Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Two weeks with great friends in Florida

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 Day one
We arrived at Little Manatee River SP this afternoon in one piece.  I hate to brag, but I have to say it…..78 degrees!  YES!
Once we got into our lot we went out to eat and shopping. Totally exhausted we went to our camper and into our PJs.

Day two
It started out with pouring rain, but ended with a pretty sunset.  The temps were only in the sixties, which still beats 30 or less degrees.
The guys went shopping and Judy and I took a long walk and then just chilled at the campsite.  It was great.

Day three
We went to see the Manatees at Manatee Viewing Center.  We were there once before a couple of years back.  I love the manatees and can not see enough of them.
Once we were done, we decided it is time to think about dinner and went on a mission to find Costco.  It was not easy (left the GPS in the RV).  Costco had a good deal on a TomTom  and we purchased it.  I will never drive around any town 5x  again to find a Costco or any other place!  This Costco has a liquor store and needless to say, with those VERY reasonable prices, we stocked up.
Back home at the campground we started cooking dinner.  I really don’t want to write how delicious it was, because I don’t want anyone to get their keyboard wet from drooling.

Day four
We were ‘chillaxing’ today and basting in the sun.  It was nice.  Took a little walk to the lake and then back to the campsite for a few cocktails.  The guys were gone. Peter went to a car wash and and Paul went to play golf.
Dinner was grilled sausage and Pierogies. 

Day five
We drove to Venice today and walked around a little.  We also took a ride to Casperson Beach.  Casperson Beach is know for a place were you would find shark teeth.  People have these While there, we were looking for Mel’s Diner, just to find out that Denny’s took it over.  It was OK, but we were pretty upset that Mel’s Diner doesn’t exist anymore.  Their food was excellent…and Denny’s doesn’t even come close to it.  After lunch we too a ride to Myakka River State Park.  Peter and I were there in 2008 and loved it.  Check out the pictures here.  Back at the park we had a yummy ham dinner and just relaxed. 

Day six
Didn’t do much today.  We took a ride to the next state park we are going to be Thursday.  Looking good, but the one we are at right now is by far the best one.  We then went to CVS for prescriptions, Walmart for ‘stuff’ and home for cocktails and a Ham Stroganov dinner.  It is sooo good and a favorite of mine:

Left over ham, cut in strips
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1 pint of sour cream
1 small can of mushrooms
1 package of fresh mushrooms – I used portabella
1 medium onion
In butter or olive oil sauté onions and fresh mushrooms, then add ham and heat.  Then add the can of undiluted cream of mushroom soup and can of un-drained mushrooms.  Once that is all heated, add the sour cream.  Heat, don’t let boil and serve over wide band egg noodles.

Day seven
Ahhh…relaxing in the sun!  It’s a good life.  We took advantage of the last warm day, because it’s supposed to be a little colder on today and Thursday.  After that…..back to normal…Yay!!!
We will be moving to Hillsborough River on Thursday.  I will miss Little Manatee River.  It is very quiet and relaxing here.  Lot’s of privacy on your own campsite.  I highly recommend this park if one just wants to relax.
I forget to mention, that with the newer digital TV system we approximately get about 30 channels here.  Our TV in this RV here is as old as the RV (4+ years) and it needed the converter box.  However, if you have a newer TV, the box is not necessary and the picture with both systems is crystal clear.  Love it!

High: 55
Sunny...cooler. Highs in the mid 50s. North winds 10 to 15 mph. Wind chill readings 30 to 35.Tonight
Low: 28
Clear...colder. Lows in the upper 20s. North winds 5 to 10 mph.
High: 55
Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 50s. North winds around 5 mph. Lowest wind chill readings 18 to 23 in the morning.
Thursday Night
Low: 35
Partly cloudy. Lows in the mid 30s. North winds 5 to 10 mph.
High: 65
Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 60s. Northeast winds 5 to 10 mph.
Friday Night
Low: 42
Mostly clear. Lows in the lower 40s.
Saturday and Saturday Night
Low: 48 High: 70
Partly cloudy. Highs around 70. Lows in the upper 40s.
High: 72
Partly sunny. A 20 percent chance of showers in the afternoon. Highs in the lower 70s.

Day eight
Stayed home to wait for the repair guy for Paul’s broken Jack and he never came. Oh well, no big deal.  Hopefully he’ll be here tomorrow, because we are supposed to go on to the next State Park.
It was somewhat chilly and we just relaxed, took a little walk and had a delicious haddock dinner.

Day nine
Today was moving day.   We left Little Manatee River State Park to Hillsborough River State Park.  I can’t wait to explore this park, because it looks like here is a lot to see.   Once we were settled, we went out to eat at a Golden Coral about 9 miles away from the park.  The food was good and it was very reasonable.  Back home at the camper we had an after dinner cordial.  Nice day, nice ending.

Day ten
Finally!  It warmed up somewhat today and we explored the campground a little.  It really is very pretty here and I can’t wait to see some more.  Next time I will take my telephoto lens with me.  There are huge turtles in the water and other creatures including alligators.  The river rapids are very pretty, as you can see in the pictures and if you look closely, you can see the one turtle on the rock and another one swimming.

Day eleven
70 degrees today….YAY!!!!  The day started out slow for me today…was in my PJ’s until 11:30 am.   At 2PM we took a tour to Fort Foster.  It was pretty educational and a good way spend an afternoon.  Dinner over Paul and Judy’s today.  We’ll have filets.  Yum!

Day twelve
We walked the dogs, went a little shopping, just relaxed and ended the evening with a campfire.  It was my turn to cook dinner and here is what I made with linguini and shrimps.  Of course I added garlic bread and a salad.  It was so good and I will share it with everyone:

Alfredo Sauce
Things You'll Need:
1 Pint Heavy Cream
8 oz Shredded (not the powder stuff!) Parmesan Cheese
8 oz Shredded Romano
16 TBS. Butter (not margarine) = 2 sticks
6-8 Cloves Garlic, Crushed, Pressed or Finely Chopped
1 Shallott
Large Saucepan
Whisk or Silicon scraper/stirrer
SERVES 8-10 AVERAGE (depending on final usage)

Melt the Butter slowly in the pan, add the Garlic and Onion then bring the temperature up to just above medium low heat, allowing it to fry a bit. Stop the frying and bring the temperature back down to medium low before the Butter browns.
Once you have the Garlic, Onion and Butter ready, leave it on medium low and get ready to stand there awhile ;) . Add the Heavy Cream and the Parmesan and Romano Cheese.
Stir it regularly, the trick is simple as NOT leave it. It will scorch. When you do not see any more solids and it is think, it is ready, add to any of your favorite pasta' s or to a pizza shell to enjoy!
Enjoy the fact that you have convinced two cheeses that don't want to melt in almost direct flame to melt into Heavy Cream, that likes to scorch easily, then blend that with Butter, a fat that wants to separate from everything, and all rather easily!

Day thirteen
What can I say?  It was raining cats and dogs until about 4pm.  Peter had to dig a trench  so that we could take out Kia.  The water was standing right by our door.  Needless to say that we didn’t do anything, but watch the tube the whole day.

Day fourteen
Gheez…..finally!  What a pretty day.  It was warm, sunny and downright gorgeous.  We went to Sam’s Club in the morning to get the food for the night.  Dinner over Paul and Judy’s.
Then the boys went to get a new TV for Paul and Judy’s bedroom.  The old one was fried last night.  Judy and I stayed at the campground and walked about three miles all together.  It was a good walk, mostly on trails.  I finally got to see the suspension bridge in the park.  It wasn’t what I expected at all, but it was still nice anyway.  We saw a few turtle and three armadillos.  We also passed the pool.  It is unusual that state parks have a swimming pool and this park must have the biggest one I have seen in a long time.  Too bad it is closed for the winter season.
for dinner we had salmon cakes, potato salad and asparagus.  Delicious!

Last day with our friends…
Today was Judy and Paul’s last day here and we took a ride to go the the largest RV dealer in the area.  WOW!  The inventory….UNBELIEVABLE!  Sigh….drool….
After we were done drooling, we went back to the park, took the dogs for a walk and then off to the Outback Restaurant.  As always….it was delicious.  The Blooming Onion, the steak, the shrimps. loaded baked potato….YUM!  Best part ALL free – courtesy of Paul and Judy!  Boy I am going to miss them….especially all the free meals……  LOL

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