Autumn in Florida

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

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Flag of United States  , Florida
Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Enjoying fall…….

The days are now very predictable , after many weeks of continuous torrential afternoon rain, we now have SUN ,SUN, SUN…..with daily clear blue skies and temps to around 28 to 30 degrees -HOT, but no humidity.

Garry has been trying to locate a hard case suitable to bring home his new set of golf woods. A trip North to Lakewood ranch one day last week, drew a blank, with the case we went to buy , being much bigger than were expecting and  bigger than were allowed to fly with.. Oh dear!!!!
Lakewood Ranch is a Master plan community set in 8,500 acres East of Sarasota …quite new .  The Ranch has dedicated half of its land for parks, trails, and recreational fun. The trails alone stretch over 150 miles of the land. Main Street is the local downtown shopping, dining, and events center. It offers amenities like clothing and retail, food (grocery, wine, and spirits), restaurants (coffee shops, ice cream parlors, family-style, international cuisine), and art festivals. Not wishing to waste our drive up for the afternoon,, we detoured via this interesting settlement and drove in  around 6 oclock , just in time for Happy Hour - positioning ourselves at an outdoor table  at a Scottish bar in the downtown shopping area ,with views across to a bike shop, where dozens of local riders were gathering for their weekly ride. More Lycra and fancy pants than we have seen before; all riding VERY expensive bikes with the head gear and foot shoes to match. The local countryside is very flat and suitable for their many bike trails. All cyclists gathered, slowly cycling in circles  , restless to be set off by their organiser.
A late night home for us, as halfway home, on I75,there was a road block with all motorway lanes stopped. We eventually ‘crawled’ in the emergency lane to the Nokomis off ramp and made our way home in the dark on Tamiami trail.

Sunday we headed off (South this time to Fort Meyers) …again to look at a golf carry case . We are definitely bringing  these clubs home in a box now, as the measurements for that bag , were also NOT as  described on E Bay .
We had taken a picnic lunch , so were able to stop in downtown Fort Meyers and enjoy a walk around the Marina and its few houseboats. One I noticed was actually a ladies Hair Salon on the wharf level, with living quarters upstairs ….nice!!!!! Downtown Fort Meyers is situated on the mouth of the Caloosahatchee river, with the Historic district running up from the harbour - Main street is lined both sides with  magnificent  Queen palms (Fort Meyers is nicknamed city of Palms)
A Palm Park is right down town, so we enjoyed our picnic in the cool ,amongst fully grown Palms gifted to Florida from many different countries - all individually tagged from their country of origin.

I went with Barb for a ride to Sarasota this week (she is renewing her teachers license), while Garry & Raymond played golf. All met up again around Barb’s pool complex for another Happy Hour - food overflowing from a large tray she had prepared , resulting in us needing no dinner that evening. Garry says the regular 4 alligators were on the golf course …at a distance and causing no problem for the golfers.
Chuck & Jan had asked us to join them in a game of golf ….so another day full of busy, busy. Jan had a coupon so we were able to play 18 holes for the 4 of us with 2 carts for $40. Now, I had not lifted a club for years, so after 15 holes - I had done enough golf for 2 rounds, so chose to sit out the last 3 holes , driving the cart and dripping , looking like a regular beet.

Manasota Beach is another favourite of ours , a 20 minute drive from here ,so today headed away with cooler packed, umbrella and beach chairs. The water temp is a little cooler now we are in Fall, but the beach was packed with  locals and tourists , all enjoying the gorgeous day ,with water temp of 26 degrees. A drop of 4 degrees from the summer months .A highlight was a sighting of a large school of stingrays making their way slowly South along the shallows of the  beach….In fact, so close in , they cruised  between the swimmers and shallow waters edge. That drew some excitement and many  rushed to  glimpse the spectacle - I fortunately had my “ever ready camera” handy, and managed to get some pics.

Venice (on the Island) always seems to have something “going on”, and last weekend there was a Fall Festival. So off we went for the afternoon with the 3 Grandchildren.
Parking was at a premium as  tents and marques were all set up where normally there is parking.  Lots to see and of course the Ice cream van was doing a roaring trade on the very HOT afternoon. We found ourselves a shady spot under a large tree, listening to the live music and  enjoying an ice cream. The children enjoyed the Home Depot tent, where they could work for free, on making items out of ready cut wood - a bird feeder, truck or a lawn mower. Sophia swung her hammer like a builder , while Isabella took a more gentle approach . Couper is left handed , so used the ‘axe handle grip’. Dinner was ‘al fresco’ at an outdoor table and we left at 7pm having had several fun hours. I was driving and detoured via Venice Beach to the Pier….the children alighted from the car and headed straight for the large boulders that line the breakwater…rock hopping their way all the way down the Pier to the end and back again.
Fisherman line both sides of the walkway out onto the Pier and it is always  interesting to see what they are catching, while watching the sun dip into the ocean at sunset.

Garry manages to involve himself in helping friends - Barb is installing a new shower, and so today was spent helping Raymond at Barb’s …..which included tiling a new tile floor in the main bathroom shower.  Barb ‘shouted ‘Raymond and Garry to a Groper salad for dinner at her favourite seafood restaurant at the Crows Nest in Venice . As we left the restaurant at 8pm, there, under full moon on a lovely balmy evening, was a   yacht coming into the harbour  under full sail- a beautiful sight.
He is also involved in helping Barb in her mission with Raymond to remove and replace windows in a friends house ….meantime I was given permission to go shopping on my own!!!! Joy , to wander about in the car on my own , music wound up , while I cruised up and down Tamiami dropping into my favourite stores….

Snowbirds are HERE….the “grey brigade”- in their large older American cars (all bonnet and boot) , straddling at least 2 lanes, hedging their bets before they decide which shop they will drop off to. TJMAX carpark in Venice was overflowing yesterday and after 30 minutes, I left empty handed - I could not handle all the trolleys blocking aisles while husbands trail behind their wives, filling their trolleys with the latest fashion accessories, and new items  for the home that they have  been away from over  the hot summer-
many spend their first days in FL getting  new  the season items, depositing their last year cast offs  at Goodwill…….. (Goodwill here I come).

Couper (7)…has a Bearded dragon as a pet. It lives under hot lamp in his bedroom.
Last week he said the kids in his class, don’t believe he has one, so would I take his picture, so he could take it to school to prove his point. So out came the dragon, had his picture taken, and now will probably be talking point amongst his friends, who hopefully will be impressed.

On our bike route there is a house that usually is empty . However yesterday , there were people in residence. - and as I wanted to photograph the fruit growing visible from the road., stopped by on our ride this evening, and introduced ourselves. Turns out they are
‘snowbirds’ from Toronto, and been travelling here for 24 years from Toronto.
The fruit is Papaya, in fact 3 or 4 trees looking in full fruit. Looks like an oversized Avocado.
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Kate Carter on

Dad looks like he's lost weight!!! Beach and kids all look awesome & I bet our girls will all want their own lizard / dragon like Coopz now! :)

garrynjan on

yes he has lost weight - we walk, swim and bike every day....
my weight has NOT shifted!!!

Barbara on

Always enjoy your blog even thou I already know most of the infro.
Must continue when you get back to your island.

Vicki Countreman on

You always write such interesting blogs and love the photos....keep them coming no matter where in the world you may be!!!

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