getting Comfortable and Staying Warm

We’ve settled in quite nicely here at Water’s Edge, just chilling out, meeting the neighbors and settling into a seasonal kind of life. Not much is happening to blog about.

The past week has been on the cool side for Florida. We’ve had highs in the 60’s and lows in the 40’s. It’s still a great deal warmer than most of the country so I sure won’t complain. It’s currently 72 and sunny and there’s more of that coming our way next week. Yay!

We’ve found the grocery stores, drugstores, hardware stores, some restaurants, the theatre and, of course, the fishing tackle/bait shop magic store :)

We found a nature trail a few days ago which is a nice 3.5 mile loop where we heard we could see birds, deer and alligators.  Taylor Creek Stormwater Treatment Area Trailhead is located just north of the city of Okeechobee.

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This is what we saw…

Taylor Creek Stormwater Treatment Trail

Lots of birds. No deer. No alligators :(  No other critters either, thank goodness :) It was a nice walk though and I’d go back, hoping for different results next time…minus those other critters :)

We had a nice family visit earlier this week. Rick’s cousin, Pierre and his wife Jojo just happened to be in the Fort Lauderdale area for the last few weeks and they made the trip up here to see us last Monday.

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We had a very nice, but too short, visit. They have left Florida to return to Quebec, where I’ll bet they are freezing! :) Pierre and Jojo, thanks for stopping by. It was wonderful seeing you both!

Rick has been fishing and I’ve been keeping all those seasonal workers at Amazon busy :) It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here :)

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I’ve also been playing around with Picasa trying out some of the other photo editing techniques. It appears there’s a lot more to Picasa than the “I feel lucky” button! :) The above photo is not very good but it’s the best I could improve a very poor picture :) I guess I won’t give up my day job :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Friday, December 5, 2014

Home, Sweet Winter Home

We arrived at Water’s Edge Motorcoach and RV Resort outside Okeechobee, Florida on Monday, December 1st.

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We have been so lucky picking parks lately, and this one is no exception. Water’s Edge Motorcoach and RV Resort is situated right on the Rim Canal that encircles Lake Okeechobee, Florida’s largest lake. Lake Okeechobee (pronounced just like it’s spelled) means “Big Water” and is the 9th largest fresh water lake in the country behind the Great Lakes, Lake of the Woods (MN), Lliamna Lake (AK), and Lake Oahe (ND, SD). It comes in just ahead of #10 Lake Champlain (NY, VT).

Lake Okeechobee

The fishing should be decent and because that’s what Rick likes to do with his winter, it’s what I like too :) (more shopping time for me :))

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It’s no secret that we froze last winter in the Crystal River area. It seemed the entire winter was chilly and rainy. I think there were a few nice days in there but not too many :)

Coming into the park, passing the sites that are right on the canal…nice sites!20141203_102331

Everyone told us that we had to be south of Tampa to stay warm, so that became my mission, long before last winter was complete :) I reserved our space at Water’s Edge 11 months ago!

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We spent our first 2 winters as full-timers in Texas. Last winter and this, will be in Florida. The “master plan” is to spend the next 2 in the Southwest :) So to get a good comparison, we really needed to find a nice, warm place to call home this winter! That meant south of Tampa :)

Our “street”. If you look closely, you’ll see a splotch of red on the left. That’s the Jeep and Lucy :) Click to enlarge any of the pictures20141203_102756

We couldn’t be happier with our choice. This is a small park with only 30 sites which is exactly what we prefer. So far, everyone we’ve met has been very friendly.

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We are 10 miles from the city of Okeechobee. Some might consider that a drawback. For us, it’s a plus. We prefer to be “out of town” so to speak. I think we found another “gem”!

Lucy at “home”. Ignore the ladder and tubs. Rick was still setting up :)Lucy's Winter Home

We shall see how warm we stay this winter, but I have great expectations. It’s been around 80 +/- since we arrived. I think I can live with that :)

Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Enjoying the Florida Weather but Something is Fishy!

Before we left our little “Gem of a Campground”, WP Franklin, we managed to get in some kayaking with Mike and Terri on the Caloosahatchee River…

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We also enjoyed a little dining with friends…L to R: Dee, Mike, Jim, Rick, Gail, Terri

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Before we knew it, our 2 weeks was up and it was time to move on. We left WPF on Thursday, Nov. 20 and drove a whole 28 miles to our next location, Ortona South Campground. Love those short travels days! :)  Ortona is also a COE campground and is one of our all-time favorites.

Lucy is all settled into her site…#33, right in front of the fishing dock :)

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Views of the grounds around Lucy. Once again, I think we got the best site in the campground! :)

Ortona

That weekend, we met up with Mike and Terri and took in the Flea Market in Fort Myers before heading downtown to try Ford’s Garage for Linner. Ford’s Garage is a pretty cool and very noisy beer and burger joint housed in…what else?..an old garage, complete with a Ford Model T hanging from the ceiling over the bar.

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The food was pretty good too :)

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We also took in a Classic Car Show on our way to restaurant. The streets surrounding Ford’s Garage were closed off and all these cars, and many more, were on display. My favorite was the pickup truck, top row, 2nd from the left. It was gorgeous!

Classic Car Show

We joined our friends, Rick and Elaine, along with their friends, Dave and Debbie, for lunch and again, for Happy Hour one afternoon. Good times, good friends, good food, good wine :)

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In between all our socializing, Rick enjoyed fishing.

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He caught a few little Blue Gills, which work well for a nice fish fry :)

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BUT, this morning he landed this one…a 28½” Snook! He’s still smiling :)

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Guess what we’re having for dinner tonight?

This is our last day here at Ortona. Tomorrow morning we pack up and head to our winter destination, Water’s Edge Motorcoach and RV Resort in Okeechobee, where we will be for 3 months. We’ll miss Ortona, the beauty, the fishing and definitely, the sunsets.

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Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Gem of a Campground

To all our Vets: Happy Veteran’s Day and thank you for your service!

We pulled into W.P. Franklin COE Campground in Alva, Florida last Friday afternoon and fell in love. We had always heard this was a very nice campground and in high demand so I had planned ahead and booked our site 6 months in advance. The campground is on the Caloosahatchee River and every site is on the water.  There are no bad sites, but I think we have the best site in the park, hands down.

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Our site, #10, has water on 2 sides… our side yard

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and, our back yard.

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Rick is able to fish right from our site. (No fish stories to share…yet :))   We have a nice breeze off the water in the afternoon and it’s perfect for watching the boats go through the Franklin Locks, part of the Okeechobee Waterway.  Our friends, Mike and Terri, are volunteering at W.P. Franklin right now but they are across the lake in the volunteer campground. We can almost see them from here, but to get together we (or they)have to take a 20 minute drive around.

Today was one of those days :) We got together for the afternoon and visited Manatee Park

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and, although the weather is still a little too warm, we were lucky enough to see a few manatee.

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From there we headed into downtown Fort Myers to explore the waterfront and downtown area.

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Of course, no day spent with friends would be complete without food :)  We had Linner at The Connection, where we shared an outside table on the sidewalk. The food was very good, reasonable and plentiful!

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We returned home just in time to watch a beautiful sunset from the patio.

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The end. Thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Friday, November 7, 2014

Guess Where We Are?

This may be my shortest blog post yet! I’ll let the pictures do the talking (mostly).

We arrived at Disney and checked into Fort Wilderness on Wednesday afternoon.

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We hopped on the free Disney transportation system and explored some of the resorts and had a fabulous dinner at Downtown Disney.

We caught the fireworks from the boat on our way home.

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Thursday, we headed out to our intended destination, Epcot, for the Wine and Food Festival!

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We grazed our way, along with friends Bruce and Laura, through the myriad of offerings all day long :) What fun! We ate plenty but no food pictures. I simply never remembered to take one :)

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After 9 miles of walking, we finally called it a day and headed home to put our feet up.

It was a whirlwind visit, our first but not our last. Today, we leave for W.P. Franklin COE Park close to Fort Myers. See you there and thanks for stopping by. Turtle

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Savannah Southern Hospitality

We pulled into Hardeeville RV Park, just north of Savannah, on Monday afternoon. This is a nice Passport America park with full hook-up pull-thru sites, cable and Wi-Fi and no time limit on the discount. Although Hardeeville is in SC, just across the Georgia border, it’s only minutes to downtown Savannah from here.

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We had never been to Savannah before and I had visions of stately plantation houses and “Gone With the Wind” artifacts all over. What I found was nothing of the sort :) The film was centered around the fictional plantation “Tara” but Tara was located about 20 miles south of Atlanta, not Savannah.  The Hollywood film set was dismantled and shipped to Georgia in 1959 with plans to re-assemble it in the Atlanta area as a tourist attraction. That never happened, as the Margaret Mitchell estate refused to license anything that sought to capitalize on the novel. What is left of the façade (there were no rooms, just the outside façade) is now on permanent display at the Margaret Mitchell House and Museum in Atlanta. Guess I’ll have to go there to get my “Gone With the Wind” fix :)

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Even though Savannah is not full of stately plantations, it is full of old stately homes, streets lined with huge trees dripping with Spanish moss and beautiful wooded parks.

Savannah

Note the third floor iron balcony of the house below. The balcony goes all the way around but there are no doors in which to access the balcony. You had to climb out the window if you wanted fresh air :) We were told this was because, way back when,  homeowners were taxed on the number of doors on their building! That has since changed and now they are taxed on everything, just like everyone else :)

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An architectural touch you see all over the city are the iron dolphin downspouts, which are supposed to be good luck.

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Located at Greene Square is what’s known as the Bachelor House, the smallest free standing house in the historic district. Isn’t it cute? It’s a little over 500 sq. feet and features 1 BR, 1 bath, kitchen and LR. Those of us that live in RV’s would find that downright spacious! :)

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Savannah is the oldest city in Georgia and was planned with 24 squares (parks) which are within the historic district. Of those 24, 22 are still in existence.

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One of the squares, Chippewa Square was the site of the “Forrest Gump” park bench scene where he talks about life being like a box of chocolates. Picture a park bench in front of this wall. That was Hollywood’s spin. In reality, there are many park benches but they are all inside the square, not out looking at the street.

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Over 200 movies have been filmed in Savannah. It is also home to the famous Lucas Theater built in 1921. It went through a 14 year renovation between 1986 and 2000 and is now owned by the Savannah College of Art and Design. It is currently hosting the Savannah Film Festival which has been very successful for many years.

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Another highlight of Savannah is the Colonial Park, a cemetery that closed to burials in 1853. Many prominent Georgians were laid to rest here as well as almost 700 Savannahians who died in the yellow fever epidemic of 1820. It was the original burial site of Major General Nathaniel Greene until his remains were reinterred in Johnson Square in 1901.

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Savannah was the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girls Scouts of America.

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And, of course, Savannah is known as one of the most haunted cities in the country and, being Halloween, we had a little fun seeing the Pirate House where a tipsy pirate filled us in on the history of the building.

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I mustn’t forget City Hall! This one pretty much puts all other City Halls I’ve ever seen to shame :) That is pure 24K gold leaf covering that dome. It’s reminiscent of some of the Duamos we saw in Italy!

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When we got tired of exploring Savannah we took a drive to Hilton Head Island to check out how the other 1% live :) Hilton Head is a combination of high end resorts, high end golf courses and high end shops and restaurants. If you are a golfer, I imagine you would be in 7th heaven here.

We just wanted to get to the beach. The beach is entirely public…all of it. The problem is, 99% of the beach access is private. Therefore, you must hunt for that 1%. We eventually came upon Islander Beach. The parking area and boardwalk to the beach were beautiful!

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Tada!

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We enjoyed a nice long walk on the beach before heading back to Lucy.

Our time here is winding down. We awoke to 43º this morning and it hasn’t gotten much warmer than that all day. With the wind whipping, we chose not to stray far from home today and instead, decided to check out a famous local attraction, The Pink Pig BBQ. The Pink Pig has been featured in Southern Living Magazine, Travel and Leisure and The Food Network.

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We went for a late lunch and both of us ordered a chopped pork bbq plate which came with a dinner roll, homemade Cole Slaw and a bowl of Brunswick stew. Very budget friendly place :) $7.99 each. Can’t beat that and it was very good!

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As you can imagine, the WHOLE place was PINK :) Doesn’t Rick look cute in pink? :)

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That’s all I’ve got this time! Thanks for stopping by. Turtle