Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Our Last Day - Lunch with friends.

Well, it is our very last day this season here at Peace River.  Did the final packing of most everything inside today, tied down the boat and bikes and we'll pack up most of the stuff in the vehicles tonight after the sun goes down. 

We should be on our way to The Villages before noon tomorrow! 

But we took a break this afternoon to have lunch with friends.  Nick and Tonya and Joy and Richard (the Ranger ) joined us today at The Breadboard Restaurant.  We were going to do dinner, but Richard had to be to work at 4:00 so we met at 2:00 for a late lunch/early dinner.  The menue/food here is much improved.  The salad bar was excellent, and everyones lunch (Chicken Fajitas, Fish Fry or Delmonico Steaks) was delicious.  I'm sure we'll see all of them again next Fall/Winter as Richard will be here as a Ranger, and Nick and Tonja now have an annual site.    It was very enjoyable today and we're so glad we had the chance to meet one last time to say goodbye. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Our Last Day in Cocoa Beach

Can not believe how fast this week has sped by!  Seems like we just got here and tomorrow morning we'll be packing up and heading out! 

But there was one more day of pickleball...........

Scott Nelson has been so great about arranging time for all of us to get together at the South Beach Community Center.  He scheduled the courts for 10:00 am this morning.  It was just a small group today Scott and Larry, Dave and Debbie, Rich and I.   We played for about 2 1/2 hours and some really competitive games.   This is the most pickleball we played since we returned from LA. 

A quick lunch again at the SunRise Cafe.....and it was back to the pool, where we sat until after 8:00 pm and then Rich grilled some burgers for dinner.  It's been a fun week - and kind of sad to have to leave.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Another Day In Paradise(Cocoa) Beach

Today is officially the beginning of the rainy season here on the east coast of Florida and in keeping with tradition, the forecast was for rain around the area.  Here on the beach we had a 40% chance of thunderstorms.  We headed out to the pool a little earlier than normal - about 9:30.  Just after noon we heard thunder off in the distance and it started to cloud over.  Fortunately - only a few sprinkles .  Not even enough to send us inside.    I made some lunch and we ate at the pool and about 2:00 it was time for another batch of White Russians.
At 3:00 I left Rich at the pool and headed over to the activity center for line dancing.  Most of those who attended today were beginners, but we had a great time.  Jo was a great instructor and a very good dancer.  When the class was over Jo and I did a couple of the more advanced dances for everyone.  We did Come Dance with Me and Cruisin. 

After dancing  (Rich was STILL at the pool) it was time to start getting ready for dinner.  Plans were to meet Dave and Debbie at the Lobster Shanty at 5:30

If you ever make it to Cocoa Beach make a point of eating here at the Lobster Shanty.  Easy to find right along SR A1A. 

Very pretty outside.  This is the front entry way............

Where you can stop and buy some food and feed the fish.
There was still a threat of rain - but we felt pretty confident that we'd be safe eating outside overlooking the Intercoastal Waterway.   By the time we were seated the sun was actually shining - and we questioned our decision to sit in the hot sun.

But it wasn't long before it started getting cloudy again - And actually across the water it was pretty dark and you could tell it was raining.

But we stayed - and enjoyed an excellent dinner. Everyone had something different, Talapia, Haddock, Bay Scallops or Apricot Chicken........and TWO baskets of corn fritters!!  (Actualy Deb took home about four from the second batch).  The food was delicious.

We sat and talked and watched the people during dessert. (Pudding or ice cream came with the meal)   As you can see it's very casual and they get a pretty good number of diners.

While waiting for your meal - or after dessert several people stroll out on to the dock to watch and feed the fish.

It was a beautiful evening - a great meal and it was so nice catching up with Dave and Debbie.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pickleball - No Camera and Calzones

On Wednesday we skipped breakfast, sat around the pool for a while and then headed to Walmart!  Remember the batch of White Russians that I made yesterday?  Well, from what Rich tells me - it wasn't just the Sudoku puzzles that were killers.  While I really don't remember this, he insists that while we were walking the beach Tuesday evening,  that I dropped my camera in the sand THREE times.  I only remember ONCE!!! 

By some miracle, I was able to download the pictures of the beach, but on Wednesday morning there was no getting that camera to work no matter what we did. 

So - off to Walmart for my early birthday present.  We stopped for a late lunch/early dinner back at the Sunrise Cafe, since we were headed back to Melbourne Beach for some pickleball.  We arrived just after 5:30 and our friends Dave and Debbie Christian were already there.  Unfortunately, I had to charge the battery before I could use the camera............so no pickleball pictures that night!!!  But the camera will be with me when we meet them for dinner Friday night at the Lobster Shanty.

It was just after 8:00 pm when we headed back to Cocoa Beach - too late to eat, so we just stopped for some ice cream on the ride back.  The most important thing was that we made it back in time to see the second half of American Idol --------YEAH SCOTTY!!!!

Today was another relaxing one at the pool,  with a light lunch and much smaller batch of White Russians!
For dinner tonight it was off to  Anacapri Pizzeria.  Just a short walk from the Resort, this was one of the places that we ate last year, and wanted to make a point of returning again.  Last year Rich had ordered the Large Calzone - which took up two plates...............
Tonight he ordered the small..................  So you can just imagine how bit the Large is!!

And I had the small Stromboli.   As it turned out we shared. We actually shared .  The only difference between a Calzone and a Strombli is that the Calzone has Ricotta Cheese.   So we each had 1/2 Calzone and 1/2 Strombole.  I thought the Calzone was better!!!  Rich preferred the Stromboli!!!  Guess we'll know next time...........

Still some daylight left.........so heading back out to the pool

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another day of sunshine...............

The night of pickleball must have really tired us out.  We haven't played much at all since we came back from LA.............and so it was nearly 9:30 when we finally pulled out of bed. 

It was just before  11:00 when we arrived at the Sunrise Diner for breakfast.  The western omlet that Rich had was HUGE!  A quick stop at Publix to pick up a couple of steaks to cook out later and we were dressed in our swim suites and out at the pool just after noon.   About 1:30 after a dip in the pool, it was time for an afternoon beverage.  So I went back to the room and whipped up a couple of White Russians.............PERFECT and DELICIOUS!!!   After two drinks the Killer Sudoku puzzels were indeed killers!!!!

There is a really nice pavillion here at the resort wit about 6 or 7 grills for cooking out and several picnic tables.  There is also a kitchen area adjacent to the pavillion with four stoves and a refrigerator, so it makes a great location for a picnic.  Above Rich grills our steaks and asparagus to perfection!

Oh yeah..........Back at Publix?  Rich did pick up this white cake with butter cream icing for dessert!!  This should last until tommorrow anyway!!

After dinner it was time for a walk on the beach.  A quick walk between the two buildings - donw the plank and on to the beach.

Rich snaps a picture of me wading ...........................
For those who don't want to walk.............do like this guy and take a ride.  The tide was out so lots of packed sand for an evening ride.  The two buildings in the back are the Ocean Landings Resort. 

Back in time to catch the finale of American Idol.  GO SCOTTY!!!

Monday at Cocoa Beach

 On Monday we were out at the pool early enjoying morning coffee.  I went back to the room and fixed us a quick breakfast - an English muffing with peanut butter...............and we continued to sit at the pool for most of the day.

That evening we had been invited to play pickleball at the South Beach Community Park down on Melbourne Beach - about a 45 minute drive south from Cocoa Beach.    Scott Nelson - one of the USAPA ambassadors for the area asked Rich to clinic for some of the players.  So the plan was to arrive between 5:30 and 6:00 - do the clinic for about an hour and then play. 
There were a bout 13 players from the Melbourne Beach area, and three that drove down from Merritt Island.    Pictured above is the group from Melbourne Beach.  They have a very nice set up there with three courts for playing.  The only problem, even though the divider was pulled down the center of the court was that it was pretty noisy during the clinic with folks playing basketball on the other side of the gym.   But we had a wonderful time meeting some new pickleball players - and we are planning on coming back on Wednesday to play for a few hours.   That's our friend Scott on the far left with his son just next to him. 

We enjoyed the drive down along SRA1A that follows the Atlantic shoreline and passed by Patrick's Airforce Base.

We arrive in Cocoa Beach

Well we headed out on Sunday morning. Nick and Tonya stopped by about 9:30 to say goodbye, which was really nice.    We were ready to leave about 10:30, so finished packing the car and stopped at Pauls for breakfast on our way out of Wauchula.  

We arrived at the Ocean Landing Resort on Cocoa Beach about 2:00pm, unpacked and settled in for the week.   It will be nice here at the beach; the temperature today was in the mid 90's with 100% humidity.  What a great time to be near the water , where you always have a bit of an ocean breeze.

What a great room .......Walk out the door an up directly up the ramp to the Terrace Pool.  There are two pools here at Ocean Landings and the Terrace Pool is our favorite - as the majority of the adults seem to frequent this pool.

Here's a better look at the pool from the second floor..............We spend a lot of time here -  a dip in the pool, do a few puzzels, a dip in the pool.......

This is the other pool.  The little building in the back is a great place to grab breakfast in  the morning, a quick lunch or your favorite beverage.  This was early in the morning - so not too many people around yet.   We headed out to this pool not long after we arrived and spent a little time sipping a cool drink and enjoying the ocean breeze.

Nothing special on Sunday evening - we did an early dinner just across the street at Denny's, watched a little TV and called it a day.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Peace River's last two "newbies" for the season

I don't think that Rich and I have ever had this much fun teaching pickleball to "newbies".    Monday was a "beginner session" followed by play time, and Tuesday was a "strategy clinic" followed again by a few games.

The new park manager (top middle) Lee and another PR employee (Patti) who works in the store wanted to learn to play.  Lee has actually played before, but it was all new to Patti.  I  don't think we've ever laughed so much on the courts.  Patti is a "hoot" - trying to remember when she should stay back, when she should come up, and when the ball needs to bounce........and Lee just keeps telling her how great  she "looks"  on the court. 

Had a Great Time .........and the new manager has a really great sense of humor!  We welcome her and wish her well. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Hour in May?

What  a really nice happy hour we had this evening.  Weather here the last few days got us all to wondering if it would really happen, but........it did.  What is our typical summer weather came a little earlier than normal.  May is generally one of the driest months here in Florida, but the last two days saw the return of our afternoon thunderstorms.  And this morning we had another around 5:30am.  But the rest of the day was just beautiful, the humidity low and a nice breeze.

About 6:00 this evening you could find several of us gathering at the site of Nick and Tonya.  The sun was still shining, but the breeze was very pleasant, so we shared a little of our favorite beverage and a little conversation.

Nick was the Chef tonight and cooking on the grills was a little Kilbasa that we shared as an apetizer with some chips and cheese and crackers.

This is Patti and Jim.  They are originally from just outside of Chicago, but have been here in Florida working at an ELS park in Crystal River.  Patti now works in the store and Jim is the head of maintenance.   All settled in - so those of you visiting next year will probably see them around.  We're getting them out to the pickleball courts tomorrow night!  You're sure to remember her.....she's always got a smile on her face.

This was the first time that we met Jenny and Bill.  Very nice couple who have an annual site here  Jenny brought along a delicious dish of homemade peanut brittle!

Joy and Ranger Rich.   Nice to see Rich out and about and smiling!  He's had his share of problems this winter, both with his motor home and with his health.  But he is doing great now! 

And the hosts for the evening, Chef Nick and Tonya.

Nick had prepared a batch of Ribs and also grilled an absolutely amazing Brisket on the grill.  To accompany the main dish we had baby potatoes, beans, grilled asparagus ( absolutely delicious, Patti!), corn, pasta salad and rolls. For dessert Joy had backed a scrumptious Chocolate Cake.

As the sun set the breeze continues, which was great - kept the mosquitos away!!

Now how often do you see folks in Florida gathering around the heat of the fire in the middle of May?  The breeze had died down, but the temperatures had also dropped into the low 70's.  So a few had donned the sweater or light jacket.  Perfect weather for a happy hour!    It was nice meeting some new people and making new friends.

Pickleball at Kings Point

On Saturday, Rich and I headed over to Kings Point in Sun City Center to play with Louann and some of the players there.  Like here, a lot of their players are snowbirds, so they don't have a real big group playing regularly - but plenty enough to keep three courts going that morning.

Below Rich and Paul take on Jane and Walter..........
Nadnie - twisting to return the ball, while Louann crosses her fingers!
Delores and Robert - they were Nadine and Lou's opponants.
Rich and Artie vs Colin and Walter

Rich and Paul vs Artie and Jane

Didn't get Tom playing on the court - but after several of the players had left these two diehards were still ready to play

As for Louann, Nadine, Robert and Colin........I think the picture tells it all.

As always we had a great time playing with our friends at Kings Point.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Summer is Here and so is the new Park Manager!

You can tell there's not much going on here at TT Peace River, when I'm spending my time taking pictures of these very frequent visitors to our site.  Most of you know that we're parked way back on the H Row.  Many a visitor says they couldn't stay back here with all the "snakes and alligators".    Well we haven't seen any snakes or gators, but here are a few little ones that dropped by the other day while I was sitting out doing my Killer Sudoku Puzzles.

This fellow (?) was making his way north via the path that cuts along the edge of the woods.   Made me think of our beagle "Beau".  He's pounced on one of these more than one time..
As we were returning from town later in the day there was a dozen turkey buzzards at the entrance to the park feasting on a dead armadillo.....Hope it wasn't this little one.

We are awakened each morning with these little ones running across the roof of the RV.  I remember the first time - when Rich saw one run across the skylight in the bedroom.    I think this one thinks he's know an official member of the Donald family- making himself at home at the picnic table bench.

At times there's 5,6 or more of these little squirrels playing and chasing each other up and down the tree.  Again..........Beau would have had a ball.  One of his favorite past times was trying to climb the tree to get one of these.

I told you they think they're part of the family.  We definitely do not feed them, but they have come right up on the patio.........This one stops nicely to let me snap a picture!!

Anyway - we have just over a week before we take off for  Cocoa Beach.  The days are getting longer and longer, with not too many people around.  And the weather is turning so hot an muggy.  We had a nice thunderstorm this afternoon, though that seemed to cool things down a bit. 

For those of you that frequent TT Peace River - Elnor, the park manager this past year has left the park.  We talked to her before she left to wish her well in her retirement.  She's looking forward to not having to work any more.  And the new park manager has arrived.  Her name is Lee Collins; and she is coming here from TT in Orlando.   She has Rich doing some research on getting some new posts put in on the pickleball courts, and I'm trying to find some pictures of "members" for a project she's she's working on.

Tomorrow we're heading over to Kings Point in Sun City Center to play a little pickleball with Louann and her group. Lee and Patti (she's the new ranger that's working in the store) have asked for pickleball lessons. (Lee wants some one on one coaching from Rich.  She's determined to beat (badly) her friend Arik.  So Monday and Tuesday nights are scheduled for training and playing. And on Sunday we're all meeting at Nick and Tonya's for a cookout.  

Friday, May 6, 2011

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

On Thursday evening we were invited to join Russ and Jodi for a celebration of Cinco de Mayo.

Above we all relax and enjoy a refreshing beverage, some natchos and salsa, cheese,crackers and pepperoni and fresh veggies.  That's Russ and Jodit (top) and new found friends Tony and Marilyn who just pulled into the park today.

And here Russ makes a toast - to Cinco de Mayo, friends and to Jodi's  absolutely SUPERB Tostados with pulled pork.  Another enjoyable evening of fun, food and lots of laughter. ( I won't share some of the stories told of when we were younger - just in case the kids are reading this!) 

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dinner with Friends........

We had a very enjoyable cookout and evening with friends here at our place today. The plans were for the six of us to get together for a cookout, early in the evening and then head down and play some pickleball.
This is Jodi and Russ. We met them here at Peace River earlier in the season, and they were back here for just a short stay.  Russ received his summons for Jury Duty down in Punta Gorda, but so far has not been called in.  He has to call one last time tomorrow, and if they decide they won't need his services. the two of them will be leaving the park and begin their travels north.  First stop is for their grandsons' ( twins) highschool  graduation.   We've really enjoyed getting to know them a little better - both on and off the pickleball courts.   Hope they make it back this way next year.

Everyone had arrived a little before 6:00.  Rich cooked the hot dogs, and I made a pineapple coleslaw and deviled eggs.  Jodi made a great potato salad, and Krystal served up the Cookies and Cream Ice Cream for dessert.

It was so great to visit with Krystal and Nate ( and AVA!)  We haven't seen them since our trip to Orlando back in January.  The last we spoke the family was staying in Orlando for the summer, and we were already making plans to get together at The Villages.  Looks like they will be heading for North Carolina instead.  We were so pleasantly surprised when they came to Peace River for a couple of nights so that we could get together one more time before they left.  We wish them well and look forward to meeting up again in the Fall.

Well - we never made it to the Pickleball Court!  As the sun went down, there was a great breeze - so NO mosquitos!!   It was nearly 9:00 pm by the time everyone left for home.   By 9:30 Nate and Krystal were packed up and on the road back to Orlando.

Life is full of surprises........just when we thought the happy hour season had ended in Wauchula........ We shared another great evening. This one  with our New friends Jodi and Russ, and very special Old friends, Nate and Krystal.

Monday, May 2, 2011

There is still some pickleball life at TT- Peace River

Once Bruce and Gena left, we though we would be pretty much on our own, trying to find something to do until we left for Cocoa Beach. 

As I was out walking this morning, a pickleball couple that we met earlier in the year stopped me before I made it back home.  It was Jodi - of Russ and Jodi, who came back down here to Peace River from Orlando to wait out the storms up north in their hometown.   So they'll likely be around for a few more days. 

Since the days have been so warm, we made plans to meet on the courts tonight for some pickleball at 7:00 pm.  We played about six games, and then were pleasantly surprised when Nate of Krystal and Nate, appeared at the courts.  It must have been close to 9:00pm by then, but they were just pulling into the park to stay for a few days, before Krystal had to return to work. 

It was late and getting dark, so we let them get settled in for the night.  But, I know their time here will be short - so we MUST get in a little pickleball and probably a little cookout - the six of us.  Maybe a breakfast at Pauls?    Can't wait to see my friend Krystal; it's been a long time since we saw them in Orlando.