On the road again so we can officially ignore all the “sell-the-house” chores. Of course on the road this time means a one month stay in one place – Bradenton, FL. We’re trying this out to see how we like that time frame with wheels, but not putting them to use. Pretty sure that we have a long enough “must see” list of both people and places to make a month stay doable without getting bored in the same location.
Horseshoe Cove RV Resort
We started out planning a one week stay for the “Living The RV Dream” rally to meet some like-minded people and learn a few things at the seminars. The RV resort then offered a deal for the month that we just couldn’t pass up, turning the trip into the month-long junket.
A bit about our “spot”. We arrived on October 1st and were a little confused about our site. It has been our experience that the paved driveway is the place to park the RV. So, we see this fairly short driveway and Pat gamely backs Lucy in. The orientation didn’t make sense with our next door neighbors within literally arm’s length or the picnic table on the wrong side. Luckily one of our neighbors came out and noted that normally the RVs go in the grass and the cars go in the driveway. Ahhh! That does makes more sense in this case. Ok, but before you think we are totally stupid, let me say that there were no similar RVs in the area to give us a clue.
I’m simply going to report the news here since we have learned that RVing comes in many forms with very strong opinions about what “is” and what “isn’t”. I don’t want to step on any toes here, so I’ll reflex to the old saying that a picture is worth a thousand words and give you two.
Hopefully you can see why we didn’t catch right on to the parking protocol.
Since we’re here through Halloween, we did a little decorating with our Skel-a-mingos and baby mingos. Spiced up our little corner a bit don’t you think?
The park has their own private island that is in the Braden River and forms a horseshoe shaped cove, thus the name of the place. You can only get to the little island by a walking bridge, which is perfect for Jackson walks. He can feel like he’s trail-doggin’ it like in the state parks. (that’s our term for when he is on point on the trail)
The first view of the river is from the covered deck complete with a nice wooden swing. Nicely shaded if you wait until about 10:30am to hop on. The second view is the cove from the boat dock.
Of course I can’t help myself with the flower pictures, so a few of those from our own private island. It really feels like that to us every morning since we see maybe one other person over there.
Can you tell I really like hibiscus flowers? Red is the best color of course. I especially appreciate Bird of Paradise growing wild since we tried hard with one in our yard and never achieved one single bloom.
Out and About
Let the sight-seeing begin! Actually, first up is a social outing with our good friends Barbara and Mike at O’Bricks Irish Pub for dinner. This is a favorite place I’ve been hearing about from Barbara for quite some time. Delicious food and I indulged my dark beer love. Had me a Murphy’s stout – on draft no less.
We also managed to find Barbara’s favorite Mexican place all on our own – Poblano’s. Merely a stone’s throw from our digs, so we’ll likely go back since Pat was most pleased with the Mexican fried ice cream. So far this trip gets high marks in the food category. Our last trip won the worst Mexican food prize and so far this one wins the best.
Anna Maria Island
We have quite a list of places to visit while we are in this part of Florida and decided to start with Anna Maria Island. Lovely spot indeed and fun see how the other half lives. Some pretty swanky places and quaint spots, too. We hopped out at the Anna Maria City Pier and got some good pictures and drank in that salt air smell.
There was a bit of a fish kill, so salt wasn’t all we smelled, but not too bad. It took me a while to figure out that I was looking at the Sunshine Skyway Bridge in the distance. I love bridges about as much as lighthouses. And birds? Well, let’s say I have a fixation there, too.
Storm clouds were definitely brewing, so we made tracks back to Bradenton right through a complete monsoon. Wowee – driving rain, lightning and thunder. We got back to poor Jackson wedged under the passenger seat of the motorhome. He needed his happy pill for sure.
Mixon Fruit Farm
As a native Floridian and one who has seen her share of orange groves, it seemed a little silly to be off to take a tram ride through one. But, I couldn’t pass up the tram ride part and figured I might just learn a thing or two. Pat agreed it was a funny thing to be doing, but we both really enjoyed ourselves. The tram tour is about an hour long and goes through the groves which include all kinds of citrus fruit as well as other fruit trees.
The trees are still working on producing all that great fruit, so not a lot to see as far as the crop goes. They mostly grow Valencias that won’t be ready to pick until later in November. Not a big deal since we’ve seen our share of fully ripe fruit on trees. Hearing about the growing process was pretty interesting.
Didn’t know that citrus trees don’t need a lot of water and are planted on raised beds so the excess water can run off. With all this tropical rain we’re having, that is a very good thing. Also, this particular grove is owned by the third generation of the Mixons and some of the original trees dated back to the 19th century. I took a shot of the variegated lemons since they are apparently pink in the middle and I hadn’t ever heard of those before. Easy pink lemonade!
In addition to the grove, the farm also partners with Wildlife Inc to provide space for rescued animals. Animals are treated and rehabilitated and used for educational purposes. This part of the tour was an unexpected treat. I got to pet the striped skunk, Burmese Python, American Alligator, and feed an apple slice to a feral pig. What a day!
J.J. the feral pig loves him some apple slices. Anyone who wanted to could feed him one through the fence. He took it so nice and gently just like Jackson takes bones from our hands. He had his little tusks and everything.
I pet the tail end of this guy who weighed about 60 pounds. They do python hunts in the Everglades each year since they are an invasive species. They caught somewhere in the 60s this past year. Huge, huge, huge!
I pet the alligator of course and we learned about the special membranes over their eyes. They use them like goggles when they are swimming. It apparently helps them to see quite clearly when hunting underwater. Also pet the striped skunk and it was pretty soft in a livestock fur kind of way. They also had a red-tailed hawk, horned owl and even a chicken. Not sure how the chicken ended up in that menagerie. Also tortoises and lots of iguanas of all sizes.
After the tram tour was over we got ourselves the famous orange-swirl ice cream cones (totally yummy and highly recommend) and took a trek out to the Koi pond. You know if I’m petting everything I can that I’m a sucker for putting a quarter in the fish food dispenser, too.
This yellow Koi’s gaping mouth made it in just about ALL my shots. He’s determined to get his fair share of the food.
What’s Next You Ask?
Lots of places to visit on our list like the Ringling Museum, Solomon’s Castle and Myakka River State Park, but we’re taking a day to do chores around here. We’re also going to stay close to the RV since the storms just totally freak Jackson out – with or without medication. And we seem to be in that everyday thunderstorm pattern right now.
In fact, we’re keeping a very close eye on the weather in general due to Hurricane Matthew. Seems a force to be reckoned with. We’re not super concerned about any issues on the West coast of Florida, but our sticks and bricks home is on the East coast which may be in the cross-hairs. No one really knows, so we’ll just keep checking the weather updates and see.
More touring to come and more people to see – looking forward to more Barbara time, Iris and hopefully Patti, too. Oh, and there is that rally that started it all, taking place next week. Thinking this month is going to fly by.
One favor to ask, please. Check out the new and improved 2016 travel map tab and tell me what you think. I’m still in search of the best format for that showing where we go without investing a ton of time in it.
Hope all is well with you and yours and see you on the way!