Saturday, January 21, 2012

A visit to Sanibel Island, FL

Friday, 1/20/12 - Today we have made plans to go with our friends, Juanita and Larry who we met at an RV park in Fort Lauderdale and became "forever" friends with. They use to live in the Fort Myers are and actually managed a resort out on Sanibel Island. We couldn't pick two more perfect tour guides than them.

Of course my new favorite Juanita and Larry story is: they had a brand new trailer when we met them in Fort Lauderdale (11/11) and while waiting for it to be serviced at a dealer in Fort Meyers, a short time latter - they traded it in and now own a beautiful, Newmar Kountry Star, class A, 35 foot gas engine Larry said we "inspired" them on our night out to dinner at the Irish Pub in Fort Lauderdale. Anyway, they are staying at an RV park about 10 miles from us in Puenta Gorda and when we met them yesterday....we were blown away. Their RV is absolutely beautiful and I know they are going to love it and will be traveling for a very long time in it. Suggestion you guys, when you take it in for service....don't wait around!

Anyway, after the RV tour we headed out in their car to Sanibel Island, FL, which is a small island located just off Fort Meyers. Now Larry and Juanita use to live in the Fort Meyers area and even lived on Sanibel Island for approximately 4 years managing a resort. These were the perfect people to be our tour guides. A side note: the first day we were here and watching the local news, they were interviewing someone that said that Sanibel Island had been picked by Frommer as one of the top 10 places to MUST SEE. I immediately looked it up and told Will how close we were to it and then they called and invited us out there. Talk about our luck holding.

We headed out through Fort Meyers driving by the Thomas Edison & Henry Ford houses (located side by side) that are open to the public. We then crossed the causeway (a $6 toll bridge) and entered this very beautiful and very rich place. Actually, there are places to pull off on the causeway where you can picnic and look for seashells. WELL, I did NOT know that Sanibel Island is the seashell capital of the world. Holy Moly, seashell everywhere....can I tell you how nuts and obsessed I became. Of course I was totally unprepared for this so Larry had to dump his new gold balls out so I could have the box to collect seashells. What fun Juanita and I had.

We then continued onto the island looking at the beautiful mansions plus some of the old houses along the way. During the "high season" (which is now) at the four way stops they have policemen directing traffic to prevent traffic jams. There of course is only one way in and out and just several main roads the length of the Island. It was about 1:30 pm so they took us to a favorite place, Grandma Dot's for lunch which is by the yacht club. We had about a 20 minute wait so of course we walked around looking at the yachts that were for sale and trying to decide which one we wanted. It wasn't easy. Lunch was wonderful we all had a fish called grouper and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

After lunch we headed to the South end to observe the lighthouse on the Island and of course look for seashells. Now the parking costs $2 per hour (that's after paying $6 to get on the island) as you can see they are definitely trying to keep the "riff raft" out....I guess that's US. So Will and Larry just drove around while we went down to the beach and looked for more seashells and peer up at the lighthouse. As I have now become obsessed with shells they want to take us to the Shell Museum ( that is located on Captiva Road. They were thinking it was free or a small charge but when we got there we found the entrance fee was $9 EACH so of course we only used the restroom and looked in the gift shop (I bought a pencil for 50 cents.) And I got a free brochure that gives the names of lots of common shells.

We then headed over to their old resort (about 12 units) that they managed and Will, Juanita and I got out to look around at the place, which is located right on the Gulf of Mexico. As you guessed....MORE shells so Juanita and I were back at it while Will went to find Larry & sit in the car. Then Juanita met an old client/resident on the beach and they were able to visit and catch up. By this time it was getting close to sunset and we wanted to be at the North end of the beach in a little town, Captiva (the other end of the Island) to set up our chairs on the beach and watch the sunset at 6 pm. We got there about 5:30 after a stop at a old, local cemetery for as Juanita said, "to pay our respects to our dear old great granddad."

There were quite a few people there to see the sunset with chairs, bottles of wine and we were informed by a couple there we had just missed a group of porpoises that had just gone by. Finally, the cameras were clicking (including ME) and the sun was dropping into the ocean, unfortunately we had a little cloud cover but it just makes the sky more beautiful. We sat there for a short time and then headed back as our fabulous day was coming to a close. We did make a stop at a local market, Baileys so I could purchase a few postcards. Unfortunately, all they had were a few and no selection but I did manage to purchase a shell net for the NEXT time we go hunting for seashells. Oh yes, we are taking a picnic lunch and going back with Juanita and Larry another time before we leave here. It was a wonderful day and can't wait to do it again. Much love to all our family and friends.

Saturday, 1/21/12 - This morning the park had a breakfast for $4 in the clubhouse at 8:30 am to 10. The menu was spectacular - scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage, bacon (yum, yum) pancakes, fruit cocktail, orange juice, coffee and tea. What a feast they put on and we met several nice couples at the breakfast. Actually, right at 8:30 this morning some gentleman was going up and down the road of the RV park yelling, hear ye, hear ye, breakfast is served..... Boy and did the people come pouring out of their places......time to eat!

After breakfast it was time to rinse off my shells, which I must add was quite a procedure and took several hours to do but they look beautiful. They are now in an old shoe box under the bed and I'll wait until I get home to do something with them. They will always remind me of that wonderful day finding them.

After lunch, my two favorite past times - washing clothes and laying at the pool - the laundry and pool are side by side. Another wonderful day on this incredible journey.

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