Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dinner With Friends

Saturday evening we were invited to dinner with Bill and Linda Kramer. Most of you already know Linda - she's Rich's mixed doubles pickleball partner. And usually the pictures you see are of the two of them out on the courts. But tonight, Rich and I joined them at their home in Sebring.

Linda and I sat at the bar and enjoyed a glass (or two!) of wine and watched as the guys played some Eight Ball. Rich took the first game, then Bill the second, with Rich taking the best two out of three. As Bill says - the fourth game was "just a friendly game."

Dinner was excellent. Bill cooked the steaks to "perfection" as Linda complimented the menu with fresh made cole slaw and baby red potatos perfectly seasoned with fresh herbs from her garden. And a glass of wine. Well, Rich was driving, so one beer while playing pool was his limit for the night. I have asked Linda for the recipe for her cole slaw; this is a must dish for one of our next happy hours.

It was no surprise that Linda brought out the chocolate eclairs for dessert.

Rich took TWO eclairs and Bill grabbed an ice cream from the freezer and they took off for the long anticipated game of chess. While these two seriously contemplated every move, Linda and I sat and shared some great conversations and another glass ( how many is that now?) of wine.
Bill prevailed in the game of chess. After more than TWO HOURS, Rich
resigned........and then ate the last eclair!
We had a wonderful evening. This was so much better than meeting out for dinner. We really need to do this more often.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

So, So Proud!

This has been a really long week. May is definately not the month to be RV'ing in Florida. The summer weather is kicking in; the heat, humidity, and the afternoon showers and thunderstorms. That, and sometimes we feel we're the only people in the park, with the exception of those who work here. But there's only a few days left.

The park actually started filling up on Thursday for the long Memorial Day weekend. There are probably more than 100 rigs in the park right now, the Hot Fudge Shop has opened for breakfast for the weekend, a cookout is planned along with a few other fun events. We even scheduled some beginner pickleball - but unfortunately it's been rain instead of pickleball.

In preparation for leaving on Tuesday we've got a lot accomplished. Outside, Rich has been busy sorting and storing in the storage compartments. Had someone come in a few days ago and clean the RV. (Still can't use water here at the park). Inside I've been packing away and packing things that have to go with us for the next several months.

The highlight of the week was getting pictures and an update on what Denny and the family have been up to.
A new picture of Dennis dressed to enjoy his new Toy!

It's baseball season and one of my favorite things to do is watch the Tampa Rays and they stay atop the baseball standings as the "best team in baseball" this year. I know that Dennis is an Atlanta Braves fan - but baseball enjoyment in Iowa is watching the QC River Bandits. The Quad City Bandits are a Class A, Minor League baseball team affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals and play at the Modern Woodman Park in Davenport Iowa. Above are pictures of Dennis, with Dalton and Chauna at some of the recent games and events.
On May 21st Modern Woodman Park was PINK to support Susan G Korman for the Cure. Pink Jerseys worm by the River Bandit players were auctioned. In the picture above (top left) Chauna is presented the jersey she won from player, D"Marcus Ingram, and Dalton (upper right) is presented the jersey he won from player Ryde Rodrigues.
Both Dalton and Chauna are playing baseball again this year. We understand that Chauna is quite the little player and played great as she and her Kiwanis team won their last game 9-2. And Dennis writes that Dalton's team, the Pleasure Pools, just "slapped their second opponents with a shut out. They are 13-0 and outscored them 148-34".
This month was also the Achievement Awards Ceremony. Dennis wrote:. "Lil C (Chauna) walked across 5th grade with excellent grades and Lil D, (Dalton) got scholars for straight A's with some pluses (+) (4.0) thru 6th grade. "

And above, Chauna receives her 500 cookie award for Girl Scouts.

What do we think of this family? Denny says it best.
So, So Proud
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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Our Last Day on the Beach

Today is Saturday and our last full day here at Ocean Landings on Cocoa Beach. It's been a really great week. With the exception of a little rain when we first arrived the weather has been perfect. Nice sunny days to enjoy the water and very pleasant evenings with a nice breeze coming in off the ocean.

We made a quick trip over to Merrit Island again today to run a few errands. On the way back it was not yet noon, so we stopped at the Sunrise Diner for breakfast. Rich changed from his regular bacon and eggs to the Belgian Waffle with strawberries and whip cream.

When I was on the internet the other night I found this place called the Manatee Sanctuary. It's a little off the beaten path so tourists to the area don't often find it. I had written down the directions, so we headed north on A1A to see if we could find it.

And we did. It's a very small park nestled along the Banana River. There's a nice big pavillion that you can reserve for large groups or parties. There was a pretty big group there today seeming to have a good time, and they had one of those huge water slides set up for the kids.

We headed out toward the water and the board walk that runs along the water's edge.

It's really not as long as it looks - goes just a short distance in each direction.

The view out over the water was beautiful. Initially we were unsure as to whether this was the Intercoastal Waterway or the River. It is the river and it is Huge!Posted by Picasa
Another view from the walkway. If you click on the picture you will see one of the Disney Cruise ships docked at Port Canavaral.

Thought this was just a great picture of the river. Again, if you click on the picture, you can almost see the manatee swimming.

We walked south along the boardwalk until it came to an end, follow the road and then cut across to to the sandy area along the River's edge. There was a small cove where they were so many manatee swimming . We stood and watched for quite a while, just enjoying the sight. There were a couple of people out on the River in small canoes or kyaks and you could see the manatee swimming right close to them. Posted by Picasa
This is when you wish you had a really good camera. I think I took more pictures of the sky than anything else trying to get some pictures of the manatee. But if you click to enlarge this picture you'll have a pretty good idea of what we were watching. There was one manatee out there that had to be 10 foot long - but I just couldn't get a good picture. They are amazing animals and so beautiful to watch. They must find this little cove along the River a safe place to swim and sun themselves.

We spent the rest of the afternnon at the pool. Saturday and Sunday are the main days when owners arrive and leave at the Resort, so those two days are the best for not having a crowd of people or kids in the pools.

We stayed for several hours, got a couple of Frozen Dacquari's from the pool bar, did some puzzels and did a little swimming. I finally remembered to take the camera to the pool.................and caught Rich doing a little foot therepy!

Really hate to see the week come to an end. I think we'll definately come back again next year. Tomorrow morning we'll pack up and be on our way before noon.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Pickleball and Dinner with Friends

Can't believe that today is Friday already. One more day and we head back to Peace River. Thursday was a lazy day. We went over and had breakfast at the pool, sat out, got in the water, sat around the pool and then had our left over Calzones. We don't have an oven, so we had to warm them up in the microwave - Not a good idea. Left over Italina food is usually pretty good, but the microwave just softened up the crust on the Calzone too much.

We skipped the Comedy Show - the last time we went, we really didn't think it was that great, so we passed. Took a trip to Dairy Queen, met a couple from the resort and sat outside for quite a while talking after we'd finished our treats.

We talked with Dave and Debbie in the afternoon and made plans to meet again today.

They stay the summer at the Outdoor Resort on Melbourne Beach. This is the lot they purchased just a few years ago. All of the sites are really nice. The whole park is immaculate; beautifully maintained They'll stay here until September and then make their way back to Virgina for the holidays with family. Then they'll make their stop at TT Chesapeake Bay before they're back down in the Orlando area for the rest of the winter.

It was just over 20 miles from where we are to their place in Melbourne Beach. We met them at their place and then they drove to the pickelball courts. The courts were opened for pickleball from 1:00 to 3:00 at the South Beach Communtiy Center only about seven miles from their park.

Click on picture to enlarge, use back arrow to return to this page.
Pete, the guy that we met Monday night over in Palm Bay came over to play with us. YES - That is Rich on the court! He started with his sneakers on - but after the first game, switched back to the surgical shoe . With the surgical shoe on - he didn't need to be quite as careful bending the toes. Obviously, he can't move around the courts like he usually does, but he played four or five games. He said it just felt good to get the paddle back in his hand. But he also knows that he's still not ready to get out there and play like he used to.

After playing for a couple of hours we wanted to go out for something to eat, but we all needed to shower! So we made plans to meet back in Cocoa Beach at 5:30 at the Lobster Shanty.

We stopped to check out the specials for the day before we went in. It's really quite a rustic place, with small waterfalls and the most colorful fish to watch if you peer over the bannister.

The specials looked great - but we knew if we were here before 6:00 we would still be in time for the Early Bird Menu.
Here are the fish. Couldn't tell you what they are - but some of them were pretty big!

Like that one on the Right! They are obviously used to having people watch them. and they probably get fed quite a bit - because they would follow you as you moved along the railing.

The restaruant is located right on the Intercoastal Waterway - and dining outside is an option. Today was pretty warm, and it was too early to enjoy the sunset - so we elected to sit inside.

We had a great time with Dave and Debbie. Wished we were staying here longer. But we'll definately stay in touch. They told us not to be surprised if we got a call to see if we wanted company while we're at The Villages. That would be Fun! Hope they call!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

We awoke to another beautiful Florida day on Wednesday. Yes we're sleeping in a lot later than we normally do. Must be all this salt air. We seem to be enjoying the evenings and staying up a bit later.

Nothing really exciting on Wednesday; just a lazy day around the pool. Once again it was early afternoon before we headed out for breakfast. We walked across the street to Denny's again and had a breakfast burrito. Not the best in the world, but OK. We walked a while and checked out some souveniers - but didn't buy anything. Rich is actually doing so much better since he's been in the pool every day. He's losing the limp more and more every day as the toes begin to work better and better. We decided to eat in tonight, actually cook out.......and eat in.
Just across the parking lot is this pavillion. There are about eight or ten picnic tables and as many gas grills. In the evenings you will often see families and friends out here cooking dinner.

Tonight we just did up some burgers on the grill and dressed them with lettuce, tomato and onion. A little ceaser salad and some fresh fruit and we were more than satisfied.

We decided to see how the foot would do walking on the beach.
The picture in the upper left corner is the walkway that takes us from our building out to the beach. At the end of the plank we shed the sandles and opted to walk bear foot. The soft sand is had enough to walk on without a bad foot, but Rich actually did well. The tide was out, so there was a lot of hardpacked sand along the water where he had not problem at all so we stolled in and out of the water for a while.
Back at the room, a little wine spritzers and sit on the balcony and enjoy the beautiful evening.
It's a good thing that we have two TV's. Rich relaxed in the bedroom while I finished watching the Tampa Rays beat those Damn Yankees!!
Tomorrow will probably be another day of therepy in the sun and pool. We'll finish the Monster Calzones/Stromboli for our dinner and may catch the comedy show at Gouchos.
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Wednesday, May 19, 2010


If you remember, coming back from Pickleball the other night, Rich was craving Italian food, specifically a Calzone. So I went on line yesterday to find an Italian restaurant that would satisfy his craving. Each year when we come to Cocoa Beach we always dine at the Italian Kitchen. This was a shabby old hole in the wall restaurant, but the food was outstanding, and all home made. Passing by the other day, it appeared to have closed.

Well, I found a place call Anacapri Pizzeria, and believe it or not it was within walking distance of the Resort - but still a bit far for Rich to try and walk. Typical Italian Restaurant/Pizzeria - complete with the red checkered table covers. Our waitress was a sweetheart and assured Rich he would not be dissapointed.
How was the food?
Rich ordered the LARGE Calzone. I wish I had taken this picture when it first came out. It was on ONE plate, but just hanging off the sides. The second plate made it much easier to handle.
Just to put things in perspective, I ordered the SMALL Stromboli, and I was only able to eat half of that. Needless to say the leftovers will be a meal again another day.
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Sunshine, Swimming, Love Bugs and the Animal Safari

On Sunday we awoke to a beautiful Florida day. The sune was shining and there was not threat of rain. After our morning coffee we put on the swim suits, grabbed the puzzels and noodles and headed for the pool. There are two pools at Ocean Landings:

This is the Terrace Pool and the one that Rich and I like the best. Both pools are heated, but this one seems to attrach the older generation. Which is nice - you can enjoy the water, swim some laps or float without kids playing and splashing.
This is the Gangplank Pool. In the far back there is a nice jacuzzi and this along with the restrooms and snack bar seems to bring the familes.

There is a great little pool bar/snack bar and the food is actually pretty good. In the mornings, you can even get breakfast here for a very reasonable price. They serve the typical hamburgers and hot dogs with fries along with a special of the day and a variety of sandwiches. Candy, ice cream, chips, soda, beer and wine and some pretty good frozen drinks. Actually, after a few hours at the pool, we stopped here on our way back to the room. Rich opted for a Frozen Strawberry Dacquari and I got the Pina Colada.

There are four tennis courts here. In the top picture you see two of the courts that are located adjacent to the Gangplank Poll. The other two are elevated above the parking area. Over the past several years that we have visited here we have not seen tennis players on the courts more than a handful of times. No - we have not yet talked anyone into coming out and trying pickleball, but we did talk with the rec director and MAYBE they will come out and learn the game before we leave. They said that others have come in asking about pickleball.

So.... you are probably wondering why the pool area is so empty? Have you ever heard of Love Bugs? No I don't mean you and your significant other, I'm talking about REAL bugs.

Love Bugs are an invasive member of the fly family.While they spend most of their life underground, twice a year they come out en masse with wings to mate. They actually mate while flying; they are linked together, the female being the larger of the two ( about 1/2 inch). They female only lives for a few days but lays several hundred egess before dying. They come in swarms. They do not bite or sting - they just drive you crazy. They love the heat, the sun, and anything WHITE. We have been in Florida since 1994, and have never seen them as bad as they were on Tuesday.

If you click on this picture to enlarge it, you will see what it was like to try and sit at the pool. If you were in the water you were fine. By early afternoon most everyone headed inside or for the shade.

About 2:30 in the afternoon the Hands on Safari arrived. They are a not for profit eco-education organization based at Jungle Adventures in Christmas, Florida. They bring the zoo to various locations throughout the area. If interested, here is a link to their website:

We were first introuduced to the Florida aligator. What's nice about this group is that they not only teach you about the species, they let you see and hold the majority of the wildlife they bring.
Yes - I know this picture is terrible - but it was the only one of me actually HOLDING this aligator!

OH MY! Please hurry up and take this picture!!

We were next introduced to the Florida King Snake and learned that as adults they can be anywhere from 45 to 72 inches long. Non-agressive and easy to breed.
Can you tell I'm enjoying this? Here I am again, this time sporting the Ball Python, also known as the Royal Python. It is in the same family as other Boas and Pythons and is considered a constrictor. Protects itself by curling into a Ball, hiding both the head and the tail.
The snake pictured above is an albino Burmese python. They grow to be HUGE snakes. Unfortunately and increasing number of these snakes are being dumped by owners who can't handle them anymore once they realize how big they grow and how strong they are. In the Florida Everglades they have become quite established and are preying on native species. There are so many that it is now legal to hunt and kill them.
And the Tortoise...... It took only a few years to grow from the size of the tortoise on the left to the one on the right. They can live up to 100 years in captivity.

Need I say more? And they said that the tomato juice really does not work.
Unfortunately only one of the two Electus Parrots show in this picture. Unlike most birds/parrots you can actually tell the male from the female. Green is the male; Red is the female. These two are very young and just starting to talk. Unlike other parrots who can talk, this species can not only talk, but it can 'sound' like the person it is copying.

Posted by PicasaThe last animal of the day was the Florida Panther. Just a baby, and so playful. And they are NOT Black!
Truly amazing what these volunteers do to help educate the public about Florida wildlife. It was not only fun, it was very educational.