I think all travelers, whether they do it by RV, automobile, or airplane, have a bucket list for the destinations they visit. At least I know we did during our 18 years as fulltime RVers, and so do my kids when they come to visit us.
One thing on everybody’s bucket list was to get my pontoon boat out on the water, which I wrote about in yesterday’s blog. Travis and Geli had seen dolphins when they were here before, but no manatee, and seeing both was on Tiffany’s bucket list. Again, as I wrote in yesterday’s blog, they saw plenty of them.
Seeing an alligator was also on the list for everybody, so we drove down to the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, our go to place to take visitors who want to see gators. We have driven the back roads of the Refuge many times and never failed to see an alligator, until this trip. Recent rains had raised the water level in all of the ponds and canals, and the places where we normally see alligators were all underwater. Between that and the fact that it was in the mid-80s, when they usually stay underwater as much they can to keep cool, we got skunked. Not one darn gator.
We didn’t even see the birds we normally do. There were some, but the numbers were way down. That was disappointing. But we did see a few, including this egret fleeing from a larger heron who took exception to it trespassing on his or her turf. Seeing two big birds like that taking off at the same time and engaging in an aerial battle was amazing.
Eventually the egret fled the scene, not to be spotted again by us.
In addition to the bird pictures, Travis also got this great picture of a dragonfly. It amazes me how he can see things that the rest of us look right past and never spot.
The wildlife refuge abuts the John F. Kennedy Space Center, but if you want access it you have to go further south of Titusville.
When I mentioned there is even a nude beach at the Wildlife Refuge, Travis, Tiffany, and Geli insisted on going to check it out. What, you don’t take your adult children to nude beaches? What kind of parent are you?
There are 13 parking areas along Playalinda Beach in the Refuge, with boardwalks leading across the dunes to lovely beaches where families come to enjoy the sun, surf, and sand. The northernmost beach access, Parking Area 13, is clothing optional. I’m not sure if that’s official or not, but it’s known to be a place where you are going to see naked people.
It was a Sunday and the parking lots were all full, so Terry and I dropped them off to get an eyeful while we drove back down the dead-end road, and then made a U-turn to go back. Apparently they saw everything they needed to see from the boardwalk, because by the time we reached a U-turn three parking areas down they were calling to ask where we were and saying they were ready to be picked up.
Something else on Tiffany’s bucket list was to try a lot of different kinds of seafood. No problem kiddo, we live on the coast and there’s no shortage of seafood around here! One of the places we took her was Aunt Catfish’s on the River, in Port Orange. The place is always busy so we had to wait a while to be seated. No problem, we walked out on their dock and enjoyed the water.
They have one of those machines where you can buy dry fish food for a quarter, and when Tiffany dropped some of it into the water the fish went into a feeding frenzy. They seem to be well fed and well trained, because as soon as she ran out of food they disappeared again. Fickle fish.
It was starting to get dark by the time they paged us to come in, and Tiffany got this great view from the dock of the moon shining on the water.
We got a table at a window overlooking the water, which was very nice. Tiffany is from a small town in the mountains of Arizona with few choices in restaurants, and none of them are what I would call great, so she didn’t know much about seafood or what to order. We started off with some calamari. She wasn’t too sure about it, but she’s a trooper and she’ll try anything.
Judging by the look on her face at the first bite, I think she was impressed.
Today we have to run down to Relax the Back in Orlando to pick up my new office chair, but I will be back with new things to share with you about the kids’ visit in tomorrow’s blog.
Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for a campground rating, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.
Thought For The Day – My sense of humor earns me a lot of awkward glances.