Saturday, April 6, 2013

Easter weekend and saying goodbye

March 29-31, 2013
North Fort Myers, Florida
Seminole Campground

Note: This is the last in a series of catch-up blogs. In real time, we are finishing up our last day in Zephyrhills, Florida, before starting our trip back to the West Coast.

Our time here, ten weeks, is by far the longest we have stayed anywhere before. When we arrived in mid-January it felt like we had a long stretch of time to fill. Of course, my taking a ten-day trip to Oregon in mid-March also accelerated the passing of days. Now we are facing our last weekend, goodbyes to the two couples who have become like family to us, and the celebration of one of my favorite holidays, Easter. 
The festivities for this final week here began with Diane and Steve hosting a farewell breakfast on Thursday, followed by Mike and BJ hosting another breakfast on Friday. Good thing I have been dedicated about keeping up with Zumba as the calorie load has been pretty heavy lately.

On Friday night I hosted a dinner for Mike and BJ and local friends, Mike and Lois, as another last fling. Sadly, Steve and Diane left on Friday at noon so they weren't able to join us for dinner that night. All good times must come to an end, but this one is a little harder than last year as we are not yet sure of our plans next winter. I am learning that the ability to deal with goodbyes is part of the price we pay for this vagabond lifestyle. I am also learning that unexpected reunions are also much more likely to happen, so the most fitting goodbye is “until we meet again.”

Saturday became mostly a packing day for us as we planned to celebrate Easter by communing with nature at the beach.  We are pretty sure we won’t be returning to Seminole Campground so I also took the opportunity to walk around and take some final photos of the park and some of the wildlife—other than us and our parties!

I really like the old Florida feeling of this park and the fact that there is only one park model here. It is more like a campground than a resort and, for the most part, that is a good thing—especially because they provide fire rings on each site—one of my favorite perks.

With an abundance of live oak trees, comes an abundance of squirrels. Fortunately, they never bothered us. I have always love to watch squirrels.

These black-necked stilts were one of two pairs who frequented a pond in the park. I had never before seen this species so it was fun to add them to my Florida sightings.

These two rare species could also frequently be found nesting in padded chairs on the patio of a nearby motorhome.

On to Easter. We planned to go to Bonita Beach, a beach we had not yet been to this year to celebrate this rite of spring. What a glorious day it was as the high most days in the preceding week was only in the 60s, but by Easter Sunday, Florida weather had returned and the high was expected to be 80.  The challenge for going to this area is finding a parking place in one of the free beach access areas that line Hickory Blvd. There are several access areas less than a half mile apart and we didn't find a space until we reached the last one.  (Our parking genie gave us a scare.)

As is customary for the four of us at the beach, Mike, BJ, and I spend most of our time combing the shoreline for shells while Vic hangs out with all of our belongings while reading his Kindle. On  this day, I also spent a fair amount of time trying to get a good action photo of a diving pelican. I had very little luck with this endeavor and tried to give it up after getting over a dozen photos of only a giant splash. ( I could use some photography classes.)

The water must be full of bait-sized fish as the pelicans are extra active fishermen today putting on quite a show right in front of us. I don’t know why but their smug faces after making a good catch remind me of our dog Rico when he scores something he has been begging for.

After an idyllic three hours on the beach, we packed up with plans to stop at The Fish House Restaurant for lunch. Not only did we have another great lunch here—grouper and shrimp tacos, fried oysters—but Mike and Vic also scored another t-shirt for their growing collection.

We arrived back to the campground in late afternoon with the reality that it was time to start the packing up routine. Mike and BJ had more of a challenge as they rented a storage unit that somehow ended up packed with goodies. There is a noticeable difference when you live full-time in a motorhome and no longer have the temptation of making road trip purchases for a stick-built home.

Morning, April Fool's Day and Vic’s birthday, made us feel a little vulnerable for a possible prank. Having earned a reputation as birthday pranksters ourselves, we thought we better plan an early departure. At least the victims of our earlier prank had left town already so the threat was diminished. We ended up being ready to leave by 9 a.m.--unusually early for us, especially since we only had a two and half hour drive ahead. The only sad part was that instead of us taking Mike and BJ’s photo as they pulled out, the tables were turned. Last year when we thought we were saying goodbye for another year to Mike and BJ, we ended up having five other rendezvous with them in four different locales. Makes it way easier to put serendipity in charge of our futures.

The common refrain around the park as folks have been leaving has been “have a safe trip back.” Most folks are heading back to something--their “normal” life. It struck me that we are heading forward to something relatively unknown. I always think of Easter as a time of renewal and so it is a perfect time to pursue a new adventure in our full-time life on the road. Seems apropos to end this post with one of my favorite lines from Hamlet: “The readiness is all. . . .”  


  1. I think you did great with your pelican shots - I enjoyed them very much.

  2. Love that line from Hamlet except I never feel quite ready. :-) You have really made this spot your home. I too find it is harder to leave somewhere I have stayed for a long period of time. Those are just AMAZING pelican shots. The diving is too much! Well done!!

  3. I have great shots of diving pelicans. Cute shot of the squirrel too!

    Here's to safe and happy travels!

    Nice header photo!

  4. Love Bonita Beach! Such a beautiful beach.

    Great job with the pelican shots!!

    You're moving west as we head east. I am already looking forward to returning west next April!

    Travel safely!

  5. Lovely header photo.

    Love the squirrel shot.

    Safe travels.

  6. What a beautiful looking beach. Great photos of the Pelicans too.

    That campground sure looks like a nice place. Safe travels back to the west coast.

  7. Everyone has such great pics!

  8. Enjoyed the read... as always. Safe travels.


Don't be shy. We would love to hear your comments!