Celebrations, the Weather and Doggie Daycare

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Valentine’s Day holds more significance to us than that of  a nationally recognized day for lovers to exchange candy and flowers.  It was on this day 30 years ago, we chucked our plans to marry in church, hopped on a plane, and said our “I Do’s” on The Strip in Las Vegas. What an experience that was and what a wonderful 30 years it has been.

 

Since we plan to celebrate our life together with a trip to the Caribbean in a couple of weeks, we chose today to share a quiet dinner at Rumrunners overlooking the coastal waters of Cape Coral. Rumrunners is a favorite local restaurant but the prices are such that we only eat there for special occasions. As we expected, our filet mignon was cooked to melt in your mouth perfection, as was the lobster tail. Even the weather cooperated so we could sit outside with  moderate temperatures and plenty of bright, skin warming Florida sunshine.

The view from our table at Rumrunners.

The view from our table at Rumrunners.

We arrived back at the Suite Pea just in time to switch into jeans, grab our jackets, and head over to the clubhouse for the RV park’s Valentine’s Day festivities. A dance and desserts. We had a great time celebrating with friends and cutting up in the kissing booth.

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But not everyday is filled with love and romance….

Our friends Tom, Jean, Ray, Karen and us made plans to take a swamp buggy ride through the Webb-Babcock Preserve. The day started off with a promising look but about an hour into our outing, all manner of heck cut loose. The sky darkened, the wind picked up, and the heavens above rained down on us hapless souls below. Don and I were grateful we’d thought to bring along a couple of cheap rain ponchos. They afforded us some protection but our fellow travelers weren’t as fortunate.

Don, Jean, Ray, Karen, me & Tom

Don, Jean, Ray, Karen, me & Tom

Notice how dry we are in our BEFORE photo.

Notice how dry we are in our BEFORE photo.

Tom called for a quick vote, seconded by our guide Brett and our outing was cut short. A beeline back to our vehicles was made and not a moment too soon either as lightening was spotted in the near distance.

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Can you spot the gator?

Can you spot the gator?

The rain begins.

The rain begins.

Even though folks were drenched and all of us were chilled from our brisk ride, we laughingly proclaimed it to be a fun adventure. We were also delighted for our fellow passengers Wayne & Joy form Ontario, Canada, they got to see their first live gator in the wild before our hasty departure.

Rain splatters on my lens. Everyone is soaked.

Rain splatters on my lens. Everyone is soaked.

An AFTER shot.

An AFTER shot.

With our trip looming ahead of us, Don and I have been visiting area kennels in the hopes of finding one we felt comfortable enough with to entrust our beloved Golden Retriever to. Tucker has spent time away from us in the past but during those times he stayed with his grandma who gives him the use of her sofa and lots of treats. Tucker loves being with his grandma. His nieces and nephews live nearby and often come to visit him. He loves that too. We don’t have the luxury of having family close this time. I’ve searched the internet, reading all the reviews. I’ve been given recommendations from fellow campers and Tucker’s groomer. The majority didn’t make the cut. Two however did sound promising but after making unannounced visits to the facilities, neither matched our expectations. About the time we were beginning to fret and talk about expanding our search to other towns, we remembered passing a kennel near the airport and decided to pay it a visit. Not only did All American Pet Resort meet our expectations, they exceeded it. What a load off our minds!

Tucker hamming for the camera.

Tucker hamming for the camera.

We felt we should plan a few doggie daycare visits and one overnight before we go. That way Tucker will not only be familiar with the kennel but will know that we will return to fetch him. Yesterday was his first visit. Don and I made plans to go to Fort Myers Beach for most the day. We’ve never soaked up the rays on it’s beach before nor visited any of the local shops. That’s because we’re not partial to doing this with throngs of people, and Fort Myers Beach has throngs. But Don has been listening to a local performer on U Tube, who plays at one of the open air bar and grill’s on the beach so that was our true purpose for going.

Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach

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We dropped Tucker off for the day early in the morning, very early. With the day expected to be sunny and warm, we knew everyone would be heading for the island and having only one bridge going over, it gets backed up, sometimes for an hour or more. Then there’s finding a parking lot with a slot big enough to accommodate the beast but not so expensive that we’d need to finance a loan. Our early morning start paid off and with our beach buggy loaded down, we make our way over to Crescent Beach. We share the narrow strip of seashore with half a million other snowbirds, tourists and locals. Ahh, but the sun feels good shining down on us and our little patch of sand.

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Four hours and two sunburns later we find ourselves sitting on the patio at Pete’s Time Out listening to the mellow voice of Dave Collaton. A couple asks if they may share our table, with a resounding “Yes” from Don and I both, we are joined by John and Gwen from Ely, Minnesota. We enjoy getting to know each other over sandwiches, fries and beer. All too soon it’s time for us to leave and pick up our boy.

Dave Collaton

Dave Collaton

Pete's Time Out on the beach.

Pete’s Time Out on the beach.

On our return to the pet resort, we find Tucker romping in the outside play area with other dogs. He appears to be having a good time. He’s happy to see us but not excessively so. This pleases us. It means he felt at ease there. We leave with a good feeling about the kennel.

It’s amazing how much difference one day can make in the weather here in Florida.

We awaken to the sound of rain on the roof and a chill in the air. Today is my birthday. We’ve made plans for the evening. Dinner and sunset with friends at the Mucky Duck on Captiva Island. By happy chance, the day does improve. Still breezy, still nippy, but the sun is out and the clouds have all disappeared. We leave two hours earlier than our planned mealtime. The Mucky Duck doesn’t take reservations and we need to secure a Gulf side table for ten.

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Sunset on Captiva Island

Sunset on Captiva Island

Sitting: Dennis, Janet, Karen, Ray & Jean Standing: me, Don, Barb, Tom & Tom

Sitting: Dennis, Janet, Karen, Ray & Jean
Standing: me, Don, Barb, Tom & Tom

We arrive to find Tom, Jean, Ray and Karen have beaten us here and Tom has already secured us two tables by the window. Shortly after the six of us are seated, the rest of our entourage arrives. Dennis and Janet join the others at their table while Barb and Tom sit down with Don and I. We share a good meal, a lovely sunset and no lull in conversation with a great bunch of people. I couldn’t have asked for a better birthday on the road. Life is good!

Here’s lookin’ at you kid…………..

Island Breeze

Island Breeze

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Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Celebrations, the Weather and Doggie Daycare

  1. What fun…I have wanted to do a swamp ride for sometime. It didn’t work out when we were n Louisiana. Sounds like Tucker will have a vacation as well. Happy Anniversay, happy birthday and have a wonderful time on your trip Gayle.

    • The swamp buggy was fun. Since ours was cut short, I hope to do another one soon. Thank you for the anniversary & birthday wishes Gay. Having them only 4 days apart makes for one hectic week sometimes.

  2. Anonymous

    Clamoring to hit the road!

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