Monday, March 19, 2018

Florida's Nature Coast

In Florida, March means Spring Break!  Kelly Park did not empty out on Sunday because it was Spring Break.  Our new friends, Claudia and Peter left on Monday and on Tuesday we pulled out – heading west to the Gulf.

 March also means that it is impossible to get into any state or county park unless you had your reservations made months earlier.  Passport America is a discounted camping organization that H uses when we can’t get into other campgrounds that we want.  In the PA catalog, Cedars Lake Mobile Home & RV Park sounded nice – and when we pulled into their drive it did look nice.  Our first glimpse was of the pretty swimming pool and the bright sun mural that was painted on the recreation/bath house building behind it.  It was downhill from there – campsites crammed in at all angles and dilapidated old buildings scattered thru out.  The “lake” was just a small pond with overgrown trees around it. But it’s in the town of Homosassa Springs - and just down the road from the state park that bares it’s name!  Homosassa Springs is a 1st magnitude spring that feeds both the state park zoo and the main river itself.  The animals in the park are all native to Florida – even the hippo Lu, who was officially given citizen status by the state of Florida! 

Back in January, when we were parked in Timble Park (SPFB
for Dec/Jan) we had taken a daytrip to Crystal River to find places where you could swim/kayak with the Manatees – now the weather
Hunter Park
was warmer and we were back in the area!   In Crystal River there are 5 parks where you can do both.  Hunter Springs Park is a newly renovated LOVELY park and beach where you can launch a kayak near several of the famed “springs” where manatees hang out.  We
Hunter Park
launched our little orange crafts and paddled around the large cove where the tour boats brought their new snorklers to swim and look for fish and manatees.  We even attempted to paddle out of the cove and across Kings Bay to go find the springs called Three Sisters Springs but the wind was too strong and H’s back said NO!  Back up on shore at the park, we were watching the tour boat anchored out in the bay when we spotted the manatee and her little one that was following her.  The hoard of tiny “noodled” swimmers headed for the pair but Mama Mammal headed across the line of swim buoys - right towards H who had grabbed the camera and had headed out into waist deep water!  His pictures did not come out - he must have stirred up the water just enough to make it cloudy.

Our 3 nights came and went quickly.  H struggled but got the train out of the sand that we had become wedged in and got us up on the road and pointed north up St Rt 19 to Chiefland.  Our next 3 nights were in another P A Resort.  To get there we turned on Rt 361 and wandered around and thru the really picturesque town of
Old Pavilion at low tide
Steinhatchee! We made a mental note to return and explore it!  The turnoff to Keaton Beach said “No Exit” and it did dead end at a park and beach that was a half-mile past the resort.  The Old Pavilion RV Resort had been damaged by the last hurricane and was still under repairs but
the electrical, water and sewer hookups were all new.  The “old pavilion” part must have been the bathhouse – because it’s gone and has not been replaced yet.  The old fishing pier was also gone with only crooked pylons left in its place like so many burned out trees in a forest.  In the late afternoon sun, Cormorants, Pelicans and Terns rested on the stark tops, looking over the sparkling waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  The posts along the breakwall looked as tho they struggled but managed to survive the storm.  The previous park residents had decorated each post with garish looking outfits that looked like New Orleans the day after Mardi Gras.  Some were just faded but others were ripped to shreds.  To replace the fishing pier a new patio was built and was right behind our site!  A perfect place to fly a drone on a calm morning or watch the sunset in the evening!

 H sold our trusty little fold up bikes!  Within an hour of backing in, he was chatting with our new neighbors next door and BAM! - They were sold!  Now H is really excited because he can finally
Keaton Beach Park
order the new electric ones he wants!  We have no bikes to ride at Topsail!!  We didn’t even get to ride them to the little park at the end of the road!  So we took the truck and the drone and got more great shots of the Gulf at low tide! 

While out exploring this new to us area we stopped at a new looking park and the boat launch at the end of one of the many canals that feeds into the river and bay.  As the day progressed, the line up of trucks and boat trailers waiting to launch got longer and longer.  We HAD to stay to watch a bright red airboat get slid backwards into the brackish water.  It slid all right – right off the back of the trailer – about 3 to 4 ft from the (low tide!) waters
edge.  Then we really had to stay to see how he was going to rectify the situation.  He did – he just slid the shiny red boat around and pointed it towards the water and pushed it right in!!

And now these 3 nights have come and gone.  It’s time to head from the Nature Coast of Florida, up and around the bend to the Emerald Shores of the Panhandle.   Mexico Beach is our next stop!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Kelly Park

The GPS wanted H to take Rt 50 across from Titusville to Orlando and then turn north on Rt 441 (the Orange Blossom Trail) to Apopka.  NO WAY – not gonna pull this “train” thru all that Orlando traffic and stop light after stoplight!   A MUCH better way was up Rt 1 to RT 46 to Sanford and west, then a drop down to Kelly Park Rd!!  Sometimes 2 lanes, sometimes 4, the road crossed the cattle fields and swamps surrounding the St Johns River.  We passed thru orange cone-d areas of new road building that will add to the maze of traffic trying to get in and out of Orlando.
Kelly Park
Check in time at Kelly Park Campground was at 2pm.  Crap!  It’s just after noon – again!  And again – we were not allowed in the campground.  Kelly Park is one of 5 Orange County Campgrounds – as is Trimble Park and Moss Park.  Kelly Park is one of the oldest and is in the most need of some upgrading.  The drives in the park proper are narrow, winding and bordered with curbs.  We were allowed to park in the picnic area till the time we could enter the campground - - but from the check in parking lot to get to the picnic parking lot – we had to exit the park, make a left turn onto the roadway, back up and drive back into the park to navigate the narrow drive to the designated lot.  Sheesh!  Then to make matters worse – to get from the picnic parking area (where we could see our empty campsite) to the campground area, we had to - - drive out of the park, make a left turn onto the roadway, back up and drive back in.  The “roads” in the park were way too narrow for the “train” to make those tight right turns.
Kelly Park

But our site is our favorite!  Site 13 is at the end of the loop next to the wooded area that divides the campground from the picnic area and the walk to the spring area. The view out our big back window is of pine and live oak trees and a rustic
rail fence where the big tom turkey and his harem parade on their way to the other side of the park.  Our picnic table is on a cement pad and is the perfect place for my sewing machine!  The trees are home to a plethora of songbirds and woodpeckers! – And squirrels!

H took advantage of a cool (cold!) quiet morning and we headed for the springs area to try out his drone!  While he flew his whirly camera I also caught a few good shots of the mist rising off of the still warm waters.  What do you think??  Be sure to notice the tall round top palm tree in all 3 pictures!

Of course we also went to my – hopefully - LAST eye specialist appointment!  This doctor was the last doctor that I had seen when we were in Trimble Park so he knew how bad the ulcer had been at the beginning.  He delivered the wonderful news that H and I had been waiting for – HEALED!!  I have a scar on the cornea but it will not affect my vision!  The clear contact lens was removed and I was free to go!  No more drugs in my poor eye – just the rejection drop that I had been using since my original surgery!  That great news was shared with Dick and Sharon who met us for lunch after my doctor visit!  More yummy seafood!
Kelly Park parking lot

On our way back to camp, we noticed a bunch of OLD cars out and about. The next day – they were all coming into the picnic parking area – and parking!  There was over a hundred Model T’s of all colors and models – coupes, racecars, trucks and convertibles.  There was even a fire truck and a farmers produce truck!  They were from as far away as California, Ohio and Michigan. They were all in a club and this was their Florida trip and rally!  After they finished their picnic lunches in the park – off they went as quietly as they arrived!
Lakr Eola
H had the idea to go find the park and lake in downtown Orlando that is always featured on the local TV stations.  Lake Eola is actually a 23 ft  deep sinkhole.  The lake takes up 23 acres of downtown and is surrounded by the park which also has the Walt Disney multicolored Amphitheater, the red Chinese Pagoda, multiple playgrounds and almost a mile of cement walkways and people watching seating.  The lake is home to throngs of swans – Black, Trumpeter and Mute!  All kinds of birds claim the small island as their roost!  Restaurants, small shops, parking garages and tall apartment buildings, surround the park.  There’s even a grocery store on the first floor of one tall shiny building!  On our way out of the downtown area we passed the Amway Center - home of the Orlando Magic Basketball AND the Orlando Solar Bears Hockey Teams, and the new Camping World Soccer Stadium where the Orlando Lions now play!
Kelly Park on the weekend
Kelly Park is quiet during the week but now it is the weekend so the place is full of tents and kids and bikes!  Families that are all having fun!   Even the group camp area is crowded again, which really puts a burden on the small bathroom facility!  H and I know what time to go for our showers and what time NOT too!!   Sunday afternoon will see the park empty out and peace will be restored!  Then it’ll be time for us to move on - again!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Lake Worth Titusville

The resident Muscovy ducks wander thru the grounds each day.  There were 3 that hung out together.  One day, the duck with the white head and neck showed up with an additional entourage – 7 tiny ducklings – each pecking their way along obediently behind their mother, their tiny voices squeaking incessantly!  They had to be brand new since they each still had the little hook on the tip of their bill that had aided in escaping from their shells.   As the day wore on, the bravery of one grew more than he did!  While his siblings stayed close to mom, this little adventurer wandered farther and farther from the security of the group.  None of them were afraid of humans!  We saw these tiny creatures for one day and then they were gone.  My heart was sad because it reminded me of the brand new baby sandhill cranes we used to see at Moss Park.  They too were there one day and gone the next.
Start of Tesla in space

Saturday was sunny and grew hotter as the day grew longer.  B&C were coming the next day to see the 24TH Lake Worth Street Painting Festival in downtown Lake Worth.  We found the shuttle parking lot at the nearby Palm County College and climbed aboard the
almost completed Tesla in space 3D
air-conditioned bus for the mile or so ride to the festival area so we could scope out the restaurants and also check on the emerging art masterpieces.   These featured artists came from all over the United States as far as California and Utah!  There were the professional artists, the local ones and even children got in on creating their own small masterpieces!  The festival encompassed an area 5 blocks long by 3 blocks wide where traffic was barricaded off so pedestrians and artists could reign supreme for 2 days!   There were bands, other entertainment and food vendors galore!   The artwork - all in chalk - was unbelievable!    On Saturday, a lot of the larger sections of roadway were still in the white chalk outline on large black squares stage, while some had sections full of bright colors and amazing details. Even on day one, the professionals had their special viewers set up on tripods so visitors could see the artistry in 3-D!

There was the tiniest beginning of the Spaceman in the red Tesla; the main characters in the new movie “Black Panther”, Steve McQueen, Mr. Rogers, Dorothy from Oz, Elf, Captain America and even a pastel sea turtle.  One  started “painting” was just a purple flower and two very green eyes surrounded by white outlines.

On Sunday, Bud & Carol met us at the college parking lot and since we knew the crowds would be overwhelming on this second and final day of the festival, we headed for the professional area first and stood amazed at how much each chalk art creation had progressed.   Strolling from one great painting to another, thankful for a small breeze and sporadic cooling shade, we tried to take in
each and every amazing piece of colorful art expression.  Sadly, the festival would come to an end at 6pm and the downtown streets once again opened to traffic.  And then, what if it rained?  All that fantastic talent washed down the (storm) drain. 

And my eye?  My final appointment with doctor #4 was a mixed bag of news.  While the previous diagnosis was that the ulcer was healing – this report was that it was not yet totally healed and should have been.  His last effort was to place a thin patch of placenta over the unhealed wound area and then cover it with a clear contact lens.  It is a clear lens – so – NO – I do not have one blue and one brown eye!  The first 2 days were uncomfortable but then the vision improved and the patch and lens could not be felt.  My next appointment is back at Mt Dora at the office of doctor #1 – we’ll see what he says.

Moving day arrived and we headed north to Titusville and Manatee Hammock, a Brevard County Campground and Park - right on the Indian River and directly across from the launch sites at Cape Canaveral.    Manatee Hammock used to be a quiet, older campground but since the last hurricane and the amount of damage it endured, rules have been tightened and changed. Even tho the storm was last fall, orange snow fence was still outlining several areas in the park that must have sustained damage. Anyone caught going over that fence was to be kicked out of the park.  Oops!   We arrived at a little after noon but were not allowed to move onto the empty site because “check in time was at 3pm”. We walked the park and did not get caught stepping over the orange fence! We wasted more time at McD’s and then pulled back in and parked on the unkempt, unmowed corner site.

Tuesday, Lois & Dave drove up from Cocoa Beach and the 4 of us drove to a seafood restaurant that H had wanted to go try.  New York New York is a neighborhood place at the end of a dead-end road and right on the river.  The food was good but H could have used a bit more blackening on his flounder!
Port Canaveral
Wednesday, it was our turn to drive to Port Canaveral and meet Ron & Nancy for lunch at Rusty’s Seafood Grill.  Rusty’s is our fun “go to” place for seafood because dining is right on the protected dock on the river that is busy with boats and cruise ship activity.  A ride down and back on A1A thru Cocoa Beach finished up our daytrip.  It was time to pack and move again on Thursday. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Lake Worth -- Palm Beach

We were making good time – heading east from Belle Glade - heading towards Lake Worth when several police cars with red and blue flashing lights, pulled out in front of us blocking the double lanes of eastbound traffic. Two more squad cars were holding back the westbound traffic further down the road.  Slowly, the biggest
tow vehicle we have ever seen, struggled to get the biggest, longest conglomeration of bright orange steel and trailers crept out from a side road and onto the roadway in front of us.  There were 8 axles on each supporting trailer and each axle had 8 wheels – making it 128 tires on the ground!  There was a man on the front trailer and another on the back trailer, each assisting with guiding the monster around each corner.  Of course there was a guide vehicle in front and another behind with lights flashing.  The blue and red flashing beacons on the top of each squad car brought up the rear as we obediently got in line behind them and progressed along the highway at a whopping 5 mph.  The Bexel Brothers Co. has been moving extremely large objects across America’s roadways since the early 1900’s.  Their website shows them moving the Space Shuttle on another one of their long low trailers!

NOW! This is a picture window

John Prince Park & Campground covers as many square miles as Lake Okeechobee but 300 of those acres encompass the long narrow waters of Lake Osborne.  The sites for the transient campers line the western shore so our big picture window faced the usually calm view of the lake.  There are the usual herons, cormorants, Muscovy ducks, egrets and gulls but H enjoys the skydiving pelicans the most!  From way up high, they tuck their wings back along their sides and dive head first into the lake with a huge white splash, momentarily disappearing but resurfacing with a fish in their pouch.    On our last stay here we were on the site next to this one and we took pictures of a big
Iguana on the large tree by the shoreline. This year we saw an even more impressive creature crawling up the very same tree that was now a mere 10 feet from the window by H’s recliner.  As if it felt threatened, it threw back its head and shook the large flap of skin below its chin.  Too bad, each time the camera snapped – the timing was off and I missed the shot.  Finally, it had enough and up the tree it scampered.  One of the staff ladies said there were at least 100 Iguanas here in the park and that they were very invasive.  There have been 4 of them in various sizes and colors – ranging from bright green (young ones) to darker shades of black/brown and orange, right here in our “yard” at the same time!

Lake Worth is just south of West Palm Beach and it’s even pricier neighbor of Palm Beach.  See why these cities are called PALM Beach?  After my eye appointment we followed the palm-lined road to downtown and then over the wide causeway to the REAL Palm Beach where that downtown is defined by Worth Ave and it’s small upscale boutiques.  The narrow winding road along the coast seemed even narrower with the towering 10 ft tall immaculately groomed hedges that obscured the mansions behind them from all of our prying eyes. We even passed by the Trump estate – Mar a Largo.  He was coming to town soon and the signs were already up – reminding the residents of the impending road closures because of his visit.

North of Palm Beach we found the Loggerhead Turtle Rescue.  A visit to the facility proved interesting with the large blue 3 ft tall “swimming pool” type containments for each rescued endangered turtle.  Each pool had a viewing window and signs explaining when and where the creature was rescued and why.  A protective barrier in the form of a long curved brightly colored mural divided the play area/garden from the sunshaded containers of healing turtles.  All that are able are returned to the sea when healed and healthy.

After almost 2 months of dealing with this corneal ulcer and the amount of strong drugs that I have put into the eye daily, this new specialist has given us the wonderful news that my eye is definitely better!  The wound is finally healing over!  It will leave a scar but it will not affect my vision, which is already returning to its pre-ulcer level.  It is still super sensitive tho to the wind, the cold and the bright sunlight.  The doctor has backed off the drugs down to twice a day, has added back the steroid drops I had been taking for rejection and has added a soothing moisturizing drop to the line up.  What great news!  Thank you Lord – and all my prayer warriors!

Our stay here is just about over.  Some of our list of things to do have been done – the bikes have finally been ridden on the miles of bike trails here in the park.  The sandy beaches of the ocean have been found, including the jetty at the Boynton Inlet.  We’ve even struggled thru a few really bad flea markets!   This weekend is the Chalk Art Festival in downtown Lake Worth.  Bud and Carol are coming for it also!   Our next stop is Manatee Hammock up in Titusville.  Too bad there is no space launch scheduled – the view from that park would have been awesome!

Monday, February 19, 2018

South Lake Okeechobee

After 10 years of retirement and 9 of them wintering all over Florida, there are LOTS of places that are: Been there – Done that.  Salt Springs, Trimble Park, WP Franklin, Ortona and South Bay and Torry Island are all on our SeePreviousFloridaBlog list.  

South Bay RV Park & Campground is a Palm Beach County Park on the very southeast bay of Lake O.  As we left the cattle fields near Labelle and Ortona, and headed east, the terrain became more and more divided into neat patches of agriculture – mostly sugar cane and sweet corn, growing in coal black dirt called “muck” and surrounded by miles of irrigation ditches.  In the sky, thick clouds of yellow/gray smoke
from the burning sugar cane fields  rose to meet the white puffy clouds above.  We were nestled down behind the 35 ft tall Herbert Hoover Dike that separates South Bay Campground from the canal and the sawgrass islands that line the lake.  Even the setting sun had to fight to shine thru the overpowering mass of smoke to share its last ray with the world.  While doing laundry in the little sheltered block building there was the ever-present whiff of burning and the dusting of ash.
South Bay campground

H chose a calm morning to launch his drone to capture a few pictures of the park from a different angle than my camera could afford.  Look closely – can you find us? Squint and look for the bright blue truck!  You can see the tiny drive as it climbs the earthen dike to the top.  Even with my bad eye I could still beat H at least half way up the steep path!!  We both were huffing and puffing as we pushed our little bikes to the top.  Around the lake is a bike trail that would normally stretch around the 700 plus acre lake but in the last several years, reconstruction has chopped up the trail for repairs so we were not able to ride all the way to Belle Glades Torry Island Campground.  6 miles was enough for that day!  Just on the other side of the dike is one of the many boat launches and docks available to the public. On the left side of the photo is St Rt 27/80 which goes from Ft Myers, east to Lake O, around the bottom edge and over to the Atlantic side of the state!

One more night was needed to keep us from being homeless before our move to John Prince Park in Lake Worth.  The staff in the front office was obviously not attentive to the note on the computer screen saying that H was first in line for the next available site. On Friday afternoon, he walked into the office AGAIN to see if any thing had opened up – just as another gentleman was giving money on a site that had just been canceled and now open.  Oh well, we’ll just move up around the lake to Torry Island where we had stayed 2 years ago.
Torry Island campground
Torry Island Campground has an area of RV’s that enjoy the full hookups and nicer newer facilities.  The outer edges are way more “rustic” and the old block bathhouses are just adequate.  But our friends from our last stay were there and still parked in their snug corner of the long fingered peninsula - across from the hectic boat launch for all the early morning fishermen and airboat aficionados.  Debi and Jeff are full timers in their turquoise and crème colored fifth wheel and Janie and Bob are in the dark motorhome.  Of course you can see H’s bright blue
Torry Island campground
truck slid in on the opposite corner!  Across the canal from us is one of the dams that hold back the water from the lake.  The large crane is just one of many that is working to fortify the dike.  When at South Bay – we were able to ride JUST up to that area and had to turn around.

In the second photo, you can see the airboat that is also in the previous picture.  Across the canal is the bike path at the top of the dike. In the distance is South Bay - by bike trail it is 2 miles away – by road, pulling a trailer it is more like 8 to 10 miles! 

On Monday morning, the 6 of us went out to breakfast together and the Black & Gold Grill was decided upon.  D&J arrived 1st and chose a table for all of us.  The place was almost empty and the servers must have gone out also!  At first we didn’t notice or didn’t care since we all were chatting away but finally our orders were taken and drinks were delivered.  D reminded our server that we needed silverware.  And we waited.  A very large take-out order was picked up.  And we waited.  Someone came out from the kitchen to advise us that they had run out of eggs and had sent someone for more.  We waited.  D went up for coffee refills and reminded the staff that we still needed silverware.  Finally 2 orders were brought out and J flipped his stiff omelet over to find the bottom was burnt.  Janie’s oatmeal must have been made yesterday out of just water.  D went up to get silverware and the server snipped – I WAS going to bring them.  My plate was handed to me from across the table. My potatoes were COLD and my eggs were barely luke warm.  D couldn’t take it anymore and got up to storm out and we all followed.   Janie grabbed some of my cold potatoes and handed them to the woman in charge.   McDonald’s was just down the way and H was 1st in line  - but still had to wait for it to be brought out!  Yeh, but he was NUMBER 1!

Enough!   Let’s hit the road and head to Lake Worth and John !Prince Park

Friday, February 9, 2018

Ortona lock and dam

Remember - WP Franklin and now Ortona Lock and Dam are 2 of the 3 locks and dams that help adjust the water flow on the Caloosahatchee River between Lake Okeechobee and the Gulf of Mexico.  Last year, both dams were spewing water because the really shallow Lake O had way too much water and the government was trying to get the level down to protect the frail dike that surrounds it and the farms and families that live on the other side.  This year – all was fine.  Ortona is not an island and has 50 ample sized campsites – about a third of which actually face the river.  Unlike WP, you are allowed to walk the narrow passageway over the dam and over to the lock on the other side!  In years past, we’ve usually parked on the far side and then walked over the lock and dam and then walked thru the campground. SPFBS!! 

This Corp of Engineer Park is also very difficult to get into but H managed to squeeze out several days – but with 2 “shuffles” within the park itself.  Our first 2 nights were on site #48 – a very lovely site in the first loop.  From there we moved to the other loop to site
#9 – which was only available for one night. Our next move was to be to site #7 – two sites down.  Easy, right??   On our only day on site #9 I had an eye appointment in Ft Myers. Out on the highway, just out of the campground, in the turning lane TO the campground was an old “Beverly Hillbilly” kind of truck/camper that was broke down.  We knew this truck from its one night next to us back in WP!!  H and I both just KNEW this guy was going to end up on site #7 – where we were to move to the very next morning.  When we returned to camp that evening, sure enough – “Baughb” (that’s how he spells his name: BOB!) was on site #7.  He and his “RV” had been carried to his site on a flat bed trailer – but he promised to have it running before 11am – check out/move over time!  When 11am arrived we were just about all packed down and ready but the owner of the duck taped/baling wired truck was no where to be seen. Another camper had taken him to town for parts!   Once he finally got the truck started and pulled out (just after 1pm) H also pulled out and backed the “train” down to our new site!  I asked the ranger if there was going to be a new rule stating that you had to enter the campground under your own power to be able to camp there!

Our days on site #7 went fast!  Our new friends from WP, Bill & Sharon also moved to Ortona but were at the farthest end of our loop so our feet and/or bikes were put to good use!   Lots of big beautiful boats kept the waterways busy, coming and going thru the locks!  One day a fellow camper and I watched 2 otters frolic in and out of the grasses in the little creek that divided the 2 camp loops, as they swam in the sunshine towards the river.  I was up early each morning and watched the marshmallow sun rise up over the palms and scrub of the cattle fields behind us, making the mist and the fog glow a soft pink in the warming sky.   With my eye problems, we hadn’t even gotten to visit with dear Carol and Bud up in Lake Placid but we picked a day and headed north to see their new little winter home and enjoy another great Mexican lunch with our friends!

Last October, H had an episode involving a blood clot in his left leg.  Another painful one has shown up and so he spent Sunday afternoon in the EMERGENCY room in Ft Myers.  I sat in the truck in the shade  - - way too much flu going around in hospital emergency rooms down here!  On Tuesday we both spent the majority of the afternoon in our respective doctors offices - H seeing a vascular surgeon and me with the last of my visits with my Ft Myers corneal specialist!   Good news on both counts!  H’s new health aggravation is under control and the meds are working!  Awwwww- but the doctor told him to give up the cigars.  I’ve (we’ve) been to see the corneal specialist twice since being at Ortona and he feels that healing has finally begun!  The eye still has a long way to go but the ulcer is smaller.  The cause of the problem has never been discovered and he does not know which of the drugs is bringing the healing so I am to take all 4 of them still.  He seemed pleased with the new specialist that I have an appointment with in West Palm Beach! 

Wednesday arrived and it was time to move on.  It’s a long way
from Ortona to South Bay on the southeast corner of LakeOkeechobee – maybe 50 miles anyway!!   Bill and Sharon were out to wish us well and safe travels as the 4 of us watched for the lasttime, two beautiful vessels enter and exit the lock, heading towardsthe Gulf of Mexico.  Sharon snapped this picture of us and promised to keep in touch.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Fort Myers area part 2

My eye appointment was at 10am.  I was expecting good news but got NONE.  The doctor had seen no improvement and now added ANOTHER type of compounded antibiotic to my arsenal of drops, and – he took MORE cultures – digging down deeper than the others had.  I felt the pressure and the strange feeling as he took what felt like a steak knife to my fragile eye.  No, it didn’t hurt – till the numbing agent wore off - then it hurt for 3 days!  I was so frustrated.  It’s been a month now since it has all started and this eye problem has taken over everything that we do – or now can’t do.  The truck is getting lots of miles put on his new tires but our bikes and our walking shoes are not! 

After the doctors appointment and the stop at the pharmacy, we ended up down by the harbor in downtown Ft Myers.  We’re checking off another item from our “to do” list.  The day was bright, there was a steady breeze and as always a glare on the wide Caloosahatchee River but I kept my head down and the eye closed and covered as we strolled along the waterfront past the collection of moored boats on one side and the manicured park and benches on the other.  We watched as a large Sport Fisherman craft cruised slowly under the bridge to Cape Coral – looking like it just barely missed the underside of the bridge with his tall antennae and outriggers.  As the light blue boat passed us, heading for the harbor, the wake behind it spread out wider and wider as it went.  By the time we reached the docks where it was secured, the gas pumps were already chugging gallons of diesel into its tank.  We got some ice cream and sat watching as TWO pumps kept up a steady clicking as the dollars and gallons rose!  When we finally left, the pumps were registering at well over $700 and $900 each, at $3.49 a gallon.  Inside the marina, the young lady in charge said it was going to take 4000 gallons by the time it was done!   Cha Ching$$$$

On another day trip we found the Flamingo Flea Market in Bonita Springs, which turned out to be a dud.  Bonita Springs Beach Rd led us out onto the southern end of the string of barrier islands and we drove north towards the Ft Myers Beach/ Times Square area where we normally take the trolley ride. A storm had been predicted for the afternoon and the winds and clouds had all ready arrived in front of the thunder and rain so the traffic and the amount of pedestrians was minimal!   Once over the causeway bridge we made a series of left turns to drive back UNDER the bridge to park in the shadow of that same tall bridge that we had just come over.  Did I get you dizzy with all those turns??  The seafood restaurant –
Doc Fords was also in that parking area and we stopped in for our seafood lunch – a huge delicious fish sandwich on a large soft bun. From our table by the window we even had a good view of the channel and all the multi colored commercial fishing boats beyond.  After lunch, we “had to” take a walk out on the fishing pier that extended out into the swift moving water under the causeway bridge.    Another sleek white yacht was secured at the neighboring dock.  “Terabyte” is a 113 ft vessel built in 2014 by Sunseeker in the U K.  Thanks to Google – we found out she also will hold 14,000 gallons of fuel! (at  $3.49 a gallon?)

Another road trip took us up thru Punta Gorda, over the wide Peace River, thru Port Charlotte and headed west to Englewood to see if we could find Emily and Ron’s new little winter home there.  I had been calling her and kept getting a busy.  We finally found their tiny home; their Ohio State colored golf cart and the red Corvette – also covered with Ohio State – but no one was home!  We drove thru the close quartered park model “village” and found a garage sale to stop at.  As H pulled off the left side of the road he stuck his head out the window and YELLED:  “Get out of the road Lady!”   I turned my head just in time to see Emily walking on the edge of the road toward us – going to the same garage sale!  I couldn’t get out of the truck fast enough and gave her a big “one eyed” hug!  We visited as we went thru the sale and I told her I had been calling her – then found out I had been calling her old number!  DUH!  We visited with her and Ron for a few minutes and finally got to meet their sweet fluffy dainty little white puppy – “Missy”

H has fixed our last breakfast at WP Franklin, our “goodbyes” have been said and the “train” is packed to move on.  Our next stay is 9 miles east of Labelle in the Ortona Lock and Dam Campground,
which is also a corp. of engineer facility on the Caloosahatchee River.  I have another eye appointment scheduled and we’ll drive the longer distance back to Ft Myers from that next campground.    Hopefully, we’ll have better news then!