Friday, 26 February 2016
Southwest Florida

While we were at the View-Navion Rally I learned of a solution to the 3 quarts of water wasted each time you turn on your hot water for a shower. The short video I made (2.5 min) you can watch here  and it has all you need to know. I had to wait until now to upload to YouTube as I had used up my Verizon data allowance for the prior month.

The Palmetto Encore RV Park had a unique shared sewage dump. See the sign in the photo and click to enlarge for the details. Fortunately we did not stay in Site H-12



Our friends Ginny and Alan moved back to the USA from Panama last year. We learned a good deal about condo design in this part of Florida. They are in a new two story fourplex overlooking a small lake. It has a three car garage with the third car parked in front of the second car. Many of the residents have downsized from much larger homes and have to deal with getting rid of a lot of stuff. Of course the garages hold much of their unneeded stuff. We spent a good part of the evening at another neighbor's condo that holds a party every Friday. Our hostess was formerly the television "Katie Couric" of Venezuela. Her partner was a long term live-aboard boater on an 48 ft trawler that he sailed all over the Caribean including Venezuela. He had also cruised on the first passagemaker yacht invented by Robert Beebe. Beebe was first to prove that a properly designed yacht could circumnavigate the earth under power rather than sail.


Anna Maria Island

This pier on Anna Maria was built in 1912 to provide dockage for ships from St Petersburg and Tampa. The dock is 678 ft long. The wharf on the end houses a restaurant and places to fish. It is the number one tourist attraction in Anna Maria. Carol and Gary have a beautiful house a few blocks from the pier on an inlet with homes on both sides. The island has become such an attraction that homes are being sold and used for one week rentals. This is rapidly destroying the neighborhoods and the owners move elsewhere. We had dinner at Galati marina and sushi restaurant. Galati is one of the largest boat dealerships in the USA. If you keep your boat here it has to be washed twice per week and kept in immaculate condition.



Returning to Bradenton we stayed with Kenlake Marina friends Eileen and Doc. Doc took me to see his new 35 ft. Newmar motorhome that has a massive slide-out on the street side. It is almost as long as the motorhome. There are 4 large rack and pinion units that control the in and out. Doc had downsized from a 38 ft to a 32 ft. He was too cramped in the 32 ft so he traded it in for the 35 ft. which has more floor space than the 38 ft. Later in the morning we went to a new Goodwill in a former Sweetbay supermarket. It gave me quite a few ideas to promote for our Goodwill. I took quite a few photos with the store manager's permission.


Burnt Store

Ria and Hans, Nortel friends, have a condo overlooking the harbor at the large Burnt Store development. We went to Lashley's restaurant (see photo) and were waited on by Ashley. (no relationship to the restaurant). I had a sea food salad but in hindsight wished I had picked the stuffed quesadilla soup bowl that Ria and Hans shared. I asked if they had any bread and was told they don't have bread at lunch but do have crackers. We ate inside and sat out the huge storm that hit southern Florida that afternoon.


Cape Coral

It was an easy drive to Cape Coral where we parked in Fred and Joanie's driveway (see photo) in their late 60's house with an indoor pool in the lanai. Fred has been a writer and photographer all his career and wrote the three cruise guides that we print. He writes mainly for agricultural magazines and is concerned about what will happen to print magazines. He has a draft of a very large novel he has written but it still needs work and we didn't get to see it. However, he asked Mavis and I to review a coffee table book with a number of his photos accompanied by very short stories in short lines of text. He refused to call it poetry. The book is beautiful and we talked a lot about how to get it published on print-on-demand.


Big Cypress

I had not reserved a place to stay in the Big Cypress/Everglades and figured we would find something. However, I was constantly worried about what to do if all the sites were taken.  Well we found an old Florida campground that was the most interesting place so far on this trip. You are greeted by a huge sign "Skunk-Ape Research Headquarters" beside a campground sign. They had a site. We were escorted to the site by one of the owners on his bicycle.  It was a little damp from the rain but had new water and power pedestals and was level. He said it had a dump but it was not at the site. His parting word were that this was a quiet place and he didn't want us making a lot of noise, like we were big time partiers. It was quite a complement. We then set out to find the dump site and walked to the store (see photo). At the back of the store a door opens to a zoo.  We were greeted by the zoo owner who was a fountain of information on plants and animals. Mavis was in heaven. In one enclosure was a huge 21 ft. curled up boa constrictor snake which he poked to show it was alive. I suggested he should have signs on the road promoting the world's largest snake like the world's largest prairie dog in Kansas (see here)  but he said that would be dishonest because there is a 25 ft. boa somewhere he knew about.  He also had several parrots, one which went crazy hoping for attention from the visitors. The noise was deafening. Today we head for Key Biscayne where boating friends live.


Posted on 02/26/2016 12:35 PM by Bob Duthie
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