March 21, 2016

As I write this Guy and I are back at Camp Alexander, Blue Ridge, Ga in a holding pattern waiting for the Doctors to call about the start date for Guys radiation treatment. Our last blog left us in Gulf Shores, Al waiting to get the ball rolling on treatment. Well, a lot has gone on since then as we are not ones for sitting still for long! We went back to Birmingham for the pre-treatment stuff and were told that we would have to wait 5-6 weeks to start the radiation! What? No way!! We put our thinking caps on as we knew staying at the Hoover Met parking lot that long would drive us crazy!!

We have good friends, Caroline and Gary, in St Petersburg, Fl who very kindly said “come down and camp in our driveway”…they were building a spa room for their new jacuzzi!! Gary had hurt his shoulder and was having a hard time lifting wood and would love to have the help. It didn’t take us long to make that decision, Yup, we jumped at the chance to head that way. Guy was looking forward to helping and keeping busy.

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Almost finished!!

We also have friends that live in Jupiter Beach, Kim and Jeff, that we hadn’t seen since we were in Key West with them in 2013, that we were hoping would have some free time. Luckily they had one weekend off together, (Kim is a nurse and works long hours). We packed up and headed in that direction for a few days.

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Guy, Kim and Jeff

We stayed in a brand new rv resort, Jupiter-Palm Beach Motorcoach Resort where Jeff and Kim have bought an RV site. They sold their home in Jupiter and now live in their 45 ft coach with 5 dogs. The resort was in the process of being built and was not really open yet, but as luck would have it, Kathy and Larry, who are full timers as well are co-owers let us stay in a part that was finished. We had not seen Kathy and Larry since we were in Mountain Falls, North Carolina in 2013 so it was fun catching up.  The Jupiter resort is for Class A’s, there will be 100 sites, small lake in the center, large pool and club house. We all got together for a great dinner Mexican dinner, wine and lots of laughs.

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Larry, Jeff, Kathy and Kim

 

While we were there Kim and Jeff took us see the manatees at the Manatee Lagoon, which is an FPL (Florida Power and Light) ECO Discovery Center, the manatees come there for the warm water that outflows from the FPL Energy Center. Some days there can be 200-300 manatees there at one time.

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Jupiter Florida at the Manatee Lagoon

The center features hands on exhibits, an observation deck with which to watch the manatees. The FPL constructed the Manatee Lagoon as part of its environmental mission to educate the public about the relationship with these wonderful creatures to protect and preserve wildlife for future generations. It turned out to be a very windy day, the water was choppy, we did see a mom and her baby and a few others but not many.

We then headed to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Sea Turtle Yard, also provided by FPL.

This was such an interesting place with water tanks full of different types of sea turtles that had been hurt in the wild and were rescued, treated and would be let back into the ocean when safe to do so. There were name plates for every turtle, what had happened to them, how long the turtle had been there, and if the turtle was progressing. The best way to get their pictures was thru the glass on the sides of the tanks.

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Susan

 

 

After we had already left Florida one of the turtles had healed and was strong enough to be let back into the ocean. Kim sent me the email showing hundreds of people at the beach watching and cheering as they let him out of his crate and off he went into the water without looking back. Free at last!!

Jeff and Kim took us on a great walk thru parts of Jupiter along the water way, looking at the mega million dollar boats where we stopped for a great burger lunch. The area we were in is very dog friendly with water bowls outside most stores, we walked by the Doggie Palace where they were having a tea party for Yorkies. There were about 50 yorkies there, Laci didn’t know what to do with all those dogs. If I could have snuck a couple of the little baby ones by Guy, we would have us a couple of these cute little babies!! I wish I had taken my camera the table that held the food was amazing with pink and blue puppy cupcakes and tea cookies! There was even champagne for the big kids!!

On Monday, because I had not seen enough Manatees, we headed across Florida to Crystal River, and where we were lucky enough to find a camp site at Crystal Isle RV Resort. The site we were on was gravel with a little grass, fire ring, with lots of low hanging trees and lots of spanish moss hanging from them, loved it. It was nice to have a campfire again sit outside, enjoying the sounds of Guy playing his banjo, which always brings people by to listen and start a great conversations. While there we went to Three Sisters Springs Wildlife Refuge.  The springs offer a critical natural warm water (constant 72 degrees) refuge for the endangered manatee. The springs consist of vents, sand boils and 3 crystal clear springs.

Crystal Clear Water                                              school of fish

The volunteers said, that last winter due to the cold weather it drove nearly 500 manatees into the springs.  Well, that was not the case for us, we saw maybe 20 and they stayed laying on the bottom of the most beautiful cove, the water was so clear and clean you could see the bottom and all the fish perfectly.

The manatees can stay under water as long as 20 mins, so it was hard getting pictures and standing that long was almost impossible for me.

We also decided to go kayaking down the  Weeki Wachee Springs with Paddling Adventures, we rented the kayaks and floated for 4 hours. The fish were plentiful the first part of the river but as we got closer to houses there were very few, also no alligators. We did have a great time floating as the water was moving at a nice relaxing speed.

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The water was so clear

We left Crystal River and headed back to St. Augustine for another week, before heading back to Camp Alexander.  Gary sings and plays guitar and had a gig that weekend that we wanted to watch. Also, had dinner plans with some of Gary and Carolyn’s friends that we had met at a pizza party that Carolyn and Gary had for the finished spa room.

After leaving St. Augustine on our way back to Camp Alexander we decided to stay a few days in Savannah, at Skidaway Island State Park which is part of Georgia’s intracoastal waterway. This campground is one of our favorites, with all the live oak trees covered in spanish moss, very large sites that are very private, nice raised level picnic table area with gravel. You can rent bikes and ride trails thru the maritime forest and past salt marshes, as well as thru the swamp area, at one of the stops is boardwalk and observation tower that leads into the salt marsh where you can watch for deer, crabs, raccoons, egrets and birds.

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It was sure great arriving back at Camp Alexander where the weather was nice and cool compared to Fl where it was starting to get uncomfortable. Our son, Stephen and his son, Ryan were coming up for a few days to camp with us while Ryan was on spring break. They both had not seen the 2 new rv sites that were done last year.

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Washing a dirty 5th wheel

Stephen has a 5th wheel, so when we designed the sites we wanted them to be easy in and out, but weren’t sure how they would work. We were pleasantly surprised how great they are as he had no problems. The sites are 25′ wide x 100′ long with full hook ups.

Ryan and Stephen both have Remote Control Buggies and love to run them up over the rocks and thru the mud.They collected rocks the whole time they were with us, they had a fire pit made before they had even set up camp!!

 

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The same day that our son headed home we had more company come to stay with us, Gary and Carolyn were headed to Decatur, Indiana for maintenance on their coach and decided to hang with us a few days before heading out. It was their 21st wedding anniversary on March 17, we picked a place to celebrate in the town of Blue Ridge, Harvest on the Main. It was a fabulous dinner!! Best wine!

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We decided to take Carolyn and Gary on a hike up the Amicalola Falls in the Chattahoochee National Forest, which is between Ellijay and Dahlonega in Dawsonville, Ga.

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lower part of the waterfall

The weather couldn’t have been any better, low 70’s for a straight up hike of some 775 stairs, the falls are 729′ tall, which makes it the tallest in Georgia and considered one of the Seven Natural wonders of Ga. The name comes from the Cherokee language word meaning “tumbling waters”.

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At the top of the waterfall you can continue hiking up to the hotel/restaurant, and of course we decided that after such a big hike lunch was in order before we headed back down!! We were good and had salads, except Guy who decided on the buffet!! The worst part was when he decided to have the pie and not one piece but 2!! Yes, I did partake!!

April 13, 2016

As I write this we are now back in Birmingham, Al and Guy has started his treatments. We will be here until May 20, then head back to Camp Alexander for a week or so of recouping for Guy.

I will fill in the rest of whats been happening in my next blog which I hope will be sooner rather than later.

Thanks for following the The Rover and Nomads until next time,

Remember: This is the day the Lord has made be Happy and Rejoice in it!!!