January 8 – Port Charlotte, Florida


Off to an early start but was shocked by two things.

First of all – woke up to 34 degrees – in Florida? Tried to stay warm and get things packed up (even wore gloves as I unhooked utilities).

Second shock was I went to start the coach and no power – no battery power – no start. Oh no, what do I do. After expressing my frustration to Brenda, she reminds me of her cleaning episode and how she may have flipped a few switches. After checking fuses and then the switches I discovered she had flipped the “Chassis Battery” which shuts down the battery to the starter and therefore no power. Flip it back and we were in action.

Had to leave early today because the campground we were headed for was only open for a short time – good thing – tell you later.

Ride across Florida was not too bad. We have avoided all toll roads but still had interstate most of the way. Weather was cold but dry.

Arrived at Harbor Lake RV Park within the time period the office was open and she assigned us to lot 10. Went by the lot and someone was still there. Asked them when they would be leaving and they said in 3 months – oh can’t wait that long! Back to the office and the people had wanted to move to 17 but changed their mind and so we ended up in 17.

Harbor Lake seems nice, except lots are small (close quarters). We can see the pond behind our site so it is a little bit scenic. They have a lot of activities (finally pickle ball on Monday and Thursday) and other things.  Wide streets!

Walked the dogs this afternoon and saw a bald eagle flying overhead – how cool!

Bingo tonight. They have a great setup with TV screens and good cash pots – no money for us tonight though both of us were one away from winning some big pots.

Monday Brenda needed to catch up on her shopping so off she went. I finally got to play Pickle ball. Didn’t do too badly since it’s been almost a year since I last played. Only two courts here but about 11 people so games went quickly. I played 7 games in a row and won about half – won’t complain.

The funny thing is this campground seemed to attract French Canadians from Quebec and they all spoke French (my daughter-in-law would have had a good time here) but I was lost when they kept score in French.

We have rabbits running around the campground and the dogs are going nuts.

Having trouble finding our next campground. Need to explain, Josh (my son) is on his way down to Florida to buy a sailboat to live on. He is not sure where he will end up but wants me to be there and I’m not sure where to be. Called 5 campgrounds and got “All full!” Boondocking in Wal-Mart parking lots here we come.

Tuesday off to pickle ball. Played 6 games and then went home. Met a guy from Detroit that started playing pickle ball this year in Flat Rock, Michigan and might know my brother who played there too. Small world!

Took the dogs and explored the area. Went to visitor’s center and then to the nearest dog beach in Venice. Lots of dogs running loose and splashing. My dogs don’t like the water but do love to walk the shoreline.

Stopped at a local McDonalds in the parking lot and used wifi – getting desperate.

And tonight I cooked my first dessert in the grill – upside down pineapple cake in a cast iron skillet – turned out good.dsc_0015

Wednesday skipped pickle ball to let the legs heal – they are burning.

Stopped at Kathy Raymond Mango’s winter house here in Englewood. I grew up with Kathy in Monroe, Michigan (same neighborhood) and it was nice to visit. We discussed our childhood, our siblings, our kids and our grandkids. I got to meet Steve her husband. Great afternoon reminiscing.img_2712

Did share a story with Kathy she had not heard when we were teenagers. The only fight I ever got in was over one of her boyfriends who accused me of flirting with her and I should stop.

Surprise call from Josh. As I have mentioned he is sailboat shopping and was supposed to be on the east side of Florida but had some showings on the west side here in St. Petersburg. He was moving from there to Fort Meyers and was passing by our location. Leah and Josh stopped and had a couple of beers with us and they caught us up on their adventure. If you want to follow you can look at http://www.Awildwaypoint.com. Invited them to stay but they were all excited about getting to their next destination.

Thursday needed to get back out on the pickle ball court. Good morning, winning more than losing. Weather is warming up and worked up a sweat.

I would like to explore the area on bike and off I took. As you might surmise, Florida is flat and riding is easy. The main highway in front of campground has a bike lane and off I went. Not a great fan of bike lanes because of the speeding traffic but it’s the only way out. Found a trail on one of the side roads and off I went toward the Gulf of Mexico.

Didn’t get there because the trail dead ended and the road didn’t have a bike lane and besides it was 8.5 miles so far. Turned around and headed home. 3 miles from home and I get a flat tire. Call Brenda and no answer, so I walk and walk – 3 miles home pushing the bike.

Brenda was shopping and forgot her phone.

Friday is pickle ball again. You can feel the humidity getting higher. I haven’t sweated this much in a long time – at least since STL. Poor STL and the ice. Good day on the court – more wins than losses and no skinned knees or elbows.

We had been invited to a friend’s house for dinner tonight. I worked with Mike in Franklin County, Missouri. They own a beautiful house on a canal with a boat and a pool – beautiful! Enjoyed a few glasses of wine and dinner and discussing the past and today’s happenings. I was fascinated with his scuba diving hobby – his name is Captn Mike.img_1549

Saturday thought about pickle ball but passed to let the legs rest and to do something for us. We left before lunch without the dogs and ate at a Greek restaurant – good and filling.

Went to Punta Gorda to walk around town. Explored Fishermen’s Village (shops and restaurants and lots of sailboats). Beautiful area.

Went downtown to see the murals. 28 of them but we only saw 8. Neat downtown area.

Finally found a brewery – Fat Point Brewery in Punta Gorda. Busy place and good beer.

Now to the eerie – friends with a past secretary from Belleville on Facebook. She was vacationing in St. Pete’s and due to the ice in Belleville they canceled her flight and she was booked out of the airport in Porta Gorda on Sunday. She was staying in a motel on our way back to the campground so we stopped and had a nice visit.img_2723

Did get an email that Josh and Leah were the new owners of a 35 foot sailboat – more to come.

Sunday we did get the chance to go to church. It was so full that they were pulling chairs out for all the guests. What is surprising – it has only been there for two years and they are getting too big for their building. Did enjoy the sermon and the snowbirds.

Before church we had to move the coach to a new location in the park and we had to get it done before church – mistake – the neighbors complained we made too much noise and the dogs were whining while we were at church. Good way to start out in a new section of the park – anyways it’s only two days there.

In the afternoon we took a trip with the dogs to a winery. Upon arrival we realized quickly we weren’t going to like this. It was in an Industrial park and it was a store with a small porch on the front with two small tables. We skipped the winery.

Then we headed over to Boca Grande Island. Had to pay a toll to get on the island but it was worth it. This island is where the rich and famous winter at. I guess there have been numerous presidents who have stayed here. We walked around the small town that had no corporate name restaurants. Enjoyed a cold Sarasota Brewery IPA at the Loose Goose, a local restaurant and then we headed home.img_2729

Monday played my final day of pickle ball with the French Canadians. Seemed to have double the number of players today than courts so the games were minimal – I believe I play 4. Any day with pickle ball is a good day.

This afternoon I went over to visit with my cousin Tim Baker. Tim was one of the youngest cousins in our family and has been in the Nokomis area for the last 15 years. It was enjoyable visiting with Tim and Tammy and all the old stories from our childhood (we spent a lot of time with the Baker family – my dad and Tim’s dad used to fish all the time).

Tim took me over to the Nokomis Jetties and we walked the beach. This beach was covered in sea shells. Was able to watch some fishermen cast nets and drag in a bunch of fish – reminded me of the bible stories. Lots of people sitting in lawn chairs waiting for the sun set.

Went back to Tim’s house, shared a pizza and more conversation and I headed home.img_2744

Tuesday we are headed north again (only for a short time) to meet up with Josh and Leah near St. Petersburg.

Categories: Uncategorized

1 comment

  1. Nice one! Great call out on awildwaypoint too!

    Like

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