Daytona to Home Base.

Trip Start May 30, 2013
Trip End Nov 25, 2013

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Where I stayed
Home Base Port Charlotte

Flag of United States  , Florida
Friday, August 23, 2013

Daytona to Port Charlotte……
Orlando had been hot and steamy with late afternoon thunderstorms, so our 3 sunny days in Daytona Beach were quite stunning.

Our accommodation at Daytona was beachfront on the Island side of the Atlantic.
 There is an Island about 25 miles long that follows the coastline, with many bridges providing access across the canal which is only a couple of 100mts wide to beachside South Atlantic Avenue. The beach front is lined with colourful hire umbrellas-
30 dollars a day hireage for the umbrella and 2 sun lounger’s. Not quite sure why you would not bring your own, as vehicles are allowed to drive right onto the beach - leaving your vehicle about 20 feet from the beach side. Cars on one side and sunbathers on the waters edge.

The last morning we managed a 5 km walk up and down the beach , with swims in the pool to follow. Our last evening meal (being Erin‘s birthday), was spent at Crabby Joes on Sunglow Pier.  The Pier  projects  out into the ocean - we could see the shore waves breaking on the beach through the cracks in the floor boards beneath us ,and the building shuddered with the waves pounding the ocean poles supporting the pier  on the beach front.
Sundown and we continued to the end of the Island to see the famous lighthouse at  Ponce Inlet- arrived at 7.30pm, in time to see the last of the sun reflecting on the top of the lighthouse lens, then the flashing of the lens took over as darkness fell.

Next morning we set off at 8am for the last part of our journey to join with our family in Port Charlotte…. a 4 hour car journey. We left the big I75 motorway just after Orlando and took a slower route , countryside , passing through another Bartow (had already been to one where E & D’s farm interest is in Georgia).  Many Lakes in the centre and land just so flat , Fenced and  good farm land supporting  a small amount of livestock.

Passing through Arcadia (an old Rodeo town ) 40 minutes from our base, we   stopped at NAV-A-GATOR , a country style Tiki bar on the Peace River, inland from Punta Gorda and had a nice lunch and a cold beer.

Our arrival to our family was a happy event - Talley had food and wine cooling in our fridge, candles burning and nice music playing in our Condo.
Erin and David , say it is just like coming home for them too.
We all enjoyed an evening meal together outside in their Lanai and the children stuck “like glue”. All wanting to know how long we will be here for.

Both D & G were straight into helping Todd put together a 10 x 5 foot  outdoor dog kennel (6 foot high). Their dogs (old Bailey, a red golden retriever) , has taken on a new lease of life with the arrival of “Rugby” , an American Bulldog (not pitbull)…Rugby was the largest of the litter and continues to amaze Todd & Talley with his growth rate. Now 5 months old and weighing over 50 LBS….feet the size of a cow and webbed. Living in the country ,T & T like the security that the sight of these dogs offer.

We are in the last week of summer break before the children start back at school . Being able to help for at least 1 week, is a bonus for all of us - Talley juggling her fulltime career of Physical therapy, and being a Mum , while Todd is in the height of his busy season with his Landscaping business . They have had so much rain ,the grass is growing furiously and all the road side swells are overflowing.

Last year Erin and David met our friends Chuck and Jan who live about 10 minutes drive from us. Today we arranged to meet up and enjoyed a lovely fish meal at an old Florida Waterfront diner at Placida. After lunch, Chuck thought it would be a good idea to walk out on the long Pier that leads like a finger out into the harbour……it was SOOOO hot , and we were all dripping perspiration , with the guys shirts wet through , by the time we made it back to the airconditioned  vehicle…..

We have been at our home base now for 10 days , and my travelblog has suffered , due to our computer being full of Trojans and not responding to any of our instructions- a penalty we pay for using public sites in our 2 months in Europe. D & G have spent many hours with their joint knowledge trying to sort it out, but finally, apart from throwing the little beast into the swimming pool , or giving it to the dogs as a Frisbee , it was virtually good for nothing else……so off to a little computer ‘doctor’ nerd we had used 2 years ago , about 10 minutes from here … we are all “up and running correctly”, with all our bases covered for security.

The weather here is very predictable and JUST so much rain has fallen. (Todd says it has never been so wet for his outdoor work).
Lovely sunny mornings, getting hot!!!! Clouding over by 2 oclock , run for cover as the huge black sky opens - then rolling thunder (that continues around the sky for hours , with lightning thrown in for good measure. Bailey still managing to break out of "his Fort Knox" dog kennel when the lightning and thunder strikes- a constant challenge for David & Garry to keep repairing and strengthening both door and walls.
Erin and David are still here and now into count down - with their flight back to NZ on the 28th from Fort Meyers (1 hour south from here) going to Lax then on to NZ.

Sophia had her 9th birthday last week and we all celebrated by going to  Applebees for a meal - Sophia was only 2 when the family left NZ to live in USA - where do these years go to.

The RED BARN is a very large  barn (airconditioned,inside )also with  outdoor booths , (NOT air conditioned)….selling everything from matchsticks to elephants (not really)…So last weekend we set off for Bradenton - arriving at the market at 10am; the hours passed quickly and before we knew it, it was 2 oclock and time to leave - out into the roasting temps (96 degrees outside).

Back to Venice , where we were staying the night at Barb & Kens Condo.
Compulsory walk after dinner on the Venice Pier at sunset - and again that threatening sky - “black as the ace of spades “ with thunder and lightning in the distance. Not enough to frighten the fish however, and there were plenty in the harbour boiling up the water with  bigger fish  chasing them to the surface.

This blog will be the last now for some time - we have settled into our regular outings now with friends, nothing to warrant reporting home about…Moose club, lunches with friends and last evening dinner with Raymond and Connie at their home in Venice, followed by Mexican Train Dominos which David and Erin picked up really quickly and enjoyed.

Our Grandchildren are waiting for their picture to appear in the local paper- they competed in a 1 mile run, then 200 yard swim and apparently were snapped by the photographer.
Their days are LONG - leaving the house at 7.15 am Monday to Friday, with swimming training 4 nights a week from 5.30 till 7pm.
Next weekend  we will be up early to go watch them compete in a  7.30am start for a 5K run- before the heat is on.

Thinking of our friends who are NOT in good health (Margaret & Terry)
and Sel - hope the Kiwis are beginning to feel Spring in the air.
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Glenna Gray on

Thanks for sharing the great pictures. We have truly enjoyed following along on your adventures. I know that your son and his family are enjoying your visit.

We just returned from Europe and had a lovely time. We look forward to hearing about your future plans. Perhaps, we can catch up with you for a reunion next year.

Glenna and Jerry

garrynjan on

thanks Glenna for your kind comments.
Quiet now in FL and weather still hot and stormy.
Hope you are enjoying all your homeexchanges around the world.
safe travels

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