I’m Going to Miss Bob

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Have you ever come to a fork in the road in your life where you had to make some hard choices? See that picture above? That’s Bob. A rather rare species of wood stork. Bob illustrates what has been a rather hard choice for myself and my family.

Wood storks like Bob only live along the far southern coast of the United States. Seldom do they frequent your yard and you have the chance to get to know them up close and personal. But, I had the opportunity to get to know Bob and so many other wonderful things over the last ten years on Pine Island, a barrier island off the Gulf Coast of Florida.

We discovered Pine Island in the spring of 2009 quite by accident. It was love at first sight. It is a wildlife lover’s paradise and a slice of Old Florida thrown in for good measure. Pine Island used to be a place primarily for commercial fishing, until the tourists discovered it. It still isn’t frequented as much for tourism as Sanibel Island or Marco Island due to its lack of sandy beaches. The beaches are rocky and filled with mangroves. But if you love wildlife, beautiful tropical birds and fish, exploring and hiking, and really nice people, you would love Pine Island.

We started going there every year, at some point during the cold Kentucky winters. Since it is off the coast of Ft. Myers, Florida, it is warm and dry all winter. Lovely weather. We loved it so much we bought a small place there. But time marches on and it finally became obvious that the drive of 1100 miles one way was going to finally be too far and that finding a housesitter for weeks or months on end was going to be impossible. We made the decision to sell our place on Pine Island. That certainly doesn’t mean we’ll never go back. It does mean we won’t be residents and we won’t be wintering there in the future.

There are so many things I’ll miss. Bob, of course. The beautiful fishing pier at Bokeelia. The little town of Matlacha. The awesome seafood. That beautiful ocean. The weather (but only in the winter!). The really nice and often delightfully eccentric people. The wonderful restaurants. The opportunity to observe exotic wildlife and birds up close and personal including ospreys and bald eagles. The chance to see my friend, Amy, and so very much more.

To me, Pine Island represents one of those wonderful interludes in life that you love looking back at and it makes you happy that you were there and sad you had to leave. I’ll always hope to go back. But, if life happens and for some reason, I don’t make it back to Bob, I’m a lucky girl that I got to be there at all. Not everyone gets to experience such an interlude in life. Maybe I’ll write about it someday.

Now it’s time to move on to the next Great Adventure and we’re thinking the Great Lakes, particularly Lake Superior, the land of my ancestors.

I wouldn’t trade my time at Pine Island, and with Bob, for the world.

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Blogging #HurricaneIrma – Florida: The Aftermath

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The final analysis on the aftermath of Hurricane Irma isn’t in yet. In fact, it won’t be in for a long time. Why? Hurricane Irma isn’t over yet. Rain is still falling in northern Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, and….well…rain will  fall in other states due to a low pressure that was Irma where hurricane rains should  never fall. Sandy already grabbed the title of Superstorm and, indeed, it was, so what are we going to call Irma? Surely, it is deserving of a title of something other than “hurricane.” Maybe phenomenon? Natural disaster? I like “force majeure.” Translated “a superior force.” There has never been another hurricane like it in recorded history.

I’m not going to quote figures in this post. I will only say that millions of people had to be evacuated from their homes in Florida and some in other states. I don’t even want to guess at the dollars in property damage not only in South Florida but in northern Florida where such damage was unexpected. As far as the Keys are concerned, the situation there is almost more than I can bear to think about. Rescue and recovery are on their way to some of the Keys that are literally underwater and others with terrible damage. I fear hearing the death toll. I only hope more evacuated than we think. Property damage in the Keys? Unbelievable. I honestly believe we will never know the death toll from Hurricane Irma.

Photos of flooding from Hurricane Irma

Millions of people experienced high levels of stress and anxiety as we watched Irma plod across the Atlantic. We tried to secure belongings and figure out where to go and what to do on a level never seen before. The situation in Houston with Hurricane Harvey was bad enough. Hurricane Irma affected an entire state. More than one state. A natural disaster? Certainly. Some say a natural disaster on a level never before seen in the United States.

From my point of view, a week of my life is gone. Lost to Hurricane Irma, The Weather Channel, and every news channel I could find. I wrote very little, my primary occupation now. I seldom left the vicinity of a computer or television. Thank goodness for my good friends who kept me company and provided sympathy. I wouldn’t have survived the week without them. I have a personal stake in Florida, but my stake is more the people I’ve met in Florida than my own property. More the “old Florida” I’ve grown to know and love than any tourist trap or attraction. I grieved for Florida this past week and will for a long time to come as it will take a long time for Florida to rebuild and recover. I hope to be there, at least some, to help.

The frightening part, at least for me, is that hurricane season isn’t over yet. I have to believe that any other hurricane will be only a pale reminder of Irma. I shouldn’t say that. The oceans are warm, too warm. Monsters are growing in them.

 

#18: Adventures in RV Travel: Island Cafe, Matlacha, FL

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We have eaten at a lot of excellent restaurants on this RV trip. Matlacha, FL has some of the best around. The one we ate at tonight after our visit to Tropical Point was called  the Island Cafe. It has some of the best seafood I’ve eaten. But, what I want to show you is the decor. It is truly island decor as you can see from the pictures above. Hope you enjoy them. The Island Cafe is right on the water.

A Day Spa and the Trip Home: #SoCS – 2 04/17

 

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Soon, we will be leaving Florida and starting toward our home. It will take us a while to get there since there are a couple of legs to that trip. In preparation for the trip home, today I visited a salon and day spa here in Ft. Myers. It was a great experience! Although I only had my hair done there and picked up some products I need, this day spa offered every imaginable service from massage to facials to mani/pedi. If you’re ever in Ft. Myers, drop me a line and I’ll tell you where to go! Tomorrow is an errand day, again getting ready to start the trip home.

Speaking of the trip home, we will start driving north up along the Gulf of Mexico side of the peninsula mid-week next week. I don’t anticipate the traffic to be as bad going north as it was coming south. Most people don’t leave Florida until the end of February. We will make a stop for a few days at Carrabelle RV Resort, which is on the panhandle of Florida, right across the bay from St. Georges Island. We’re meeting friends there. We know that, unfortunately, the weather won’t be as warm as we’ve enjoyed in Ft. Myers, but it will surely be warmer than it will be when we get home to Kentucky! I will enjoy having some time with my girlfriend to shop, eat out, explore, and just talk and visit. The guys plan to do some fishing. We all plan to eat great food, especially great seafood.

We will visit Port St. Joe and Appalachicola at a minimum. We’re really looking forward to it. While we will be staying in the RV Park, they will stay on St. Georges Island. I, too, am looking forward to visiting the island, its beaches, and its shops. There is a nice bridge close by.

After spending a few days there, we will start the long journey home. A friend back home tells me that they are expecting a winter storm right about that time, if long-range weather forecasts are to be believed. So we will be watching the weather from the panhandle north to Kentucky very carefully. It’s almost a straight shot north and a little east. No big mountains, thank goodness. But any slick roads sidelines a RV, so who knows when we might arrive home! Unscheduled stops are always a possibility.

We have so enjoyed these weeks in Ft. Myers, Florida. We’ll be back! I will tell you about that another time.

If you’d like to join in with the Stream of Consciousness Challenge:

Here are the rules:
1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing, (typos can be fixed) and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.
2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.
3. There will be a prompt every week. I will post the prompt here on my blog on Friday, along with a reminder for you to join in. The prompt will be one random thing, but it will not be a subject. For instance, I will not say “Write about dogs”; the prompt will be more like, “Make your first sentence a question,” “Begin with the word ‘The’,” or simply a single word to get your started.
4. Ping back! It’s important, so that I and other people can come and read your post! For example, in your post you can write “This post is part of SoCS:” and then copy and paste the URL found in your address bar at the top of this post into yours. Your link will show up in my comments for everyone to see. The most recent pingbacks will be found at the top. NOTE: Pingbacks only work from WordPress sites. If you’re self-hosted or are participating from another host, such as Blogger, please leave a link to your post in the comments below.
5. Read at least one other person’s blog who has linked back their post. Even better, read everyone’s! If you’re the first person to link back, you can check back later, or go to the previous week, by following my category, “Stream of Consciousness Saturday,” which you’ll find right below the “Like” button on my post.
6. Copy and paste the rules (if you’d like to) in your post. The more people who join in, the more new bloggers you’ll meet and the bigger your community will get!
7. As a suggestion, tag your post “SoCS” and/or “#SoCS” for more exposure and more views.
8. Have fun!