We set out 6 initial destinations we wanted to achieve during our five year journey: The Florida Keys, Mt. Rushmore, Grand Canyon, Albuquerque, New Mexico (for the Hot Air Balloon Festival), Death Valley, and as far north you can go on paved roads toward the North Pole (not necessarly in that order). Today, as we traveled the Overseas Highway, Florida, entering the Keys through Key Largo, we achieved the first of our destinations.
Of course, the first thing we did after setting up our site, was to eat frog legs, and key lime pie.
West Palm Beach Florida to GrassyKey, Florida 168.9 miles
The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center is a great place for kids. When Mary Martin, playing Peter Pan, looked into the camera and said “promise you won’t grow up”, I promised. Therefore I fit right in as a kid.
The place is named after one of the dominant trees in the area. As we were walking down one of the nature trails and Barbara was describing the trees from the guidebook, I asked her if she new which one was the Gumbo Limbo? When she responded that she did not, I told her, “then it is this one.” Pointing to the tree that I happened to be standing next too. Then, from the guide, she described the tree as having a distinctive pealing red bark. Turned out that was the tree I was standing next too. Boy am I smart.
The Center had an amazing aquarium from which you could view fish, turtles and and other sea creatures from above, as well as below.
It has now been 30 days living full time in our 5th Wheel, which we are now calling “The Sphinx” because of it’s size. Each of the 30 days has brought a new challenge, which we, for the most part, have overcome. I wanted to explain some of those challenges, and how we solved them, but Barbara says it would be too gross. Suffice it to say there is a lot to know about water conservation and waste management.
For those that want to know: “did we make the right decision in giving up our 2,800 sq. ft. home on an acre of wooded countryside land for a 240 sq. ft. home on wheels?” YES. We have not regretted it for 1 minute. Despite the challenges and obstacles, we are having the time of our lives. Actually the challenges are part of the adventure.
We will be returning to Maryland for our granddaughter’s graduation from George Mason University in May, and then we will be flying to Alabama for a get together of Barbara’s family for a week’s vacation. I wanted to drive the Sphinx there, but Barbara said the time frame between Graduation and the Family get together was too short (another boxing match I lost).
After Alabama, we will be attending the Maryland State Firemen’s Convention in Ocean City, Maryland, as I am still the Chairman of a Committee until June. After that, it is wherever the wind takes us.
For now, we are continuing our travels in Florida.
Continuing our journey South toward the Florida Keys, we stayed at our first County Park Campground. John Prince Park in Lake Worth, Fl. The cost was much less than some of the other places we stayed, and the facilities much nicer. We stopped to spend time with some of my relatives, both here and in Sarasota. It is great being able to travel around the Country to see family. Sorry, no pictures of relatives. I don’t think they would appreciate having their mugs splashed over the internet.
Can’t visit Florida without visiting an Orange Grove. It turns out this is not the harvesting season. The orange juice I tasted was not as good as Bayside Skillet in Ocean City, Maryland, the best fresh squeezed orange juice I have ever tasted.
The Mixon Fruit Farm tour was given by a lifelong orange grower.
They not only grow oranges, but other citrus fruits as well.
Can you tell what they are? Neither can I. They are various oranges (including Valencia and Naval), lemons, limes, grapefruit, and something that is like a grapefruit, but is not.
They even had coconut trees.
Part of the tour included rescued animals by Wildlife, Inc. they use part of the farm’s land for rehabilitation of the animals, and education of the public through a live exhibit.
They had baby alligators, python snake,raccoon, skunks,
OK, before I tell you, do you know what the title of this article means? I will give you a hint. We are in Sarasota Florida. No? How about a picture:
Now you know.
Yep. Ringling Brothers Barnum & Baily Circus Museum. We thought we would spend a couple hours here, then spend the rest of the day at Siesta Key, because I liked the name, and then watch the sunset.
Wrong, we spend 6 hours on the Museum grounds before they kicked us out for closing. We never got to the Art Museum of John Ringling, which is supposed to be one of the best collections on the East Coast for European art.
We did get to see the Rose Garden:
And his home:
Look, I learned another new thing, a slide show.
As was expected, it was lavishly designed and furnished
with multicolored windows to give each room a different hue
Simon says “everyone look up, but keep your mouth closed”.
We also visited the very cool Circus Museum:
So that’s where animal crackers come from
Not enough room to put up and down.
After being kicked out, we went to Lido Key. Lots of Birds.
We sat to relax in what happened to be feeding time for the pelicans.
they would fly, looking for their fish, then dive straight down into the water to nail them.
Then eat them, take off, and repeat the process. Sorry you can’t hear Barbara doing the sound effects for the dive:
— yee-alm —- boom.
Meanwhile, down a little way, sail boats were coming in for the evening, when one tipped over
They eventually righted themselves and made it safely to shore.
And so ends another broadcast day.
But wait, here is a candid shot of Barbara, don’t tell her I took this:
Sarasota, Florida is the playground for the Baltimore Orioles Spring Training. We watched the Orioles beat Philadelphia in a come from behind game. It was a sellout crowd, almost 8,000 people, with half cheering for Philadelphia.