John and Sandy's RV Adventure Journal

April 2011 Journal

April
30  
This morning we hung around the cow and then headed to a place called “The Shed”  it was featured on the Food Channel as a good place for BBQ and Blues.  We stopped for a beer and checked out the menu and the band schedule.  We may be back for some BBQ, but I don’t think well make it for the bands.
Next stop a new casino on the coast, Island View Casino.  We signed up for the players club and we each got 10.00 in free slot play.  We parlayed our money and went to the nickel video poker.  I like playing max so I was playing .50 cents at a shot.  I was doing pretty well.  We talked about leaving, but they told us we got 6X extra points for a couple hours so we stayed.  I was up about 20.00 and John was even.  I got an AKQJ of diamonds dealt to me.  I hoped for the 10 to make a Royal Flush, but did think it would happen.  It did!!!  I got a Royal Flush and won 400.00.  We knew we couldn’t do better and headed home.  So far with this win, we are about even at the casinos.
29   This morning is a cool laid back morning.  We are heading “On the Road Again” but not to far.  We are only going about 15 miles to Gulfport.  We are planning on going to Jazz Fest in New Orleans, but the campground we want to stay at doesn’t have sewer hookup so we will only stay a week.  We are going to Southern Oaks RV Park in Gulfport for 5 days or so.  After we got set up, we headed out for some groceries and to check out the area.  We got back had a nice dinner and a relaxing evening.

28  
We are still winter wimps.  It was great sleeping last night, but this morning we went to go outside for coffee and it’s only 57 degrees with a slight breeze.  That sent John inside and I have a blankie on.  We headed over to the Palace Casino for a little slot play and some craps.  Today is 3.00 craps and blackjack.  We held our own for a long time, but the casino always wants a contribution.  That’s ok, we had fun.

   27   This morning we hung around the cow and enjoyed some reading.  We headed over to Boomtown and Imperial Palace Casinos in the afternoon.  We had fun and made a contribution.

26  
This morning we were up early.  The temperatures have dropped into the mid 70’s so it’s very comfortable.  However, storms are a comin!  By 830am we have some big boomers with lots of rain, lighting, thunder and wind.  For us it’s kinda nice.  We have not been in a good T-Storm for a long time.  As long as there is no damage it’s ok.  We enjoyed the rain and did some reading and internet surfing.  After a while, the storms moved out and the day was perfect.  We decided to take a walk on the beach.  It was a nice walk, but Biloxi beaches are not the best beaches.  There were a few people out and a couple actually in the water.  Unfortunately, there is a lot of garbage that washes up with sea grass and other debris.  Even though the oil spill was last year, we still saw tar ball here and there.  However, we did have a nice walk and then hung around the cow.

 25   Today we headed out to the visitors center for some local info.  Then over to the Palace Casino.  We played some slots and video poker then headed to the blackjack table.  Monday’s through Thursday’s they have 3.00 blackjack and craps.  We played blackjack for quite a while and ended up pretty much breaking even.  Once again, if you can break even, that’s a good day at the casino. 

   24   Happy Easter.  We had a nice leisurely morning then walked over to Treasure Bay Casino.  I get all the money I lost yesterday back today in credits.  We played some slots and video poker and ended up leaving the casino even.  Even is always a good thing.  We walked back to get Red and drove down to the Isle of Capri Casino.  After signing up for the players club, we played some slots and video poker but the payouts are a little better at Treasure Bay.  However, we had a coupon for a 2 for 1 buffet dinner, so that was nice.  After dinner, we headed back to the cow.

23  
This morning we had coffee outside and took a walk around the campground and did some miscellaneous projects.  We are at Cajun RV Resort right across the street from the beach.  We were going to head to the grocery store but got sidetracked at the Treasure Bay Casino and never made it for groceries.  We hung out at the casino for a while.  John came out ahead a few bucks.  Even though I lost a bit, since were new players I get it back tomorrow so that’s ok.  We headed back to the cow, had dinner and relaxed.

22  
We are on the road again.  We were up and on our way by 7am.  We are heading towards Biloxi.  We don’t know how far we will get today.  Come to find out, we made it all the way.  The road was perfect, no traffic and we were in and all set up by 6pm.  We did move from eastern time to central so we gained an hour.  Tonight we just hung out.

   21   Today we are hanging around the cow and having a domestic day.  I really need to get caught up on my journal, photos and website.  After a relaxing cow day, we headed out around 330pm to Tropicana Field and Freegs Sports Bar to meet up with Suzy, Huddy, Paul and Tom.  Tonight the White Sox’s and Rays are playing.  We got party deck tickets but the game isn’t sold out so we ended up sitting near the 3rd base dugout on the 1st level.  The White Sox’s won 9-2 and it was a great game.
20   Today is a travel day.  We don’t have far to go just up to St. Petersburg Florida about 90 miles.  We took our time and was on the road at 930am.  We were there and all set up by 1230pm.  We chose Roberts RV park because of it’s location to where we want to be.  It’s more a mobile home park with some RV sites.  We lounged and I started to work on my photos from last week.
We are heading to Jimmy B’s Beach Bar at 3pm to meet up with some friends from Chicago, Suzy and Huddy.  At the Jimmy B’s Gary was singing and playing guitar and harmonica.  We met Suzy and Huddy and a lot of their friends.  Paul, Kevin, Don and Kathy were just a few.  We enjoyed a beautiful sunset and then headed home.
19   Today is our pre-departure day.  We packed up our stuff, did our grocery shopping and gassed up Red.  Kenny left this morning for Chicago.  We headed to Stump Pass State Park to meet up with the rest of the gang.  Once again the parking was full so we ended up at Englewood Beach Park.  We enjoyed a relaxing beach day.  I did some reading, some people took a nap and others went for a walk.  Rich is hunting for shark teeth again.
After a few hours we need some shade time, so we walked over to Lock-N-Key for lunch.  We decided to head back to Stump Pass State Park.  We found parking no problem and took a little walk.  Sandy and I are done walking for the day, so we relaxed by the shore.  John, Kim, Paul and Rich took a long walk down the beach and along the nature trail.  We stopped at Kim’s for a dip in the pool and a nightcap.  We said our see you laters and headed out.  Rich and Paul fly home tomorrow and Kim and Sandy leave on Thursday.  We are on the road again tomorrow.


18  
This morning we need a little domestic time.  Were going to be on the road again soon and needed to get a few things done.  The gang is heading to the beach, but we are heading out with Freddie and Mary.  They want to take us to a few places they hang out.  First we went to Players Paradise.  They are all over down here.  It’s a small slot arcade that pays back in cash or gift cards.  John broke even, Freddie, Mary and I made a contribution.  Next we headed to Flounders Tiki Bar at Englewood Beach for drinks.
Next, off to the Moose.  Freddie and Mary go to the Moose all the time so they know everyone.  We played a bunch of Ship, Captain and Crew dice game and had some drinks.  At 6pm there were Moose races.  We bet on 4 races and won a couple.  Now we are heading to Lock-N-Key at Englewood Beach to meet up with Rich, Sandy and Paul.  We walked over to the beach to watch the sun melt into the horizon.  Now it’s time to head home.
17   Today Kenny and Kim need some time to visit friends and say see you later.  We headed out with Rich, Sandy and Paul to meet up with Jeff and Kathy.  Jeff wants to visit a few different beaches today.  First we headed to Stump Pass Beach State Park.  It’s Sunday and the place is packed.  We waited about ½ hour but no parking to be had, so we headed on.  Our next stop was up the way to Blind Pass Beach just north of Englewood.  We had a nice long walk on the beach and Rich found a lot of shark teeth.  I think we need to start calling him the shark man.
Now were on the road again and all the way up to Sarasota to Lido Key.  This is more a powder white sand beach with no shark teeth.  We took a long walk and on the way back we noticed there was a rip tide just a few feet off shore.  Rich, John and Paul got in and rode it down the beach while we walked.  After quite a ways it fizzled out.  Now we are ready for a cocktail.  Jeff wants to stop at a place he knows, the Fin and Claw for a drink.  It’s changed since he was there last and it’s now real fancy.  We had one cocktail and then headed back to Jeff and Kathy’s for a nightcap.
16   This morning we hung around the cow.  Early afternoon the gang and Keith headed over to the cow.  We regrouped and then all headed to the Punta Gorda Block Party.  There are 4 stages of music set up and we spent most of our time at the main stage.  We saw the Boogiemen, Crusher and then the Rascals.  Rich’s brother Jeff and his wife Kathy met us there.  After the Rascals, we were ready to head out.  We made a quick stop at the cow and then over to K&K’s for a while.
15   Paul, Sandy and Rich ended up staying overnight in Ft. Myers.  Kenny has some things to get ready for his trip back to Chicago in a few days, so Kim, John and I decided to head to Boca Grande Beach.  After we found a little place in the sand, we took a walk along the beach.  There were people fishing, we saw a huge flock of Tern’s and an Osprey nest with a Mom feeding her babies.  After our walk, we relaxed and caught some rays.  We heard some commotion and some people pointed out a huge manatee just a few feet off the shore just floating along.
We decided to take another walk on the beach in the other direction.  It is hot out today, and you do need a break from the sun sometimes, and there just happens to be a tiki bar along the way.  So we stopped and quenched our thirst and enjoyed some shade.  Now were feeling fine and it’s time to head back.  When we got back to K&K’s, the gang was all there.  We had some pool time and then a nightcap before heading back to the cow.
14   K&K have some domestic stuff to do today and Paul, Rich and Sandy are heading to Ft. Myers Beach.  We just left there last week, so we are staying around the campground.  John is also on a mission to spray for ants.  We know we brought some with us and ants are a big problem at campgrounds.  So we want to make sure to keep them at bay.  At this campground they have a pickleball court.  We learned how to play pickleball when we were in Yuma Arizona.  We have the balls and paddles, so we headed to play a few games.  Now it’s time for a little pool time.
John and I headed over to Freddie’s house around 430pm and met his friend Mary.  We met some of their other friends, Larry and Cheryl, then we all went over to Lakeview Bar and Grill.  Every Thursday they go there and meet up with friends and a band, Tommy C, plays.  The gang was going to meet us there, but Kim is the only one that made it.  We listened to the band and did some dancing.
13   This morning we were up and out early.  Lee, a friend of Kim and Kenny operates a charter fishing boat the Dock Oar out of Stump Pass Marina.  He and Al are taking us out fishing today.  It’s a beautiful morning, light winds and light seas.  First we made a few stops to catch some bait.  Then we headed out farther for the big ones.
I caught a mackerel then the amberjacks started hitting.  Paul was up for the first strike.  This is his first time fishing so he is very pumped and landed a nice amberjack about 15 pounds or so.  Now Kim’s ready for the next strike.  Another nice one, amberjack.  As she’s landing it, another strike and Rich is on deck for this one.  He lands another nice amberjack.  Sandy’s on deck now, another strike and she is pulling in another nice amberjack.  After a short pause, another strike, John’s on deck and he pulls in another nice amberjack.  Right now we have more fish than we need, so anymore are catch and release.
Now I’m on deck, another strike and this one is really running.  Al wants it to be something other than an amberjack.  I have it right near the boat and Al thinks it’s a king mackerel, great!  The pole I’m using is light tackle and it ends up straitening out the hook and gets off.  Oh well, at least I have to the straightened hook for a good fish story.  Ok, I’m still on deck.  Another strike, almost to the boat and again this one bit through the leader so something big.  Another fish story.  Now Kenny’s on deck.  It’s almost time to head in.  We made some more passes, but no more strikes.  That’s ok; we all had a great day out on Dock Oar with Lee and Al.
We got back and Al and Lee cleaned our catch and we had so much we had the Stump Pass Grill cook some up for us.  So we all had amberjack fish and chips, a few beers and now it’s time to head out.  We all went back to K&K’s and enjoyed some snacks, drinks and watched Survivor.  What a great day!!!
12   Another friend from Grass Lake is Freddie.  He lives about a mile from our campground.  He stopped by this morning for coffee and we talked about plans for later in the week.  We talked to the gang (Ken-Kim-Paul-Rich-Sandy) and decided to meet at Stump Pass Marina for lunch.  It’s a great little tiki hut right on the inter-coastal.
After lunch, the boys hung out at Stump Pass for a bit and the girls had a couple things to pick up.  When we got back to Stump Pass, we all decided to head to the cow.  K&K’s friend Keith also came over.  We took a walk around the campground, then headed to check out the pool and ended up have some shuffleboard competitions.  Kenny and John were the ultimate winners.  After some music and cocktails the gang headed home.
11   This morning we got ready and headed back to K&K’s.   They have a great house with a pool and lanai area.  We all got organized for our beach day.  We headed to Englewood Beach and hung out there.  Rich learned this is a great area to hunt for sharks teeth, so he’s on a mission.  John and I took a nice long walk on the beach.  After a few hours we decided to head back to K&K’s and hang out by the pool.  We had some cocktails, played some pool ping pong and pool volleyball.  Another rough day.
10   This morning we headed over to our friends Kenny and Kim’s house.  Our plan is to hang out for a while then head to the beach.  When we arrived, Kim wanted to give us a tour of the house right away.  OK.  So we were at the end of the tour and she wanted to show us the size of a closet.  OK.  She opens the door and out comes friends from Chicago, Sandy, Rich and Paul.  We were really blindsided.
So we ended up hanging out at Kenny and Kim’s, had cocktails around the pool.  Played pool ping pong and had a pool day.  Keith and Scott some other neighbors dropped by and while we sat outside by the pool, we watched the Masters Golf Tournament.
We were all hungry so headed out to the White Elephant on Englewood Beach.  Rich’s brother Jeff and his wife Kathy lives down here so they joined us at the White Elephant.  Rich, Sandy and Paul headed out on a dingy with Jeff and Kathy to check out Jeff’s boat.  Kenny, Kim, John and I stayed at the White Elephant and had cocktails and I sang a couple karaoke songs.  We left Jeff and Kathy and we all headed back to Kenny and Kim’s.  We sat outside around the pool and had cocktails and talked until around 2am.  Then John and I headed back to the cow.
9   We are on the move again.  We are not going far, about 75 miles up to Port Charlotte.  We slept in then enjoyed coffee and breakfast and started packing up.  We got to Harbor Lakes RV Resort around 2pm and got all set up then just took a time out.  We took a nice walk around the park to check it out.  Tonight we are hanging out at the cow and I’m catching up on our photos, journal and website.

8  
Today is domestic day.  We got our pre-departure stuff done around the cow, then headed out for some shopping.  When we got all done, we regrouped and headed back to Ft Myers Beach to the Holiday Inn for drinks.  Vikki, Idona and Chuck were there.  Soon Jeanne and Mark showed up.  We headed to Brian, Monica, Julie and Steve’s condo for cocktails.  We enjoyed a beautiful sunset from their balcony.  Now we had a bunch walk over to Castaways for a few beers.  We had one and then said our see you laters and headed out.  We have a traveling day tomorrow.

7  
Today we slept in and had coffee on the patio.  We headed to Ft Myers Beach for a beach day.  We parked by Jeanne’s and walked over to the beach by the Holiday Inn.  We took a long walk on the beach and saw over 50 stingrays.  We headed back to Jeanne’s condo and enjoyed a dip in the pool.  Mark in staying at his Mom’s tonight so after a bit, John and I headed back to the cow.

6  
Another early fishing day.  Today we are heading out charter fishing.  John, Mark and I met Vickki and Brian at the E-Z Charter pier at Capt Tony’s Marina.  Vikki’s friend, Edgar is our captain today and Bart is his mate.  Since the storm came in yesterday it’s been windy and the seas have been rough.  We didn’t get to go out as far as we wanted but that’s ok.  We had a great time and lots of action.  We caught Sea Trout, Mangrove Snappers, Grey Snappers, Sheepshead, Whiting, Snook and some Sail Cat Catfish.  After fishing, we took our catch and headed to Jeanne’s for a fish cookout.  We had most of the group there and had lots of food.  After a good dinner we headed back to the cow.
5   Another fishing day.  We headed over the causeway to try our luck fishing on Sanibel Island.  We went to the fishing pier near the lighthouse.  There were a lot of people fishing and the only thing everyone including us were catching was Sail Cat Catfish.  People we talked to said it was due to the storm coming in.  There were porpoises all around us.  The sky got dark and the rain came in.  We headed out and made a stop at Doc Fords Rum Inn for lunch and drinks.  By now the storm has passed and we headed to J.N. Ding Dingle National Wildlife Refuge.  After looking around in the museum, we went for a hike.  I hiked 2 miles and John and Mark hiked 4 miles.  We were done for the day and headed back to the cow.
4   We started out to go fishing at the North end of Ft Myers Beach.  That didn’t work, there was no parking anywhere.  So we headed to Jeanne’s (Marks Mom’s) condo.  We got set up at the pool then John and Mark did some fishing on the pier and caught some Mangrove Snappers.  The whole group was there and everyone brought a dish and we grilled chicken, brats, fish, corn on the cob and vegetables.  We had dinner around the pool and after a few cocktails we headed home.
3   This morning after coffee on the patio with Mark, we headed out and stopped to check on fishing boats for later in the week.  We set up a reservation for Wednesday.  Now it’s off to Ft. Myers Beach for a beach day.  The traffic going onto the island is horrible.  To go about 8 miles it took us over an hour.  We finally made it to the Holiday Inn which is across the street from where Jeanne (Marks Mom) lives.  We found a parking space at a condo across the street.  Come to find out, there is a Sand Sculpturing Contest today on the beach at the Holiday Inn, the “Sand Bash”.  We got a place on the beach near the water and set up our towels then took a dip in the ocean.  We got a lot of sun and surf.  After a bit, we headed to the Sand Bash.  Some beautiful sand sculptures.  There was a band and some great food.  Now we headed to the Holiday Inn Tiki Bar to meet up with Marks  family and friends.  Mom-Jeanne, Sister-Vickie, Brother-in-law-Simon, Cousin-Sean, friends-Steve and Julie, and Brian and Melanie.  After some drinks and dinner we headed to Castaways Bar across the street.  We had more drinks and did a lot of dancing.  Now it’s time for us to head back, Mark is staying with us until Thursday.
2   This morning we were up and out early.  Debbie and TJ were out when we pulled out.  We were on the road by 8am.  We are heading to Indian Creek RV Resort in Ft. Myers Florida.  This is the largest RV resort we’ve stayed at.  There are 1150 sites.  Probably about 75% park models.
We got all set up then took a walk around to check out the park.  There’s tennis, pickleball, 3 pools, hot tub, fitness center, billiard room, and a lot more.  We stopped to play a game of pool, and then headed to the pool for a little R&R.  We got back, enjoyed the ribs Floyd gave us, then we had to head out to the airport.
Our buddy Mark is flying in tonight and we’re picking him up and he is going to stay overnight tonight.  His Mom lives just a short distance from our campground and his sister, brother-in law and other friends are also in town, so were going to hang out with them this week.
After we picked him up at the airport, we headed to
Ft Myers Beach – Times Square area.  This is just over the causeway.  It’s spring break time and the area was packed with breakers.  We took a walk out on the fishing pier and headed for some live music.  So we stopped at the Ft Myers Beach Pierside Bar.  After a few cocktail and some good music, we headed out to explore the area some more.  We ended up at the Lani Kai then walked along the beach.  Now it’s back to the cow for a nightcap.1   Today is our day before departure day.  We have been at Lazy Lakes 5 ½ months.  We are pretty much done with stuff, just our normal pre-departure preparations.  We had a great time here, met so many great friends and had a lot of new experiences.  But, it’s time to hit the road so we can have more new experiences, meet new people and see new places.  After we finished our stuff up, we took a walk around and then to the pool.  We said our “see you laters” to some campers and then just hung around the cow.  Floyd had BBQ’d ribs and brought us a care pack for the road.