We heard it was cold, flu and fever season but we never thought we would catch such an illness down here in Florida. After all, those are illnesses for folks in the northern states where the snow and cold are contributing factors.So we were confused and bewildered the other day when we found ourselves getting hot and sweaty one minute and having the chills just seconds later. It all started one day while Barb and I were at a patio restaurant baking in the hot sun. We soon found ourselves with a fever-like heat running throughout our bodies. As soon as we took a sip of our icy cold piña coladas we got the chills. A very perplexing situation indeed. Soon, we would find ourselves sweating again and again after a sip of our drinks we got the chills! After numerous repeated episodes with the same effect we came to the startling conclusion that we had FLORIDA FEVER! We quickly looked it up on the internet and found that this specific strain of fever inflicts northerners when they come into the area. Symptoms included hot sweats followed by the chills after sipping an icy drink. Yup, that is exactly what we had! Reading on we discovered there is only known cure for this epidemic……..continue to drink piña coladas while gorging yourself with delicious food followed by a few hours of rest…..so that is exactly what we did. Eat, drink, rest, eat, drink, and rest. It was a grueling few days but we managed to break the cycle and soon we could drink our piña coladas without getting the chills. Whew!
So that is how we spent our week visiting my sister Judy and her husband Mike. Along with their Balsam Lake friends, Steve and Sherry, Pam and Arnie and Sherry’s dad Bill we had a great time visiting and sampling some of the local restaurants; The Tiki Hut, Gator Bites Tail and Ale, Doc Fords, Bonita Bills, Harpoon Harry’s, Lani Kai, Nemo’s, The Beach Pub, The McGregor Grill, Red’s Seafood…….The seafood in this area is incredible! I don’t know if it is the variety of shrimp or just the “off the boat” freshness but we had some of the best shrimp of our lives. We tried to decide what our favorite meals of the week. Mine was the Crab Crowned Grouper at Red’s and Barb’s Shrimp/Spinach/Gorgonzola Pasta also at Red’s. The shrimp and clam strips from Harpoon Harry’s were a close second.
|Mike, Judy and us hanging at The Beach Pub
|This guy was swimming off of Fort Myers Beach.....Dolphin or Shark????
|Arnie, Steve, Bill and Mike having a brew at Bonita Bill's
Food aside, the best part of the week was seeing our family and friends. We put the rig in storage for the week and stayed at Judy and Mike’s house. If you can find a site, RV Parks in this area start at about $50/night and $70+/night is not uncommon. The storage facility we used was only $5/night and was within 5 minutes of Judy’s house! More money for going out! We also visited with two other couples who were in the area; Roger and Judy, our neighbors on Bone Lake in Wisconsin were in the area so we caught up with them for lunch one afternoon. We also met up with a former Washington County co-worker of Barb’s. Shirley and her husband Alan have a home in Port Charlotte about an hour away from Fort Myers. We met up with them one afternoon for some great food and shopping.
|A couple of fisherman cleaning their catch........
|.......and feeding the pelicans scraps
|Look what Barb caught!
|Shirley and Alan at Harpoon Harry's
We also had a huge change in plans for the summer. We had originally planned on spending the summer in Canada like we did last year but after hearing about an awesome job that our friends Steve and Joan landed we decided to apply for one of the remaining couples positions and got it! Steve described the position so eloquently I decided to steal a paragraph from their blog rather than try and describe it myself.From Steve’s blog: “The job being offered would have us working in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and possibly Utah & eastern Oregon this summer. We would work 40 hours/week, drive our personal 4-wheel drive vehicle, utilize a provided tablet and GPS device to map BLM roads throughout the designated areas. Joan and I (and now us!) would be one team in a group of multiple teams that traveled and worked together for the season. The entire group would move to an area and set up in the same campground. Then each individual team would be assigned their own BLM roads to cover. Once an area was completed, the entire group would relocate to the next area to be mapped. The company picks up our campground fees, fuel costs for relocations, fuel costs for personal vehicle use, per diem for each day your personal vehicle is used and a generous hourly pay rate for both Joan & I. We would be in an area for a few weeks before moving on to another”.
Although we are going to miss the fishing, hunting, adventuring and all our friends in Canada, we are really looking forward to this opportunity. And bonus……we get to spend the summer with some great friends!
So…….we rearranged all our plans for the next two months. We need to head up to Wisconsin early (ya in March!) to pick up the Jeep and Ranger then head out west to wherever we start for the year. Not really looking forward to driving in the snow again. We are also going to take advantage of this northern trek to stop by Mor/Ryde in Indiana and get a new suspension system installed. This will fix our overweight issue, beats going on a diet!
The week went really quick and before we knew it, it was time to move on to our next destination. We hit the road, looked at a map and decided to stop in the Osceola National Forest for the night where we will look at the extended forecast and plan our route north.