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Sunday, June 28, 2015

We're Traveling - Florida! Part 2 - Sunset on Anna Maria Island

I really enjoyed the day we spent on Anna Maria Island,
but I was most eager to be there for the sunset.

We arrived back at the beach
as the sun was getting low
in the sky.



Unfortunately, the clouds rolled in...


...but that didn't stop me from 
getting lots of colorful photos.

Over 150.
No, I won't post them all.
You're welcome.

My favorite photo-bomber...
Is there any sound more beautiful than the surf? Okay, baby noises. But still...

I have never seen such 
intense yellow in a sunset.

This photo doesn't do it justice.
Imagine radio-active egg yolk.

I just love how 
the evening light
turns the beach blue!

Well, time to roll up the awning
 and head back 'home' to Sanford.

I'll be spending a month
in this area next winter.

I'm sure to get some good photos
of the sunset in all its glory!

In upcoming posts,
you'll see photos from
a cool car museum and
a river cruise or two.

Friday, June 19, 2015

We're Traveling - Florida! (Part 1)

We planned a month-long trip to Florida for March, but things got in the way and made us postpone until April.  GOOD THING! We could never have pulled the RV out of the driveway in March. SNOW. ICE. WINTER. OHIO.

So I said, "At least it won't be July weather..." WRONG. Check out the temperature on the mirror.

Last year I spent six weeks there with below normal temps from February through April. The locals froze, but I loved it. This year made up for that.

Last year, I also spent those six weeks living out of a motel room. UGH. It was so nice this time to have my own 'home' with me.

Twelve Oaks RV Resort in Sanford was our home-away-from-home for most of April. I reserved it for the whole month, even though we wouldn't be there the entire time, it saved us $$$ by paying the monthly rate over the weekly. And in the hot Florida sun, it only cost us around $40 in electric to run the AC 24/7.

We spent a few days in Sanford visiting family before heading south to Bonita Springs. I didn't take any photos of our campsite there, but here is one from the website of Bonita Lake RV Park. It's not a shady village like the Twelve Oaks, but it was roomy enough and in a good location.

Ray wanted to visit the Everglades and take an air-boat ride, so I booked three nights here. (I have been through the Glades and had an awesome ride years ago.) I had an ulterior motive for staying an extra day...

I got to not only meet, but spend several hours with my favorite author! I became friends with Terri Tiffany through her blog, and after many years, we finally got to meet face-to-face. Our husbands enjoyed visiting, too. We met for dinner and, as you can see by this photo, we sat and talked until late in the evening.

If you aren't familiar with Terri, I wrote about her on my other blog here and here. (There's also a better picture of us there.) I look forward to spending time with her again when I'm in Florida. Her and her husband are the nicest couple!

  Ray did get his air-boat ride. 
We went to Cory Billie's which wasn't far from Bonita Springs, 
just outside of Naples.

You can tell from this photo...
 He. Wants. One.

 This business owns acreage in the Everglades, and had canals cut through for the tour. It was a little disappointing. My first ride was through long grass, across bogs, etc. This tour just winds back and forth through their canals, except for a few spots where it opened up. Most of the area looked like this photo.

In several places we rode through narrower passages lined with mangrove trees. Aside from birds and the 'kept' gators at the office, we didn't see any wildlife. Our guide did point out some trails through the sand that he said marked the path the gators took across the land.

The people were really nice and we had a good time. I would give it three stars.

From Bonita Springs, we headed north to Manatee State Park near Bradenton. Some friends of Ray's were camping there, so we grabbed a spot for one night before heading back to Sanford. Would have loved to stay for two, but they were full for the weekend.

State parks are so much nicer than private RV parks. They might not always have a nice laundry or pool, but the sites are typically more separated. This park was more spacious than the average park. We will probably stay here again, as it is very near Tampa Bay.

 It looks open behind the camper because the lake is back there...

I had a view of the lake from
 the back bedroom window!
There was nothing between our campsite 
and the lake--just wilderness.

This guy had a lot of relatives in the area.
Sorry I didn't get a better picture of them.

The park was close enough to
the coast that we drove out to
Anna Maria Island.

The traffic was enough to convince me I would never live there.

Bucket List: Put my feet in the Gulf of Mexico.  Check!   :-)                                                       Ray and I had a wonderful walk to the tip of the island with his friends. The white sand was beautiful. And except for the areas very near parking lots, the beach was fairly empty. 

 I love the dunes! I wish I could park our RV here at the point!
I wonder if I would love living there as much as I do our farm...

Look what Ray found swimming at his feet!

He quickly returned it to the gulf waters.

We could have stayed much longer,
but our fur baby was waiting for us...

...so we headed back across the bay to the mainland and Manatee State Park.
Of course, we went back for the sunset! I'll post those pictures next time.

For now, I'll leave you with this random photo of Florida cattle.
I felt sorry for them having to live in such a hot place!