The first people we stopped to visit when we went on the road were our friends Cori and Greg. We stopped in Pennsylvania for the weekend before starting our new life, and had an amazing weekend. Although Cori and I talk or text almost every day we have really missed them. Finally their vacation came and they headed to Florida for a boondocking rally put on by RV Dreams. We are not set up for boondocking, plus Lee is in school every day, but the rally is only an hour or so from where we are staying and we are hoping to come visit everyone on Saturday. (That should be especially exciting, because they will all have been sitting out in a field for a week in the hot Florida sun, with full gray and black tanks, and not having had real showers for several days. It will be like human soup out there. I can’t wait. I won’t be distributing many hugs that day. – Lee) Needless to say we were super excited for a chance to see our friends in person. (1) They left Pennsylvania Thursday night and because they have a Class A and were super motivated, they managed to make it to Winter Haven, FL by late Friday night. (2) I was super excited. (3) I felt like a kid at Christmas to be honest, and we got up bright and early and drove over to see them. (So much for “Christmas”. There were no presents, unless you count the bottle of Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey, which was mine to begin with, but I left it there back in November. – Lee) Sometimes when you see people you haven’t seen for a long time it can be a bit awkward, but with them we picked up right where we left off. The funniest part to me was that Cori would be mid-sentence and then just sort of trail off and smile…she was sun deprived in PA and that Florida weather was working it’s magic. (Or perhaps it was the booze. It’s hard to be sure. – Lee) Hobie, their amazing cavachon, seemed to remember me (or at least my doggie treats) and we had a great morning catching up. Then the day got even better. Kelly and Bill drove over to see them and we also got to see Jo and Craig. We hadn’t seen Jo and Craig since the RV-Dreams rally in Tennessee last April and although I’ve been following her terrific blog (This Moment in Time), it was so great to see them in person again. Texas Jo is a hoot and Craig gives the best hugs on the planet. (I’m going to let that one slide for now. – Lee) So the eight of us talked and ate and then had a wonderful bonfire (our first since coming to Florida). The campground Cori and Greg are at (The Outpost) also has a really nice lake and I got to walk down and take some bird pictures. (We saw a Muscovy Duck which only has small populations in Southern Florida and Texas as it is largely a Mexican and South American bird so that was really a cool sighting.) It’s also a brand new campground and the prices were super reasonable so if you’re looking for a place in the Winter Haven area I really recommend you check it out. (4) Cori broke out her new camera and she and Lee spent some time together taking pictures. (It’s not a camera, it’s a Nikon. – Lee) He was really happy to help someone who actually listened to the finer points of photography…as opposed to me who just likes to point and shoot and doesn’t listen that well in general.
Jo, Craig, Bill, Kelly, Cori, and Greg will all be at the RV-Dreams Boondocking Rally this week and Greg’s going to do a solar install while he is there. Greg is an incredibly smart and experienced solar technician, so if you’re thinking about solar you should really check out his website RV Solar Solutions and give him a call. We are absolutely going to get solar panels down the road, but are trying to be good and pay off our little bit of debt first.
On Valentines Day Lee and I, along with Dr. Jo and Ben, drive over for the day to crash the party. Then Jo, Craig, Cori, and Greg will be staying for a few days in Tampa and I took a couple of days off to spend time with them. Excited about seeing Jo and Craig’s rig since they didn’t have it yet when we saw them last year, although Texas Jo is a super clean person so I am a little afraid Lee might have higher expectations after we see her place. (5. That’s 5 “supers” in one post. I need to get this wife of mine a cape, or a thesaurus. – Lee)
If that wasn’t enough excitement for the weekend we got to go kayaking with Eileen and Gene. The last time we were together I asked if they could help me get Lee into the water in the boat. He is really concerned about kayaking in a rubber boat with alligators. (To clarify, I’m not concerned about kayaking in a rubber boat WITH alligators, that would be foolhardy. I’m concerned about kayaking in a rubber boat while alligators are trying to sink/get into the boat. It’s a fine distinction, but a pretty important one. You can’t be too careful with these things. While there hasn’t been a fatal alligator attack in Florida since 2007, that also means that it’s long overdue. There have been over 20 major bites in the past five years, however. That’s enough to warrant caution. If you don’t think so, go talk to one of those 20 people. They’re easy to spot, what with missing limbs and the like. Also, given that information, it begs the question why my wife is so keen to get me into a boat in rabid alligator infested waters. Food for thought. – Lee) Yes, I know it is unlikely it will be an issue, but as Lee says that is small comfort when you’re the one boat that an alligator attacks. So to get us started Eileen recommended Robinson Preserve because they didn’t see any alligators there. (That’s not exactly an endorsement. Have they been LOOKING for them??? How recently was their eyesight checked? Are they in league with Tracy in her plot to get rid of me, and their role in the conspiracy is to be alligator deniers? This is all very suspicious. – Lee) I was so excited to get on the water, take some great pictures, and hang out with Gene and Eileen!! Robinson Preserve is amazing. It’s free and pet and kid friendly. (Alligators love kids and pets. – Lee) They have walking and biking paths throughout the preserve and easy waterway access to kayak or canoe. They also have a four-story wooden tower you can climb into and the views are amazing. (The alligator problem is clearly so out of control they had to build a four-story tower to keep an eye on them. This is partially for viewing distance, but also to keep the more intrepid alligators from climbing up the tower to eat the watchers. They have very short legs, and would get tired and give up by the third story. – Lee) The bird watching was great and it turns out Eileen has an eagle eye when it comes to spotting birds. (And yet, she’s never seen a single one of the thousands of alligators lying in wait. Am I the only one who sees a problem with all of this? – Lee) Seriously, from now on she’s going on all my nature hikes with me. We just had the best time.. and I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves…mainly because I am completely pooped out by all the fun we had this weekend. (We really did have a great time, Gene and Eileen are a lot of fun, and are so easy-going and friendly, despite their nefarious alligator connections. And even though I never saw a single alligator, that doesn’t mean they weren’t there. It just means that they’re even hungrier than they were before. We’re all living on borrowed time. Hug your loved ones before it’s too late. – Lee)
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