Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kayaking in Oscar Scherer State Park

Our assembled clan experienced a full out "Friday Fun Day." We made the decision to contract A Silent Sport Outfitters for a day of kayaking on South Creek, within the boundaries of Oscar Scherer State Park where Paul and I have been living for the past two weeks.

After a short "Kayaking 101" presentation by Mary, our friendly outfitter, we set out on South Creek to explore the park.

We had no problems maneuvering our watercraft. We decided next time we all will try single instead of double kayaks.

It was a perfect afternoon in every way.

It is a beautiful, yet easy paddle through the park.

The creek was at high tide which was fortunate, because it is quite shallow in some places.

They were conducting a controlled burn in a portion of the park.

Al went in close for a good picture.

We also went out onto the intracoastal waterway after we became more confident with our kayaking skills.

There, we were afforded a little view into how the "other half" lives.

After our paddle, we went back to our campsite for a little relaxation.

This group doesn't sit long before someone says, "Let's play a game!"

So, before we knew it, we were wrapped up in a rummy game. That meant Gary had to hold the lantern so I could see what I was cooking for dinner.

Here we are, gathered around the Weber with me saying, "Hurry up, my buns are burning!"

The four siblings had a great time laughing about our childhood.

And our patient spouses tolerated it quite well.

Al goes back to Fargo today. It has been so fun having him down here. We will miss him.

Tomorrow, Paul and I move from the state park. We will be in our next location for two months. Although I am excited to have "full hookups" we will miss Oscar Scherer. It has been a beautiful spot to call "home." Talk to you soon.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary

Yesterday, we drove south to Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, located on the tip of the Florida Everglades.We were met there by Jayne and Tom, who are spending the week in the Palm Springs area.

The sanctuary is an incredible natural attraction. It features a 2.25 mile boardwalk that takes one through four habitats:

pine upland, wet prairie, cypress forest and a marshland.  We had great opportunities to view wildlife.  Here is a red shouldered hawk keeping a watchful eye on us. 

We could not have asked for a more beautiful day, sunny with a light breeze and 77ºF.

The sanctuary features an old growth cypress forest, one of the few remaining in the country. Some of the trees are estimated to be over 500 years old.

We stood and watched a black crowned night heron.

Even the lichens on the fence were pretty!

Paul and I hope to go back for another visit in March to view the sanctuary in the spring.

If you are ever in this part of Florida, make sure you put this place on your agenda. You won't be disappointed!

I need to get ready for our kayaking adventure this afternoon.  Talk to you soon!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thanks for dinner, Al!

Yesterday was our 30th Anniversary!!

And, it was also Margie's birthday! (Marge-in-charge)  I love my sister-in-law!

Brother Al treated all of us to dinner.

We ate at Luna's, which has become a family favorite in Venice.  It was our first time to experience the copious portions served at this establishment. Excellent food and excellent company.

After dinner, we sat by Kent and Margie's pool and played International Rummy, another family favorite. Not going to mention who won, but I'm set for my next trip to the coin laundry!!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Good Times!

The good times just keep rolling down here in Venice! Beth, Gary and Al joined us out in the jungle for a bratwurst supper last Saturday after Paul and I made a trip to the "Geier Sausage Kitchen." That place is like shopping for groceries in Europe.

We went for a bike ride in and around the state park on Sunday and came across a turtle sitting on a nest.  Can you see her?  She wasn't too happy with us when we stopped to say hello!

Later that day, we went to the civilized portion of the world. Kent and Margie had the group over for dinner to watch some football game on television that evening.  Here's Kent being the perfect host and asking if he can get us anything.  You can see his grill steaming in the corner.

Look what we had for our dinner! Let me assure you the turkey tasted as good as it looks.

Yesterday, Paul and Al went out to the Venice jetties to throw a line in the water. Just to prove they have not been completely skunked, here is a catfish Al caught.  He said, "Great. I came all the way down here to catch a bullhead."

We continue to laugh often. Talk to you soon!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

We've been busy

We've been so busy the last few days, I haven't had a chance to update the blog. We were glad we were able to see Mary and Jim's beautiful home in Venice before Mary and her parents flew back to the north country. We had a fun evening visiting with family.

My brother, Al, is here for 10 days, so he went with us to explore the beach on Wednesday.

Later that day, Beth and Gary and Paul, Al and I went to watch the Lipizzan Stallions perform at their winter "home" not too far from Venice.

That was fun!

Paul and Al spent yesterday experimenting with shore fishing at Casperson Beach.

They didn't bring home dinner, but had a great time.  They were joined by a heron who watched them closely.

Meanwhile, Beth and I became Bananagram addicts.  I love learning new games!  We all had a great dinner last night on Beth and Gary's lanai under the watchful eye of their resident alligator.

He has his favorite spot right close on the edge of the pond in their backyard.  Our brother, Kent, is back in town, so we will be watching the Vikings game at their home tomorrow. Paul and I had to drive 1,000 miles to find a social life! Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I love biking in Florida!

We took a little "test drive" on our bikes yesterday.

We stopped at some nice spots in the park.

We didn't have our bikes with us last year on our "shakedown" cruise. I really regretted the bikes were back home in our garage while we were down here.

We also went out on the Legacy Trail, which runs through a portion of the park. I don't think one could find a more ideal spot for bike trails. Look how flat that trail is!

Okay, so I'm not a mountain biker! Family day today!!! Talk to you soon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

"Home" at Oscar Scherer State Park

Here is where we will call home for the remainder of the month of January. We are in Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey, Florida. We stayed here last year and liked it so well, we decided to come back to stay for two weeks.

Here is where you will find me having my coffee in the morning.

And this is what I am looking at while I am enjoying that coffee.

We love this spot. This is the path leading to the creek in our site.

And, this state park has wifi at the visitor's center. Pretty close to heaven, right here!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Little Manatee River State Park

We spent Sunday afternoon at Little Manatee River State Park.

The park is located about 30 minutes from our RV Resort. River Oaks is on the same river, only much closer to Tampa Bay, where the Little Manatee empties.

It was nice to get out and do some hiking.

Wish we had our canoe. It's home in Minnesota.

Speaking of Minnesota, our pine trees don't have Spanish moss.

We were the only people on the trails.

This is what Florida looked liked before it was covered in cement.

Today we move to Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey, about 40 miles further south. We will miss our quirky friends from River Oaks. The management of this resort struggles and their residents are not a happy group. Too bad. I wish people would play nicely together.  Time to start packing up our little home and head south.