I’m Going to Miss Bob


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.

#weekendcoffeeshare – 02/11/2017

Good morning! I hope everyone is doing well today! If we were having coffee today, I would tell you that I’m still in Florida but in a different place. We are now at Carrabelle, Florida, in the Florida Panhandle. It’s a different kind of RV park than the Pine Island RV Park. Much quieter, more laid back. It’s a very nice, clean park. We have the most awesome view of the Gulf of Mexico with the brilliant blue water and the sugary white sand beach which is very wide here. This RV Park is not particularly mine or my traveling companion’s taste. We prefer the parks more like Pine Island, but if you like peace and quiet, you would like Carabelle Beach RV Resort Park.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that, yesterday, we went to St. George Island, just across the bay, and Appalachicola. Early in the day, we were looking for restaurants for both us and to take our friends to when they arrived last night. Our friends, Marty and Phil, came down so we could spend some time together. We knew it would be late when they arrived as they had a very long drive from Tennessee. So we looked around St. George and Appalachicola for places to eat. We found a few, mostly in Appalachicola.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about our visit to the St. George Island lighthouse. It was rebuilt in 2008 after the original one, which was very old, fell. I had never been in a lighthouse before so it was really interesting. Later in the evening, Marty and Phil did arrive and we all went to Appalachicola to a restaurant called Up the Stairs.. It was an excellent dining experience! We loved our meals. If you ever find yourself in that quaint little town, I highly recommend it.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you about our rather long drive from the Ft. Myers Florida area to the Carabelle Florida area and the fact that we are traveling with a sick puppy. My little dog, Betsy, has been battling what is apparently a little virus. I called my vet back home and have been treating her according to his instructions. She is getting better but is not completely well yet. We’ve been very worried about her.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that we will be spending most of the next week here exploring with Marty and Phil. I’m hoping to be home in Kentucky by no later than February 18th, so the next #weekendcoffeeshare will hopefully come to you from my home in Kentucky. I’ll have to admit to you I wish we were going home to our little place near Ft. Myers instead! But we will be going back there soon.

If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I have so missed hearing from all of you! Please tell me what you’ve been up to in the comments section and I’ll read all of your #weekendcoffee shares!!!

#21: Adventures in RV Travel – February 10, 2017


Carrabelle, St. George Island, and Appalachicola

Above are pictures of Carrabelle Beach on the panhandle of Florida. Beautiful, isn’t it?

Yes, we have been a lot of places today! We started out the day at Carrabelle Resort RV Park. Early on, we took a drive about 20 miles away, over the bridge, to St. George Island. It’s 14 miles from the RV Park to the bridge to St. George and it’s a four-mile drive across the bridge. A beautiful drive on a beautiful day across the Gulf. We drove around the island a bit and visited the lighthouse. Quite a lighthouse which has been rebuilt since the original one fell after a hurricane. It was very old. This one is very sturdy and built to withstand hurricanes.

Then, we took off on the ten-mile trip to Apalachicola, again a gorgeous drive. It’s a quaint little town and we were looking for a good restaurant to take our friends, Marty and Phil, to tonight when they arrived from Tennessee. We found several. I also think we found some interesting shopping. Marty and I will make a return trip or two and check it out. I think I’ll like this interesting little town.

I’m still not crazy about Carrabelle Resort RV Park, but for those of you RVer’s who like a lot of peace and quiet and don’t mind doing most of your own cooking, you may like it. I’m a little more high maintenance, I guess. And I don’t particularly like a lot of peace and quiet! 🙂

Marty and Phil arrived tonight and we had dinner in a very good, rather frou-frou restaurant in Apalachicola. Everyone liked their meals very much. They had a very long day and after a rest, we will see each other tomorrow!

Below is the St. George Island Lighthouse.


#20: Adventures in RV Travel – February 8 – 9, 2017

Trip to Carrabelle RV Resort Park

Hello everyone from Carrabelle RV Resort Park in Carrabelle, FL. It was a reasonably long journey from an island off the coast of Ft. Myers, FL to this rather isolated spot right after you make the turn onto the Florida panhandle from the peninsula. Had I realized just how isolated, I might not have made reservations here. Maybe I should rephrase that. Had I realized that they warn you about BEARS here, I probably would NOT have made reservations here!! At Pine Island, I was accustomed to walking my dog, in the dark, at night, without worrying about tripping over a bear. Not so at Carrabelle. I am unhappy. I am also spoiled because I love Pine Island so much. 🙂

On the upside, there is quite possibly the most beautiful beach I have ever seen on the other side of the road from this park. I promise some pictures tomorrow. This afternoon, we had to get settled. The view of the Gulf of Mexico and the beach is phenomenal. It would have been better had it not been for the spectre of BEARS. I am looking forward to some time on the beach with my friend, Marty, after she and her husband, Phil, get here tomorrow evening. I can’t wait to take some pics to share with you of that beautiful beach.

We had no RV problems on our journey here, but my traveling companion can tell we will have one on the trip back home. An elbow gasket on the exhaust is giving him a problem. It will not be the first time it has been replaced. I’m hoping we can get home without replacing it. On a trip to New England in the Summer of 2015, replacing it became an emergency.

Back to Carrabelle. Be forewarned. The beach is beautiful. However, if you don’t like to cook much and prefer eating out, forget it about it in Carrabelle, FL. Unless you undertake a 40  mile roundtrip, you won’t be eating out. More about that after I do just that tomorrow night!

The RV Park is not quite what I had in mind. It is very nice, almost too nice. There isn’t the same friendliness that I’ve found at some other RV parks. Everyone stays very much to themselves. We will only be here for a few days, and we have Marty and Phil joining us, so it won’t bother us much. I’m glad I didn’t book a longer stay.

We will prevail! I’m going to go down to that beach tomorrow and find a place for the four of us to have dinner tomorrow night (the 40 mile trip). I’m planning on some beautiful pics to share. More “Adventures” then!


#19: Adventures of RV Travel – February 8, 2017


Leaving Pine Island, FL

Tomorrow, February 8, 2017, we leave Pine Island Resort RV Park in Florida to travel north to Carrabelle Beach RV Resort in Carrabelle, Florida, located on Florida’s Panhandle. I’ll have to admit I’m sad to leave Pine Island, as I always am. But, I’m very happy too since we bought a little place to stay here this year. We will be back soon.

It took most of the day to get the RV road ready to make the 432 mile trip from Pine Island to Carrabelle. We had an issue with the front cab air conditioner. The good thing about staying in a large RV park is that mobile RV mechanics and technicians are available to come to your aid. My husband can fix just about anything that goes wrong with our RV, but he couldn’t figure this out so we used a mobile technician. About $150 later, the air conditioner was fixed.

Since we have been here for three weeks, we had some significant packing to do. It’s done. The RV is packed. Everything is safely stowed away. We are ready to pull out tomorrow a.m. Check out time is noon, but I suspect we’ll be on our way before that.

There is one issue. That issue is Betsy, our little dog. She is ill. She seems to be getting better, but she is not well. If she isn’t well by the time we get to Carrabelle, I will be finding a veterinarian first thing. Issues plague you on a long RV trip just as if you were home. Betsy is number one in importance to me. The innocent puppies and kittens have to be cared for first. There are lots of dogs in a big RV park. Betsy is not usually around other dogs. I suspect she has picked up some sort of virus.

I don’t know if we will stay somewhere on the road tomorrow night or if we will drive all the way to Carrabelle. It depends on my traveling companion since he is the driver. We may end up at a Flying J since we do not have a reservation at Carrabelle until the night of February 9. I will write from the road tomorrow night about the first leg of the trip! Good bye for now, Pine Island! We’ll be back in about seven weeks!

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


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.

#17: Adventures in RV Travel: Tropical Point, Pine Island, FL


Tropical Point Bay


Manatee warning


Tropical Point Bay

Today we took a side trip to a spot on Pine Island called Tropical Point. It has a little park, a launch point for kayaks and canoes, a spot for fishing, and the best view you could ask for. My little dog, Betsy, had her first little swim in the edge of the ocean! She had to watch out for the manatees!




#16: Adventures in RV – January 30, 2017


Our Neighbor, the Anhinga

We have another neighbor, who is a bird, at our RV park on Pine Island in Florida. Since he is so unusual, I thought I would share him with you. This is the Anhinga. Pretty awesome, huh? He lives at the edge of the water, one of the lakes on the property. The lake closest to where we are parked.

Our anhinga is a large bird. About four feet tall with an equal wingspan. It is a glossy black and swims underwater to fish. After swimming, the anhinga cannot fly. It has to sit at the side of the lake and hold its wings out to dry as it cannot fly with wet wings. It makes them too heavy. They also become a bit tame around people and like to sit on a perch along boat docks. Many anhinga’s live in the Everglades and close by. It will be interesting when Betsy, my dog, runs up on it!

The anhinga is a protected species.



#15: Adventures in RV Travel – January 27, 2017

Bob, the Wood Stork


@Rosemary Carlson 2017

This is Bob. Bob is a wood stork and a part-time resident of Pine Island RV Resort Park in Florida. Wood storks are endangered in the U.S. Their population is more stable in South America. I was able to get such a good shot of Bob because Bob is sort of the Park Pet. He is perhaps the best fed wood stork around, although wood storks live in colonies and make up to people. He likes the park visitors. We feed him fish (they like minnows) and hot dogs. I have known Bob as long as I’ve been going to Pine Island – a long time now. We’re all very fond of him. He even knows his name!

Wood storks are very large. You don’t feed them out of your hand. Look at their beak! They can remove your hand easily. You drop their food on the ground. In the wild, they feed on fish in shallow water. Florida’s dry winters suit them as ponds, creeks, and lakes dry up and make fishing easy for them. Winter in Florida is also their breeding season.

Wood storks nest in large flocks. They used to nest in the trees all around Pine Island. They don’t anymore. They live to be up to 18 years old. We think Bob is starting to get older. You won’t see many wood storks. If you are lucky enough to see one, please be good to he/she and appreciate them. Thank you.