Florida - Mar 4 - 25

It's been 3 weeks+ since our last update....no excuses, we found the sun and have been soaking in it. We also found family and have been enjoying time with them.

We left the RV at Florida Caverns State Park and drove a few hours north to the town of Eufaula, AL. Eufaula is known as the "Big Bass Captail of the World, the home of Mann's Bait Company, and most importantly, the home of our Aunt Ruby.

The kids were excited to have a substitute teacher.

Katie acquired a number of properties where we can park the RV when we head up the east coast.

Aunt Ruby lives on the great Chattahoochee river and we spent some time cleaning up the debris that finds temporary reprieve from the current on her banks.

We visited Fendall Hall, one of many beautiful plantation homes in Eufala. One of the many things that make Fendall Hall unique is the fact it had a plumbing system that was gravity fed based on cisterns in the attic.

Aunt Ruby treated us to many good eats including beef roast, scallops, and her homemade blueberry pie.  We even received blueberry pie lesson from the master!

Daddy was dead-set on cooking crawfish before we left the deep south.  He loved the idea of "mini lobsters" and knew that Eufaula was his last chance.  Aunt Ruby directed him to a local fish market. The place was so friendly he almost didn't come back when he walked in and they offered him a seat at the free Thursday fry table - hushpuppies, whole fried bream, and catfish.  But he did come back, and with giant Crawdads.  They were outstanding....we even half heartily attempted to "suck out the goodness" for the full experience.  [the faces in the pictures do not express the true sentiment of the moment]

We headed back to Big Country in Florida Caverns State Park.  The next AM we made Aunt Ruby's Cheesy Grits. Mmmmm.

We packed up and started our drive south looking for warm weather. We had reservations on Sanibel starting on the 19th of March but did not have plans until then.  The temp was in the 40s and stayed that way all day...so we kept driving.  We were also unable to get reservations at any of the state parks....so we kept driving...for 10 hours.  We made plans to put Big Country in storage on Sanibel Island the next day and decided to find a place for a single night in Fort Myers.

A couple hours north of Fort Myers we reached out to our cousin Brenda to let her know we would be in the area for a while and wanted to see her and Doug.  They had a friend who was not using a spot in their very nice RV park and we were able to stay there for the night and store it there while we stayed with Mimi and Grandad on Sanibel.  It was a treat to get to see their place, drive the golf cart, and push the cat in the stroller!  We are very thankful for the time with them and for their friend George.

After washing Big Country for the first time since Arizona (not our favorite project), we headed to Sanibel where we plan to stay until after Easter.  We've been looking for a kayak for some time and found one at Costco. Time for a test drive.

Monday was JAK's golden birthday and the day Mimi and Grandad were returning to FL after a visit back to Evansville. It was a treat to be able to celebrate his big day with family.

Like the hermit crabs in Grand Isle and Fiddler Crabs in northern FL, the gecko's on Sanibel provide hours of entertainment.

Fishing and sunsets on Sanibel...aaah....  It's a different experience/segment of our adventure sitting tight in familiar area for a month+. A great chance to spend time enjoying each other and an area of the country we love.

On Wednesday we drove back to Fort Myers to watch a pre-season game. Twins 3, Redsox 4.

Mimi volunteers at the Sanibel Historic Museum and Village so we got a backstage pass.  JAK sat on Theodore Roosevelt rocker while there.

We took "Big Orange" out on a maiden voyage and of course JAK caught the first fish.

Katie went out the next day...and seemed to enjoy being paddled around like a princesses in Venice more than fishing.

There was a St. Patricks Day celebration at the local icon grocery/hardware store - Baileys.  Anna took second place in musical chairs and Mommy and Daddy had green beer.

Sanibel is known for it's shelling.  Brenda came over one morning and showed us how a professional sheller operates. This includes getting to the beach before sunrise and using a miners headlamp.  Crazy girl;)

But she knows what she is doing - everyone found at least one fairly rare shell that morning.

We moved Big Country over to only RV park on Sanibel on the 19th.  It's a great spot with plenty of space and only 4.5 miles from Mimi and Grandad's.

Kenny, Megan, and their triplets arrived for their spring break on Friday! It's great to see them and be able to spend this next week with them.

Having grown up in Indiana and Minnesota, it's a unique experience to be located at the spring break destination rather than going to it.  We are thankful for this opportunity.

Fish Count thus far:

4 catfish
1 Jack
1 Snook
1 Spotted Trout
1 Silver Trout

And our favorite sign from the past three weeks. Spotted in Eufaula, AL.

God bless and safe travels to all whom are traveling this spring!