Trip to Marathon, Florida

We have been so overwhelmed with medical appointments and issues for the past six months that we have not had time for a trip to the keys for a look around. We’ve been here for about a week now and will head back north on Wednesday. This is not the time of year to visit the Florida keys. It has been hot. Even though it seems bearable with a nice breeze, I can feel the sun burning my skin.

I was craving seafood and had to go to Sparky’s for fish tacos the first day. Another day, we ate Hogfish sandwiches at Keys Fisheries. Today we ate with Jim and Bettye Chaplin at Burdines. Tomorrow, our last day, we are going back to Keys Fisheries for more hogfish. My stomach leads the way.

We have stayed inside (in the air conditioning) in the heat of the day, and I have caught up with my Florida Keys Concert Association ticket sales records.

I do have a few pictures to share.

Our RV lot looks kinda bare with the small RV and no car, screen room or patio furniture. Hurricane Irma stripped a lot of the mangroves bare of leaves. We still have some behind our site, but it is not the lush jungle it was before Irma blew through.

This is how the mangroves look behind the lots between ours and the ocean.

I was dismayed to see this “castle house” under construction down the street. I should have taken a picture of the other side. It has a large bas relief shield with dragons on it. Fanciful maybe, but not fitting with the island vibe at all. I made some snarky remarks about it to Andy the first day.

We took a drive through our favorite picnic lunch spot, Oceanfront Park, behind City Hall. It was damaged beyond use and the picnic pavilions on the water’s edge have a plywood barricade in front of them. We have been going down to the waterfront in our RV park to sit and watch the ocean.

This iguana was on the rocks across the canal from us.

Iguana

One day, there were seven or eight crabs on the rocks below where we were sitting. They are super skittish so I was lucky to get any pictures of them.

Crabs

I just love those bright red legs!

Crab
Black Mangrove Blossoms

The Black Mangroves behind our pad are in full bloom, but you have to look closely to notice. The blossoms are tiny.

Another day, it started raining on us as we walked to the waterfront. We turned back, but the rain came harder. We took shelter under the castle house under construction. As we waited for the shower to pass, Andy said I can’t complain about the castle house anymore.

The photo does not show it, but it was raining hard at that moment.

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December 20, 2015 – Year in Review

I was inspired by oy30’s drawing Summary of the Year on oy30’s Blog – A Mexican Boy’s Site

I can’t draw that well, so I went to the pictures folder and picked one out for each month.  It was really hard to do! There are so many to choose from and just one does not represent a whole month. Then, there are eleven more days in December.  What if something earth shaking happens and is left out of the Review?  Oh well, here goes:

We were here in Marathon, Florida for the month of January. This is our view of the Atlantic Ocean at the end of the road in our RV park. Those yellow things floating on the water are designed to keep sea grass from floating into the canal.  There are bubblers under the water to make little waves to keep the grass from floating in the smaller entrance. It works well.

2015 01
Atlantic Ocean from Key RV, Marathon, Florida

This was my favorite picture in the February folder.  It is of red mangrove blossoms. Red mangroves are the ones that grow in the water and have those gnarly prop roots that make a mangrove forest impassable. The blossoms are small and not usually noticeable.

2015 02
Red Mangrove Blossoms

One memorable thing that represents March 2015 was inviting a number of friends to the Marathon Yacht Club to eat French dip sandwiches for lunch about once a week. We called ourselves The French Dippers and it was always a good time.

2015 03

We hit the road for our summer trip in April.  Here is Sao, our motorhome, parked for the night in a vineyard in Fort Pierce, Florida.  That was our first night out.

2015 04
Endless Summer Vineyard, Fort Pierce, Florida

May was our first month in Big Creek in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. This is the swimming hole in the picnic area.  We walked out onto that pedestrian bridge several times a day to look at the creek and to watch picnickers, campers, and hikers cooling off in Big Creek. We also regularly saw fish in the pool under the bridge.

2015 05
Big Creek Picnic Area Swimming Hole

We were in Big Creek for June as well. This view is up the creek from the pedestrian bridge.

2015 06
Big Creek

We moved on to Maryland in July and parked in my sister Barbara’s driveway.  I only got one picture of the three grandchildren, but their beautiful faces are not showing.  I still like the picture. We took them for a hike on Sugarloaf Mountain, about an hour northwest of Washington, DC

2015 07
Andrew, Elizabeth, and George Misovec on Sugarloaf Mountain

In July, we moved on to Mequon, Wisconsin, just north of Milwaukee. That’s grandma heaven.  Owen and Cam have just turned four and two in November and December. They would come out to the motorhome every morning to wake me up and push me out of bed. I took so many pictures of them, it was tough to choose. They call me Baba Yaga because my house moves, though not on chicken feet.

2015 08
Owen and Cam with Baba Yaga

September was full of sights with visits to seven national parks: Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Grand Staircase Escalante, Bryce Canyon, Zion.  It could be overwhelming to pick a picture from there, but this one is of me with my son Christopher on the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

2015 09
Dinata and Christopher at the Grand Canyon North Rim

We headed back home in October, stopping to visit friends Paul and Sheri Brindle in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. We visited the beautiful beaches of the Florida panhandle. We also visited friends: Cissy Betz in Palm Harbor, Bill and Pam in The Villages, and Joe and Linda Coffey in Port Charlotte, Florida. I can’t leave out our stop at Alliance Coach, the RV repair shop in Wildwood, Florida. We seem to spend a lot of time there.

2015 10
Andy on beach in Topsail Hill Preserve State Park

We were back on our RV site in Key RV in Marathon in November. We set up our screen room and I planted my garden.  Then I got to work on my book about Big Creek.

2015 11
Sao in Key RV, Marathon, Florida

Andy has been busy straightening up the space behind our storage shed in December.  We had “stuff” piled up back there.  He put the kayaks up against the shed, got a bike rack for the bikes (in the lower right corner) and set up a table and two chairs overlooking our little mangrove forest.  We like to sit out there with our coffee and gaze into the swamp when the no-see-ums are not biting.

20150 12
Behind the Shed

November 23, 2015 – Crane Point

Our first outing of the day was to the dentist to get our cleanings.  I have had some terrible sensitivity for the past few months and Dr. Kiefer found a crack in a tooth.  He says I need a crown.  It could turn into a root canal too. Really, it hurts the purse more than the mouth.

I spent the rest of the morning studying Extended Warranties for the motorhome.  Here’s the thing: reading insurance-type documents makes my eyes snap shut. And the price of the policy is enough to take my breath away. Andy took me out of my misery by suggesting we go to Sombrero Beach to eat our lunch and then Crane Point for our walk.  He didn’t have to ask me twice.

After several weeks of rain, heat, and high humidity, today was spectacular. We got our favorite picnic table at the beach.

b Our Picnic Pavilion

I spotted this Great White Egret as we were walking back to the car after we ate.  It was at the same spot as the Little Blue Heron the other day.

b Great White Egret

Since I was on the pier in Sister Creek, I turned and took a picture aimed out at the ocean. That’s our favorite picnic pavilion on the left.

b Sister's Creek

Crane Point Museum and Nature Center is a 63-acre preserve and one of my favorite places to walk.

b Crane Point Museum

We walked out Crane Road to Crane Point.

b Crane Road

I love the Florida Thatch Palm leaves and take more pictures of them than anything else when we walk around Crane Point. The leaves are a couple feet across.

b Florida Thatch Palm

And, I always get a close up.

b Florida Thatch Palm Closeup

The trees were loaded.  I’m pretty sure these are Pigeon Plums although they don’t match all the pictures on Google Images. They are closely related to Sea Grapes and the fruit is an important source of food for migrating birds.

b Pigeon Plums

Porous limestone is what is under our feet in much of the Florida keys.  Treacherous.

b Limestone

b Orange Flower

b Orange Flowers

Crane Point is named for Francis and Mary Crane who built this house in 1949. It is in poor condition and not open to visitors.

b Crane House

I found these mangrove blossoms out at Crane Point. They are very small and you have to look for them.

b Mangrove Blossoms

We stopped in the Wild Bird Center, for injured birds.  Some are healed and released and a good many of them are permanent residents, like this tiny  burrowing owl.  I don’t know how it is possible, but they can burrow tunnels through that limestone.

b Burrowing Owl

There is always a pelican sitting just like this on this perch.  I think it is the same one.

b Sleeping Pelican

Here is a bird that I don’t recall seeing before. It looks as though his eye is in his beak. I can’t find it in my bird books or on line. Anybody know what it is?

b Herring Gull

This is the Adderly House, the oldest house in the keys, outside of Key West. Built in 1903 by Bahamian George Adderly, the house is crumbling.  The woman in the picture is doing some preservation on the tabby.

b Adderly House Touch Up