Thursday, March 31, 2016

Florida Jan-Mar 2016 On the Road Again...

Cue the music because we are headed West.

We'd planned to spend 3 weeks with Karen in Jupiter, visiting with her and friends she had visiting from Ireland.  Then we were going to head north and west, tra la la... and then the beauty of what we are doing revealed itself.

First was the week we had scheduled at a city park in Melbourne Beach, FL.  Torrential rains for several days and a spate of cold weather left our site under water so we were assigned a second (temporary) site for 3 days.  But, we had to perch on the edge of the site, perpendicular to the intended direction and of course, we had to move for the remainder of our stay... but they couldn't find another suitable site. So, after a quick call to Karen who said OF COURSE we could come early we drove down and set up in "our" spot.  Two of my brothers and our mom live within 1/2 hour so we were able to start visiting and seeing everyone.

And then...the "Irish (Oirish) Invasion" occurred.  This is a good thing, a grand thing as they would say.  It begins with Sean who became my oldest brother's best friend the month we moved to Ireland in 1969. Before long he was part of the family and Karen has stayed in contact with him since they left in 1971.  Starting in 1980, he and Bernie- his bodacious, beautiful and unbelievably talented wife- visited Florida or Karen went to Ireland almost every other year and this year they were coming for Karen's Big 60th Birthday Bash.  While Sean has a bit less hair (but more head) than the last time I saw him 46 years ago, he is still the same wonderful spirit and prankster/jokester/philosopher that he was at 17.  Along with Sean and Bernie came Jo and Dave, long time friends of theirs and relatively new friends of Karen's who immediately became part of the ever growing family.  Separately and together they are two of the nicest people one could hope to meet and Dave is one of the most incredible funny people on earth.  Thanks to a seemingly never ending stream of parties, all celebrating Karen's 60th we got to meet a number of Karen's friends who became ours as well and when there wasn't a Birthday Bash in the Farms, Paul and Linda Carey were serving up delicious meals at their condo or Katie and Jason (niece and her husband) took us out on their boat.  Thanks to all of them, I have a dozen more laugh lines and memories to last forever of what old and new friendships mean.

My beautiful, talented, opinionated and eggs-y (yes, the female equivalent of balls-y) sister who wore the bravest and most glamorous dress for her 60th birthday party because she could.

Not only is she incredible but she has 3 (well, counting Corley the dog-4) great kids.  Alex, Katie and Andy.  Katie made and presented her with a fantastic book filled with pictures and notes from her friends all over the world.  Katie got the creative gene and perfected it.

                                                 JUPITER LIGHTHOUSE
We took a tour of the Jupiter Lighthouse one day
Jupiter Inlet from the top of the lighthouse
Looking northeast from atop the lighthouse

From two different sides-two different perspectives

Blue Heron


a rather large alligator

Osprey in the nest

Osprey flying

Marching in lockstep 3 turtles

2 turtles sunning

white Ibis

Night heron-usually only seen at dusk

Do you see a bird?



The one hitch during our visit was a rear ender while Bernie, Karen and I were stopped at a traffic light one night. We were on our way home from a fund raiser and third in line at the light when some young woman, for reasons of her own, decided not to apply her brake and drove at about 40 MPH/65 KPH into the rear of the Flanagan's rented car. We then struck the car in front of us, being driven by a brand now driver who was chauffeuring his mother and sister. All of us, except the driver at fault, who sustained a broken ankle, were uninjured though very shaken up. How quickly it can all be over came home to us very forcefully that night. Luckily we were all wearing our seat belts.

The last 3 days of February we went up to Winter Park to celebrate Richard's "5th" birthday.  We have tried to do something extra special with our "leaper" on the years he has a "real birthday" but this year with his intense schedule we were only able to spend a few days with him and take him, along with 3 friends to dinner and a movie.  They convinced us to come along to Deadpool, which I have to admit was funny and entertaining. 

But, time spent with him is never enough now that he isn't with us all the time, so we returned for 2 days this week after leaving Jupiter.  AND we got to have dinner with Jo and Dave who spent their last week in Orlando.  We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe where I was reminded once again how utterly lacking my knowledge of rock is but great laughs and good food and an evening spent with friends was grand.

We left Winter Park and 7.5 hours later pulled in to our spot on Lake Seminole at Eastbank Campground in Bainbridge, GA.  I have to say I love the Corps of Engineers campgrounds and this is no exception.  The sites are spacious, the campgrounds are well kept, they are all near water-usually lakes, and the staff is always amazingly helpful.

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