Saturday, January 22, 2011

Back to the Cold....With a Cold!

I know I haven't been on for the past few days, but first of all we are really enjoying our stay here on Pine Island. I'll come back to that in a minute, but first I have some SERIOUS whining to do. I'm headed back to the cold, cold state of Michigan tomorrow, and I can't BELIEVE it but I came down with a nasty cold yesterday. I've been telling Dave for days now that I was dreading going home because I was so afraid I'd catch a cold from someone up there (since EVERYONE I talk to up there is sick!), but I never dreamt I'd go UP THERE with a cold. I have no idea where I picked it up - we don't solicalize with anyone! - but nevertheless I got it! Yesterday morning I noticed I had a scratchy throat and by last night I could tell it was turning into a full-blown head cold, and when I woke up this morning I could barely speak. I'm not feeling too bad at the moment - I've been doping myself with Nyquil - but I'm just sick about the fact that I'll be flying out of here tomorrow not feeling well. For one thing, I'm headed back home to WORK, and work HARD, on year-end stuff for Kerkstra - and I need to be "on my A-game". Plus I was hoping to see at least a few people in the evening, but right now I'm feeling like the best thing would be to work during the day, grab a bite of drive-through food and head back to the Holiday Inn for an early bedtime! Oh well, we'll see how I'm feeling once I get there. But I just can't get over the irony of getting sick before I even get up there. Good grief!

So - enough of that - we are very much enjoying being further south. Pine Island is right outside of Fort Myers, if you're trying to find it on the map, and it's a neat location for spending a couple weeks. It's about 15 miles long and has a nice bike path running the length of the island. We are in the KOA park at about mile 3 (so it's about three miles to the south to get into the little town of St James City, which is the southern tip of the island). We pulled onto the island on Tuesday, with no problems at all, and got set up and just kind of settled in for the evening. The park is quite nice, with a very nice swimming pool and a couple of club houses (and lots of "social activities" which is not really our thing, but is nice for people who are into that type of thing). Plus it has cable TV, which is nice after our ONE station at Oscar Scherer (...hence my tyrade on communications in my last blog). There is also a "pet" woodstork named BOB who apparently walks aroudn the park all day and has been here for literally years - picture attached! Anyway, after we got settled in on Tuesday, we did take a bike ride into town and found that there are 3 or 4 decent-looking bars in town, plus there's an American Legion (which I joined just before we left just so we could have that option available to us when we're on the road).

Wednesday was pretty quiet - we basically just drove around the island and checked it out. It's very undeveloped so it's quite low-key with relatively little traffic. It's certainly more developed than Cedar Key, but not by much! There IS a Dairy Queen and a Subway, plus a Winn-Dixie market, so right away it's a notch above Cedar Key in the development arena! Wednesday night we stopped and had a couple drinks at a cute bar named Woody's (I think almost every town has a bar named Woody's!), and on the way home we decided we should call our friends Scott and Deb who live down here in the winter. For some reason, we always thought they lived in North Fort Myers, so we expected to have to drive about a half hour or more to get to them, but we thought we'd better let them know we were here at least. But, to our embarassment, when we talked to them we realized they actually live right here ON Pine island - in fact about two blocks from Woody's! Oops. They invited us to come right over, but I had already crawled into my PJ's so we made plans to get together the next evening (Thursday).

We were looking forward to seeing them - they are both just great people and tons of fun - but I had planned on doing an AVA walk on Thursday so we headed out around noon on Thursday to do that. We were headed to Fort Myers Beach, the site of one of the 5 or 6 AVA walks in the immediate area. The walkbox was located at a Winn Dixie market, and then we had to drive 2 miles to the start point, which was a park-and-lock at the base of the bridge going over to the beach. Good grief - we sat in a line of cars for at least twenty minutes just to go that last two miles! But once we finally got to our parking spot, it turned out to be a very nice walk. I had to walk under the bridge to cross to the other side, and then up and over the bridge to the island. What a busy touristy spot - yikes! Definitely not the type of place we'd want to be camped, but it was a fun place to go for a walk. The walk route took me up to the far end of the island, then back along the beach. I'm attaching a couple of pictures - this was probably the first place we've been that's been an actual "Florida beach" scene - lots of colorful umbrellas, people packed along the beach, etc. We've absolutely decided that we want to start next year's trip way down here and spend December and January in this warmer climate! Anyway, Dave had brought his bike along and when we met back up we decided to stop at this cute waterside bar for a drink - it was called Bonita Bill's and was on the mainland, basically tucked under the bridge going over to the island.

When we got in the car, we had a call from Scott and Deb inviting us over for cocktails, so we headed home, took showers and went over to their place. What a nice spot they've got - their house is right on one of the canals (they call it one of the "shallow canals" as opposed to a "deep canal" - I think what that means is their canal is more heavily impacted by the tide going in and out, so they have to be careful if they take their boat out during low tide). Anyway, they have a beautifully laid out patio in the back of the house with a little shed, a screen house (to escape the bugs!) and a nice little firepit. They also have a nice pontoon boat mored along their seawall (so we hope to get out on the boat while we're here!). We sat outside and had a fire and talked and laughed and had a few drinks (I had brought just Diet Coke, but Deb persuaded me to throw in some pineapple-flavored rum - yummy!). We got back "home" about 11:00 and agreed that it had been a lovely day. We're looking forward to seeing them at least once or twice more while we're here - the only problem being my five days in Michigan!

On Friday we took a little road trip and checked out the Koreshan State Park, on the south side of Fort Myers. I've already made reservations at that park for next year, for the first two weeks of December, and wanted to check it out to be sure it was ok (which it was-it'll be fine!). and then we came home and had a quiet evening. I was already feeling my cold coming on so we went to bed pretty early. And today I've basically just laid around all day. The weather today has turned on us a little - it's VERY windy and it's cooled down to about 60, so it's a good day to just hunker down - Dave is watching a basketball game while I update the blog - and after I'm done with this I guess I need to pack my warmest clothes and get ready for my trip home. It's been great to be down here, with temps in the high 70's and lots of sunshine, so I'm anxious to get home, do my "thing" for Kerkstra, and then get back down here for a few more days before we head across the state to the ocean side. I'm not taking my computer home with me, so by the time I write my next update I'll have been up to the cold and back! Wish me luck!

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