Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas
Our view for the next three plus months.
 Just a couple of the festive RV,s in the park.


Monday, December 22, 2014

Wekiva Falls Pitstop...

Hey there peeps! Sorry we haven’t touched base for a while, but we’ve been enjoying some of the famous Florida sunshine and warmer temps finally!
We have also been busy getting our little home on wheels all set up now that we have arrived in the beautiful Sarasota area. We’ve been here now for three weeks if you can believe it, and will be here until March 5th.
What I mean by getting set up I mean that we’ve had to shop around for an internet provider, opened a U.S. bank account and grab ourselves a U.S. cellphone number so we can stay connected with y’all!
 I won’t go into too much detail about where we are at this particular moment because I want to keep that for a separate post. This particular post is about the last place we stayed at just prior to arriving at Sun-n-Fun on December 1st.
Wekiva Falls RV Park is located in Sorrento between Daytona and Orlando. It was an okay place, but it really just didn’t do it for us for a variety of reasons. It was a pretty big place and they packed people in like sardine cans.  The clientele left a lot to be desired as well if you get my drift; I swear we were next door to drug dealers. 
It was a relatively pretty setting with the Wekiva River running through it, and had a natural Sulfur water spring that they had turned into a water park type feature. The concept is a novel one, all except for the fact that depending on what direction the wind is blowing you could be easily nauseated by the pungent odor that comes with a sulfur spring! You know that wicked fart and/or rotten egg smell! UGH!
Unfortunately we had to stay put there for 5 days because of our timing.  The American Thanksgiving holiday weekend fell in between our trip across the state from the Atlantic side and our arrival to Sun-n-Fun. We originally wanted to stay at Disney’s wilderness park but it was sold out for Thanksgiving Day. Everywhere else was sold out as well so we were stuck there basically.
We arrived there on the day of a torrential rain storm, and Chillax’n pretty much sat on a soggy wet lot for at least three of those five days. When the skies finally cleared and the temps warmed up we did manage to get out and about taking some photos of what we think were the nicest areas in the park.

Above is that smelly natural sulfur spring and a cool palm tree growing out of the hill sideways. Apparently it fell over but never died!

A little marina where you can rent canoes and kayaks. On the opposite side you can fish, but be a little heads up the resident sand cranes will steal your catch, hook and all if you're not careful!

I’m not sure what particular sea bird this is, but what an absolutely gorgeous colour it was don’t you think?

A few vultures hanging around for leftovers perhaps?
I love these next two pictures, Rick totally captured that Florida flora.

Lastly, our sardine can and very soggy site.  You can’t see the drug dealer in this shot, he was on the other side of us.

Friday, November 28, 2014

A Safari in Florida?


A Safari in Florida? You betcha this is!
One of Rick’s jobs during our adventure of firsts is to seek out RV Parks along our route, and he found this unique KOA located in Loxahatchee, Florida. This one is actually part of a 245 acre wildlife preserve called Lion Country Safari. It is home to over 800 animals from all over the world, and they roam free; albeit with the exception of a very large fence that separates them from us of course!
For those of you that have ever been to the African Lion Safari in Ontario Canada, it is exactly the same concept; that being you drive through the park in your car.
The animals have the right of way of course as they frequently cross the roadway stopping your vehicle. You are provided with a CD that narrates your journey as you drive along, and is very educational to say the least.
Staying here was definitely a unique experience to say the least. It was as if we were camping in Africa at times. For example as you settle down for the evening or wake in the early morning you can literally hear the sounds of Africa at your doorstep. Lions roaring, cranes calling and gibbons whooping most certainly provided a surreal experience. Even Toby’s ears were tuned into these very foreign sounds.
If you stay here you are also provided free and/or discounted tickets into the reserve itself. It was our luck that at this time of the year we were given free entrance.


Taking in some rays at our site 

Loxahatchee is about 35 miles from Delray Beach. While we were here we had the opportunity to visit with some of Rick’s friends.
Chris New, a lifelong friend of Rick’s and her fiancĂ© Sean just so happened to be vacationing at an amazing oceanfront condo. So we stopped in for lunch and major gab session one day. It was a very warm and extremely windy day as you can tell by this picture above.  Too much for a beach day so we all took shelter on the not so windy side of their 800 square foot wrap around balcony enjoyed a pizza, and proceeded to enjoy this awesome view for most of the day!
The next day we visited with another one of Rick’s friends, one who he hasn’t seen for 22 years.
Marco Knoop and his family actually live in Delray Beach, and we had the opportunity to spend time with him and his great family at their beautiful home. We had a wonderful day full of reminiscing, good wine and good food.
Below are some pictures of their beautiful home.

Rick being creative with the lens…
Real turtles???
Thank you for making our adventure more meaningful everyone!
On our third day in Loxahatchee we took advantage of our free admission to the Lion Country Safari. Below are a few photos taken during our visit …

Putting faces to the voice so to speak…

We will be heading toward Sarasota tomorrow making another pit-stop near Sorrento. Rick has us booked into Wekiva Falls RV Resort. We will be spending 5 days there, which will pretty much have you caught up to our exact location.
While we here we will have the opportunity to enjoy our first American Thanksgiving.   
We hope you’re enjoying our adventure as much as we are, so stay tuned for more to come.
Vicariously Yours,
Rick, Sandra, Toby and Wee Shaemus

Thursday, November 27, 2014

A visit to America's first Colony St. Augustine...

In keeping with the theme of our adventure of “firsts” what a perfect place to visit, St. Augustine Florida, America’s first successful colony and oldest city.
In 1565, Spanish explorer Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles arrived with 800 colonists to settle the New World in the name of Spain. It was an ambitious attempt indeed, and on September 8th, St. Augustine was founded.

We picked another nearby KOA to park Chillax’n at for a couple of days. St. Augustine Beach KOA is located about 3 miles from downtown, and has public transit available just steps from the front entrance. Sorry Rick forgot to snap a photo of our campsite however, we did manage to take a few pictures of the resident wildlife.


This cool bird above could be seen on his perch for most of each and every day, with the exception of course when Mr. Hawk arrived below!

This colourful fellow and his entourage regularly paid our site a visit in the hope that we would feed them, which of course we did not. I’m sure many people do though because they were unbelievably tame and not afraid of humans. Toby enjoyed rolling in their poop too if you didn’t keep a watchful eye UGH!
Of course there will always be these little critters around when there is an abundance of live oak trees.
The name "live" oak comes from the fact that evergreen oaks remain green and "live" throughout winter, when other oaks are dormant.
When the term live oak is used in a specific rather than general sense, it most commonly refers to the southern live oak, the first species so named, and an icon of the Old South.

We spent a beautiful warm sunny afternoon walking around the downtown core where there is so much to see and do understandably. There was everything to do from sports and recreation, sightseeing and walking ghost tours, both fun and historic attractions, shopping galore, art galleries, and lastly an abundance of bars and restaurants.

                    The first Spanish Military Hospital now a Museum


Scarlett O'Hara's Pub
When you’re in need of a good restaurant and/or pub who better to ask than the local constabulary...

Sangrias Tapas & Wine Bar where 1 beer + 1 glass of wine + tip equalled 20 bucks!

Of course Wee Shaemus tagged along with us!

Just to enlighten you a little - prior to entering this place we had enjoyed a fantastic dinner out at an Italtian restaurant called the Chianti Room.
Several glasses of wine, and we're not telling you just how many + 2 Caesar Salads + 1 Lasagna and 1 Veal Parm dinner equalled $49 less the tip.
What is up with that ??? 

Oh well, at least this little musical duo was worth the coin!

But after a fantastic belated Birthday dinner / date night we waited for our taxi in front of Tini Martini Bar all decked out in it's Christmas bling. A little over the top perhaps?



Tomorrow we will be moving further south to the West Palm and Delray Beach areas so we can enjoy another couple of firsts. We also have a couple of friends to hook up with there, both who are friends of Rick’s from his pre-Sandra days.
If you ever get the chance to visit St. Augustine please don’t hesitate and let the opportunity pass you by. St. Augustine is most certainly a compelling narrative of exploration, innovation and let’s not forget its enduring human spirit.
It is marked by so many milestones such as being the first permanent European and African settlement; the site of the first Christian mass in the Americas; the first port to develop into a centre of trans-Atlantic trade and commerce; the site of the first hospital; the first tavern just to mention a few.
Legacies such as these will be celebrated next year during the 450th Commemoration of what is known as the first colony.
Our visit definitely was a first on so many levels!
Thanks for hanging out with us, and don't forget to catch up with Chillax'n after our adventure of first continues on to West Palm and Delray Beach Florida.
See you all on the flip side….
Rick, Sandra, Toby and Wee Shaemus

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hello from Charleston, South Carolina

We’re happy to report that we had an uneventful trip down to Historic Charleston South Carolina.
It was a beautiful sunny day and we stayed at the Mount Pleasant area KOA. This particular KOA just so happens to be on the grounds of a real Antebellum Plantation, and there's no mistaking you're in Carolina low country when you camp here. Azaleas, oaks and loblolly pines give this campground a signature touch to its charm.
Sandra and Toby attempted the 1.5 mile nature trail, but after reading the sign warning to stay on the trail or take your chances with alligators, poisonous snakes and/or vegetation they opted out, simply coining the phrase “let’s not and say we did”.
On site is a 30-acre private lake where you can simply relax rent a boat, or fish (catch and release only). We deciding to lay low on our arrival day and simply enjoyed the front row view that Chillax’n had of the lake.
The next day we headed into Historic downtown Charleston where horse-drawn carriages clip-clop along the historic harbor and beautiful cobble stoned streets and gas lit alleys. It was one of our hit and miss very warm days. However it was extremely windy, which made walking around somewhat difficult and not so fun.
There was also the threat of severe thunderstorms and a tornado watch in effect. So as we watched our beautiful skies turn gloomy around noon, decided to for-go the carriage ride and take some pictures of the gorgeous 18th century homes and buildings, architecture and  harbor as quickly as possible.
Here are a few photos to try and entice you to visit this enchanting beautifully preserved city so rich in history...

On our way back to the campground we took a quick detour to Patriots Point so we could see the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown, the tenth aircraft carrier to serve in the United States Navy. It is out of commission now, but you can walk in the footsteps of YORKTOWN's sailors and officers as you tour the Flight Deck all the way down to the massive engine rooms that powered this great ship.

We made it back to Chillax’n just in time before the skies opened up and technically “rained on our parade”. So with that we will leave you will this gorgeous photo of the night sky as it appeared out the front window after the storm had passed.
We will be heading out in the morning to make our way down to St. Augustine Florida. The weatherman is forecasting another cold front to make its way as far as Georgia, so we've decided to by-pass Savannah and head to where we won’t have freezing temps.
So stay tuned for our next post from there.
Rick, Sandra, Toby and Wee Shameus