Florida continues to be a blast.  Even when the temps drop, it is fun to watch the locals panic.  We actually had one night were it went down to 30 degrees and the local talking heads were making it very clear that we were all about to die.  One day we went to a crafts festival on St. Augustine Beach in shorts and short sleeve shirts.  Sure enough there were the locals in down jackets and ear muffs.
     We spent Super Bowl weekend in Naples with Nancy's father, George.  We toured Naples and enjoyed a little beach time before watching the game at Jimmie's condo.  Jimmie is George's lady-friend and has a beautiful condo overlooking a pond in Naples.  For us, it was a great game.  Just when I thought that the Pat's were going to be defeated by another "helmet catch," a miracle occurred-YAY!
George & Jimmie at a Naples bistro.
     We next spent 2 weeks living on the ocean at Gamble Rogers State Park which is just north of Daytona.  Our view of the Atlantic from the front window was fantastic.  Although temps generally were in the 60's & low 70's with fierce winds, I still managed to get into the waves one day. Thereafter, I was marked as a northerner by the others in the park.  This park was a great place to relax and watch the waves.
The view from our front window.
Gamble Rogers State Park
Who is that old man trying to get a little wet at
Gamble Rogers State Park?
     A big highlight was a visit from Mary Sage, one of our close friends from CT, and her sister, Nancy.  They braved the rain and traveled an hour to join us at "High Tides at Snack Jack," a local tiki bar.  This is a fun place and is a 5 minute walk from our campsite with tasty, inexpensive food. We had a fun evening.  It is nice having visitors from CT.
Mary & Nancy at High Tides.
     After Gamble Rogers we spent a few nights at Lake Monroe RV Park and visited Blue Springs State Park.  Blue Springs is a winter location for manatees seeking warm water.  The springs maintain a 72 degree year-round temperature around a small cove off the St. Johns River.  This attracts hundreds of manatees which jam into the cove and appear to be living on top of each other. We were even treated to a bald eagle sighting.  I don't think the manatees had anything to worry about from this ariel predator.  However, it was disturbing to see the amount of scarring from boat propellers-ouch!
Manatees at Blue Spring State Park.
Nancy & a Great Egret at The Swamp House
Tiki Bar in Debary, FL.
     Our next park, Lake Kissimmee State Park, was a real treat.  We had a very private campsite deep in a live oak forest draped with spanish moss.  We had daily visits from the local deer population and were entertained by the armadillos which were hanging out in our camping area.  For me this was a real highlight park.  There was great hiking, biking and kayaking set in beautiful Florida wilderness.
Our campsite armadillo & our backyard at
Lake Kissimmee State Park.
     My favorite day was a 7 mile hike deep into the wilderness.  The hike passed though live oak forest, marshes, and large expanses of grassland.  When I was at the furtherest point on the trail I had a long brown snake cross my trail.  It didn't look venomous so, whew.  Next I scared up a turkey vulture which may have been coveting the armadillo carcass I just stumbled upon.  Just after passing the dead armadillo I heard a sudden, loud rustling in the deep undergrowth.  Then I heard the pounding of feet on the ground.  Before I could blink a very large kitty-cat shot across the trail no more than 30' in front of me.  This thing was huge as its height was approximately up to the middle of my thighs. This area is known to have panthers so, even though the cat appeared to have run off, I spent the rest of my hike looking over my shoulder.  It turned out that I scared up a very large bobcat. What a beautiful, awesome experience!
My snake friend on the trail.
     My hike was not yet over as I still had 3 miles to go.  Just as I approached the last mile I was stopped as the marsh had completely flooded the trail with knee deep water.  I wasn't about to turn around and hike 6 miles back so "forward march."  Keep in mind that this area of Florida is loaded with pythons.  We had learned a few weeks prior that there may be as many as a million pythons in central/southern Florida just hanging around looking to give you a big hug.  Also, knee deep water is a perfect environment for these guys.  Not to mention that cottonmouth snakes are also common in the area and equally enjoy the marshy areas.  Needless to say I was completely psyched out as I gingerly, but quickly splashed my way for several hundred yards to dry land.  This was a little creepy and was made worse when I described my experience to the rangers who advised me that the real danger in this park was the rattlesnakes.  Yikes!  So I chickened out of my planned hike the next day and took a bike ride instead.
     On the marital issue side of things:  Nancy has now started playing her music a lot--whale music, Enya, and other sleepy favorites.  Yet she denies being a fan of "The Walking Dead."  Its just these types of audio delights that are driving me to the local tiki bars.


  1. What is Nancy up to? Playing that "sleepy music" driving you out to the dangerous creatures of FL? Sounds like a set up...

    Sorry to hear about your freezing night at 30 degrees. I left for work one morning at -4 which is why I celebrated when the thermometer read 14 the other morning. Warm enough to dash out to the car without a hat!

    Sending you both much love and peace-


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