Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Leaving Fort Pierce

It's hard to believe the month of January is at an end. We enjoyed our month in Fort Pierce, but are ready to move on to our next stop. We'll be spending the month of February at Rock Creek RV Resort in Naples. Some friends will also be at the resort for the month and another couple are at a condo nearby, so I'm sure we'll be quite busy.

Since our trip to Key West, we've visited a few more times with Kim and Harland. We went to their resort for a Motown evening with dinner. While there they made us their margarita recipe. Some of the best we've had. I can understand why some of their other friends refer to them as "crackaritas". They came here for dinner last Saturday. We sure enjoyed spending time with them this month. We always were having so much fun, I kept forgetting to take a picture. So, here's a picture of us when we were together in Texas in 2013.

Last week we had a surprise phone call from our Wisconsin friends, Tim and Pam. Before we left Wisconsin in October, they had mentioned they were maybe coming to Florida sometime this winter, but didn't have any concrete plans. What a surprise to get a call asking if we wanted to do lunch the following day. They were indeed in Florida, and were driving near us from one stop to another. It worked out perfect to get together for lunch and spend a few hours visiting. We went to a restaurant in Fort Pierce called On the Edge. It's a small place right on the water with great views and good food.

We discovered a really nice roadside produce market and nursery called Nelsons. They have fresh produce at good prices. We stopped last week and got all of this for under $10. Strawberries are in season in Florida, and they are SO good.

For most of the month of January the temperatures have been above normal. Highs were in the 80s and we had some pretty humid days. The last few days a cold front has finally come through, and this morning we actually had a frost advisory with lows in the high 30s. Quite a change. But, don't worry about us; temps are heading back up to the upper 70s for the extended forecast.

Tomorrow is our oldest son Eric's 36th birthday. We sure hope he has a wonderful day! Happy birthday Eric!!

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Florida Keys Adventure

When we were planning our winter in Florida for this year, we debated whether we would take our 42 foot fifth wheel to the Florida Keys. I did quite a bit of research, and we decided we would not tow it down there. Rather, we would drive down for a few days and stay in a hotel.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we did just that. We left around 8:30 am and expected the trip to Key West to take about 5 hours. We had the choice of taking I-95 or the Florida Turnpike. I didn't want to pay tolls, so we took I-95. That was a mistake. Traffic from Palm Beach through Miami was terrible. We lost about an hour in bumper to bumper traffic. So, we decided to stop in Islamorada for the night and continue to Key West on Wednesday.

We stopped at a visitor center and got some recommendations of things to do. Our first stop was at a wild bird sanctuary where we saw lots of rescued birds. As you can imagine, lots of them were pelicans. This Little Blue Heron was sitting on a rock out in the bay.

Our next stop was Robbie's Marina. The place was crowded, and seemed to be a real tourist trap. They had an area where you could feed bait fish to large tarpon fish in an enclosed area. We each paid $2 just to watch. The tarpon weigh about 200 pounds. Plenty of people were feeding them. The pelicans were quite aggressive trying to get the bait fish from people, even nipping at their legs. An employee was using a stick to try and keep the pelicans at bay.

Here's one of the tarpon grabbing a fish from a guy. We were told the tarpon don't have big teeth, but I wasn't sticking my hand down there.

Our next stop was at a hurricane memorial. On Labor Day in 1935 a severe hurricane hit the Florida Keys. Winds over 200 mph and a barometer reading of 26.35, the lowest ever registered in this hemisphere, did severe damage throughout the Keys and killed about 500 people. The remains of 300 of them are buried at this memorial.

Next we visited the Islamorada Brewing Company where Kevin sampled some local brews. After that, it was check-in time at our hotel.

We had a reservation at the Days Inn in Islamorada using our Wyndham reward points. Our room was right on the ocean. Most places to stay in the Florida Keys are small and privately owned. Not many chain hotels. The Days Inn was clean, but showing its age. Our bed was comfortable and the view was great. The rate would have been $269 for the night, so this was a great use of our reward points. Here's our view.

We got settled and then headed to Lorelei's Beach Restaurant for dinner with a sunset view. This place was recommended by the bartender at the brewery and did not disappoint. Tables are set up in the sand on the beach with a beautiful view. There was even some very good live entertainment. We had a tasty meal, but the setting was the best part.

This interesting boat went by. It is actually for rent. I never expected to see a pink Cadillac driving on the water. Clever name, too.

The sunset was spectacular. I took lots of pictures, but here's one of the best.

These cool mailboxes were in a truck bed in the parking lot. Perfect for a house here.

We had a good sleep, and were up in time to watch a fantastic sunrise in the morning.

We enjoyed a bagel at the free breakfast included in our stay, and drove about two hours to Key West. We had actually been in Key West in 1995 with our kids as a cruise ship stop. One of the reasons I really wanted to drive down, was to experience the Overseas Highway, which is 126 miles long with 42 bridges. I was surprised how much land there was along the way. There are many more keys than I was aware of. The views were beautiful all the way down. The longest bridge is seven miles. Did you know the Spanish called the islands keys, and the name stuck.

We had purchased a City View Trolley Tour in Key West on Groupon. Finding parking for our full size pick-up truck in Old Town Key West was quite a challenge. We finally found a spot for $19 for the day. Most all parking costs a fee. Good thing we got a deal on the trolley tour. Key West is full of tourists and cars, making it quite crowded.

The tour was informative with eight stops to get on and off. Of course, we had to get off at the Southernmost Spot in the United States and stand in line to have our picture taken at the marker.

This is Hemingway's house. We weren't interested enough to pay for the tour, but lots of people were going in. Seems Hemingway was quite a character and made quite a few enemies in his time here.

Across the street is the Key West Lighthouse, which has been here since 1848.

The famous statue of the sailor kissing the nurse was on display in front of the Art Museum. It was just placed here last week. It had been touring around the country. We actually saw the same statue in San Diego seven years ago. It is named Embracing Peace, weighs 15,000 pounds, and was made by Seward Johnson. The original title for the piece was called Unconditional Surrender, but the name was changed for political correctness reasons.

We walked a few blocks to get a picture of mile marker zero on US Hwy. 1. It is the longest north/south highway running over 2,000 miles from Key West to Northern Maine.  Maybe someday we'll have to get a picture of the northern most point. Key West is very much a tourist town, relying on its 3 to 4 million tourists every year to support their economy. It seems fitting there is a shaved ice cart under the mile marker.

One of the stops was along the old wharf area which now has charter boats, jet ski rentals, shops and restaurants. We stopped at the Waterfront Brewery to quench our thirst. Kevin tried some local beers and I had a delicious apple pie hard cider. The outside of the building had a very nice mural painted on it.

We walked to the Truman Little White House which is a building on the decommissioned naval base in Key West. Truman spent over 100 days here during his presidency. Other presidents who have used the house during their term are Taft, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Carter and Clinton. It's near the water, but has large buildings behind it, so no water view.

We had dinner at a nice outdoor restaurant called Caroline's on Duval Street, the main tourist street in town. Of course, I had to order key lime pie for dessert.

While in the Keys, we stopped and bought a Sun Pass to use on the Florida Turnpike for our trip back  home We weren't going to deal with that traffic nightmare on I-95 again. The pass was $5, and the total tolls on the way back were $10.35. Well worth it.

We really enjoyed our two day visit to the Florida Keys. We saw quite a few RVs on the highway. We also saw some of the RV parks. We're happy with our decision not to take the fifth wheel down here. The RV parks we saw only had a few sites with water views. Most of the sites were inner rows without views. They also looked very tight with narrow roads. It was a good decision for us to visit in the manner that we did.

We're going to need a few days rest now after our mini vacation.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Fort Pierce, Florida

It's hard to believe it's been two weeks since I posted a blog. The time has flown by, but we haven't been doing anything too earth shattering.

We left Gulf Shores on December 31st and drove about six hours to Casey Jones' Campground in Lake City, Florida for one night. It's a nice little campground close to the interstate with full hook-up pull through sites. Perfect for one night. As it was New Year's Eve, there was plenty of activity. The people behind us were from Minnesota and invited us over for a little party. We went over for a bit, and met several people who spend the entire winter at the park. This would still be too far north for our liking. We're looking for warmer weather.

On Sunday, January 1st, we continued south to Road Runner Travel Resort in Fort Pierce. We're here for a month to explore the area and visit with our friends Harland and Kim who are at a motorcoach resort in Port St. Lucie, about 20 minutes south of us.  Our park is decent. It is older, but seems to be maintained pretty well. There is a small pond in the center of the park with sites all around. Those are definitely the nicest sites. Our site is across the street from the lake and is fine.

I would estimate about forty to fifty percent of the winter visitors at this park are French Canadian. When doing our daily exercise walking, we mostly hear French being spoken wherever a group of people are congregated. We don't find this park to be very friendly.

Fort Pierce is on the Atlantic side of Florida, about halfway between Orlando and Miami. The town itself seems to be fairly low income with lots of houses and businesses with bars on the windows. Luckily, the RV park is actually north of the town in a safe area. The outlaying parts of Fort Pierce seem okay, and there are some condos along the ocean that are nice.

We took a drive last week on Hwy. A1A on the outer banks island between Fort Pierce and Vero Beach. We drove about thirty miles, but didn't see much. The island looks so small on the map, but from the road, you can see buildings or trees, no ocean. We did stop at a couple of nice parks with beaches, so were able to do some walking along the beach.

Harland and Kim invited us to their resort last week for dinner. They purchased a lot a few years ago at St. Lucie West Motorcoach Resort. They had had a tiki hut with outdoor kitchen and seating area built and lots of beautiful landscaping done to their site. They back up onto a pond with a waterfall making for a beautiful view. I was having such a good time, I forgot to take any pictures.

On Tuesday, Harland and Kim came to our park and we had a little happy hour. Then we went to Cowboys in Fort Pierce for their Tuesday special of 50 cent wings and 50 cent draft beers. The food was very good and the company was even better. Again, I forgot to take pictures.

I've been doing some sewing. Korey and Cathryn commissioned me to make a quilt for a baby friends of theirs had. I shipped it off on Monday. Hope they like it.

Last evening Kevin was outside and called me to come out and see the moon rise. It was sure pretty between the palm trees.

We have plans to drive to the Florida Keys next week and do some exploring. We're not taking the RV, but rather staying overnight at a hotel and then exploring Everglades National Park the second day.

The weather has been pretty warm, with a few cool days last weekend. It is more humid than I was expecting and we've had rain several times.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!