Saturday, January 14, 2012

Ruskin to Sebring

Ruskin to Sebring

Bud F. went to school with H and Bud S. Last summer at their 50th class reunion we found out that Bud and Nancy live down here in Apollo Beach. The town proper is about 5 miles north of Ruskin and is home to the power plant AND the manatees that keep warm in the discharged water from the plant. H called Bud and found out they live in a gated community just up the road from where EG Simmons Park is located. Like Rauch Rd in Michigan – the south side of the road is in Bedford and the north side is in Petersburg – the north side of 19th Street is Apollo Beach and the south side is Ruskin! Bud, H and Ron laughed, chatted and enjoyed their “Happy Hour” while we ladies got to know each other. Both Nancy’s are into genealogy and all 3 of us know our way around fabric and yarn. Florida Nancy’s sister was my favorite claims adjuster back when I worked for State Farm! It was fun trying to find out when and where else our paths almost crossed during our pasts.

R&N moved out of Ruskin on Thursday morning and H and I headed to Tampa’s Lawry Park Zoo! SPFB! The price of admission has really gone up but it was still a great place to visit again. The day was sunny with a touch of cool so the animals were pretty active. The baby elephant that we saw on our last visit is now all grown up! This time they had a baby rhino but we were on the wrong side of the train ride so didn’t get a very good picture. But we did of the giraffe! I love the big brown doe eyes! We saw bunches of apes, monkeys, a red wild pig and some really weird birds.

Friday we spent out on the road again – breakfast with B&N, picked up our mail from the local post office, met with dear friends from Toledo who have a winter home in Sun City Center. When our kids were growing up, Danny, Traudy and I attended the same church together. We all go to different churches now and it was fun to hear Traudy’s VERY German accent again! The Big Red Barn Flea Market was our next stop and H even spent some money! $1.25! We made a stop at Morgan’s Strawberry Farm to have our annual Strawberry Shortcake. Five miles on the bikes worked off part of those delicious calories!

Saturday, it was my turn to spend the money at a flea market – I AM a big spender – I spent $1.50. Five more miles on the bikes followed by H having to fix a flat in his tire caused by a sand burr. And an hour and a half in the kayaks followed that! The park has a canoe/kayak launch so instead of using the open spot in the mangrove jungle behind our “condo” – we tried it out. A big fiberglass dock with a shallow “v” slot for the boats to fit into and once in your boat – just slide sort of gracefully into the quiet calm water of the mangrove islands and out along the channels to the open bay that surrounds the west side of the park. Besides the fun of kayaking in Tampa Bay the highlight of the venture was seeing the Manta Rays that scurried under us in the shallow water. At the boat launch dock a big old steel boat from Pittsburgh Pennsylvania was moored overnight. This solid old lady had been trailered to Buffalo and then motored down to Florida. Her journey was not over yet – she was headed farther south to the Intracoastal and then across and back up home. I believe the gentleman that owned her said the hull was from the 1920’s and he built her from there up.

Moving day this time was Sunday and Highlands Hammock State Park in Sebring was the next stop on our migration path south. Our condo was finally parked in one of the parks bigger spots and H was restless to go visit his brother at their new parking spot in Buttonwood Bay Resort just north of Lake Placid. On Monday we headed south from Sebring to just the other side of Lake Placid to visit B&C from home who are wintering in Camp Florida RV Resort. We’ve not seen them since we were at home in Michigan – last year! Their swimming pool was heated to 89 degrees and we made the best of it until it was time to get out and the cool air hit our warm wet bodies! Burrrrr! Our choice of meals on the menu that night started out to be Mexican but since that restaurant was closed – Thai was chosen. We’ve all decided that it was not our best choice!

One afternoon at the campground, I heard the soft melody from a flute and it reminded me of the new friends we had met last year at Moss Park. While doing laundry the next morning, I was yelled at by a fella passing by on his bike. This guy was bellowing that he’d recognize that behind (mine?) anywhere!!! It WAS Ron from Moss Park!!! And he and his sweet wife were parked right across the sandy dusty road from us!! Too bad we were leaving soon and heading for the Keys! Alas, so were they, but a day later and they were going further down the long chain of islands! Thursday morning arrived and the condo was packed and headed to meet R&N to caravan to the Keys!