May 28 – Home

When heading home from Florida, our last day is always one of the most exhausting, facing the beltways around Washington DC, Baltimore and WIlmingtion and finally right through Philadlephia.  As morre rain was predicted again today, we were on the road just before 7:00 AM … and the forecast provde accurate!

We also were prepared for an increasing amount of traffic, including more 18-wheelers.

However, the traffic was relatively light until we reached our first slowdown just south of Lorton, VA

and reduced sppeds contonied until we reached the Woodrow WIlson Bridge over the Potomac River, immediately south of the District.  As we crossed the river into Maryland, Debbie spotted one of our country's most iconic sights sitting at the end of an Andrews Joint Base runway.

Throughout Maryland, were overhead signs reminding drivers of COIVD-19 messaging

The rains returned again.

Francis Scott Key Bridge

Even the Rest Areas, while open, were under restricitons

A candidate for the 2020 Darwin Awards, some FOOL scaled the sign posts and ventured out over I-95 to demonstrate his/her lack of artistic skills on the back of this sign.

Almost home!

Girard Point Bridge over the Schuylkill RIver

Philadelphia skyline shrouded in rain and fog

Twenty minutes later we arrived back home.  Amazingly, this was the fastest trip we've ever made from Ashland, VA to Shady Brook … just 5 hours and 13 minutes!

Unloanding the coach took a bit longer than usual as our neighbors came out to greet us … maintaining social distancing …  and we were thoroughly exhausted when we got the job done. 

The next day I spent the morning, trying to find the source of a minor drip we've had just behind the windshield during heavy rians, especially when on the road.  Unforutnately, never sure I pinpointed the leak's source but did overseal a number of suspected areas over and near the top of the windwhield.  

Then when trying to hand wash the lower part of the vehilcle I found a slide rail panel was loose.  Seems a couple of not-easily-accessible screws had backed out.  An hour later, I had it again secured.

Not sure when we'll hit the road again … I am always more anxious than Debbie.

 

 

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May 27 – Our Last Full Day on the Road Before Returning Home

We again hit the road early, in large part to try to stay ahead of some of the rains predicted for late morning and throghout the afternoon.  Still, once on the road we found ourselves driving through some foggy weather

and moderate rain, although thankfully it didn't last too long.

Then we hit the first of several areas of Road Work;

with the narrowed lanes always presenting a bit of "white knuckle" driving.

About 10 miles south of the Virginia border, we got our first glimpse of blue sky since prior to leaving Sarasota.

Once in

we again spotted some motorists having less than a pleasant day.

Then there was the flatbed which went roaring past us but clearly having some difficulty staying within his lane.

Other "highlights" on an otherwise less than exciting drive were a pink car,

overgrown shed,misplaced lighthouse,

flaatbed hauling railroad car axles and wheels,

and an attractive sound barrier draped with green vegetation.

On the way into our campgorund, we fueled up and filled our propane tank for the first time in well over a year.

Once settled in, we had a variety of housekeeping chores (washing the floors, cleaning the shower and bathroom, deforsting the freezer, etc;) as we'll be storing our motorhome for several months beginning tomorrow afternoon.

 

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May 26 – Jacksonville to Wade (Fayetteville)

With the weather forecast prediciting moderate to heavy rains from Florida to the Carolinas we again opted for an early (7:15 AM) departure from Jacksonville.  Just before crossing the Georgia state line we caught a view of the diversion of all passenger vehicles entering Florida to determine if they were coming from a COVID-19 "hot spot" which would require a 14-day self-quarantine.

Once crossing into

I don't know if you have noticed as you cross from one state to another that, with rare exceptions, notably Virginia, how each new governor spends precious taxpayer dollars to have his/her name on the highway "Welcome" signs?

we passed the first of several motorists having a bad day.

 

Meantime, the skies darkened and we drove through the first of several heavy downpours

and discovered one of our windshield wipers had a tear.  So, during our first of two stops for gas (we maake it a policy of trying to drive "on the top half of our tank") we needed to replace the defecive wiper.

As has been previously mentioned much of the southern portion of the I-95 corridor is a strip of pavement running between endless rows of trees. 

Over the past couple of years, however, the transportation departments in North and South Carolina and Georgia have begun clear-cutting between the northbound and southbound lanes

Yet, the chain saw crews have for some reasons known only to them left a few isolated trees

and even some isolated groups of trees.

Interstingly, other than at the Florida/Georgia state line, the only police we saw were in Georgia …  and not socially-distancing … while the traffic raced past, many well above the posted 70 MPH speed limit.

On the road, only a few vehicles seemed ot be of any interest

An antique motor home

Shortly after leaving Georgia we spotted a number of cars pulled over to the shoulder, so we moved to the left lane

and were disheartened to see a rollover (we were by the scene too quickly to even properly focus the camers)

upside down in a water-filled ditch.

Coming the other way were a number of ambulences and other first-responder vehicles.

We finally reached the North Carolina border

north of which there were many displays of stella doros in full bloom,

We actually reached our camground in Wade (just north of Fayetteville), NC nearly two hours before we'd planned .. thanks to very light traffic and less rain than had been forecast.


Tomorrow a shorter trip to Ashland, VA.

 

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May 18 – 25 – Our Last Week in Sarasota and Beginning to Head Home

While the governor has been fairly aggressive in "opening" Florida, our day-to-day routine hasn't changed much over the course of the past week.  We still walked every morning, one shopping trip for groceries, and wine (an "essential"),  and I was able to get in a final day of sailing before storing my boat on a friend's air conditione lanai for the summer.

After a winter and early spring of record drought in the area, we have begun to see threatening afternoon skies

and experience occasional heavy thunderstorms,

some accompanied by pea-size hail.

Aside form a place to sail, Lake Ibis has provided another attraction

Last evening, there was a Memorial Day themed golf cart parade through the campground.

Meanwhile, while stowing away our grill, chairs and other items we've kept outsdie since January and decoupling our sewer hose, the latter I've done literally several hundred times, I backed out too quickly and, in the words of our neighbor in the next site, "I didn't see it but heard it" … as I banged my head on part of our slide rail overhang

as I nearly knocked myself out, tumbling to the ground.  By the time he and Debbie got to me, my head and hand were covered in blood.  Our neighbors were great … got me an ice pack, paper towels, and even Tylenol.  Fortunately, proving the adage that head wounds bleed profusely proved accurate, the "L" shaped cut on my head was not major.

Today we began our trip home, leaving Sarasota aorund 7:15 AM to hopefuly get ahead of any holiday traffic and beat the predicted rains along I-75, I-10 and I-95 corridors we were taking to reach Jacksonville where we're spending this evening. 

Happily, we only ran into two relatively short downpours and the winds appear to have been less than forecast.  Under gray skies, there was little new of interest for Debbie to photograph other than a surprisingly large amount of discarded trash along I-75

and biker, typically banned form Interstates.

The politics of some drivers is occasionally on display.


Then there were the predictable breakdowns,

and unusual vehicles.

During the years we've been coming to Florida, we've seen lots of wildlife.  However, there are two native species we've not seen in the wild, the shy and elusive Florida Panthers and Black Bears.

Tomorrow will be a long day, with just shy of 400 miles to reach Wade, NC (just north of Fayetteville).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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May 10-17 – Lake Placid, FL – American’s Mural Capital

Earlier this week we decided to set a date for heading home … May 25th (Memorial Day).

Since our last update, we had one minor crisis when a water hose running between oour water pump and hot water heater burst.  I tried to fix the problem.

but didn't have the correct connection or clamp to eliminate a slow drip.  Fortunately we know several mobile RV repair men who work Sun N Fun and Charlie was able to accomplish what I couldn't.

Our daily routine has remained pretty much the same, although as Florida has begun to "open up", Debbie has been wreatling with wether to get a hair cut (after two months).

Picture taken on Debbie's May 13th Birthday

During one of my daily walks, I took the path behind Lake Ibis, where we sail

Aside from spooking a hawk and spotting a Limpkin

I noticed a clutch of tortoise eggs which had been laid in a hole in the middle of the trail.

and another few yards further, spotted "mom", still at work.

The sunsets continue to captivate us most evenings.

And, for those who have not spent May in Florida, it is the Love Bug mating season.

Love Bugs are a species of March Fly, typically found in parts of Central America and the southeastern United States, especially along the Gulf Coast.  It is also known as the honeymoon fly or double-headed bugDuring and after mating, matured pairs remain together, even in flight, for up to several days.

When sitting outside, these harmless insects will alight on you hair, aarms, legs, laptops … just about anywhere.  However, what is really annoying is when driving, it is impossible not to "murder" hundreds of them … sometimes making it difficult to see clearly through you windshield.  Then if you don't remove them from the front of you vehicle the jusices from their corpses can begin to eat through your finish.

Yesterday, took a drive to Lake Placid …

Florida not New York.  And, "NO", it was not the scene of the movie "Lake Placid" which was actaullsy shot in Maine (where there aren't even any alligatorss, let alone crocadiles).

Lake Placid, FL, nnamed by Reader's Digest as "Americaa's Most Interesting Town" in 2013, if know aat all is known for four things.

  •  The Placid Tower 

At 270 feet high, the tower, made up of roughly 90,000 blocks imported from a mine in Texas, was the tallest concrete-block structure in the world at the time of its opening. In the late 1960s, the tower’s name was changed to “ ” in order to lure visitors. They branded the tower as providing visitors a state of bliss when looking out from the top. Simultaneously, the tower was also known as “The Tower of Peace,” further adding to the tourist’s confusion. However, ticket sales declined and ultimately the tower was closed in 1982 when its owner refused to pay the IRS taxes on the property.

The tower reopened in 1986, but still faced the same attendance issues that plagued it from the onset.  A handful of owners, however, managed to keep the tower and accompanying restaurant open until the early 2000s.  A testament to its lack of popularity both statewide and locally, no one has been able to pinpoint when exactly the structure closed.  Today, the tower sits closed in an abandoned plaza just east of U.S. 27.

  • The Caladium Capital of the World

98% of the world's caladium bulbs come from Lake Placid.  There are 14 calladium farms, spanning 1,200 acres, and these plants have been grown in the area since the 1940s.

  • The Clown School and Museum

Before 1993, there were no official clowns in Lake Placid. Along came Keith Stokes, also known as "Toby" to his Shrine brothers. Toby enjoyed spending part of his retirement in the Lake Placid community, but he missed the special feeling he got from "clowning around".

He approached the local hosital, Florida Hospital – Heartland Medical Center and made arrangements with the hospital administration to entertain patients with his clowning.

His efforts were well received by patients and the hospital staff realized what a positive impact he made on the health care. Toby and the hospital quickly came to an agreement that he could use meeting rooms in the hospital to train more clowns.

There may be only one museum dedicated to American Clowns and you’ll find it in Lake Placid! At last count, more than 700 significant pieces of clown memorabilia can be found within the walls of Toby’s American Clown Museum and School.

On nearly every surface of every wall, there are oils, prints and photographs of clowns.  There are paintings by Red Skelton, a famous clown and artist.  Many original circus posters from famous organizations like the Ringling Brothers are also displayed here.  Many are signed or inscribed to Toby, the founder of the American Clown Museum and School.

Children or all ages are always fascinated by the miniature circus, featuring clowns, guests and all manor of circus scenes, clown costumes from Toby's collection and art spanning the century, a large collection of clown figurines and dolls and even the ceiling has clowns – as many of the members have had a caricatures painted on the ceiling tiles

  • The Town of Murals and Mural Capital of America

"Founded in 1992, the Lake Placid Mural Society had a fairly simple goal: to beautify the town by commissioning massive murals for its public buildings, focused on Floridian industries and activities including inland lake fishing, citrus farming, quilting, cattle driving, turpentine production, and regional flora and fauna.

Many of the murals have a thematic garbage bin nearby, so for instance, the clown mural—painted on another Lake Placid attraction, the American Clown Museum and School—has a jack-in-the-box-shaped trashcan. Most of the murals also have some sort of intentional fault in them to try to spot, making a game of what began as one artist’s actual mistake that then became a theme across all of the town’s murals."

Today the town boast not only 47 murals adorning the sides of builddings but more than a dozen artistically-painted trash containers, several portraits of native Florida birds and other painted items.  There is more information on the many murals which follow at http://www.tlcdunlop.com/murals_of_lp.html.

During our drive to Lake Placid we noticed the Amreican flags were at half-staff everywhere.

We learned that May 15th was National Peace Officers Memorial Day,

an observance in the United States that pays tribute to the local, state, and federal peace officers who have died, or who have been disabled, in the line of duty.

And before even reaching Lake Placid, we passed through Arcadia, best know for its rodeos, where we spotted a large rodeo-themed mural

and one on a mini-storage building.Of course, Debbie kept her eyes out for some of her favorite subjects … decaying building and runting structures.

It didn't take much time after arriving in downtown Lake Placid to stumble across the first of some 50-plus increidble building murals, many huge in size.  We managed to see and photograph all but two (we somehow missed #31, "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow"  and after a lenghty search discovered the "Florida Panther" mural, #36, had been removed after being partly destroyed during a power washing … although were able to photofraph the from pictures in the town's "The Murals" magazine we purcahsed for $4.00).

No.1 – Cracker Trail Cattle Drive  (175' wide by 30'high)

Due to its size and a semi being parked in front of part of the mural,

the following show it is sections.

No. 2 – Celebrate Lake Placid – Americans Most Interesting Town  (46' wide by 20' high)

No. 3 – Airboat  (28' wide by 12'8" high)

No. 4 – Dr. Melvil Dewey  (35' wide by 18'8" high)

No. 5 – Decades of Green Dragon Basketball  (31' wide by 10' high)

No. 6 – Honoring Early Physicians  (15' wide by 12' high)

N0. 7 – Praririe Dwellers  (30' wide by 8' high)

No. 9 – Caladium Fields  (60' wide by 30' high)

No. 9 – Lake Placid Drug Store  ((12' high by 7'8" wide)

No. 10 – The Lost Bear Club  (40' wide by 13'6" high)

No 11.  Turpentine Industry  (62' wide by 14' high)

No. 12 – Layers of Time – in two parts  (89' wide by 16' high)

No. 14 – The Old Post Office  (70' wide by 14'6" high)

No. 15 – Town of Murals – How it All Began  (20' wide by 13' high)

Bob and Harriet Porter founded the Lake Placid Mural Society

No.16 – The Scrub Jay's Worl(27' high and 13'6" high)

No. 17 – The Talk of the Town  (60' wide by 11' high)

No. 18 – "Captain" T. W. Wood  (38' wide by 8 ' high)

No. 19 – Tea at Southwinds  (60' wide by 30' high)

No. 20 – Lake Placid Country Fair  (108' wide by 18' high)

No. 21 – Eddie Mae Henderson – Sharing and Caring  (22' high by 13' high)

No. 22 – Jeannie Reninger – A Remarkable Woman  (50' wide by 10' high)

No. 23 – The Trail to Eagle Scout  (40' wide by 8' high)

No. 24 – Tropical State Bank Robbery [in 1931]  (48' wide by 8' high and partly hidden by a tree)

No. 25 – Richard Archbold & Archbold Boilogical Station – in two parts  (184' wide by 8' high)

No. 26 – Toby's First Clown Class  (60' wide by 15' high)

No. 27 – The Art of Clown School  (30' wide by 9' high)

No. 28 – Inspiring Minds is Our Gift  (cover then end of the Municipal Library)

No. 29 – Turkey Hunt – The Lost Opportunity  (42' wide by 7'8" high)

No. 30 – Annie Hill – Nurse and Mid-Wife  (40' wide by 10' high)

No. 31 – Florida Beautiful: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow  (Photo taken from "The Murals" magazine)

No. 32 – God Bless America  (21' wide by 9' high)

No. 33 – Sandhill Cranes – Dwan Patrol  (18'4" wide by 9' high)

No. 34 – Watching From the Past  (30' wide by 10' high)

No. 35 – Our Citrus Heritage  (130' wide by 15' high)

No. 26. – Rare Resdient Florida Panthe(taken from "The Murals" Magazine)

No. 37 – Train Depot  (38' wide by 10'4" high)

No. 38 – Jewels of Highland County  (34' wide by 13'6" high)

No. 39 – Post Card Mural  (34' wide by 13' high)

No. 40 – The Rose Man  (12' wide ny 8' high)

No. 41 – Bassin'  (45'6" wide by 13' high)

No. 42 – Istokpoga  (50' wide by 13' high)

No. 43 – Lake Istokpoga Village  (32' wide by 13' high)

No. 44 – Toby's Clown School  (7' wide by 13' high)

Public Outdoor Movie Screen Between urals No. 45 and Nno. 46

No. 45 – Stuck in Time  (27' wide by 13' high)

No. 46 – Snapshot in Time  (22' wde by 13' high)

No. 47 – Hometown News – Lake Placie Journal 1960  (27' wide by 11' high)

No. 48 – Dr. Charles Akes  (36' wide by 7'6" high)

No. 49 – Screne  (14' wide by8' high)

No. 50 – Jesus

 No. 51 – Unknown Subject – in three parts

No. 52 – Trinity Lutheran Church

There are Six small murals of birds native to Florida

We spotted 14 of the 17 attistically-decorated trash containgers     


Wandering through a park we spotted two (what appeared like) cameras disguised as bird houses

and a bronze schlpture of a Florida Black Bear and Cub

Two "Clowns" on pedestrain benches

"Mumbles" the Tramp Clown

"Daisy" The Red Hat Clown

Two brightly decorated Fire Hydrants,

A British Telephone Both,

A brightly-colored Croc

A "Firestone" Bike Rack,

A Free Lending LIbrary,

A unique Pallet sign outside the Snyder Center for the Arts,

Two Rotary Park Benches amidst a garden and framed by Murals No. 12 and No. 13,

and near the Lake Placie Train Depot Railraod Museum

As I was drafting the lengthy post, a thunderstorm rolled overhead.  After it passed, Debbie looked out the window and spotted …

 

 

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May 1-9 – A Easy Decision to Delay Heading Home

We have continued to monitor the weather back home.  Despite a three-day warm-up, the temperatures have fluctuated between the mid-30os to the mid-50os … with seemingly one cloudy and rainy day after another and even a dusting of snow.  In addiiton Governor Wolf has decreed that the shelter-in-place edict for the counties in southestern Pennsylvania will continue at least through the next couple of weeks and possibly into June.  When comparing those conditions to where we are situated a Sun N Fun in Sarasotawhere we wake up to temperatures in the mid-to-upper 60os, take our morning walk under near cloudless skies and watch the temps rise to the mid-70os to low 80os, often with comforting afternoon breezes.  So we have again delayed our departure date to at least May 18th … and as the time gets closer we may even re-evaluate even that timing. 

Meanwhile, we missed the pounding of nails during the reroofing of our home.

As we rarely leave the campground, other than for a grocery or very occasional other shopping run or rare drive (while remaining in our vehicle), we have been able to stay socially distanced from others not only within the campground but away from the general public in the Sarasota area.  Also significant, of the 3,000-plus people who wintered at Sun N Fun (more than 75% having now left for home) we've not heard of a single case of even one of those people testing positive for COVID-19.  Thus, we feel safer here than pretty much anywhere else.

Meantime, Doug, Scott and Nancy, who when the coronavirus began to spread to Florida were urging us to get home,  now are encouraging is stay put until the weather gets better and Bucks County begins to open up.

During one of our morning walks last week, we ran across the owner of the "hippie bus" (see March 19th – April 3rd Post)", Bill Byer, a surgical nurse who was self-quarraantining, even from his wife and three daughters, after just returning from a three week volunteer stint working in a hospital treating coronivirus patients in Quees, NY.  He echoed Governor Coumo's remarks that Personal Protective Eequipment for medical personnel remains in very short supply.

Debbie is back to a daily water aerobics program while I try to sail at least 2-3 times a week.

Both the Sun N Fun Photo Club and my Langhorne Rotary Club of Shady Brook have started holding regular Zoom meetings.

Many evenings, I wander down to Lake Ibis at the end of the street where there have been more glorious sunsets and even some local wildlife.

Young boy fishing at twilight

Green Heron

Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Near Full Moon

On a recent trip off the grounds, we stopped at JoAnn Fabrics (just opened that day) so Debbie could replenish her supply of yarn.  Social distancing, masks and controling the number of people in the store were evident.

Debbie was number ten in line to enter the store

We also continued a drive through parts of Sarasota and Bradenton we'd not often visited, again, staying within the confiens of our car.

Interesting garage door murals on a large mansion overlooking the Gulf of Mexico

Mother cow with young in an area about to be developed for an up-scale (starting at $600,000) deveopment

There are some 70 new RVs in the park for the Mother's Day weekend, fortunately all of them located in areas of the park away from us.  The young daughter of one of those new visitors proved she was handy and creative with some chalk.

Next weekend, when we'll still be here, a similar number are expected … and then over 270 RVs are due in for the Memorial Day weekend … although we'll likely be gone by then.

But who knows!

 

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April 19 – 30 – Shelter-in-Place Continues

Our routine has changed very little.  More and more of the decreasing number of people here at Sun N Fun head north to the far less inviting climate of Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvana, Illinois,

Georgia (just turned 89 and seems a good 20-plus years younger) is headng home this coming Saturday.  She also makes some of the best toll house cookies we've ever eaten!

Indiana

Friends Traci and Daniel.  They also let me store my sailboat in the shed on their site.

and even New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan,

What little excitement was provided by the parks' staff who came around last Friday in a parade of four golf carts with complimentary bags of red potatoes, cabbaage and other vegetablessteamed hot dogs

and, best of all, one with a tap from which they were dispensing free beer!In this day and age, it doesn't get much better than that!

After five years, our wind mobile … which we put out at every campground we stay at … partially blew away during a heavy wind.  We were thus thrilled when Traci and Daniel presented us with a new one they had ordered especially for us.

Soft blending of colors when gently blowing

Other than a weekly grocery trip, clad with a mask and gloves, we've only made one trip off the camppground property since March, a trip to a local watch outlet so Debbie could replace a  battery in her favorite (Red Cross) watch.  On the side of the building was an

We have continued to have a number of spectacular sunsets

and even a colorful sunrise yesterday morning.

While our original departure date of May 4th is almost upon us, after watching the weather in Langhorne, PA and staying tunned into the latest COVID-19 restrictions, we're still complating how long we'll remain in Sarasota.  Another key factor when we do pick a depearture date will be the weather … which has provuded a series of violent weather, including some tornadoes … along the I-95 corridor which will be our route of travel.

Another challenge will the prospect of very long days on the road as many campgrounds are closed or, as is the case in Virginia, only taking reservations if staying 14-days or longer. 

I suspect we'll make the final decision as to when to leave on fairly short notice … pack one day and head north the next.

 

 

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April 10 – 18 – Rain … at Last!

Our routine hasn't changed much over the past week, although we have tried to reach out to many friends … all of whom have been equally restricted in their travels and even daily activities.  In parallel, we've heard from other friends from Sun N Fun who have returned to their homes from Illinois to as far east as Nova Scotia.  All seem to be experiencing lousy and cold weather and wished they were still in Sarasota. 

Speaking with a neighbor back in Langhorne just yesterday, we learned there was frost on the ground when they woke and Cheryl texted some photos from Cape Cod where there was measurable snow on the ground!  While we sometimes get a bit chilly when we wake to AM temperatures dipping into the low 60os, we get little sympathy from any of our firends or from our family back in PA, NJ and NH!

While we haven't seen the rattllesnake which was reported in the area, we have been visited with some regularity by three cats

,

Red-belied Woodpeckers in the tree over our patio,

a Tree Frog, this one on the outsider of one of our motorhome windows … although I discovered another which was joining me in the shower one evening,a common garden Kkatydid in a neighbor's daisies,

and the ubiquitious gray squirrels.

Another evening, I walked down to the end of our street to catch the sunset over Lake Ibis.  Beneath the dock on which I was standing a Yellow-bellied Trutle (I often see many sticking their heads up above the water when sailing) seemingly kept watch on my activities just above him for a good 10 minutes.

The sunset was [again] gorgeous.

In the fading light as I headed back to our motorhome, some movement on the surface of the lake caught my attention.

 

I had heard there were two alligators in the lake this year but not seen either of them until now … this one probably between 6' – 7'.

Meantime, both a neighbor and Debbie brought me jigsaw puzzles.  The 300-pice one went together surprisingly fast

while the 500-piece puzzle took me nearly all-day, from around 10:00 AM

until around 8:30 PM

At least it killed the better part of the day.

During our daily [between 2-4 mile] walks, we've noticed a large number of substitutes for the Sun N Fun pools which were closed almost a month ago.   With rare exception, these are being used by audlts!

Yesterday was my weekly grocery store run (we decided only one of us would make these trips) … complete with mask and gloves.  Perhaps we're being overly cautious, but beleive any risk we can minimize makes it worthwhile. 

After any number of heavy rain storms passing just north or just south of us over the past six to eight weeks, we had a badly needed thunderstorm with a near torrential downpour pass through this afternoon. 

This young girl on rollerr blades was caught in the downpour

It has taken a lot of the recent 90%-plus humidity down to more tolerable levels, so with the sun back out, we're enjoying a glass of wine while sitting aside this evening.

 

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April 4-9 – Another Week of “Sheltering in Place” in Sarasota

As another week of COVID-19 "sheltering in place" unfolded, Debbie began to feel her normal again.  Meantime, our daily routine remained roughly the same … breakfast and the newspaper, walking with the now far smaller group (trying to maintain six-feet, or here in Florida,

distance from one another),

Gopher Tortoise living under one of the park model homes we pass

then back to our motorhome for a second cup of coffee while I dive into the daily newspaper puzzlesand Debbie pulls out her knitting.

Two to three days a week I wander down to the lake to sail sometimes alone

When I never lose a race

and at others racing against one or two other boats … when winning is far more challenging.

After lunch, we pretty much "hang loose" for a couple of hours, although Debbie has an mid-afternoon get together with Traci, the young gal across the street, while I generally work on editing photos.

Meanwhile, in an effort to find something additional to keep me occupied (or perhaps challenge my patience), Debbie went all out and spent one whole dollar to buy jig saw puzzle for me.  Once started, I found it difficult to ignore it.However, eventually …As, under the governor's recent edict, we're supposed to stay at home … for us that boils down to staying put at Sun N Fun (other than for occasional grocery or drug store runs), even heading out alone to do some photography in the area has taken a hit.

Fortunately, two nights ago, I was able to capture the recent "pink" (Paschal) full moon.

The Old Farmer's Almanac says the name "Pink Moon" was given by some Native American tribes after a wildflower known as herb moss pink phlox, or "wild ground" phlox, that grew during this time.

Yesterday, our Rotary Club (back home), whose weekly meetings have been curtailed, held its first "virtual" meeting on Zoom.  It seemed to work surprisingly well and a lot was accomplished … particularly as it related to raising monies to help veterans who are suffering economically from layoffs and their families and finding a way to continue our scholarship program for a graduating senior at the local (Neshaminy) high school.

Today's weekly three-mile round trip to grocery store meant my suiting up, as we've decided only one of us will make these trips.Frankly, I was amazed that well over half of the shoppers, and clearly more men than women, were actually wearing masks … and many gloves (I actually wore a smaller pair than shown).

One wonders what America's "new normal" will be when the current pandemic has run its course.  It is, however, clear that medicine and science, not politics, have and will set the country's social and economic agenda.

We continue to be asked when we plan to head home by friends still here, those who have left and others back in Langhorne.  Our planned departure is still around May 1s but as that date gets closer, we will reexamine our plans based on the status of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania and state sheltering guidelines both there and here in Florida … where the weather has been predictably warm and with hardly any rain, allowing us to spend a lot of our time outdoors.

 

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March 19 – April 3 – While Less to Do … Weather Here Beats it Back Home!

With the growing concerns over and diagnosed cases of COVID-19, all formal activities here at Sun N Fun remain curtailed indefinitely.  In addition, Debbie has been under the weather with a UTI and a temperature for a week … although now full recovered and it was definitely  NOT coronavirus!

As a result, she's stayed home  in our RV, occasionally spending some time on our patio during the afternoons when the temperatures have been warm … and with surprisingly low humidity of late.

I have still walked with the morning group (alone on the weekends) and been able to sail a couple of times a week with my new DragonFlite-95 radio-controlled sailboat (so glad I bought it).

There's one other sailor with whom I've been able to race several times, making it even more enjoyable.  But when sailing alone, I continue to WIN every race!

During one of our walks, I noticed what can only be described as a "Hippie" bus straight out of the late 1960s!

While taking some pictures, I met the owner who gave me a tour of its interior in which he, his wife and three daughters live full time (Wow!).

Given the recommendations to "stay put", other than grocery, pharmacy and Target or Walmart (for TP as everyone else is out) we've opted to stay put on the Sun N Fun grounds.  This has limited what I hoped would be some spring opportunities for photography.  I have, however, been able to do a little shooting around the campground's Lake Ibis.

(Debbie actually took this one with her phone's camera)

As a result of the photography club's classes this winter, I have also begun to delve into photo-editing, of both new and some of my more than 35,000 archived photos.  I have also set-up an Instagram account "lifes_images_by_dick" to share some of my better work.

Just last evening Florida's Governor's "shelter in place" declaration became operational (why he delayed so long is a mystery … but clearly political in nature).

While we are free to go home, our present plans are to stay through the month of April as originally scheduled.  Going home now would make no sense as the weather is lousier and colder than here in Sarasota (limiting the time we'd be able to spend outside) and as Pennsylvania also has restrictions on even local travel, we'd not get to see our kids or grandchildren.  And, we believe we're actually able to do more while staying healthier here than back in Langhorne.

We can only hope this pandemic runs its course quickly and with far fewer fatalities than the medical experts suggest could occur.

Today also marked our 1,500th  day of RVing since our first trip in 2010.

 

 

 

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