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Our first month at Riverbend

Has been a busy one to say the least. But with the abundant sunshine and average temperature of 77 degrees, I’m not complaining. Happy hour on the patio is awesome.

and we’ve had some spectacular sunsets

Our first order of business was to get the coach washed and waxed. I can’t believe the last time we had it done was in Utah. The Mobile Wash company recommended did a fantastic job. It’s no surprise their trucks are here almost everyday.

Our first “activity” was when the food trucks came in on Friday the 13th. Debbie had a Fried Shrimp Platter, and I tried the Italian Philly Cheesesteak. Both were really good, and we’re looking forward to the trucks returning on January 10th.

Our next order of business was to have the coach serviced at North Trail RV. In addition to the regular engine, transmission, and brake service, we also had them replace the tires (they aren’t due until October but we’re here now), install new Sumo Springs, a Safe-T- Plus steering stabilizer, and Tyron Bands on the front tires ( safety measure in case of a blowout). The work was a little costly, but the improvements should make a huge difference in the ride and handling on the highway. And who knows, maybe (hopefully) it will help me when we cross the Mackinac Bridge next year.

While the coach was in the shop we stayed at one of the cottages here at Riverbend. It was nice, but there’s no place like home and we were happy when we got the coach back.

Our next community activity was the Christmas Dinner at the River Clubhouse. Everyone who attended brought a dish for the buffet table to go along with the Turkey, dressing, and mashed potatoes that was served. The food was really good (especially the deserts) and we had a great group at our table. Which there is something I have to mention about the people here at Riverbend, they’re all extremely nice and good out of their way to say hi, or wave when you pass by. Nothing like when we were in Michigan and the owners were all snobby.

Our special Christmas gift was to have Jenna and Emily fly down for a visit. The first night they were here we just relaxed on the patio and I grilled up some steaks for dinner, because we were starving very early the next morning on our excursion to Key West.

Key West is about a five and a half hour drive from us. So a a gift to everyone, I arranged travel on the Key West Express, a four hour ferry ride there and back.

The ferry leaves from Fort Myers Beach, which is about an hour away, at 8am. They start boarding at 7am, which meant the we had to leave here at 6am, which means we had to get up a zero dark god awful four thirty . Note, I am not, nor will I ever be, a morning person. But it was well worth it.

Our first stop when we got there was to have lunch at the Half Shell Raw Bar, where we all had a wide selection of seafood, and even tried the Conch Fritters, which were really good. I had the fish and chips and the fish was the freshest I’ve ever tasted.

We then jumped on the Trolly and made our way to the obligatory Key West photo op.

We then decided to forgo the trolly (uncomfortable seats) and Uber our way to Truman’s Little White House.

The tour was ok, but for $20 a person, it could have been better. However, it was fun to learn that because or a minor heart condition, Truman started each day with a shot of Wild Turkey.

Since the boat began loading a 5Pm, we then Ubered our way back to the dock with quick stops at Sloppy Joe’s (Ernest Hemingway’s favorite place) and Kermit’s , for an authentic Key Lime Pie, which we brought back with us and had with dinner aboard the ship on our way back. It was a short visit to Key West, but an awesome day all around.

After sleeping in the next morning, we all jumped back into the Jeep and drove over to Sanibel Island. On our way there we stopped for lunch at a small hole in the wall place called Tiki Subs. Even though the reviews were very good, we were a little concerned when we pulled up. All I can say now is never judge a book by it’s cover, the food was fantastic.

Arriving on the Island, Jenna and Emily had us booked on a dolphin watching trip aboard the Sanibel Thriller, a wicked fast, diesel powered twin hull catamaran.

We learned a lot about Sanibel and Captiva Islands and got to see a lot of dolphins!

And a few pelicans

After the dolphins, we then drove over to the J.N. “Ding” Darling Wildlife Refuge, and saw some more wildlife (at a much slower pace)

After the refuge, we stopped in at Gramma Dot’s for some more seafood, before heading back to Riverbend, and our sad goodbyes to the girls. We will miss you Jenna and Emily, and look forward to seeing you again in the summer.

Like I said, quite a busy month. We’re looking forward to taking a week to relax before we our next adventure when we check out the Everglades.

Until then, stay tuned

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