Friday, January 29, 2010

Southwest Florida

Southwest Florida

Two busy weeks in EG Simmons has come and gone. If you want to see pictures – see last year’s blog! Although, I could not resist snapping this beautiful, mellow sunset from our campsite this year! One day, B&C came “up” to visit us and even tho it was too cool of a day to ride bikes, we drove them on a tour of “our” park and then up to Apollo Beach Power Plant to share the amazing sight of all the manatees that were squeezed into the canal. Both cars then traveled down to Ellenton to run errands and enjoy a front row table at the Roaring Twenties Pizza Place. (again – see last year’s blog when we were treated to the Roaring Twenties Theater Wurlitzer Organ with D&S!) Yes, The Phantom was played and it was better than last year! Another trip back down to Ellenton came on Sunday when we met D&S, and Nancy from up home, for dinner at our other favorite – Oyster Bar! One warm day we did make it to the Big Red Barn Flea Market, then Joann’s for supplies and on out to Holmes Beach on Anna Marie Island.

From EG Simmons, our next move was further east and south to Sebring and a few days in Highland Hammock State Park – one of, if not the oldest state park in Florida. Since this park is only 20 miles north of Lake Placid where B&C are staying, they came up for a day and all 4 of us climbed on board the tram ride for a back woods tour provided by the very knowledgeable park ranger. As Kevin, drove and repeatedly stopped, he explained about the diverse ecological areas and the animals that we might (and did) see! He pointed out ALL the big mama alligators and the clutches of last July’s babies that were not too far away. We startled several mammoth turtles, two of which had been nestled within inches of the snout of one of the “mama’s”! We saw deer, herons, egrets, buzzards AND a beautiful soaring bald eagle. Last year while camped up in Moss Park, we met Bobbie and Gene from Georgia and it was a joy for me to renew our long distance friendship since they were camped right down the row from us! A special treat for me was to get to enjoy a girl’s only lunch and a bit of shopping with her! Then, Thursday evening there was a Sunset Tram ride that I did not get to sign up for because of a communication glitch in the front office. Thanks to B&G, the ranger who was leading this ride was actually going to drive to our campsite to get me!! Luckily, H had told me to go see if there was any room on the tram for me and I was on my way when I heard them call to me and hollar: “RUN!!” What a lovely sunset ride thru a different portion of the hammock (forest) it was. Again, this ranger would stop and explain the types of trees and why they grow where, along with the types of animals we might see. An eagle’s nest was pointed out and we were advised that we might see bats. He said we might see deer but it was very observant lady in front of me who spotted the big eyes and broad pointed rack on the buck white tail deer standing just on the other side of a clump of tall broom grasses! The truck was slowly angled towards the deer so the headlights shone on him and the rest of the passengers enjoyed the special view also.

Friday, January 29th, I said goodbye again to B&G and we pulled out to meet B&C for breakfast on our way south. Now, I must tell you that we never double-checked our reservations for WP Franklin until last night. All this time, we thought we were to move there today! Nope! Tomorrow!! We were homeless! Not to fear – H knew that there were several campgrounds between Sebring and Ft Myers. But, Bud had a coupon for 3 “free” camping nights at a RV resort in LaBelle! For tonight we are nestled in next to a nice couple from northern Indiana and a 5th wheel from Illinois. The Jeep has even been washed without being unhooked from the trailer. Whispering Creeks has minimal trees, full hookups, cable, really friendly people and - - - fire ants.

H’s ankle is swollen and itchy but he’ll survive. Now, for sure – tomorrow we’ll be in WP Franklin!