Monday, August 10, 2015

Our Maiden Voyage Feb 28 - Mar 3 2015 St James Island and Cape Coral FL

Our maiden voyage with the RV was actually in February when we traveled across FL to St James Island, Ft. Myers, with our son, Richard, the dog and both cats (Cadbury has a sister who now lives with Richard.)  This was both a test run and a birthday trip for Richard.  All went well with the driving and we found our campground with no problem.  We were situated on the edge of a pond and next door to a charming Canadian man originally from Germany who regaled us with stories of his life in the woods in northern Ontario and gave us pointers about full time living.
Our campsite was on the pond's edge
It was a nice weekend, made nicer with a visit from a Facebook friend, Margo, who is the cousin of a childhood friend, but made harrowing by Chloe the cat.

You see, Chloe is very shy and likes to hide.  The first morning I saw her asleep on Richard at 5am when Phoenix woke me.  But at 8am she was nowhere to be found.  We were sure no-one had let her out but could not find her anywhere!  Finally at 7pm she came out from in front of the passenger seat. Realizing then that there was access to the area under the dash (which is quite large) I stuffed the area with pillows and then tucked some around the area in front of the pedals and thought the problem was solved.  Next morning, no Chloe but I could see she'd burrowed over the pillow by the driver's side. BUT, where was she? We opened the access to the engine.  No Chloe.  We looked under the rig.  No Chloe.  We had no idea where she'd gone.  That evening she appeared again.  Problem was, we were leaving the next day and could not have her repeat this act.  I stuffed every inch of both areas and hoped for the best but was yet again outdone by her.  At 4am I saw her on the dash and then before I knew it she'd disappeared.  Desperate, I climbed as far as I could under the pedals and had Richard shine a bright light up and there were two shining eyes.  I couldn't reach her.  Finally, I decided to take the cover off the "hump" on the dashboard and see if I could get her from there.  SUCCESS.  I pulled her out, we hooked her harness up and the poor girl was "forced" to sit on the couch with a 6ft tether for the duration of our voyage.

On the other hand, my visit with Margo was wonderful as we sat and shared memories and childhood stories.  Don and Richard joined us for lunch but them slowly drifted away to do their own thing as we sat gabbing.

As for our visit to St James Island:  We biked down to the tip of the island and went to the Pine Island Flatlands Nature Preserve but mostly we hung out at the campground and rode bikes.  It was a nice time to spend together before Richard went off to school.

ST. JAMES ISLAND, FT MYERS

Pasture along the bike path

Pine Island Flatlands Preserve-we went at the height of the day which pretty much guaranteed we would see no wildlife...and we didn't

This is flora that is seen in many parts of FL-pine trees and palmettos

Family (Shadow) Portrait
Lisa, Don, Richard
On the way back to Jupiter we stopped at the fantastic Six Mile Cypress Slough (pronounced slew) in Cape Coral.  A nature preserve with elevated pathways through it we toured the nature center and then set off (with no pets) to walk the trail.  We saw a huge male alligator in the water and there in the grass was his mate with 13 babies.  Having arrived near midday we knew we'd be unlikely to see much wildlife though because they are smart enough to rest in the hot part of the day.  We saw a few birds but the nature itself, the cypress knees (the base of the root system) and the cypress trees coupled with the multiple bird calls and sounds of nature was both serene and invigorating.



A beautiful pond...

...with beautiful irises blooming alongside it...

...a big ol' alligator in it...
...and mama...

...and one of 13 little ones on the shore


Ibis

Cypress knees

one of many epiphytes

Turtles on a log

Ponds were everywhere

as were Cypress stands in the slough


Our maiden voyage had been a success and although we had not had a chance to use the solar electricity, the composting toilet was great and we were able to simply drain our grey water and leave.


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