We had a great time in the Sarasota area. First off, we visited an old friend of Claudia's who stopped by for a visit at our campsite followed by dinner in downtown Sarasota. It was great to see him again. We really enjoyed the next day when we visited the Ringling Museum. After taking the time to view the exhibits including the largest miniature circus ever built we took a tour of the Ringling Mansion where every piece of furniture was original from the roaring 20's. Then, just when we thought we'd already been to the best dog park, Stella joined us for a visit to the Brohard Paw Park that beats them all. The area was enormous and a long gated path led right out onto a beach devoted to (and full of) dogs, all off leash and running free. Stella had a great time and she made good progress as far as getting into the water. On the way out, we stopped by both the doggie and people showers to rinse off the salt and sand. Next it was off to Siesta Key. Unfortunately we didn't make it to the drum circle as we had hoped. Traffic was at a crawl and we watched the sun set from the car. We decided to make the most of it however and enjoyed a great meal along with some delicious Margarita's right in Siesta Key. The next day we headed a bit south to Fort Myers where we were able to meet up with the daughter of one of Claudia's closest friends and her son for a wonderful meal and a beautiful sunset right along the water in Punta Gorda. Last but not least, we spent a day out on Sanibel Island where Claudia spent most of the time collecting seashells. She could have collected a truck load but chose a plastic bag full instead, thank goodness. We also drove through the JN Darling National Wildlife Refuge where we were able to see more birds in their natural habitat than we could have imagined. This entire area that we covered was some of the most beautiful area we've seen in Florida and we'll definitely be back for more. Ed
Following Disney we spent ten days "recovering" at a beautiful campground/resort in Kissimmee. It was good timing because I caught a cold and Ed had a severe bout of intestinal cramps that got us a 2:00 am trip to the ER. Turned out to be nothing life-threatening. Phew! Then we moved on to the Tampa area and spent another couple of weeks camping in Hudson, FL. We were so happy to spend time with friends from camp - Dick and Lydia, Rich and Maureen, Dan and Marty, and Jen and Dan. At this campground we also met Randy and Sue - who became full timers around the same time we did. Turns out we'll see them again as we pass through Texas in February. We spent a day in Tarpon Springs, and another evening in Palm Harbor visiting Connie and Wayne - fellow retirees from Lexington. We also spent a few hours one day taking Stella for a walk in the woods at Crews Lake Park. After leaving Hudson we went to Fort De Soto Park for a few days which is out at the edge of Tampa Bay, right on the Gulf of Mexico. The beaches there were beautiful. There was even a beach especially for dogs, complete with doggie showers. Although we still haven't convinced Stella that she can swim, she really enjoyed romping in the surf. Claudia
Ed and Claudia always dreamed of retiring and travelling the country in their motorhome. They retired in 2013 and this is the continuing story of their adventures on the road.