20 Feb 2016--We have a compilation of about 2 months of happenings for this blog, so we will be jumping through time to catch up to our current events.
Cathy and I spent Christmas with her mom up in Tallahassee, and from there visited her uncle Robert's farm to pick the juiciest, tastiest tangerines you have ever had in your life! This is the 3rd year in a row we have had them, and can't wait to get back there next year and get some more!
We came down to Ft Myers on the 1st of December, to the 'adult camp' known as Carefree (haha), to spend 4 months in the nice weather. We rented here for 2 months last year, had a blast, and after 1 month here this year closed on our new "property", so we don't have to find a place to go to year after year. We absolutely love it here...so now we are lot owners!!! (Our friends Kay and Renee gave us the flowers, and they were so inspired by our move they bought their own lot with an RV port on it!)
A couple random shots, one a sunset going towards downtown Ft Myers, and then me holding a 2 1/2 year alligator in the clubhouse where they brought someone in to talk to us about the local wildlife. The gator felt like what I would imagine a snake would fell like...cold and a bit squishy and clammy.
In early January Hallie rented a house for a week right down the street from us. These pics are mostly from a bike ride we took to a local flea market, and the last one is at her house, where I cooked dinner for everyone. (Those that have known me all my life find that statement almost beyond belief--haha).
A whole bunch of us out to dinner and dancing. There is a couple, called the Dusk Duo, that we all go out to see when they are playing locally...great music! Being along the water, it was quite cool when the sun went down.
After Hallie left we had a chance to go kayaking with a large group to see the manatees gather at a warm water discharge plant not too far from here. Twice we had them come up under a kayak and bump it, once quite hard, but unfortunately I wasn't able to catch the momentary terror of the victimized kayakers on the camera. haha In the last video, you can actually see a baby manatee eating what looks like a carrot, but is really a root they have pulled out of the water bed.
There is never a lack of something to do here, so in late January my friend Farin and I entered the spelling bee held at the clubhouse. We were shocked to see how many spectators showed up...not knowing what to expect as to what level of words we were going to be asked to spell, it was initially quite intimidating. (haha) I was afraid they may be in line with the stuff you see the 10 year olds spelling in the National Spelling Bee, but fortunately all but the last word we have all heard before, even if we couldn't spell them! haha So Farin and I didn't win, but we weren't last either, so we were able to save face!!! haha
Tony and Chris, shown here in this series of shots, were the most "challenged" of the contestants and kept the audience quite entertained! haha
A block party on our street.
Women's History Costume Dance at the clubhouse. There were some great outfits, with women dressed like everyone from Bella Abzug, to Gloria Steinem, to Dora the Explorer as an adult. We even had Mother Teresa make a cameo!
On the 2nd of February a bunch of us rode south of here bout 2 1/2 hours to Everglades National Park and packed our bicycles for a 15 mile round trip scoot through the park. Check out this alligator and how close he is to us...definitely scared me a bit when he turned my way.
Off we go for the first leg of the trip, 7 1/2 miles and lots of alligators to the observation tower. In the 1st alligator pic there is a baby on the mom's tail, and the next 2 show a bunch of the babies laying on top of each other.
Bev, me, Cathy and Yvette all see how brave we are...Bev, I am fairly sure, was the least courageous!!! haha
Here you can see that they are not only off the side of the road, but more than occassionally "on" the road!
There had been a ton of rain in the days leading up to our trip, so we didn't see as much wildlife other than gators as we would otherwise have seen, but it was nice anyway.
Taking a water break before we get to the turn, and from the tower the whole of the Everglades are laid out before you. In the 3rd pic you can see a single, straight road behind me. The road was originally built by Exxon for oil exploration, but when they found nothing, I think someone said they deeded it to the US government.
Heading back to the Information Center where we began, along with some t-shirts for sale.
We had a fairly boisterous group with us, so although the restaurant staff almost certainly enjoyed the business, there is no doubt in my mind they all had a headache by the time we left. haha
Another day another game...this is absolutely absurd on so many levels...here we are, mostly a bunch of 60+ year olds, having the time of our lives playing dodge ball in the clubhouse. What a hoot!
The week after going to the National park, another group of us headed south in a slightly different direction to go to Everglade City for an air boat ride. Now this was flat-out fun!!!! We 1st had to stop to see the baby alligator, of course.
We then loaded up the boats for a great ride through the mangroves.
We were told originally that we might see some alligators, dolphins and manatees, but we didn't a single one of any of those. This Osprey was quite pretty though , and unbeknownst to me when I took the picture it had a big fish in its claws that it was feeding on. Blow up the picture and you can see it. Lots of raccoons, especially in the spot where the boat drivers illegally feed them to put on a show for the paying customers.
Mangroves are not native to Florida, and actually came over here somehow about 400 years ago from Africa, but this Preserve we are riding through is the 2nd largest mangrove preserve in the world. Here we go!
Here we start to line up for a race of the air boats...this alone was worth the price of admission. The 1st video captures a little of the driver surprising us with a "donut" flip of the boat at the end of it, and the 2nd video is of the race itself. Our boat driver used to race cigarette boats, so in a straight line race, we left the others in the dust!
Back at a quick tourist stop after the boat trip...fun was had by all!!!
So we are now almost caught up to our present day activities. Last Monday we started the Rainbow Olympics, a 2 week round of everything from competitive pickle ball to nonsense relay races and everything in between. We will do a separate blog when we are finished with that...stay tuned, these Olympics are a blast!!!