Sunday, February 24, 2013

A movie day, Bunche Beach, and Finding Eldo

February 18-22, 2013
North Fort Myers, Florida
Seminole Campground

bunche beach

Vic and I are big movie fans. With the realization that the Academy Awards were less than a week away, we decided we needed to see at least a couple more of the movies nominated for best picture. We found a theater nearby where we could see Argo and Silver Linings Playbook almost back to back for matinee prices. Argo’s compelling story about the escape
of six Americans during the Iranian Hostage crisis in 1979 had us sitting on the edge of our seats. After the film was over, we felt emotionally exhausted but we were committed to seeing what turned out to be another emotional roller coaster of a movie. Whereas the storyline dominated in Argo, we both felt the acting is what made Silver Linings work so well. Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper, and Jennifer Lawrence were all nominated for their acting in this fine film about finding silver linings in life despite all kinds of challenges. We returned to the motorhome feeling pretty drained but happy to have seen these two outstanding movies.

The next day we had plans to get up fairly early to go kayaking with friends we met last year, Dave and Jean from Ohio.  We had both heard that the San Carlos Bay Bunche Beach Preserve was a good place to float our boats.  Bunche Beach turned out to be about forty minutes away from our campground but only about fifteen minutes away from where they are staying at the Red Coconut RV Resort in Fort Myers Beach.  This map marks some of the trails that are part of the Great Calusa Blueways Trail.  Bunche Beach Preserve is #13 on the map—just before the bridge to Sanibel Island.

When we arrived, Jean and Dave were already there scoping out the place. The parking cost $1.00 an hour—but was about to go up to $2.00 as of March 1—caught a break there.  Since we arrived by 9:30 in the morning, there was plenty of parking close to the ramp which made it a super easy launch.  The only challenge was a first for us while kayaking: there were no-see-ums swarming around in the parking lot. Dave was kind enough to go to a nearby CVS and purchase some bug spray. It turned out once we got out on the water that we didn’t need it, but better be prepared than sorry. 

fisherman at bunche beach

The water was quite placid with only a small breeze and temperatures in the mid-70s were quite comfortable. Once we emerged from a fairly narrow channel, we were fully in the Gulf with some lovely sights of a schooner in the distance and small private sandy beaches that are part of the preserve.  I pulled out my cameras when I saw a large flock of cranes and noticed a bald eagle taking flight. The big bummer for me was that I thought I had charged my camera battery and it was dead—oops. I really look forward to taking photos from the kayak, but now I would have to resort to my smart phone.  I decided to just let it go—for the most part—and enjoy the outing with our friends. 

jean and dave2

It turned out that initial bird sighting was about the only wildlife we saw this day.  Maybe that was a good thing since I would have been really disappointed to see cool critters and not have a camera. I had expected there to be some mangrove inlets along the shore, but we didn’t see any to explore.  The tide played a big factor in where we could go as there were very shallow sandbars close to shore. Dave even found himself stuck on one that he had to wriggle out of by waiting for enough waves to carry him off. Aside from a few tide and current challenges, we enjoyed paddling out in the Gulf where the tranquil water made it easy to just relax and float around and chat while appreciating a gorgeous day.


jean and dave in kayaks1

After kayaking, we braved the drive into Fort Myers Beach (heavy traffic) to a lunch spot called the Nauti Turtle on San Carlos Bay. We have not spent much time at all in Fort Myers Beach so it was interesting to watch the boaters out in the bay and enjoy an al fresco lunch on the patio overlooking the water. Jean and Dave will be moving north to Siesta Key in Sarasota on March 1, so we made plans to get in another day of kayaking at Matlacha before they leave.  Looking forward to it.

private beach with kayakers

Another fun event for us this past week involved getting to know some new friends who are also full-timers: Jeannie and Eldy of Where’s Eldo blogging fame. When we had less than a week of experience on the road, I met Jeannie and Eldy in Missoula, Montana at Jim and Mary’s RV Park. It was only a brief encounter but enough to introduce me to the first RVing blog I had read.  Fast forward almost eighteen months and our paths crossed again here in Southwest Florida. They are staying in Sarasota, about seventy miles from us, so we decided to meet somewhere in between for dinner. Vic and I recently discovered a beach restaurant we really like in Venice, Sharky’s on the Pier, so we suggested meeting there for our get together.

sharkys neon sign2

It sure is easy to connect with fellow full-timers, plus we both own the same make of motorhome, aTiffin Phaeton, so a big part of the conversation inevitably focused on Phaeton tips as well as the shared experience of Camp Freightliner. We learned that they had not yet earned the Red Bay Badge of Honor by spending time at the Tiffin Service Center, so we had a few stories to share about our nineteen day stint there last year.  Jeannie and I also managed to sneak in a little conversation about our teaching careers and being single moms earlier in our lives. The evening sure went by quickly in spite of the fact that we had to wait over an hour for an outdoor table. The only disappointment was that the music didn't get going earlier so we might have had a chance to see Jeannie’s famous dance moves which she has so well documented in her blog. Ha.

Jeannie recently wrote about her fear that this lifestyle might turn out to be a lonely existence. I commented on her blog that this too was one of my fears. The happy outcome is that both of us have found the opposite to be true and, once again, I am reminded of the blessings of friendship, new and old.


  1. Famous dance moves, eh? HA! :-) Sure had a great time with you guys and we'll have to go kayaking soon, Pam! Just not this week with the craft show coming up. Where are your friends going to stay in Siesta Key? Do they have a blog?

    1. Yes, let's plan a girls only kayak day. Our friends will be at Turtle Beach Campground and, no, they don't have a blog. I will tell them about yours!

  2. I think Turtle Beach is the only campground on Siesta Key isn't it? We go down to the beach at Nakomis when we are at Oscar Scherer but have never looked in to Turtle Beach cmapground. On my list now.

    We too met Sparky and Eldy at Jim & Mary's RV Park. Now why didn't we meet you there too? I seem to have a habit of "just missing" folks. They are were I was or just left where I am. :-))

    You are such a good blogger to put in all the links to the things you talk about. That's a bit of trouble but it is really nice for your readers. I am not such a good blogger. I need to turn over a new link ahhh leaf.

  3. I do meet the nicest people RVing. I enjoy your blog as well as Where's Eldo...Lots of pretty pictures and info. on both!

    Coming from GA, I have grown up with the no-seeums. Their bites are far worse than mosquitoes!

    Have a great week!

  4. Ahh yes ... the "Red Bay Badge of Courage" ... one does need to get pinned with one after spending time there ... although I really can't complain ... as someone recently mentioned, one would think it was a resort experience after the ease with which we floated through the service center.


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