Monday, 31 March 2014

Jupiter Beach FL (Day 2)

We love the days of staying put! Sounds weird on an exploratory trip like this but we always enjoy checking out these state parks. This one has great biking trails, canoe and kayak rentals and a small boat tour. We just chose our own bikes to tour. I think we rode about 9 miles today. Sounds like a lot but truth be known, Florida is pretty flat so it isn't too strenuous. Still enjoyable though!

Check out some of our sights from today....

We "think" this is called a gopher turtle. Seems to like to
dig (duh) and likes lots of dry scrub.....

Hard to tell but he was about 12-14" long....

There is this nice, 1 mile biking trail. Then you head out on the campground road.
This river campground is 4 miles away from where the ranger station is.... 

Hardwood hammock forest area....Funny, these palms grow wild as
underbrush here. At home, we buy them from Home Depot and pay
a high price for a measly one in a pot....

Then about another mile further down the road you come to a "Gator gate".
We figured that we would not see one......

We aren't sure about this sign...... "molesting" of an alligator!!! 

And sure enough, here it was.....

Just hanging out by the swamp....

It was on the left side of the road, behind the gate. But the fence only
goes by the barrier and it is free to come and go as it pleases....
 
Once we got up to the top part and the new campground we took these pictures. You can hear the highway a bit and the sites aren't nearly the same. The are new and there is no shade. Still, there are 4 brand new bathroom buildings for about 90 sites. That's pretty generous.
 


They have some nice green areas close by though.

Getting tired of the alligator signs yet?

 

Thanks once again Florida State Parks - another winner here!!
 
So on the ride back down to the River Campground, we checked on the alligator again. It was still there and we saw this sneaky little snake. It was crawling up the trunk of a burned palm tree, right near the alligator!!

Eastern or Harlequin Coral snake.....very poisonous.
Blunt black snout, followed by a band of yellow, as you can see at the top.
Apparently it is a very elusive snake so we were lucky to have seen it!

Looks like a necklace wrapped around the tree, huh?

Okay, last one for today!!!
You just don't get these in Canada!!! 
 
Still hanging around
 
We really like the state parks (as you can probably tell). I guess the only thing I wish for is internet at our sites but in Florida the vendors at concessions are required to provide internet access. Some of them do not shut down at night but this one does, at 7 pm...so here we are!
 
So, we are out of here tomorrow. On our way up to Tomoka State Park, up by Daytona Beach. We may be there for 3-4 days. We really want to check out this area. Hope we have lots to show you from there.
 
Peace....
 
Thought for the Day:  You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. 

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Fort Lauderdale FL to Jupiter Beach FL (60 Miles)

Not much happened yesterday (Saturday) in the afternoon after I did the post. We rode around and I took a few pictures. The first few are from inside the park and the next few are from the neighbourhood nearby. We had an amazing lighting and thunder storm and lots of rain (for a bit). It was pretty spectacular, watching it from the van. It is neat because for a while (until it started raining) we could have the door open.

 

 

Neighbourhood pond....

....with the obligatory alligator sign!!

A native Florida bird was standing on the back of a plastic
Canada Goose, making fun of it!!

The gentleman next to us had two very large dogs. One St. Bernard and
one Newfoundland. The St Bernard liked to lay on the dashboard!!!
 

We left the park today about 11:00 am and decided to take the very slow road, Hwy A1A, up the coast as far as we could. It is the same Hwy A1A (or Collins Avenue) that we were on in Miami Beach. Gorgeous, palatial and, I imagine, horrendously expensive mansions. Some front onto the beach, with little buildings on the opposite side of the street with pools, change rooms, kitchen, etc.  They sort of match their house. We think some of them have underground tunnels to access the beach. There are many areas around Boca Raton and Delray Beach that completely hog the beach with all the high-priced condos, hotels, etc. You sometimes have to go several miles to get beach access. I guess money talks and the rest of us walk.
 

 

These boat slips in the canal are owned by the houses on the right
hand side of the street. They just walk across and they are off!
Oh, and they all have close-circuit TV monitors too!!

 

Gorgeous gardens everywhere....

One of the public areas.....

 

In this one you can see the little gate.
It is for the house across the street...and it's locked!!
But, look at the beautiful, blue Atlantic Ocean!!

 

 
A measly 60 mile drive pretty much took us about 3 hours but that was by choice. While there were lots of ostentatious places, there were many regular areas too, although the fancier ones definitely made up the majority. Of course, we stopped for a bathroom break and lunch. The park was actually just about 2 miles down the road from here!!
Ha ha ha.....

 

Really, I was taking a picture of the pelicans.....
 
 
For the next two days we are at Jonathan Dickinson State Park. We are very impressed. Four miles off the highway and way down by the Loxahatchee River is the campground we are at, River Campground. They also have some newer ones up by the highway for the big rigs. For some reason, the reservation person gave us one of the big sites up by the highway (yuck) and we were, luckily, able to trade it for a nice one down here by the river. Check it out:

And here we are, in Site 97 in the River Campground.



Really, really pretty sites and campground.

Our internet office overlooks the Loxahatchee River....

They have the usual vendor run concession store and they have internet by the store up until 7 pm each day so that's nice. So that is where we are posting this right now. It’s a pretty nice “office” spot right by the river so we won’t complain.
Hope everyone has a great Sunday and we will be doing a post tomorrow, as usual!!
Peace....

Thought for the Day: Love more, worry less.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

Miami FL to Fort Lauderdale FL (25 Miles)

Officially, this post will be from Friday March 28th but today is actually March 29th. That means we have a VERY important birthday.

Happy Birthday to our wonderful son and friend, Josh. I will probably embarrass him here, but, as his Mom, I don’t really care!! We love him more than he can imagine and we are prouder of him than he can imagine. We have watched him become an amazing husband to Kathy and an amazing dad to Gus. We can’t say enough great things about you!! Mostly though, we value your friendship…..Thanks for all your support with all the craziness that we call our life now. We couldn’t enjoy it as much if we didn’t have that. We love you!!
 

Of course, we are JUST kidding about the car,
but if we could, we would!!
 
Hope you like your gift…..(kidding…..but wish we could!!)
We left Miami Everglades RV Resort this morning. Doug had arranged for Euri to have an oil change at a VW dealership in Miami so it tied in nicely with our Miami Beach stroll day. Only took about 1 hr. He had seen a coupon on the internet for this particular dealership for $61 for complete Lube, Oil & Filter, instead of their usual $90. Great savings! After this, it was off to find Miami Beach.
Wow, we will mostly let the pictures do the talking. It is a very interesting place. Full of extremes, it is a melting pot of music, cars, people, fashion and food. Such passion, such history in this place. Come on along…..
 

 

Parallel parking for cruise ships!!



Right across from the fancy restaurants is this big park area and
then the beach is on the other side of it. Doug scored us
a perfect parking spot right about here 

 

 

It seems if you have an antique car.....

....or a really expensive one, you can park right in front of
the restaurants....we wanted to park Euri there too!!

Sign outside the public bathroom. "Showering in the sinks"??
 
 Miles of just this!!

Somebody stop him...he's headed for the water!!!!

 

Can you believe the colours???

 

They have these nice play areas for the kids that are not near the water.
Knowing Miami Beach vendors, there is a charge to use this "equipment"
 
We just loved the old architecture!!

The illy truck was giving out free drinks
"free" on Miami Beach???!!!

 
 
 
 
 
We mostly enjoyed our time walking on the beach and the boardwalks (as always) and we certainly enjoyed the hub-bub (for a bit) of the streets. Soon though, it was time to find our way to the back neighbourhoods and a quiet walk around there.
 
Lots of canals running in this area. Doug laughed because I sort of
crawled behind the bus stop to get this picture. He says I
made it look "way" better than it actually was!! Up and over the foot bridge.....
 
Can you see the 4 iguanas just off the foot bridge??
 
Peaceful and quiet back here, just 2 blocks off the main drag,
which is Collins Avenue (or Hwy A1A)

Lots of gated homes, but not all of them
were fancy, just the fencing around them!!

I want this one!!
 
Soon it was time to wander back and have lunch, then get on our way!! They have a nice walking mall area (Washington Street, I think). mostly restaurants and shops but not high priced (as much) as the main drag. That main drag is an area of "see and bee seen".
 
 

 

Walking back to our faithful steed.....

Right across from the Penguin Hotel....

Pretty much anything goes....

Miles of this as well....

 

 

Such neat hotels/condos...
 
Took us about 1.5 hours to get here, just because we chose the "crawl" along the beach drive. We enjoyed it. Tonight we are at Easterlin County Park in Broward County, just north of Fort Lauderdale. Super pretty spot as you can see.
One tiny problem. It is situated smack next to the VERY busy interstate, but you cannot see it at all. Also, a very busy railroad track and their rapid transit train as well.. In fact, the train sounds like it is coming INTO the campground. We had read a campground review about this so we were not surprised. Still, even those reviewing campers gave it great marks and said they would return. That is one thing we always look for….will people return? They said yes so we figured that for 2 nights it would be alright. We believe what happened is that this is an old park and the city grew up and squeezed into what was probably, once, a quiet country area. Anyway, everyone seems really nice. Good spots. We are situated right across from the bathroom (yee haw…I know!! I am at that point in the trip where, sometimes, this REALLY matters to me!) There are some walking trails so we will give those a try tomorrow. We are only here for two nights total.
 

Here we are in B-10

 

 

There is only internet at the park office. I did not post last night as I did not feel like sharing my time with the bugs in the dark. We are just starting to heal up from our 50-60 bites from the Keys so I wasn’t anxious to get more!!
 
 
As I said, next stop is the state park. The Florida State Parks pretty much always have wifi at the concession stands at their beaches. It is a requirement of the vendors that they provide it. We will see how the next campground does. After Jonathan Dickenson SP, it is off to Tomoka State Park for 3 nights. That brings us up to the morning of April 5th when we EXIT this fine state and move along into Georgia and head towards…..MEMPHIS!!!! We are doing a diversion into Tennessee so we can see Memphis, Nashville and a few other sites. Then we are coming back out to the coast at about Wilmington. Then we will continue on northward up the coast. We are afraid that our difficulty-gotten tans will start to fade about then. They have been a long time coming but that’s okay. Music city awaits!!!
Peace…
Thought for the Day: Never pull tomorrow’s clouds over today’s sunshine.

Provided by Kevin & Ruth – Thanks guys!!