Sunday, 25 December 2011


Sunday, 18 December 2011

What a difference a week makes

We arrived home on a cold clear sunny morning, since then we’ve had rain, hail, sleet, snow and icy nights!

While it’s great to be home, this time last week we were enjoying surf curling onto white sand beaches, blue skies, sunshine and 80F. 

Wish we could’ve brought that weather with us.

Ah well, time for a hot chocolate!

Have fun, we are!

Sanibel Island

Our last stop in Florida before we flew home was Sanibel Island.  The forecast was a bit iffy, but we lucked out and apart from two late afternoon showers the weather was fabulous.

Our hotel, Sunset Beach, one of the Inns of Sanibel, is lovely right on the beach, with a great pool, and lovely rooms.

A Sanibel Ordinance requires hotels to remove all beach furniture by 6.00 p.m each evening because of nesting turtles.

Lots of shells on the beaches.
 Horseshoe crab shell.

 The Ospreys still have a nest by the lighthouse.

Not to mention more fabulous sunsets. 

Have fun, we are!

Dry Tortugas National Park

We first visited the Dry Tortugas National Park many years ago and wondered if our return visit would live up to our expectations, it absolutely surpassed them.

Accessible only by boat or seaplane, the 7 islands that make up the Dry Tortugas National Park are 70 miles west of Key West in the Gulf of Mexico in a protected marine area. 
This was our view of Garden Key and Fort Jefferson as we arrived on the National Park Ferry.

Fort Jefferson was used as a Union prison during the Civil War.   Dr Mudd, the physician who treated John Wilkes Booth after he assassinated President Lincoln was imprisoned here.

The only campground (in the trees) in the park is on Garden Key, it’s a very primitive campground and you really do pack it in and pack it out, including all your water.

We strolled the 6/10 of a mile round the moat and saw some lovely fish on the way round.

This is how the walls of the Fort looked until they were restored, unfortunately funding has run out so it is not known when restoration of the final wall will be completed.

The powder magazine.

The lighthouse on one of the bastions, there is also a path around the top of the fort.
Bush Key.

Have fun, we are!

Key West

Key West, as always, was simply fabulous, our hotel on Simonton Street, Best Western Plus, Hibiscus Motel was even nicer than the last time we stayed there.   Nearby and only 90 miles from Cuba is the Southernmost Point on the continental USA.
Fort Zachary State Park isn’t far away; we didn’t visit the Fort this time just spent a lazy day on the beach, admiring a huge yacht moored just off shore.

There are some fabulous boats in the harbour.

Near the harbour.

Along Duval Street.

And last, but not least, we saw some fabulous sunsets from Mallory Square.

Have fun, we are!

Sun, surf & railroads

Bahia Honda State Park about half way to Key West is absolutely gorgeous, we always spend a couple of hours enjoying the sun, sand and surf whenever we pass this way.

The remains of part of the Flagler Overseas Railroad are visible from one beach.  Henry Flagler and his wife arrived in Key West on the railroad on 22 January 1912, 3 days of celebrations followed.

Henry Flagler died at his home in May 1913, without him running the railroad bankruptcy was declared in 1932.   During a powerful hurricane on Labour Day in 1935, hundreds of people in Islamorada lost their lives and 40 miles of track were destroyed.  
The right of way was sold to the State of Florida for $640,000, and was modified into the present Overseas Highway which was opened in 1938. As well as a Florida Scenic Highway it is also classified as an All American Road.

Have fun, we are!

Monday, 12 December 2011

The best Key Lime milkshakes in the world!

I love milkshakes, I’ve had good, bad and truly dreadful, but at Robert Is Here Fruit Stand on the road between Florida City and Flamingo in Everglades National Park I think they make absolutely the best key lime milkshakes ever.

Lots of lovely fresh fruit and vegetables.

At the rear they have a small petting zoo and a splash pool area for kids.

There is also a rainbow eucalyptus tree a type of tree we’ve never seen before from a distance it looks no different than a normal eucalyptus tree.

But close up you can see all the different colours on the trunk.

The colours are caused as the tree grows and sheds layers of bark,  has more information about the process.

Have fun, we are!

Key Largo, Florida

Key Largo was our first destination during our trip to Florida, we’ve stayed there several times before in fact twice in the same hotel.   Sadly in the 6 or however many years it is since we last stayed there things have changed for the worse.  The bad Trip Advisor reviews we read, unfortunately after we’d made the reservation, sadly all appear to be correct.
That aside, we visited some great places while we were there, one of which was John Pennekamp State Park, there is a nice swimming area.

The day we visited was very windy so glass bottom boat trips were cancelled although you could still rent a kayak.   Years ago on a trip with our niece we rented kayaks, niece and DB had a double one leaving me to paddle my own.  To start with, much to their amusement, I could only make it go round in circles, eventually I did get the hang of it.  These people were doing so much better that I did.

We visited the aquarium where I fell in love with the cherub fish, they look so happy and cute they make you smile.

Have fun, we are!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Catching up – Florida

Our journey to Fort Myers was a bit convoluted involving connecting through Denver and Houston, unfortunately snow in Denver meant our bags didn’t make the connection before we left the gate for de-icing.   I had visions of us spending our time in Florida wearing trousers and fleece jackets thankfully they arrived on the next flight!   
We took I75 then 29 to Everglades City, the town hall was decorated for Christmas, Santa is hiding behind a palm tree.

Everglades City is a place we’ve wanted to visit ever since we read Totch: A Life in the Everglades, about Totch Brown’s life, as among many other things, an alligator hunter. 

“Pit Pan” the small boat used by Totch Brown.

Ted Smallwood’s Store, which is on the National Registry of Historic Places, was established in 1906 at Chokoloskee Island which is a Calusa Indian Shell Mound.   The store served this remote area buying hides, furs, and farm produce also providing goods in return, it remained open and active until 1982.

The store counters have an inverted slant this enabled women with hooped skirts to stand next to the counter without their skirts billowing out behind and exposing their lower leg.   Although hooped skirts went out of fashion before 1900 Ted Smallwood drew on his childhood memories when building the store.

Until 1955 the only way to get to the store was by boat, something you don’t think about as you whizz down the road in air conditioned comfort. 

It’s an interesting area there is also a very nice RV park in Chokoloskee that we hope to return to.

Have fun, we are!

Saturday, 10 December 2011

On our way home

We are, again, a little behind with the blog, BT and the Cougar are back in storage and we are on our way home to the UK via the Florida Keys.

Hopefully, we'll get updated before Christmas, just having too much fun in the sun I guess.


We have a new follower, welcome Bubba Ray, we hope you enjoy following us on our holidays exploring the USA and places at home in the UK.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Bisbee, Arizona

One of our favourite places is Bisbee.   In between enjoying coffee, or in my case hot chocolate, at the Bisbee Coffee Company, we spent a few hours ambling around town.

Bisbee is built on hills

some of the houses are reached by very steep stairs.

There are some quirky things to see around town.

Not sure if this is a home or a store.

How about this for a pretty mural?

Have fun, we are!

Monday, 28 November 2011

A Ghost Town & Rattlesnakes

The remains of Courtland an old mining and once thriving town, are on the Ghost Town Trail near Tombstone, among its buildings the town had a hotel and car dealership, the mines closed and the town died.   Today there are just a few remains on a dusty road.

The remains of the old jail.

Not sure what this building used to be.

Main Street, Courtland

And on the other side of the street, the remains of a once thriving???

Rattlesnake Crafts along Gleeson Road heading towards Tombstone

is a really interesting place, full of old and unusual things, and if there is a price ticket on it it’s for sale.

Lots of interesting things made out of rattlesnake and other snake skins.

Have fun, we are!

Pink Snakes, gold and a cemetery

Gold was discovered in the historic Pearce townsite in 1895, by 1920 the population was 1,500 and by 2000 the population was only 15, we didn’t find any gold though, although there is a really nice pottery.

and an old general store that is open each year on Pearce Heritage Days.

We stopped at Old Pearce Cemetery where the sign told us that the remains of Abraham Lincoln’s bodyguard, General Sherman’s adjutant, Union and Confederate Soldiers as well as colourful characters from Pearce’s heyday are buried.        

The holes in the rock underneath the sign were created when miners from the Commonwealth Mine used it to test their drill bits.

Lovely views of the Dragoon Mountains and the Chiricahua Mountains can be seen from the cemetery.

As we arrived at the cemetery a sign warned us to watch for snakes, so as I was wearing open toed sandals, I certainly did.

That still didn’t stop me nearly going into orbit when I walked along the path and a bright pink snake whizzed past my toes and disappeared among the gravestones.

Later, with big grins on their faces and after they’d all finished wondering just how I managed to miss a bright pink snake, (so did I!) I was told it was a racer snake, (no wonder it went so fast) and that it was perfectly harmless.   Oh well!

Have fun, we are!