Sign located in "Robert is Here Fruit Stand"
Everglades, FL
     It has been a long time since my last post as there did not seem to be a lot happening.  We visited Connecticut for Christmas and mostly stayed at Acacia and Adam's house.  It is so great spending time with family and friends, we really miss them.
     We returned to Jacksonville, Florida on January 4 to 80 degree temperatures and all was sunny and rosy.  Just when we were thinking that our RV travels would become routine, 2015 struck.  Upon arrival, the first thing I did was to drop my kayak onto the passenger side view mirror and, well, Crrraaack!  It turns out that side view mirrors are not cheap so we are now driving with a wobbly mirror instead of filing for bankruptcy.
I'm thinking of purchasing a new car to tow behind our rig.
This vehicle discovered in Key West is a leading candidate.
     While in Jacksonville we had to finish some doctor's appointments, I had to get my teeth drilled, and we had a lot of personal business to address.  Since we were so busy before Christmas and did not have time to actually tour Jacksonville, we were determined to get downtown on this visit.  We planned 2 separate dates for a downtown adventure.  On the first date we noticed a water leak coming from our roof.  We called a technician and the issue was quickly resolved but, there went our Jacksonville day.  On our second attempt, as we were walking out the door, I noticed that we sprung an interior water leak.  It turned out to be a 2 minute fix, but as some of you know, I can be a little obsessive about such things.  So I spent the next 2 or 3 hours tearing apart the rig looking for any other possible source of water leaks.  Of course, there were no leaks, but once again Jacksonville was out.
     Thereafter, it was on to The Great Escape RV Resort in Titusville.  The Great Escape is a beautiful retirement resort which had all the amenities--shuffleboard, pickleball, card games, line dancing, etc. Since I am a winter, outdoor paddle player, I thought I would watch some pickleball and learn the rules.  The game looked like fun, but when the players stopped and asked me to join them I opted out. It turned out that one of my opponents was once a competitor at Wimbledon!!! and I didn't want my first pickleball experience to be a complete embarrassment.  (OK, I chickened out!)
     Next was Long Key State Park in the Florida Keys.  Our campsite was 20' from the Atlantic Ocean and daytime temperatures reached the upper 70's and lower 80's.  Yes, life got tough real fast as we now had to deal with that 4-letter word beginning with"S" (no, not snow)--SAND.  OK, I'll stop...I think my family has seen enough of our daily tropical paradise text messages, but it is really hard to stop being obnoxious when we are spending out first winter in short sleeves.  Sorry!
     Our campsite was so beautiful we could not bring ourselves to leave, so we spent most of our time biking, hiking, and kayaking in Long Key.  It was perfect.
Our campsite in Long Key State Park.
Kayaking in the Atlantic Ocean in Long Key State Park.
Thanks to Stan & Paula for the photo.
     We only left the campground to visit Key West and to visit 2 new friends, Jim and Nancy.  We met Jim and Nancy at Betty's Campground in Louisiana in November.  When we discovered that we were both in the Key's at the same time we arranged a night out.  We had a blast and look forward to getting together with them again.
Jim & Nancy in their beautiful diesel pusher.
Key West
     One of our best experiences at Long Key was meeting another couple, Stan and Paula.  They were staying in the site next to us and we really hit it off.  They are interesting, fun people who are struggling with the decision to RV full-time.  We spent several "happy-hours" with Stan and Paula and went to dinner 1 night at the Sunset Grill where we were treated to a most beautiful sunset.  It turns out that Stan and Paula will be at our campground for a couple of nights in March, so we are really looking forward to spending more time with these new friends.

Stan & Paula.
Both have retired from the Post Office
and live in Indiana.
Sunset from our campsite in Long Key State Park
No Name Pub on No Name Key.
In 2005 there were already 75,000 $1 bills on the wall and ceiling.
Who knows how many $1 bills there are in the pub today.
Key Deer on Big Pine Key.
Key Deer are miniature deer.
The southernmost place in the USA.
Key West.
     From Long Key it was on to the Everglades.  This park is "for the birds."  There are millions of birds either living in or passing through this beautiful park.  I was so inspired by the the amount and variety of birds that I took a lengthy birdwatching ranger hike.  I now own a bird book and a pair of binoculars.
An Osprey presides over its nest in
the Everglades.
An Anhinga in the Everglades. 
A manatee in the shallow coastal waters of the Everglades.
     Of course, there always has to be "trouble in Paradise," so it was now our turn.  When I returned from my bird walk, I noticed a large puddle under the rig.  I was able to figure out that it was a leak from the heater core.  This was not an emergency situation, but it was still resulted in an early departure from the Everglades and on to Ford for a repair. 
     I am staring to wonder if we purchased a lemon.  I am also learning to expect a lot of repairs as all RV's, even the million dollar ones, are built with substandard, lightweight materials which get put through an earthquake every time they are driven.  This fact is tacitly acknowledged by RV manufacturers as they refuse to stand behind their products with more than a 1 year warranty. Therefore, I am trying to learn patience and perspective--not easy for this obsessive, old-man!
     Oh well.  It is on to our next adventure.  I wonder what's around the corner!