Friday, April 4, 2014

Adios to our favorite spot in Florida

March 26-April 1, 2014
Cortez, Florida
Holiday Cove RV Resort

All good things must come to an end. This was our first year spending three months in this area and we both agree that it ranks as our top spot to spend an extended amount of time in Florida. Sadly, however, we are seriously considering spending next winter on the West Coast to be closer to our grandkids. At least they live in Southern California and not northern Minnesota!

The last week here the weather played a big part in determining how we would spend our days. We had at least two days of heavy rainfall and thunderstorms and, when the skies cleared, the temps dipped into the 40s at night with daytime highs in the low 60s. Most days, whether rainy or clear, we had plenty of wind too. Not great for biking or kayaking—that was for sure.

On one clear but cold day, I came up with the idea of checking off one more item on my local bucket list: going to see the canopy walk at Myakka River State Park. The idea of walking above the tree line in a beautiful natural setting sounded quite appealing. I looked up the walk on the internet and it said the canopy walk was just under a mile. Our friends Mike and BJ were interested too, so off we went.

The reality of the canopy walk paled in comparison with what I envisioned it would be. The walk to the canopy and back out to the parking area is just under a mile, but the canopy bridge itself is only about 100 ft. long.  The view looks out onto a diverse array of wetlands, prairies, hammocks, and pinelands. Pretty, but I had expected a view of the river with alligators and all kinds of birds to be a part of the scenery as well. Not so much.

We did enjoy climbing up the 70 ft. observation tower that they built next to the canopy, but the view was still a little disappointing in terms of wildlife.

After our short walk on the canopy trail, we drove around a seven-mile loop hoping to see something else that might catch our eye.  We walked out on a boardwalk on the river and were lucky enough to spot a sandhill crane by the river bank.

As we were leaving, I requested that we stop at the restroom facilities and boy am I glad I did.  When we get out of the car, we saw several photographers with tripods and huge lenses aimed up in the pine trees. This lucky discovery made the whole day trip worthwhile—at least to me. How adorable is this little guy?

This barred owlet was so cute I had a hard time pulling myself away. There were actually two owlets in the trees, but the other one was hard to see through the foliage. The photographers told us the parents were probably not far away. Sure enough, we found this mama or papa owl only a short distance away looking over its babies. I have been anxious to get some photos of owls all winter as I am always hearing them, but rarely seeing them. Good thing I drank a lot of coffee that morning.

With departure day drawing near, we put some plans in motion for getting together with friends. Aside from wanting to say goodbye, I managed to sneak in a little birthday celebration for Vic who is an April Fool’s baby. I made him a lemon meringue pie, our friend Diane made him a pan of brownies, and on the morning of our departure—his actual birthday, friends Jean and Dave surprised him by singing happy birthday and presenting him with two cupcakes.  (Sorry, no photos of the great BBQ ribs Mike made Vic for his birthday meal.)

Birthday boy with lemon meringue pie. . .

Birthday boy with brownies. . . (thanks, Diane)

And birthday boy with cupcakes (and the new hat daughter Mindy sent). . . . 

I don’t think Vic’s seemingly endless sweet tooth went unsatisfied.

We also had a happy hour gathering at our place the night before we left, followed by a bonfire with live music at the park next door. Aside from leaving a place that we love in terms of its location and ambience, the even more difficult challenge was saying goodbye to the extraordinary friends we have had the pleasure to spend time with here. (Diane and Steve, so sad you were not feeling well enough to join us!)

We sure will miss everyone and can only hope our paths will cross again soon in the near future. To hedge that bet, the couple featured above, Mike and BJ, are going to join us for two weeks in late April at Betty’s RV Park. How do you say yippie-ki-yay in Cajun???


  1. That owlet and parent owl were awesome!! So glad you went to the bathroom. What a great way to end the visit! Holiday Cove and lovely Anna Maria Island sure are wonderful places. Looking forward to catching you out west:)

    1. I am not great with goodbyes, but I do feel excited about catching up with you and possibly Sue and Dave in San Diego or other fun places on the West Coast.

  2. Rats. If we hadn't had to cancel Betty, we'd have been there on April 9th I think. We might have run into you two. The wildlife you might see from the Myakka tower would be the wild boar. I almost always see them when I'm there. Destructive Devils. Happy Birthday Vic. With my sweet tooth I'll see your pie and cupcakes and raise you one cherry pie and a chocolate cake with butter cream icing. I think we'd better get together for some serious ice cream. Safe travels! Boo Hoo if you don't come back to Florida next winter.

    1. We are headed to Topsail Hill State Park near Destin for the week of April 12--perhaps you will be nearby?

      Vic will take you up on the serious ice cream challenge. It is by far his biggest weakness.

  3. Happy birthday, Vic. Looks like you had several celebrations!

    I love the owlet photo. We never see cute little ones like this on our hikes.

    If you haven't been to Betty's yet, you will love it. Take one of the swamp boat rides. Great.

    1. The owlet was too adorable for words.

      We visited Betty's last year with a plan to be there 6 days and stayed 12, so we thought we'd do better with a two week stay. We have never done a swamp boat ride anywhere, so it's about time we do so.

  4. Happy birthday Vic! Looks like you had lots of yummy treats!

    I am so happy for you that you had the opportunity to photograph the owlet and know that is at the top of my list of birds I want to see and photograph! You lucky girl!

    I do remember the fun time you had at Betty's last year....enjoy!

    1. I didn't realize you haven't photographed an owl yet--especially since you even captured that amazing roadrunner!

      Sure hoping Betty's is just as fun the second time around. Judging by the number of return visitors she has, I am guessing it will be.

  5. you four should have fun at Betty's - wish we were joining you but we will be in central Texas then...

    1. If you are still in Texas then, we may catch up with you on our post-Louisiana travels. You could show us what good Tex-Mex food is all about!


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