Saturday, January 31, 2009

2009 – Winter in Florida

The older I get, the more I loathe cold weather. We spent November and December at home. The first month was fine. It rained for three straight weeks in December and then it turned cold. I was way past ready to leave before we left on January 20.

We spent the first night at our daughter's in Montgomery. It was just as cold there as an hour north. After driving six hours south, we spent the second night near Lake City, FL. The low was in the upper 20’s! We drove further south and found some warmth west of Orlando. We holed up in a big rig CG for the weekend. Everyone said Hi, but that was the end of communications. They did have a heated pool and hot tub.

On Sunday, we managed to connive our way into Myakka SP, near Sarasota. Our camping chums were already here and we enjoyed three days with them before they had to move on. We also met Ralph and Mary Ann of the Keys. We may take them up on their gracious invitation to spend a few days at their place next month.

Tuesday, we paddled a few miles on the Myakka River. We saw enough birds and alligators to last a lifetime.

Wednesday, we drove into Sarasota to spend a little time on Siesta Key Beach. Darn fine sand there. We also went to Long Boat Key and saw how the swell folks live. The people in Publix reminded me of those we encountered in Sun Valley, ID. The rich are different.

Other than the weather, we find little of interest in Florida.

Thursday, we saw the Lippenzaner Stallions perform.
The high was a warm 82. We even cut on the a/c.

Friday - Rain came around midnight and it was still drizzling when we got underway. We drove to Ortona CG in the middle of south Florida. The only things out here are oranges and cattle. The CG is a first-class COE facility on a canal that runs from the Atlantic to the Gulf. This allows barges and mega-yachts a safe passage by avoiding having to round the Keys.

The rain brought another cold front. We are going to be content to be on concrete with hookups while it takes a week for this front to dissipate. With the front comes wind and rain. So our reason for being here, to paddle the coastal passages around Ft. Myers is on hold.

Saturday, we drove into Ft. Myers and out to Sanibel Island to scout out paddle places. The wild life refuge on the island looks great for a paddle trip. But not today, as the wind was kicking up to near 20. We stopped at Manatee Park on the way back and saw where all the manatees hang out in the Winter – in the warm water discharge from a gas power generation facility.

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