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.
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...
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!