Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sanibel Island

As I mentioned during  my last week of this trip I stayed on Sanibel Island.  In the past we were always in a condo right on the beach.  It was different camping.  After biking 20 - 30 miles almost every day, I would have lobird 640 x 480ved to have just relaxed on the screened in porch in the condo - no such luck with the RV.  But I did have birds just across from my  site.  The campground owners obviously love bird, they have all types - my favorite was the Rose-Breasted Cockatoo from Australia.   If you are ever on Sanibel during the peak season she puts on an educational show at 10:00 every day except Sunday. 

One day I biked to and around Ding Darling wildlife refuge and biked back to the visitor center to find that there was a bike tour starting in another 30 minutes.  So I did it again - ok this time, it was only half a way around the refuge, but it was interesting since we had 2 volunteers to tell us about the birds and plants we were seeing.  Thairplant 640 x 480ey suggested that another activity I do is to visit the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary in Naples.  I did that the next day and was impressed.  There was a good bit of wind, so some of the birds stayed out of sight (or really out of the wind).  But   there was plenty to see.  I was just as impressed with the natural setting - I loved the air plants.  At the lettuce lakes there were a lot of birds spoonbill and ibis 640 x 480 feeding - very interesting.  Just this spot was worth the drive to the Sanctuary.  I have always liked Rosetta Spoonbills and there were several here along with Wood Storks, egrets, herons, ibis...   

I don't know why, but the water at Sanibel was prettier than I have ever seen it - a sanibel blue water 640 x 480beautiful blue/green.  The picture below was taken on the bay side of the island during one of my bike rides. 


I enjoyed camping on Sanibel, I'm sure I will do it again, but I think I will also rent a condo again too as that makes the trip very different.

During my trip I learned a lot.  Even though I'm not fulltiming  yet, I had wanted to act as though I was so that I could get more in the full-timing mode rather than the vacation mode.  That didn't happen.  I was definitely in the vacation mode.  I've heard that it takes a while for fulltimer's to get out of the vacation mode.  Maybe I never will, who knows.  But I do need to learn to slow down and take care of some business (such as updating this blog, cleaning the RV, taking care of monthly bills...) while on the road. 

By the way, I used Windows Live Writer to do this blog.  It's much easier than the default editor that is on Blogspot.  Thanks Jim for the suggestion!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Myakka River and Hillsborough River State Parks

Wouldn't you know that I finally find a place where I can get internet access and I realized that I haven't downloaded my pictures yet!! I'll add them later.

On entering Myakka, the lady at the Ranger station stuck her head out the window of the entrance station and yelled at me to stop. Too late, I heard a crunch. Luckily for me it was just the exhaust pipe for the generator. I had gotten a bit too close to a low rock wall and scrapped it up a bit, she commented that happened quite a bit. While driving to my campsite I was thinking of all kinds of funny things that I could put in my blog about my entry into Myakka. I get to the campground and passed my campsite. Most of the sites are fairly large, but mine is very tight. I get out and figure the best way to back in. I slowly start backing, closely watching the 2 trees that are only about 12 feet apart (keep in mind my vehicle is 8.5 feet wide) and I heard another CRUNCH. This one sounded a lot worse than the first one and boy was it. I hit a tree and damaged my bumper and endcap. After I got in and settled a man came and told me that it was a rookie mistake-- I was paying so much attention to the 2 trees that I thought could be a problem that I ignored the tree I hit. But I swear that I think the tree jumped out at me!! Did I mention that I've been sick. On top of damaging my RV I had a fever in the morning and a miserable cough.

Myakka is a nice park, there are plenty of places to hike and ride bikes. Since I wasn't feeling great I didn't do any of the off road bike trails, but I did bike on the roads and I did a few hikes. I watched 2 sandhill cranes scare off a bald eagle and talked to the Bird guru a while. By the way, I was in site 20 for those of you who want to stay away from the site where the trees jump out at you!

Hillsborough River State park is a beautiful park and I was very fortunate to have an easy to get into site!! I was still not feeling well and thinking I might have overdone it at Myakka I took the first day there easy, just sitting by the river watching the alligators and the folks canoeing the river. I was here several years ago and they have some fairly easy off road bike trails that go right by the river and some great scenery. Since I still wasn't feeling well, I decided to just go hiking and not ride my bike. I will come back here when I have more time and am feeling better.

I am currently on Sanibel Island. I've come here many times before, but I've always stayed in a condo right on the beach. The campground is about 1/4 mile away from the beach so it is a bit different. Also, this time of year is their busy season. We typically go in December just before the high season begins - much cheaper (accomodations are about half the price in Dec) and less crowded. I don't know that I would come back again this time of year. The traffic just driving to the library to get on-line was horrible.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Armadillo's, dolphins, and space shuttles!

I started the trip at a KOA just outside of Savannah. The main reason for this stop was to wash the RV and just organize. Note, if you need to wash your RV the Savannah South KOA is a great place, it only cost me $3.00 to wash the RV.

I attempted to pack as though I was full timing. I've only been gone 9 days and I've already reorganized twice. I'm sure as I learn more about this lifestyle that I'll figure things out. Well, after 2 days on my trip my computer broke. All the lights came on, but the screen remained dark. I meet a couple at Crooked River State park who live in St. Mary's and they told me about a computer shop on King Bay's Road. I don't know the name of it, but it was a great place. He had it working in about 5 minutes and didn't charge me anything!! And I learned that removing the battery and putting it back can solve some problems on a PC, even when you aren't using the battery - strange!! Between not having a computer and then camping at Hanna Park where I didn't have access it's been about a week since I've been on-line - I'm going through withdrawals!!!

My first stop was at Crooked River State Park. The main reason I camped here was to go to Cumberland Island. I've tent camped on the island many times, but I haven't been in about 10 years. It was great. The weather was perfect, I saw Armadillo's, wild horses and lots of wide open beach!!! Here is a picture of the beach on Cumberland Island just the way I like it - very few people, one of the trails and some wildlife.

Then it was on to Hanna Park, just outside of Jacksonville, FL. I meet up with the SouthEast Lazy Daze group for several days. Lazy Daze RVs aren't very common so it's funny to see so many at one time. You can see a red Lazy Daze behind mine in the picture below. The park was great. It was just a few minute bike ride to the beach. Every morning I was at the beach for sunrise and walked about 3 miles. Unfortunately the sun only rose one day, all the other day's it was so foggy you could barely see. Those days, it didn't take long for me to be wet from the fog and dew.

In addition to walking and riding my bike, we socialized and ate. Why does socializing always involve eating? The get together was over on Sunday, but I stayed until Monday. Fortunately for me and the other 7 Lazy Dazers who stayed because the Space Shuttle was rescheduled for Sunday night. We went to the beach and watched it. I didn't really know what to expect, but it was really interesting. Notice on the last picture that you can see where the rocket boosters separate from the shuttle, you will probably have to click on the picture to see it. I don't know too much about the shuttle, but after seeing this I think I'll do a bit of research.
The pictures in my blog are very hard to place using blogspot. A fellow Lazy Dazer told me about some software that I could use, but I haven't loaded it yet. I think it's time I looked into it. Lazy Dazer - Is that what folks who own a Lazy Daze RV are called?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Few days from now it's the beach, but today it's SNOW!

So my last day at work was Friday. I am officially retired!!! My department at work gave me a great luncheon (Thanks guys!). So this weekend I'm planning what I will be taking for my first long trip in my Lazy Daze RV. Let's see shorts, t-shirts, suntan lotion... And what is it doing outside right now, it's snowing!! We don't get snow very often in this part of Georgia (east of Atlanta), so it's a big deal. It's rather funny how much attention the news media gives it! Here are a some pictures taken in my yard. That's not water on the lens, those are "snow clumps"! I don't know what the term actually is, but thats what they were -- just big clumps of snow!!