Catching Up…

It has been a LONG time since I have posted an update.  Last week I published a “page” which is different than a “post”, and that was about my nephew Andrew, who was killed in a car accident back in Dec.  Even if you are following my blog (and if you are – thank you very much!) you won’t get the usual email with the page.  I had shared it on FB, but if you don’t have FB and would like to read it you can find it if you click the 3 lines in the top right and find the rest of the options, including my Dear Andrew letter.   It was exhausting to get that done, took a lot out of me emotionally.

When we last left off, we were leaving the boondocking rally in Arcadia.  That seems like a LONG time ago!  After leaving, we went back down toward Fort Myers area.  We were getting our rig inspected, which is required for our Heartland warranty.  Thankfully, that went very well.

While we were in that area, we spent the day with Ben and Jo!  It was a gorgeous day and we spent most of it out on their little boat.  Afterwards, we headed to Hogbodys for BBQ.

even Cocoa came along!
even Cocoa came along!

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we took note of this campground, right on the water and looked nice!
we took note of this campground, right on the water and looked nice!
great location for a house - if I ever have a S&B again, wouldn't mind this!
great location for a house – if I ever have a S&B again, wouldn’t mind this!
told you it was a perfect day!
told you it was a perfect day!

After getting the inspection done, we headed north back to the Clearwater/Largo area.  We were staying at the same place as our friends, Tracy and Lee.  We wanted to spend a bit more time with my parents, especially since my Dad had been recently diagnosed with lung cancer.  UGH!  He was going through the pre-surgery tests before they did the surgery that would hopefully remove all of it.  We also wanted to see Tracy and Lee since we hadn’t spent a whole lot of time with them.

Our week was pretty divided between the two.  I was able to have lunch with Tracy when she took her lunch break, and also one morning we went to Zumba!  I miss Zumba!  I used to go every week, twice a week!  Tracy works from her rig as a project manager, her boss doesn’t mind that her location is always subject to change, which is great.  Lee (at the time) was attending RV Tech school full-time.  We spent a couple dinners with my parents and also attended a surprise party for Jan’s 60th birthday.  We also spent some additional time with Cori & Greg and Jo & Craig, as they were staying nearby.  Another day, Bill and I went with my Mom to the Clearwater Aquarium to see Winter, the dolphin that has a prosthetic tail.  Sadly, I didn’t get any good shots of her, but we did see her and lots of other animals/fish while there.

the birthday girl!
the birthday girl!

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Jo in her element – the kitchen!

 

check out the yummy homemade yeast rolls!
check out the yummy homemade yeast rolls!
chicken coated with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon - OMG!  delicious!
chicken coated with cream cheese and wrapped in bacon – OMG! delicious!
Craig - protecting himself from the cold!
Craig – protecting himself from the cold!
sharks!
sharks!
stingray
stingray
otter
otter
turtle with "bubble butt"
turtle with “bubble butt”

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The highlight of the week was our sunset sail.  My Mom and Dad had gotten Bill and I a groupon for this for Christmas. We were supposed to go 2 different times, the first time there was NO wind (seriously, flags were hugging the poles) and the second time we had to go to DE when Andrew passed.  This time we planned it and Tracy & Lee and Jo & Ben, who drove up from Fort Myers, decided to go with us.  It was a bit “iffy” at first if we were going, but the wind didn’t pick up as bad as originally predicted so away we went.

this was actually before we went on the sail - Dr. Jo and Tracy wanted to see the birds at Mom & Dad's so we stopped so they could feed them and take pics
this was actually before we went on the sail – Dr. Jo and Tracy wanted to see the birds at Mom & Dad’s so we stopped so they could feed them and take pics – these are wood storks
Dr. Jo feeding the stork
Dr. Jo and my Dad feeding the stork
Lee & Tracy
Lee & Tracy focusing in
Ben getting some great shots!
Ben getting some great shots!
waiting to leave
waiting to leave
perfect!
perfect!
we got to see dolphin!
we got to see dolphin!
and more dolphin!
and more dolphin!
more and more dolphin!
more and more dolphin!
I could show a lot more pics of dolphin - but I think you get the idea!
I could show a lot more pics of dolphin – but I think you get the idea!

 

Bill lounging on deck
Lee lounging on deck

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Tracy took this great shot of Bill - man on intrigue!
Tracy took this great shot of Bill – man on intrigue!

After the sail, and an amazing sunset – we had a delicious dinner at a Greek restaurant in Tarpon Springs, Demetri’s.  It was recommended by my Mom’s friend, Jan and also TripAdvisor.

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different - but I like it!
different – but I like it!
at Demetri's; me, Ben, Dr. Jo, Lee, Tracy, Bill - Greek food at it's best!
at Demetri’s; me, Ben, Dr. Jo, Lee, Tracy, Bill – Greek food at it’s best!

Someone got a great shot of all of us on the boat, but guess it never made it to my camera – oh well!

After some sad goodbyes, we took off for the East coast of FL, to the Space Coast.  I had found a nice county park, Manatee Hammock.  The rates were reasonable and it was close to Kennedy Space Center.  Also, it wasn’t far from my cousin, Howard and I was hoping we could catch up with him and his family.

me with the robot from "Lost in Space" - one of my fav shows as a kid
me with the robot from “Lost in Space” – one of my fav shows as a kid

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Astronauts Hall of Fame
Astronauts Hall of Fame
My cousin, Howard and I
My cousin, Howard and I
The Evans Family - minus their daughter, who is studying in Israel for the year
The Evans Family – minus their daughter, who is studying in Israel for the year
telescope we saw at Eastern FL State University, with Howard, sadly they didn't open the dome due to weather, but we got to see a lot of very interesting pics - and Bill got to talk about ham radios with the astronomer - he was a happy guy!
telescope we saw at Eastern FL State University, with Howard, sadly they didn’t open the dome due to weather, but we got to see a lot of very interesting pics – and Bill got to talk about ham radios with the astronomer – he was a happy guy!
our site at Manatee Hammock
our site at Manatee Hammock
the CG is right on the water
the CG is right on the water
right across from NASA
right across from NASA

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Another day we went to Ponce Inlet Lighthouse and climbed it!

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view from the top!
view from the top!

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love the lenses
love the lenses
walking on the beach after seeing the lighthouse
walking on the beach after seeing the lighthouse

I realize I am going kind of quickly here, but I really want to get caught up.  I still have CG’s to review and maybe a restaurant, I will be relieved when it is done.

After the Space Coast, we made our way to Sumter Oaks CG, in Bushnell.  Sumter Oaks is an Escapees park, and a really reasonable price for members.  We did our move differently this time.  Dad’s surgeon scheduled his surgery for the exact day of our move, so Bill got all ready and moved the rig all by himself.  I felt bad leaving him to do it alone, but he was fine.  I couldn’t let my Mom sit at the hospital and wait for Dad on her own.  I drove over the night before and got up with them at 4am so we could arrive at the hospital at 5am.  That is so early!  The surgery went well, even though they had to do the bigger procedure, the doc said he got it all.  I stayed another night and drove to my new home location after seeing Dad up and doing well.

the little washcloth duck one of the nurses made for Daddy
the little washcloth duck one of the nurses made for Daddy

Bonus at Sumter Oaks:  Jo and Craig were staying there too!  They helped Bill get parked and settled, and Jo spoiled him rotten with her yummy cooking!  Double HUGE bonus:  Billy and Renee were coming to visit!

Jo made this - from scratch!  YUM!
Jo made this – from scratch! YUM!

Before Billy and Renee arrived, we went to the FL Strawberry Festival in Plant City – it was HUGE!  They did have fresh, delicious, sweet strawberries for sale, and we got some (a whole overflowing flat for $8!)  I knew with Billy coming, they would disappear!

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the highlight of the festival for me - the native American dancer and band - we liked their music so much Bill bought one of their CD's
the highlight of the festival for me – the native American dancer and band – we liked their music so much Bill bought one of their CD’s

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We had a lot of fun with Billy and Renee. Some of the time we just hung out – also – went kayaking and saw manatee near/at Three Sisters Springs; spent a day at Indian Rocks Beach and also (part of) a day at Fort DeSoto.  They spent a day at Universal Studios – Renee is a HUGE Harry Potter fan – and they also spent a couple days with my parents.

notice who's chair he is sitting in?  MINE!
notice who’s chair he is sitting in? MINE!
while they were visiting, we celebrated Billy's 24th birthday!
while they were visiting, we celebrated Billy’s 24th birthday!
one of his fav's - strawberry shortcake!  I made it myself!
one of his fav’s – strawberry shortcake! I made it myself!

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Renee takes great selfies!
Renee takes great selfies!
manatee!
manatee!
Three Sisters Springs - the water is crystal clear
Three Sisters Springs – the water is crystal clear
didn't actually see manatee in the springs area - was warm that day - they leave the warmth of the springs on warmer days looking for food - but - we saw lots of schools of fish
didn’t actually see manatee in the springs area – was warm that day – they leave the warmth of the springs on warmer days looking for food – but – we saw lots of schools of fish

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we were exhausted - but it was a great time!
we were exhausted – but it was a great time!
mailbox we saw while driving home
mailbox we saw while driving home
Have I mentioned Renee loves kitties!?
Have I mentioned Renee loves kitties!?
Our boy and his dog
Our boy and his dog
somebody is loving the sun and sand!
somebody is loving the sun and sand!
so is somebody else!
so is somebody else!
enjoying the gulf waters
enjoying the gulf waters
father and son
father and son
beautiful!
beautiful!   I almost forgot to mention – we called Tracy and Lee and they came over to watch the sunset with us!  That is Lee with Bill
Later at my parents
Later at my parents
starting our tour of Fort DeSoto
starting our tour of Fort DeSoto
cannons
cannons
view from the top
view from the top
looking the other way
looking the other way
HUGE American flag
HUGE American flag
Cocoa loving the attention
Cocoa loving the attention
while the kids were with my parents, Jo made us dinner one night!
while the kids were with my parents, Jo made us dinner one night!  And Craig enjoyed eating it!  (we all did!)
she made these herself!  they were good!
she made these herself! they were good!
yes - this is homemade also!
yes – this is homemade also!
and so was this!
and so was this!

I am so glad Billy and Renee got to come visit us in FL.  I do miss my kids – but b/c they came to visit us in FL, they also got to do stuff they couldn’t do at home in PA, like kayak and see manatee, go to the beach in early March, visit with the Grandparents and do the things they got to do with them, and I’m sure, as much as they loved all that, the highlight was Universal Studios.  For me, it was being able to celebrate my son’s birthday with him in person! Next time, who knows where we will be when they come visit!?

After the kids left – Bill decided it was finally time to wash/wax the rig.  What a HUGE undertaking, but it looked so nice when he was done!  He decided to do it b/c most CG’s don’t allow you to wash your car or truck or rig on site.  We had already decided we were going to be boondocking after we left, so now was the time!

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Seems now, looking back, our time in FL went very quickly.  I am typing today from New Bern, NC.  I do believe that’s all for today.  I have to get the pics in and get this posted, and I will breathe a sigh of relieve.  I hate being so far behind.  I will pick up leaving FL with the next post!