Hey y’all! I decided I wanted to write a reflection of another year we’ve lived as we look to the future for a new year to come. Looking back, I’ve come to realize that every new year comes with its own ups and downs, struggles and triumphs, highs and lows. This year, 2021, has been no exception.
The biggest struggle of this year was social distancing. While it really didn’t faze my husband, daughter, or myself, other members of my family did somewhat struggle with it. Many of the decisions I had to make this year weren’t met with open minds, but nonetheless, I made my decisions and accepted that others would not agree. Life moves on.
My husband and I lost friends this year. A dear friend of ours crossed over into another world very unexpectedly and not a single day goes by when he doesn’t cross our minds lovingly. We miss him, but we must also remember that he is no longer suffering from the sickness that took over his body. I want to include that his health had nothing to do with Covid, but instead other underlying issues which persisted to worsen. His husband, of course, suffered the most from the loss. Unfortunately, as the year drew on, we also lost him as our friend. I can’t say what happened exactly to cause the change in our friendship because I don’t know. We were there for him as much as we could be. The only thing I can estimate is a misunderstanding that I couldn’t change because of other things I was dealing with.
The good things that occurred this year include becoming a published author in February with my book “Y’all Didn’t Hear it From Me: A Journal of Life Stories” which is available in both paperback and eBook through Amazon.com, buying a motorhome and exploring Florida as it was the only state on the East coast I had yet to venture, planning and accomplishing a birth week scavenger hunt for my husband’s 51st birthday (which he absolutely enjoyed), receiving Bindi Irwin’s book signed by Bindi herself for my own birthday as well as a signed postcard personalized with a birthday greeting from Robert Irwin, and completing two different photoshoots with my new Nikon camera. Now, these are just to name a few because honestly, I can’t recall every little thing.
Since we’ve been on the road exploring Florida, I wanted to also share some of the unique sites we’ve seen.
I would say we’re finishing off the year on a positive note as we make our way back into Georgia to set in what we’re calling ‘dry dock’ so we can work on a few things, improve, and set up for our next adventure. We have many plans for 2022 including our own YouTube channel, but more details to come later, after the new year starts. Until then, we wish y’all a safe and Happy New Year 2022!
Hey y’all! Since we’ve spent the last two months traveling down into Florida and now back up through Florida, I wanted to take the time to tell you about our adventures in Fort Myers. It’s a very popular town, to say the least. We only spent about a week there, but it wasn’t without adventure.
We traveled into Fort Myers during the first week of December and found a place to park in the back of a Pilot truck stop. The day we pulled in, we decided to check into any RV parks that might have been in the area, and luckily, we found a very nice one barely a mile from the truck stop called Lazy J’s Mobile Home Park. Normally I refrain from using names when writing, but in this case, the names are necessary. Lazy J’s Mobile Home Park is run by a guy named Troy and his wife Sharon; two very hospitable people who additionally helped us out, not only did they give us a small discount for staying there, but he pointedly parked us a little closer to his place just so we could get the best Wi-Fi signal possible so we could watch the College Football SEC game between our Georgia Bulldogs and Alabama’s Crimson Tide. Unfortunately, our Bulldogs lost, but life goes on.
The day of the game, we pulled into the park just before noon, set up, plugged in, and preparing for game day, we drank a couple Budweiser’s. Afterwards, hubby and I decided to take a small walk to Family Dollar, which wasn’t far; just one street over. People were having outdoor barbeques and enjoying the hot, sunny weather. However, the following morning, the road we had walked to get to Family Dollar was marked off with yellow crime scene tape and a sheriff’s car was blocking the way. An interesting wake up call to say the least. The road was blocked off for most of the day. Why? In the middle of the night, around 2:30am, there was a shooting… on that road. To be more specific, the shooting took place at the house where just the day before we saw they were having a family cookout. We didn’t stop or anything, just commented between ourselves how they were having a cookout. Everything about the atmosphere on that street seemed so peaceful. Well, something went wrong in the middle of the night. Hubby was awoken by the flashing lights of cop cars; our daughter was awoken in the middle of the night by the sound of shots being fired. I slept through the entirety of it. In talking with the owner of the park, Troy, we learned that it’s a very rare occurrence in that area. The last time, he said, was about four years ago.
We pulled into the park on Saturday, for the SEC game, and were scheduled to stay until Monday, however, I was enjoying the serene scenery and the residents, we paid and stayed an extra day to further enjoy the area. We would take a walk around the park in the mornings after having coffee, throughout the afternoon, and again at night after the sun went down and the temperatures cooled. Everyone was decorating their homes with Christmas lights and inflatable Christmas figures. Our first night there, as we were heading to bed, I noticed some major Christmas lighting through our back bedroom window. Looking out was a magnificent sight. There was a house literally on the edge of the water, and their holiday decorations were over the top according to my standards. What made the scene so magnificent was how it reflected over the water.
The owner’s place was nicely done as well, but his had a musical accompaniment. It was hard getting the right shot where everything was lit at once. As we went to pay for an extra day at the office, we compliment Sharon on their Christmas lights display and found out he isn’t even finished with them!
We met some very nice people during our stay there. Everyone was so friendly, wishing us a good morning during our morning walks, and sharing their life stories with us if they caught us walking at night. One guy, an older gentleman, who is now retired from the sheriff’s department following an incident in which he got hurt on the job, shared with us that him and his wife plan to travel after he has some surgery that’s required being how he got hurt. He didn’t go into details, but he found us so interesting given how we’re traveling.
During our time in Fort Myers, we also explored some Mexican cuisine. First, we ordered from a small, local taco truck, called Super Taco. We ordered some simple tacos and a super burrito. Both were so tasty we went back the next afternoon in hopes of eating there again, but they weren’t open. Since they’re food wasn’t available, we walked a little further up the street to what we thought was a Mexican restaurant, but it wasn’t a restaurant, it was a Mexican food market. Inside this food market, in the back was a takeout counter like you find in the Walmart Deli section, but this was straight Mexican cuisine. The food was absolutely fantastic!!! My husband knows more Spanish language than I do, so he ordered for us and our daughter who stayed back at the motorhome with our cats and watched a movie. I hate to say it, but I felt so out of place, I stuck to my husband like I was glued to him. Additionally, I wasn’t big fan of Mexican food, but after eating from that food market, I have a changed palette! For what we ordered, we received about the same amount as when you order from a Chinese restaurant… more than one can eat in a single sitting. We ate that for lunch, dinner, snack, and the next day my husband finished it. I would love to go back for more, but we don’t have the time to travel back down to Fort Myers. My favorite part was their tortillas. They’re nothing like the packs of flour tortillas you buy in your local grocery store, or even the flour tortillas that come with your meal at a Mexican restaurant. These are homemade, pressed singly, and taste way better. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to eat at a Mexican restaurant ever again, because the Mexican food market figuratively blew my mind, and changed it. I love authentic Mexican food!!! Actually, while we were walking one night after the sun went down in the park, we were walking by a house that you could literally smell their homemade tortillas. It smelled so good, I considered knocking on the door to ask for dinner. LOL. Just kidding. I would never do that, but the next day, during our morning walk, the small Hispanic lady who lives there was smiling and very friendly, wishing us a good morning and asking us how we were doing. We smiled back, and told her we were doing good, and joked with her that we almost stopped for dinner the night before. She must have thought it was cute because she smiled even more with us. Needless to say, I can’t wait to try out other authentic ethnic cuisines!
Visiting and staying in Fort Myers was an experience I would gladly do again. The food was divine, the Christmas decorations were festive, and the locals were welcoming.
Good afternoon y’all! As we have continued further into our traveling endeavors, we’ve certainly experienced many things. For instance, the town of Punta Gorda, Florida. The weather was nice and hot throughout the days and cooling at night. For the most part, Punta Gorda is a quiet town, but there really isn’t much to do. We watched airplanes of various sizes fly in and out, but that’s about it.
Through one Saturday there was apparently an ATV or motorbike race of some sort going on not far from where we were parked that made the area sound like Talladega in April. As the day drew on and the sun set, the noise grew louder to the point that when we went to bed, you would have thought they were racing the roads outside our camper. The noise wasn’t bad, but our cats were acting crazier than they normally do. They were acting out so badly, they were being absolutely annoying. The youngest one exclusively. I don’t know what her issue was. Between using the kitty box, running rampant throughout the camper, and bathing herself rather loudly, it was like she was thinking, ‘How can I annoy the humans to the absolute max?’ Being the youngest, she still wears a bell on her collar because it’s easier to keep tabs on her at any given time. Unfortunately, she loves sleeping on my pillow at night, so when she gets an itch she must scratch, and it’s like an alarm going off sporadically throughout the remainder of the night.
Parking in the back lot, dirt lot of a Pilot truck stop, we met a homeless musician living out of his SUV, waiting for his next gig. He seemed like a decent guy; he simply experienced a rough turn of events when a previous gig fell through which caused him to lose his place when he couldn’t pay his rent.
While parked, we got to watch a few truck drivers practice their parking. The main driver seemed to have an African or possibly Jamaican dialect. He was the one giving instruction, so for several hours, in the basking heat of the afternoon, we watched each of them take their turns pulling up and backing into a course of traffic cones set up by the main guy giving all the instructions.
Later into that day, we watched another guy, driving a white SUV, turn off the main road into the dirt lot, only to do a single doughnut burnout which of course stirred up a massive cloud of dirt, and then drive off. What his purpose was for doing that, we don’t know, but I will say we were not impressed. Sure, a doughnut well done, buy why? As soon as he did this, we jumped to close our camper windows, or the dirt cloud would have completely permeated the entire camper.
After the sun went down for the night, we were relaxing, watching some television when we heard what sounded like a vehicle dragging something heavy down the main road. Then we literally heard that heavy something detach itself from said vehicle. Afterwards, within 30 minutes of hearing the obvious scrapping thunk, we heard at least three other vehicles hit that heavy something. Not good. We didn’t like the sound of it as it sounded dangerous, so hubby and I went to check it out. Turns out the driver lost their bumper. Walking in the dark with my phone in hand for the flashlight, we found a twisted, mangled heap of a bumper that could have very easily caused serious damage to any vehicle unable to avoid it. I moved this mangled bumper into a ditch off the road so others wouldn’t accidently hit it. I don’t even want to imagine the damage it would have caused otherwise. While we don’t know what kind of vehicle dropped the bumper, we’re estimating it wasn’t in good condition to begin with.
During our last couple days in Punta Gorda, we met a couple of people performing a search and rescue for a lost cellphone. What happened was the lady who lost her cellphone had accidently left it on the roof of her car while she was driving. She was making a turn off one road onto another, unfortunately causing the cellphone to slide off into the middle of the opposing lane. More unfortunate is she had the type of cellphone which has a compartment on the back where she kept her credit cards, bank card, and her driver’s license. These items were later recovered by a passerby walking her dog and discovered the cards laying in the grass. With the help of Facebook, she was able to return them to their owner. The cellphone on the other hand wasn’t recovered; not until much later. We were all estimating that another passerby found the cellphone, tossed the cards aside and went about their own way. Thankfully, this was not the case. It was the next day, as we were leaving out, stopping in at the Walmart located just across the street from the Pilot truck stop, the guy we had met and tried to help in finding the lost cellphone, recognized our camper and stopped to give us the update. Thankfully, the cellphone was also recovered after unfortunately being run over and therefore cracked and broken by another vehicle, which is why the cards were found strewn about as they were in the grass and turned in at the local Wawa. Though the phone was now broken, we were glad to hear it was recovered and returned as the owner was more upset, not about the loss of her phone, but about the photos she had in her phone. Luckily, she should be able to take her broken cellphone to her service provider and the representative should be able to recover all her photos. A happier ending than what could have been.
So, that’s Punta Gorda, Florida. I’m sure there is way more to the town than we witnessed and experienced, but when funds are limited, you make your own of it. We’re still thankful for all that we were able to experience. Helping others is what we enjoy doing and we did that as much as we could.
Until next time, thank you y’all for reading and thank you even more for following my blog. In the meantime, we’re moving on, on down the road, and into the next town of our choice… Fort Myers, Florida!