|We have spent our first night on the Florida Panhandle at the Carrabelle Beach RV camp site; it's a very tidy & attractive place just across the highway from the Gulf.
Since early January we have been visiting our friends wintering in mainland Florida all the way from horse ranches north west of Ocala with our Tidnish buddies, Ivan & Sylvia Gould, south to Port Charlotte where my brother, Locks, & wife Dixie, are spending 3 months.
To begin our Fl adventure, we arrived at the Gould's winter home sick as dogs. Although Ivan & Sylvia met us with hugs & kisses, we cautioned them to stay away from us! My "flu" started Christmas day at Leslie's in Toronto & Jean began to get ill en route to Fl!!! So the first 2 weeks at the ranch was a recovery time! Thankfully the Goulds never caught the bug, however, everyone back in Toronto was sick after we left!
Ivan & Sylvia were wonderful hosts; the country air was a great boost to our health. Before we left, Wendy(daughter)& John arrived with their dog, Libby, a young German Shepherd. The 2 dogs fell in love! it was a real pleasure to see them play- the big dog with the little one. So cute!
We 3 girls went shopping especially enjoying ourselves at the antique malls. All of us visited Ocala near by shopping & eating out at the Red Lobster! Altogether we had an outstanding time.
Driving south along the coast to the Palmetto/Bradenton area. We spent many a pleasant hour with Sheryl & John Casalona, who live in a gorgeous model home on the Gulf, and with Wayne & Linda Corcorran on their 54ft Pearson sailing vessel at the local marina. What a blast we had! Not forgetting to mention meeting a gang of John & Sheryl's friends & neighbours at a get-together.
One evening the four of us watched "Evita" on Wayne's new huuuge 3D TV which rises out of the dining table supporting centre. You'd have to see it to believe it! Only Wayne could manage it! Sheryl took us girls to Arcadia where we excitedly explored all the antique shops both sides of the street in the historic downtown, and another day we drove around Santa Maria Island stopping for lunch at the Fisherman's Pier.
Before leaving the area,we spent an eveninng watching Linda & Wayne's grand-daughter,Nicki,or was it Jessie? playing basketball with a feast afterward at a pizza place: I forget the name, but it was buffet style with a grand assortment of every kind of pizzas including dessert ones. This was also a chance to meet the new baby grandson Luke, 5 months old now. This makes 4 younguns for Kim, the Corcorrans' daughter, & Nathan, but what handsome boys & 2 outstanding beauty girls. To top of our stay, we had a lovely barbecue at their home. Great reminders of when our own families were very young...a kind of madness when every minute is busy & silence only arrives when the last child hits the bed. Kim & Nathan have their hands full; it's a blessing Wayne & Linda are so handy!!!
Then to Okachobee with Bob Baker & Raylene Nash who live in their model home for the winter. Again we had a ball: we danced at the local legion, Jean played horseshoes & pool with the local guys, some who he had met a couple of years ago. Raylene & I line-danced, examined the local antique places, & sadly we lost several games of Auction 45's to our men!!!
We by-passed Stuart en route to Sebastian; Francine & Rene are in a condo there & we had hoped to visit. However, Rene has had a serious operation on his eye since arriving in Fla & is still recuperating.
In Sebastian, our sailing friends, Tony & Pat Fisher, bought a home with an additional wooded lot; Tony had worked tirelessly clearing & landscaping it. Truly a miracle to see... the difference! No longer a mess of weeds & scrub trees: it has a kitchen garden with lettuce greens,spinach, squash, tomato & cuke plants,artichoke, & beans. Wow! And not to forget, the trees- several kinds of bamboo, as well as orange, lemon, plus many flowering bushes. Truly remarkable. While there,, the four of us dropped in on a Garden Festival in Vero Beach. What flowers, especially the orchids! We were also fascinated with the many flowering "air" plants & bought a few. They are a bit of a promise of spring.
Tony & Pat's home is most attractive & comfortable with a pool; like us, they still have their boat- a 44' Morgan which they are readying to sell...as they are enjoying being home owners in Fla. They also own a cabin on a Maine lake where Tony sails in the summer.