Call Us Crackers

We were up and moving extra early Monday morning with last minute items to pack and a pup to shuttle off to a nearby pet resort. I had qualms about leaving Beau overnight but I just couldn’t see any way around it. It was going to be a long travel day for us and we had no idea what to expect when we arrived. Nor did we know if we’d be gone one day or two. Our destination was Green Cove Springs, Florida.


Green Cove Springs pier on the Saint Johns River

It meant driving 4-5 hours, not including rest area and meal stops, from the southwest section of the state to the northeast portion. The purpose was to set ourselves up as Florida residents, get the truck and Suite Pea plated,  and be issued new drivers licenses. We had previously declared South Dakota as our domicile. We’ve been very satisfied with SD and with our mail forwarding service, Dakota Post, but for convenience sake we decided to switch to Florida. We spend so much time here anyways.


Waterfront park

When I Mapquested Green Cove Springs I was delighted to find it was located right on the St. Johns River. St. Johns is a premier bass fishing location! You see, back in another life, Don and I both once fished in a bass club. Don even fished in Redman and Bass Master tournaments. But that was all before our youngest daughter had us traipsing all over the country playing in travel softball tournaments, causing us to sell our bass boat. Being road gypsies, we always keep our eyes open for areas while we are traveling that just might entice us to eventually settle there. I’ve wanted to explore the towns along the St. Johns River for some time, for that very reason. Twice I’ve made reservations at riverside RV parks and twice they’ve been canceled due to a hurricane. Once with Hurricane Matthew and again this past Fall with Irma. I had hopes of spending a little time exploring but unfortunately that didn’t happen. Things went so smoothly that Don opted to return “home” the same day.


First stop on our list was to pick up our new No Fault auto policy. We’ve had State Farm auto insurance since we got married, longer for me. When I contacted our agent to make changes to our policy I was informed that they could no longer insure us. It seems in Florida, State Farm requires us to have an “actual” address. As full time RVers we didn’t qualify but the agent did tell us who could insure us.


Clay County Clerk’s Administration Office

Next stop was the Clay County clerk’s office. We thought we were going there just to take care of the title paperwork for the RV and truck, then go to the local DMV to plate them and get our new drivers licenses. We were pleasantly surprised to find we could take care of everything right there in the clerk’s office. Unlike our South Dakota drivers license, our Florida one lists our RV plate number as our address instead of our mail forwarder’s address. It does give the city in which our forwarder is located though.


Our Save The Manatee plate. It’s something we care about.

Having completed the process we decided to tour our new “home town” and stop by St. Brendan’s Isle, our mail forwarding service. We found Green Cove Springs to be a very charming river town  with lovely old homes. We stopped at the park and walked out onto the pier before departing. Don was amazed at how wide the river was. He did say he’d like to return to explore the cities up and down the river in the future.

Later, we stopped for dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Silver Springs where the waitress informed us it was margarita Monday. Hmm, half price margaritas huh? We’ll have two. It’s just what we needed to toast our new state of domicile.

It was late when we arrived back at the Suite Pea. Our common goal was to crawl into our nice comfy bed and sleep. Everything in the truck could keep for tomorrow. It felt so good to finally have that task done.

Here’s lookin’ at you kid…..


The standard Florida plate for the Suite Pea. We had our choice of it stating Clay County, The Sunshine State, or In God We Trust.

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Beauty & the Beasts

Real snakes were used to form the restaurant's name

Real snakes were used to form the restaurant’s name


A couple of months ago when we were parked in Sarasota, our good friend Becky suggested going out to eat at Linger Lodge. According to her the atmosphere alone was worth the visit. I researched the restaurant on line an learned it was named by Forbes as one of the ” Most Unusual Restaurants in the World”. Al Roker calls it one of the “top 5 weirdest restaurants in America”. So of course my interest was piqued.  Unfortunately the lodge was closed for repairs, probably due to Hurricane Irma. Right around Christmas I learned the lodge and its adjoining campground were once again open for business. I updated Becky and we planned our visit.

imageLinger Lodge, located in a bend of the Braden River in Bradenton, began as a canoeing and fishing camp in 1945. The place is reminiscent of days past with its “Old Florida” look and feel. Huge Live Oaks dripping with Spanish moss and Resurrection plants amidst lush vegetation of native palms, vines, and ferns. It was purchased by Frank and Elaine Gamsky in 1968. Frank Gamsky, a veterinarian and amateur taxidermist, filled the lodge with Florida critters of all sorts. All taken from the camp’s original 100 acres. All except for the rare and unusual ones like the Alaskan Fur Fish, the Walking Catfish, and the Turkey Rattler, just to name a few.


Turkey Rattler

Turkey Rattler

The story has it that while protecting a group of school children from a large rattler, Frank was bitten by the snake. Before rushing off to the nearest hospital he threw the snake into a freezer. Eight weeks later he stuffed the snake! It is still on display in the lodge along with a photo of Frank’s swollen hand.



Displays greet you on all four sides of the lodge restaurant as soon as you enter but one particular item drew me immediately. A 16′ gator! Yikes!! When I first heard the story of how the alligator came to be mounted on the wall, I didn’t believe it. However I have been assured it is indeed true. Here’s how the tale goes…..

On a warm and humid summer evening, Ol’ Mike was boatin’ on the murky waters around legendary Braden River…not too far from the Linger Lodge. The night seemed unusually still, when he spotted two ruby red eyes piercing the dark air just above the waterline. Before he knew what was happening, a long tail whipped across the bow and knocked him plumb into the dark water. An enormous hungry gator grabbed hold of his leg and dragged him down into the blackened depths for dinner. It was a formidable fight, man against beast, as the gator rolled over and over with the leg in his jaws. While one leg was about to become the gator’s first course, on Mike’s other leg was strapped his favorite huntin’ blade called Big Boy. In a flash, Big Boy did his work and the gator’s jaws opened up for the last time. It didn’t hurt none that Ol’ Mike was 1945’s Gator Wrasslin’ Champ of the State of Florida. Coincidentally, the same year that the Linger Lodge was founded. The 16 foot trophy of that fateful night hangs on the wall at The Lodge….

16' gator at The Linger Lodge

16′ gator at The Linger Lodge

I will say I’m glad we went. The decor and history of the place is very quirky and interesting even if it did give me the heebie jeebies and we did enjoy the opportunity to get together again with Steve and Becky. The service was slow though, very slow. We sat for quite sometime before anyone came to take our drink order. Normally one of us would’ve been peeved waiting for that length of time but the conversation was going strong, so it was just a minor nuisance. I really can’t say how good the food was as my anxiety chose this moment to  flare up and I lost my appetite. I didn’t think to ask Steve or Becky what their thoughts were but Don said his meal was just so so.


Steve & Becky with Don & I at Linger Lodge

After chapel the following morning Don suggested we take a Sunday drive to someplace we hadn’t been to before. We debated between a couple of destinations before deciding on Boca Grande. We’d been told the island beach was not only the closest one to our location but that the surrounding area was beautiful as well. That is an understatement!

Boca Grande is a small upscale beach town on Gasparilla Island. Being on the west side of Florida, it boasts the sugary white sand and aquamarine colored water the Gulf is known for. In spite of the threat of rain and the sky being overcast, the scenery did not disappoint, the water views were stunning.



Our first stop was Gasparilla State Park and the Port Boca Grande Lighthouse. The 1890 lighthouse is the oldest structure on Gasparilla Island. The light, still used for navigation, also serves as a museum and is open for touring. The surrounding beach is perfect for sunbathers but no swimming is allowed because of dangerous rip currents. For swimming it’s best to go to Boca Grande Beach near town. Only drawback to these beautiful island beaches is they are not dog friendly.

Boca Grande Lighthouse

Boca Grande Lighthouse

Next stop, Gasparilla Island Light. This light was originally located in Lewes, DE. Built in 1888, it was later moved to its present location in 1927. The park like area offers an easy paved walking path around the light structure and out onto the dunes.   Signage along the pathway offers information on much of the visible plant life found here. After leaving the light we made a quick pass through the historic part of Boca Grande. We were searching for a dog friendly cafe in which to have lunch but the rain chose that particular moment to come pouring down. So, we called it a day and returned home to the Suite Pea instead. We are already planning our return.


Gasparilla Island Light

Until next time, here’s lookin’ at you kid…….



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Christmas Traditions

When Don and I married we each brought with us our families Christmas traditions. There was some give and take but we blended them as best we could. The pace was often hectic with three young children in tow but somehow we always muddled through. Within three years we once again had to revise our holiday traditions when our company transferred us to Indiana.

Our first Christmas in Indiana happened only two months of our moving there. While most of the other thirty individuals who were transferred with us were making plans to return to Michigan for Christmas, Don and I made the decision to stay put. Indiana was now our daughters home and we strongly felt that they needed to make holiday memories of their own right there.

We decided one tradition we would continue in our new state was going out and chopping down our Christmas tree. There’s nothing quite as heavenly as walking in from the crisp outdoors into the smell of fresh cut pine. I located a Christmas tree farm in the gently rolling hills of beautiful Brown County. We then loaded the girls and the dog into our old suburban to make the hour’s drive south.

Perhaps I should mention that the great room of our first Indiana house had a 24′ tall peaked ceiling.  That year we brought home a 16′ tree. Combine that with the one foot tall speciality tree stand we purchased, you can well imagine just how HUGE this tree was. Thankfully the tree farm had wrapped it so getting it into the house wasn’t too difficult. We brought it right in the front door, up the stairs, then over the bannister to the floor below. Only the front of our tree was decorated that first year as we didn’t possess enough ornaments. In the eyes of our youngest though, it was still a wonderful sight to behold.

This was also when we began the tradition of dressing up in our finest togs to dine out in a fancy restaurant. We always followed this up by attending communion and Candlelight service at our little Methodist church. Now, let’s go back to that first Christmas tree.

The day after New Year’s is our official detrimming the tree day. Don brought in our tallest step ladder and started working from the top down while the girls and I made our way upward to meet him. We put everything lovingly back into their tissue filled boxes then stored them away in the garage. That’s when it hit us. How were we going to get this monstrous tree out the door. It was too tall and to heavy to lift up out of its  stand. The lower branches having spread out several feet around the tree’s base were not going back out the door from whence they’d entered. That’s when Don was struck with a brilliant??? idea. Returning from the garage with his chainsaw in hand,  he raised the two front windows, removed the screens and storms, then went about dismantling the tree in sections with pine needles and sawdust flying all over the living room furniture and carpet. All the ruckus drew the neighbors on our little cul de sac out in front of our house to gape.

That tree will forever live in our memories and those of our neighbors. From the following Christmas and beyond, our trees were of the standard size.

The traditions we started on that first Hoosier Christmas all those years ago remained with us long after our daughters had families of their own. They continued  until our first Christmas as full time RVers.

Our first year on the road we returned to Indiana for Thanksgiving instead of Yuletide. Our oldest put up their tree early that season so we could hand out our presents while gathered round it. On Christmas Eve, mom and our daughters families held their traditional family get together while Don and I celebrated Christmas in a new and memorable way.

We spent that first Christmas in the quaint “Old Florida” town of Cedar Key where we  joined in the townspeoples customary festivities. We attended our first ever Christmas boat parade. We were so enchanted by it that it has become a yearly, dare I say it, tradition. Afterwards we were invited to join in the town pitch-in at the city park and watch Santa arrive via airboat. We got the biggest kick out of seeing the youngsters run down the beach to greet him as he jumped off the boat clad in fishing waders with helper clams instead of elves to assist him in handing out candy canes and small gifts to the children. Although it was great fun and an experience we’ll long remember, we missed not being with our grandchildren and they with us. We made them a promise, barring any unfortunate circumstances, we would never again miss spending Christmas with them.

Once again our family’s Christmas traditions were revised and have continued to be tweaked each year, but the one thing that has remained constant through all the years is the love and joy found in the fellowship of family and friends.

                                                            Happy Holidays! 


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To Blog or Not to Blog, That is the Question


                                                     The path to Beau’s happy place


I’ve recently been doing some mulling over in my mind as to whether or not I will continue writing  this blog much longer. I’m finding it harder and harder to motivate myself to do so since our lifestyle has been leaving me so uninspired lately. When we first ventured out on the road everything was so new. We were visiting new places, exploring new sights, trying new restaurants, etc. As of late though, I feel our lives have become pretty mundane. Except for the fact that we periodically move our home on wheels to a different town or state, we’re not living any differently now than we did when we lived in a stick and brick abode. I can’t for the life of me imagine anyone cares to hear (again), where we dined, with whom, who we’ve seen perform, what beach we’ve visited, or any of the other daily minutiae of our lives. Maybe after nearly ten years of writing posts, four years at this site and six on blogspot, it’s time to just take a little break. So I will just leave this here, step away, and try to decide which direction I’ll choose to take. Until then, here’s looking at you kid…….


Recent visitors to the pond, an egret & a wood stork

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Punta Gorda


The Suite Pea has landed. For the winter season that is. We arrived in Punta Gorda on the first of the month and thus far it’s made a pretty favorable impression on us. We’ve found only one ding, although we are only 4 miles from the ocean, we are a good 37 miles away from the nearest beach, and approximately 46 miles away from a dog friendly one. So when we go, and we will, it’ll be an all day excursion.

We’ve barely made a dent into exploring the locale. We do know there’s good music venues nearby and some pretty good eats too, many of which are puppy friendly. We also discovered the weekly farmers market on our first Saturday in the park. It’s not huge but it’s adequate. Along with the usual bounty of fruits and vegetables, there are bakery, popcorn, fresh fish and seafood, eggs, coffee, honey, and tea kiosks. There are handmade trinkets of all kinds, painters, soap makers, and musicians. There’s a hotdog peddler, a smoothie stand, and best of all a crepe maker where we are quickly becoming Saturday morning regulars. A couple of other places in the area have piqued our interest as well but I will leave those gems for a future post.


Our site for the season

As far as the park goes we are very pleased with it and with our site. We were aware going in that Alligator Park had a large clientele of returning Snowbirds. So much so that some years there are no openings for newbies. We were fortunate. I called first thing in the morning of the first day after their seasonal renewals were due. The manager told me I was the first caller, even so there was only 4 sites available out of 164. We made our site selection using only the online park map and we are quite pleased with it.


Park entrance looking toward the clubhouse

The RV sites are paved with a lengthy attached paved patio area.  Most are 30′ wide X 80′ deep, a few are larger.  Each has a nice grassy area with at least one palm tree. All are full hookups. The park does a nice job of maintaining them. Ours also has an attractive white privacy fence at the back end separating us from a neighborhood.


RV sites

The facility is an ownership park with separate sections for modular homes. In the past when we have stayed in other ownership parks we found that the RVers and owners don’t mingle. Sure, they say the functions are open to everyone but when you attend you’re often not made to feel welcome. That isn’t the case at Alligator Park. Everyone has been very welcoming and friendly. People often stop by our site just to say hello and to make sure we”re aware of park functions. Several of the park’s homeowners were once RVers here themselves. Also, it is much more welcoming to visiting grandchildren and bigger dog breeds than the vast majority of other 55+ parks.


Early morning on the lake

We can’t complain about the amenities either. There’s a huge pool that goes from 3.5′ to 8.5′, which Don likes, a good sized laundry, a lending library, a mail room, a large air-conditioned clubhouse, and a 25 acre lake that hosts activities on and around it. Because of the park’s layout it’s great for walking and biking in as well. There are a few dings as far as we are concerned, first, the laundromat is set up to accept credit cards only, I don’t like that. I prefer cash. Secondly, there isn’t an off leash, fenced play yard for the fur babies, just an on leash dog walk area. However we did locate two very nice dog parks nearby and utilize them regularly.



Since our arrival we’ve visited 2 of the music venues. The first was a well known  spot called Center Court at Fishermen’s Village. It was just the two of us out for an afternoon of entertainment and lunch. The second venue is a popular waterfront restaurant in downtown Punta Gorda called Hurricane Charley’s. It hosted the Songwriters After Party with 2 of Don’s favorite TropRockers, Cory Young and Donny Brewer. He HAD to be there. We hooked up with friends Mardy and Carla for this afternoon outing. Mardy is a musician too. It was a lot of fun.


The four of us at Hurricane Charley’s


The last music scene we took in was The Lighthouse at Stump Pass. We were invited by Mardy and Carla to go listen to The Gummy Sharks, a band that Mardy once played drums for. The Gummies played some original scores but most were old rock or Motown tunes. They’re pretty good and I really enjoyed their song selection but the thing I liked most about this place was the setting. The water setting was gorgeous. Another bonus was watching dolphins swim up through the pass. They are such a delight.

Until next time, here’s lookin’ at you kid…..


Spotted this banyan tree downtown & couldn’t resist a photo

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The Bucket List

Thanks to our friend Steve, Don was able to check an item off his bucket list.

For many years Don has stated emphatically that one day he would like to try his hand at salt water fishing. It happened that Steve recently developed an issue with his ear that at times became enervating. He decided to take a week’s vacation of rest in hope that his condition would improve and what better way for a person to rest and relieve stress than to fish. Steve asked Don if he’d care to join him. Would he ever!


The fishing boat

They met with the boat captain early Friday morning and headed out into Big Sarasota Bay and the Intercoastal Waterway where they spent the better part of the day fishing. Don said they caught several but not all were keepers. He named a few but couldn’t recall all the varieties they’d reeled in as he is unfamiliar with salt water fish. Something he’d like to remedy in time. All I know is he had a really good time. When he returned home he sacked out for a couple of hours, too much sun, waves and fresh air perhaps.

Evie's at Spanish Point Restaurant & Tiki in Osprey.  STAFF PHOTO / NICK ADAMS

Evies of Spanish Point

Other than sitting out on the patio and enjoying the sun’s warmth, we’ve utilized the pool and done more socializing. Thursday afternoon we met Don’s old boss Mike Oaky and his wife Sue for lunch at Evies Spanish Point Restaurant & Tiki. It was a very pleasant afternoon and the conversation never lagged. That evening Steve and Becky invited us over for dinner. They have an absolutely lovely home. It made Don and I wistful for a house of our own again. Steve made smoked chicken for dinner in his smoker that was utterly delicious and Becky plied us with mango pie for dessert that was yummy. Steve is a HUGE Civil War/ Gettysburg buff. Don too is fascinated by  both, so Steve had to have Don see is Gettysburg man cave which even I have to admit was pretty awesome. Steve is a walking encyclopedia on the subject, had he not chosen to be a minister, he’d make an excellent Gettysburg tour guide.


Kim & I

I also had the opportunity to meet up with one of my dearest and oldest friends, finally. I missed seeing her when she was back in Michigan this past summer. Kim did go by the property to see dad and Don but I was in Indiana at the time due to our youngest having gall bladder surgery. We met for lunch at Old Castle Tavern in Ruskin, a halfway point for Kim and us. Of course the few hours we spent catching up just wasn’t enough. Hopefully we can do it again on our return trip this Spring.

Today is our last full day in Sarasota. As usual whenever we’ve been parked in one place for a while, we spend our final day cleaning and prepping to move. As I told Becky, that alone makes it the perfect reason to dine out. We asked Steve and Becky to join us for one last meal out before leaving. They agreed to meet us at Yoder’s Restaurant where we spent a very enjoyable evening with good food and endless conversation. It isn’t goodbye though, we will meet up again once we get settled in to our winter headquarters in Punta Gorda.

Here’s lookin’ at you kid…….

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Blackened Grouper

Please forgive me blog readers but I was suppose to include this recipe in my last post. A fellow blogger had requested Don’s blackened grouper recipe that I had mentioned in one of my previous posts. So here goes. This is for you Ingrid.

To make the seasoning:

1 1/2 T. paprika, 1T. garlic powder, 1 T. onion powder, 1 T. thyme, 1 t. black pepper, 1 t. cayenne pepper, 1 t. oregano, 1t. salt

Combine all ingredients together in a small lidded container & shake vigorously to blend. Generously coat both sides of 2 fillets, set aside.

To cook the grouper:

Place large cast iron skillet atop gas grill to get hot over medium-high heat.  When a drop of water to pan sizzles, it’s ready. Add 2 1/2 t. each Canola oil & butter to pan. Add fillets, cook approximately 4-5 minutes on each side until fish is done. Fish should be flaky. Do not over cook. Serve immediately with lemon wedges.

Bon Appetite!

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Fun in the Sun

WARNING: I’m about to inundate you with morning beach walk photos. Indulge me please.


With only one week left, our month long visit to Sarasota is coming to an all too soon. We feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface of things to do and see in this area. One thing is for certain though, we really, really like this town and have enjoyed ourselves immensely.


Stormy morning

We haven’t spent nearly as much time just sitting on the shore as we thought we would. This may be due to the fact that every morning we head over to beach at daybreak and walk 2 to 3 miles. What a wonderful way to start a day! We could get used to this.


We’ve also made some progress this week. First, the air in the laundry room is back up and running. Also the park’s pool filtering system has been repaired. We are once again enjoying a refreshing dip in the afternoon. However we are no longer the only ones here, the snowbirds are beginning their seasonal migration south. Each day new ones arrive.


Notice the rainbow

Secondly, Don had figured out what the problem was with the Suite Pea’s AC. It wasn’t the AC at all but our surge protector. Apparently ours went bad as they are prone to do eventually. Since Don removed it off our electric cable we haven’t had anymore issues with our system shutting down. We don’t like being plugged in without the protection it affords us but there isn’t a Camping World conveniently nearby where we can pick up a new one. That will have to wait until we get closer to Fort Myers. Don stated he’s pretty confident in the park’s voltage though.


And lastly, our Ford lemon is once again fixed after spending the better part of three days in Sarasota Ford’s service garage. We had the AC modulator replaced and a few “corrections” made from our last air filter change. Not wanting to drive all over town in our tiny foreign rental car we opted instead to tackle some chores on the rig and while Don worked on his music, I read or napped.


Friday evening we met up our friends Becky and Steve at O’Leary’s Tiki Bar & Grill for dinner and music. What a fun place! The food was good, the band Impulse Reggae was outstanding, the setting and atmosphere perfect. It’s one of those places we would return to again and again.

Saturday morning after our beach walk we opted to linger a while longer and soak up some rays. Around 11 the sandy expanse started getting a little too crowded with weekenders so we decided to return to the rig. Don spent the rest of the day working on his music while I went out to do some Christmas shopping. I like to be finished by Thanksgiving so I can just kick back, people watch, and enjoy the festivities without stress. Somehow I tweaked my back in the afternoon while treating the black tank, fortunately icing, Ibuprofen and muscle relaxers helped me to bounce back by Sunday afternoon.


People from all walks of life enjoy a beautiful beach

Crowd is gathering for the "Drum Circle"

The crowd gathers for the “Drum Circle”

Steve and Becky came by the RV park at 5 to meet Beau then to take us with them to Siesta Key Beach. Becky said we needed to experience the Drum Circle at least once. She said it was a great venue for people watching. Boy oh boy, she wasn’t kidding. The drums were awesome and some of the “characters” were quite entertaining to watch. The little ones seemed to love it. They were running around, blowing bubbles, hula-hooping, or pretending to be butterflies. After about a half hour we all decided to go into the village to grab a bite. We chose Gilligan’s Island Bar & Grill where we each ordered a Big KaHuna burger. Gilligan’s is yet another very cool, beachy place with a band. Dinner always lasts longer than usual with the four of us since we never run low on conversation. Afterwards, Steve suggested a stroll through the village to walk off our meal which we did until the stores closed up shop. Another fantastic evening spent with dear friends.


A small section of the drummers in attendance

Until next time, here’s lookin’ at you kid…….


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Hot, Hot, Hot

It’s been a relatively quiet and HOT week for us. The cooler Autumn temperatures have yet to arrive in Florida with our temperatures hovering between 89 to 92 degrees daily since we got here. Let’s not even talk about the humidity or heat index.  And with AC and pool woes factoring in, I don’t see any relief in sight.

Monday morning I set out to get the laundry done early so I could have the rest of the day free. Don dropped me and my five loads off at the park laundromat.  Unfortunately someone beat me to the machines and I had to wait my turn which wasn’t a problem since it was wonderfully cool inside and I had brought a book with me. Eventually my loads were washed and I got them loaded into dryers. Between me and the other woman we had all nine dryers running at once. I’m sure you know how much heat those dryers can emit in a small laundry house, then to make matters worse the air conditioner died. Needless to say by the time I’d left I felt like I’d been in a sauna. Thank goodness for the park pool.

Later that evening the three of us drove to the beach to watch the sun set over the water.


The following day we donned our swimsuits and headed for the pool to cool off. A sign posted on the gate informed us the pool was down for repairs. The filter had stopped working. So back inside the Suite Pea we went. I won’t go into details about the how or why BUT circumstances has led Don to believe that we either have a short somewhere that is affecting our second AC unit OR our inverter may be getting ready to go. At any rate we can only run the bedroom air for an hour or so at a time, otherwise our whole system will temporarily shut down. We intend to have it looked at when we reach our winter destination. Until then the rig is comfortable most of the day as long as we keep our two oscillating fans running and our night shades drawn.

Tuesday evening we braved the heat and humidity to go back to Captain Curt’s Sniki Tiki to see Sunny Jim White perform. Sunny Jim is another well known Trop Rocker that Don listens too. We had the opportunity to chat with him awhile and found him to be very likable and entertaining.


Sunny Jim & Joe Patti at the Sniki Tiki

Wednesday was pretty much a stay at home day. Don spent most of it working on his music. I did go out to get a bad haircut while he was doing his thing. I may start wearing a do rag for a spell. ☹️ Later Don made blackened grouper on the grill while  I prepared a spicy bean salsa to go with it. I’m not a big fish eater but I have to admit Don’s recipe tastes mighty good.

Thursday we met our friends Dennis and Janet for lunch on Anna Maria island. The Waterfront has a nice view of the bay and Tampa’s Skyline Bridge. It’s also dog friendly so we had Beau tag along with us. He enjoyed all of the diners who stopped to acknowledge him but I think he’s particularly fond of Janet who slipped him several pieces of her chicken. It was nice catching up with good friends and we will be seeing them again this winter.


Janet & Dennis with us at The Waterfront



On our way back we stopped to see the statue “Unconditional Surrender”  on Sarasota’s downtown waterfront. Seward Johnson’s  25′ tall statue resembles the famous photograph taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt, V-J day in Times Square. The statue has become a popular roadside attraction and is worthy of a photo-op.


“Unconditional Surrender”

We decided Beau needed a day to do the things he loved doing so on Friday we took him for a long break of dawn walk to avoid the heat of the day, then over to the dog park to chase balls until his tongue was dragging the ground. Back at the rig he promptly crawled under his big fan and took a nice long nap. The groomer Beau saw last week told us of about a dog friendly beach nearby, we thought we’d take Beau and check it out.


The paw park is named Brohard Park and Dog Beach. It’s located in the town of Venice which is only 14 miles from where we are parked. We found it to be very clean. The beach sand is a little grittier than the white sand people beaches but still it was a nice area with a view of the pier,  and it had restrooms close by. The beach is off leash and Beau had a ball retrieving his float and romping with other dogs. He even got chummy with another Golden when they chased after each other’s float toys. Afterwards we stopped in a shady spot to eat. Subs for us, chicken tenders for the boy.



We followed this day up with another lazy one at home. Don worked on his music again, I read and dozed.

Sunday after church Don and I ate lunch at a Mexican grill we’d been wanting to try. It is located in Siesta Key Village, a very beachy, touristy place. The Hub Baja Grill was packed with diners and folks just enjoying the sounds of a steel drum band. We found ourselves seats at the outside bar. I’d be hard pressed to label this a Mexican restaurant since there were too few Mexican style dishes on the menu but what we ordered was good and we both liked the band, both being fans of the steel drum sound.


The Hub Baja Grill in Siesta Key Village


On our way back from the restaurant the AC in the truck went on the fritz. We still have cool air coming through the vents but the fan has stopped. Are you seeing a pattern here? Did I mention it’s been hot? Very hot? Looks like Don will be calling the Ford service department Monday morning. I won’t go into our feelings about our truck (again).

Becky told us that on Sunday nights just before sunset drummers showed up on Siesta Key beach. She told us it was worth seeing and a great time to people watch. We intended to go tonight but a storm rolled in right about the time we were leaving.  We still have a couple of Sunday’s left before we move on so we’ll table it for another Sunday. Until then, here’s lookin’ at you kid…….

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Don’s Happy Place

Nothing improves Don’s disposition like crossing the Florida state line. Florida’s warm sunshine, sugar sand beaches, and gentle ocean breezes call to him, and if it were up to him, we’d never leave.



When we arrived in Sarasota on Monday afternoon we found the RV park we are staying in to be practically empty. This surprised us tremendously since the best rates for Florida RV parks near the water is during the shoulder season between vacationers and snowbirds. No mind, we’re enjoying having the pool and Tiki bar all to ourselves. When we leave the grounds though, it’s a different story. The traffic never ceases! Don says he can’t imagine what it must be like here when the snowbirds arrive. UGH!


We have a premium site just a short walk down from the pool

Premium site

Premium site sans the rig. The locked shed holds a patio set, trash can, & recycle bins

Standard sites

Standard sites

We are currently parked at Sarasota Sunny South. It’s a small vacation home and RV park with emphasis on small. The park is extremely well cared for and the staff is friendly and helpful. The sites are ample enough for big rigs. They are level and all offer 30/50 amp full hookups. Each has a very nice patio with picnic table. The park offers standard and premium sites. The difference being that premium sites have privacy fencing around them, storage sheds, and patio sets. We opted for a premium site and are very pleased with it. The only ding is that all sites are crushed shell. We would prefer some grass if only for Beau’s sake. Fortunately we are situated near the dog walk area which is grassy. The park does try to compensate for the lack of green though with a very nice, lush doggie play yard. It has a doo bag station, water spigot, and a chest of dog toys. For fur parents there’s a comfortable swing and Tiki type gazebo with seating. Beau loves rolling in the thick grass, especially early in the morning when it’s still dew covered.

Dog play yard at sunrise

Fenced dog yard is larger than this photo depicts

Other amenities are a club house, exercise room, shower facilities, and laundry, all of which are air conditioned. All this as well as the before mentioned salt water pool and Tiki bar. As a bonus, we’re situated a mere 4 miles from the #1 rated beach in the USA, Siesta Key.

Pool Tiki bar

Don really digs the Tiki bar & it’s bamboo furnishings


As with anyplace we intend to stay for awhile, we spend the first few days getting familiar with the surrounding area. We always make a point of knowing where a reputable veterinary clinic, a groomer, a grocery, and a hospital or immediate care clinic is located. Being prepared in advance has paid off for us in the past. I admit to a few indulgences too. While Beau was being groomed Don and I lazed around on the beach, soaking up the rays for a few hours. We also did waterfront dining at Phillippi Creek Oyster Bar and had breakfast at Yoder’s Amish Restaurant. Both were recommended to us and both of which we’d highly recommend to others. Who knew Sarasota had a neighborhood popular with Amish vacationers and retirees?



The sugar fine sand never feels hot to the feet even on the sunniest days

Above is Phillippe Creek Oyster Bar & a pic of my Fisherman’s Feast; below is the skillet breakfast I ordered at Yoder’s. I couldn’t eat but half of it.


The following day we met friends of ours for dinner at Captain Curt’s Crab & Oyster Bar. We had met Steve and Becky shortly after Allison Transmission transferred us to Indiana. They followed their dream to move to this area a few years back. The conversation followed easily and before we knew it 3 hours had passed. We will be getting together with them again while we’re in town. I should mention too that Captain Curt’s clam chowder took first place in the prestigious International Chowder Championships in Newport, RI. I ordered a bowl and must say not only is it delicious but the Captain does not scrimp on the clams either.


Steve & Becky & us at Captain Curt’s

We’ve spent a few days just hanging out in the RV park. The temps have been in the high 80’s to low 90’s with the heat index running 10-15 degrees hotter so we’ve been utilizing the pool a lot. I’m thinking the park must run the pool water through some type of cooling system because no matter how hot it is, the pool is always refreshingly cool.

Friday night’s sunset was glorious so Saturday night we drove to the beach to watch the sun set over the water. It was a bust. The sky was overcast and cloudy. Still, it was a pleasurable evening for the senses with the sound of waves crashing, palm fronds rustling in the warm tropical breeze, and the salty taste of sea spray on the lips. It truly doesn’t get much better than that.

Today after church service we again went out with Steve and Becky for lunch. Once  more the conversation flowed effortlessly so I was surprised when I finally realized we’d been gone from the Suite Pea almost 5 hours. Yikes! We had only recently started letting Beau have the run of the RV in our absence and thus far he’d behaved, but we had never left him this long before. So Steve drove us back to his church where we’d left the truck then we said our goodbyes.

I was certain we’d arrive home to find that Beau had gotten into mischief. Boy was I surprised! Our little boy was sound asleep under the dinette and not a thing was out of place. Perhaps Mr. Chaos is turning over a new leaf. Phew, we sure hope so.

Until next time, here’s lookin’ at you kid…….IMG_4905

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