Friday, 27 December 2013

Another Day in the Sunshine

We have been here for two weeks now and the time is flying by.  There has been an Ice Cream Social,  a Christmas Eve gathering with a very talented entertainer and a dinner theatre on Christmas Day in Fort Meyers.   We were on a bus at 7:45 am Christmas Day to take a three hour tour to Fort Meyers where we had a really great buffet lunch and watched a Christmas Show at the Broadway Palm Theatre. .  We had excellent seats one row back from centre stage.   I borrowed this picture from John as my camera battery died just as we arrived at the show.

Tom, Cheryl & Judy
After the long ride home again we called and talked to all the kids and grandkids.  It was great to have a good chat with everyone.

Today we headed over to the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland.  This is a 1267 acre wilderness that is home to the Polk's nature Discovery Centre as well as miles of nature trails.  A beautiful spot with hundreds a majestic old oak trees that are hung with Spanish Moss.  They are incredible.  Reminds me of Gone With The Wind.

We saw lots of wildlife in the Reserve.  Some of it not so wild.  This is John & Judy, along with another Ontario couple Bill & Karen.  Bill  & Karen follow John's blog and when he had nothing but praise for this resort they decided to come down here and stay for a week of their vacation.

This reserve is a great spot to see a wide variety of birds.
Roseatte Spoonbill

Great Egret

Great Blue Heron

Anhinga drying his wings

Not sure - might be a Ibis


We also had alligators, turtles and armadillos.
A Young Alligator

Three Softshell Turtles

Armadillo having lunch

Armadillo heading north
A great day in the wild.  Until next time safe travels.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Manatee Viewing Center - Tampa

We are all settled into the Rainbow RV Resort in Frostproof, Florida.  The weather has been a bit cool but not like at home and there is NO SNOW.  This is the view from our picture window. That is the pond where Fred the alligator lives.  We still haven't seen him but we have seen pictures.  He does exist.
 Tom, John and Judy taking a break from all our hard work of being retired (or semi-retired in Tom's case)
Yesterday we headed into Tampa to check out the closest Costco to us.  Not nearly as convenient as at home but there is no shortage of places to shop near Frostproof.  After shopping we went to the Manatee Viewing Center at the Big Ben Power Station.

The power station takes the salt water to cool the plant.  This water is cleaned and warmed and pumped back into the bay.  When the Tampa Bay gets too cool the manatee move into the channel.  The manatee only thrive in warm water so this a refuge for them in the winter months.  There were sure lots of them for us to watch.
 Here is a mother and little one.
This big fellow was just resting in the shallows.  All the little fish were nibbling on his side cleaning off the dry shin I assume.

The sign says "if you love me, don't feed me or touch me"  That is for the manatee - not Tom.

I believe these are black fin sharks.  They looked to be about 3 feet long.  There was a large school of them.  This picture is for Cam (Taylor's boyfriend).  He would have fun with these big guys!!

Since we arrived we have been to the gym and the pool regularly.  Need to get back into shape after having a long break from the exercise routine since my surgery.  Feels good to be active again.  

Until next time - safe travels.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

We Have Arrived

We arrived at Rainbow RV Resort in Frostproof, Florida on Thursday afternoon.   Since then we have spent many hours getting organized and cleaned up after our 1500 mile (2400 km) journey from the Great White North.   We have been so busy that I have not even managed to get my camera out and take any pictures.  So I have borrowed a couple pictures from John's blog (Thank you Mr. Hollinger).

We arrived with a very dirty truck and rig.  Tara and Big Mo are not very happy or should I say Tom is not very happy to have dirty equipment.  John and Judy were there to welcome us and directed us to our spot.

 We got unhooked and set up.  But that was about as much as we wanted to do on Thursday.   We headed over to the Hollinger's RV for a relaxing beverage and a great Lasagne dinner.  It was nice not to have to worry about finding a grocery store and make dinner tonight.  We are pretty exhausted and made an early night of it.

Friday Tom and John got our internet and phones up and running.  I spent the day unpacking and getting everything organized in the cupboards and closets.  Tom got Big Mo all washed and shining again.  We headed into Winter Haven to look around and to pick up a  few supplies.  John and Judy came over for happy hour and stayed for dinner.

Saturday we continue our settling in.  Tom headed up on to the roof of the 5th this morning to get it cleaned up.  When he finished up top he started on the sides.  John came over and gave him a hand with the drying.  By the time they got done she was sparkling.

The inside of the 5th has lots of wood finish.  I used Murphy's Oil to clean all the window blinds and the woodwork on the main floor.  Washed windows and cupboard windows, vacuumed , etc. etc.  Lots of dust had accumulated since I gave her a thorough cleaning.

Judy and I headed for the pool for a swim while the boys worked on getting the electronics set up.  Will be nice to get the tv, dvd, tuner, etc. all working properly.  That is the hard part of having two homes.  Moving stuff from one to the other and having to set up everything all over again.  Maybe one day we will be full timers and not have to go through this again.

The park is really beautiful.  The grounds are very well maintained, the sites are really large and the people are friendly.  We even have a great view from our picture window of the pond on the next street over.  Water, palm trees,.... just like being at the beach.  Oh yeah - there is an alligator in that pond.  His name is Fred.  Will see if I can get a picture of him for my blog.  Just hope he doesn't wander over to my yard!!

Tomorrow is another day.   Hope to get all the cleaning and organizing finished tomorrow so we can relax and start to enjoy this great weather.

Until next time - safe travels.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Almost There

We got on the road early this morning even with a heavy frost on the trees, grass and windshield. It was actually very pretty.   As the day warmed up and we got farther south the frost disappeared. We did get caught in a traffic jam south of Atlanta, Georgia.  There was an accident and the traffic was backed up for miles.  We finally arrived at Lake Park KOA at 6:00 pm.  Lake Park is just south of Valdosta, Georgia and very close to the Georgia/Florida border.

Sites and Kabins on LakeLake ViewView from the back of the campground

It is a pretty park from what we were able to see on the way in.  Will be able to check it out better in the morning.  They did put us on a 75' concrete pad so lots of room and easy hook up, including free wifi and cable tv.  It came highly recommended and might be a spot to stop on our way north again.

We set up, unhooked and headed over the Winn Dixie to pick up a few things for dinner.  We are tired of restaurant food after being on the road for the past couple of days.  An early night tonight and hopefully a short and uneventful drive tomorrow to the final destination.

Until next time - safe travels.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

On Our Way South

We left home on Sunday morning to head to Tom's cousins, Rodger & Terry's.  Took a giant load of important stuff to stock up the 5th for our trip south.  We got her all loaded, hooked up and spent the night with Rodger & Terry.  Again our many thanks to them for allowing us to store our 5th with them over the summer and for all the help and advise from the pro 5th wheel guy (Rodger).

We got up Monday morning to an inch of snow on the ground.  But being hardy Canadians we hopped into the truck and headed out anyway.  About two hours down the 401 someone motioned us that we had a problem.  A wheel on the 5th is smoking.  We pulled into Chatham to Longwood's RV Centre.  A huge shout out and thank you to the great people there.  What service!!  They checked her over in the freezing cold and horrible wind.  They advised there was a belt on a couple of tires that were ready to let go.  They had a shop full and were not able to change the tires for us but called around and found someone that could.

The lady (Beth) got in her truck and lead us across Chatham and headed us in the right direction to Cottingham's in Tilbury.  The people at Longwood's would not take a penny for all their time and help. Anyone needing service in that area check them out.  

Longwood's R.V. Centre

 Cottingham's got our new tires installed and had us on our way within a couple of hours.  Another great service center.  This seriously put us behind both in time and cash. A strong head wind slowed us down also and really sucked up the diesel fuel.  The border crossing was quick.  They did go into the trailer but only for a minute and sent us packing.  We arrived in Lima, Ohio at about 8 pm and booked into the Holiday Inn for the night.

Tues am we were up early and had a bright and sunny drive all the way to Lenoir City, TN, which is just south of Knoxville.   No snow here but still too cool to sleep in the 5th.  It is the Hampton Inn tonight.  

There was a fair amount of snow most of the way through Kentucky. The highway was wet but not slippery.  Glad we stopped when we did last night by the looks of the snow along the edge of the highway.  They must have received a fair dump over night last night.  Thankfully today it is all melting and we were able to motor on without any problem.

Tired but happy to be more than half way there.  Florida here we come.  You had better be ready!!