Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary Visit

Well…as advertised…the humans headed off early yesterday morning to see what they could see. Talk about early…they set their darned alarm clocks for 0500 freaking o’clock…how’s a bear supposed to get his beauty rest when they get up that early. Ima blaming it on the damn birds…ya gotta be at the bird site at sunrise in order to get any decent pictures because by 0900 the amount of bird activity drops way, way off. 

At least they were up and out of the rig quick…so I was able to catch a couple more hours of zzzs while they took their darned fool butts off to wander ‘round the swamp. Here’s their report…

We arrived at the parking lot at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary about 40 miles south of here a bit after 0700 with sunrise scheduled for about 0735…we had stopped by Loves and picked up a couple of cups of coffee instead of making it ourselves before we left. Once we got to the lot…there were 3…count ‘em 3…other cars there and at least one of ‘em belonged to the lady in the gift shop. We ate a croissant that we had saved for breakfast and about 0715 we headed into the shop for a much needed bathroom break and to pay our $14 each entrance fee. Once that was done we looked out side and decided it was light enough so we headed out.

Now the basic layout of the sanctuary…which is owned and operated by the Audubon Society…is a big loop heading mostly northward from the visitor center with a lookout over the grassland at the far end. The right (west) side which is the advertised path…mostly goes through grassy/tree filled areas and has mostly song birds and raptors/hawks in it along with a few grassland birds.Based on our previous visits…wildlife sightings are much less common over on that side. The eastern side of the loop is in the swamp and goes past a couple of areas named Upper and Lower Lettuce Lake…they’re fairly large (a couple of acres probably) in size and the water is low enough by this time of year that the wader birds are close to the lake as most of the non-lake areas of the swamp have pretty much dried up by now.

Before I get into the photos…let’s talk about the effect of Hurricane Irma on the sanctuary last September/October (can’t remember which it was). The dry side of the boardwalk stays pretty dry most of the year but in the rainy season (June to December) there are a few streams and rivulets over on that side. In the dry season (December to May…that side is pretty dry. The swamp side is fairly deep in the rainy season…the water probably averages 4 feet deep which is way too deep for any of the wading birds and the water level is maybe 1-2 feet below the boardwalk. In the dry season…the water is 18 inches or less deep mostly and the level is 3-4 feet below the boardwalk.

The problem is that Irma came ashore just south of Naples and pretty much went right over the sanctuary…since it’s all connected to the Everglades ecosystem I’m guessing that the boardwalk was under 2 or 3 feet of water at the height of the flooding. It is designed to survive that but as you’ll see in the photos below there was some damage due mostly to things falling onto the boardwalk.

It’s pretty much back to normal now…a few areas remain closed and the boardwalk is pretty beat upbeat they’ll eventually get the rest of it fixed I guess. Anyways…on to the photos. I’ll turn it back over to the bear for his commentary.

This is a double processing of the same shot…the first is done just with Lightroom and the second with Luminar…and I can’t decide which I like better. The brightness in the first is closer to what he remembered but the colors are closer in the second one. I guess I should have upped the exposure in the second one just a tad and it would be spot on.

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And yes…you’re right…that is a bird at the top of the tree in the center of the shot…Connie took the above with her lens but Neil was able to get a little closer shot with his 750mm lens…it’s a Red Shouldered Hawk.

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Another shot Connie took of the sunrise.

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Here’s a sequence of a Great Egret that Connie took…she had her shutter speed a bit low but was afraid to push her ISO any more…her old camera started to get noise at ISO 2000 but her new one (Neil’s old D7100). She could have gone up to 4000 easily but I kinda like the bit of motion blur the shutter speed gave the shots.

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Wood Stork.

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General scenery and plant life…Connie likes these and refuses to carry a long enough lens (too heavy) for really close up wildlife…although she did pretty good as the Great Egret, Wood Stork, and Cowbird above were all her shots.

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She got some really cool reflection shots as well…the water was dead still and with the early morning light it was really beautiful.

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Neil’s fave reflection shot of the day…she took it but he processed it in Luminar to bring out the colors and reflections.

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Great Egret…Neil got this one as he had the Bird Lens© and tripod installed.

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Juvenile (immature) Yellow Crowned Night Heron…we originally thought this was an American Bittern but on further review and looking at Peterson’s we changed to the correct species.

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What you talking’ ‘bout Willis?

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More Wood Storks.

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In flight…this species is one of the most striking birds you’ll see. Long white wings with black trailing edges and neck extended. Up close however…it’s the ugliest thing one can imagine…a face only a mother could love and I’m not even sure ‘bout that.

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Juvenile Yellow Crowned again…Neil is pretty sure all of the shots in this post are of the same individual.

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The only Great Blue Heron we saw today…usually these are like lice and are everywhere but strangely absent today. We did spot a Tricolored Heron which is very similar but were not able to get a photo of it.

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Male Anhinga in breeding plumage.

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And the juvenile Yellow Crowned Night Heron after he caught breakfast.

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Some of the hurricane damage. This is the sign that used to mark one of the named very old Cypress trees in the sanctuary.

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And here’s Guy Bradley today.

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It’s about 6 feet in diameter and was pushed right over by the wind.

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The Anhingas again…same pair as the shot above with the male staying very close to his lady friend to keep any rivals from seducing her away…male to the left.

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And another shot of the same pair…I put this one because we never realized until today how bright green Anhinga eyes are…we’ve seen literally thousands of them and never noticed.

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More Hurricane Irma damage…this short offshoot of the boardwalk is going to be left permanently closed to show the effects of the storm.

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Adult Black Crowned Night Heron.

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Another tree that came down during Irma…although this one fell cross the boardwalk. The staff cut a section out and rebuilt the boardwalk late last year.

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Another Great Egret.

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Kingfisher butt…sorry about the lousy shot but it’s the best Neil could do. They’re hellishly hard to get a shot of as they rarely sit still more than 5 seconds or so. Add in their small size and getting a closeup is really, really hard.  This shot was taken at maximum zoom on his bird lens and then cropped to about 1/7 of it’s original size.

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Barred Owl. We heard this individual all morning and finally spotted it on the way out of the boardwalk about 1000. There was a hawk of some sort harassing it…probably a territorial thing…but we never were able to get a shot.

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Cowbird launch.

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Couple of Little Blue Heron.

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Great Egret on the hunt…Neil was never able to get a shot of it when it struck at a fish.

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Another Black Crowned Night Heron.

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And this is the adult Yellow Crowned Night Heron…what the juvenile above will grow into eventually. Compare this with the shot above and you’ll figure out why the Yellow Crowned and Black Crowned names came about.

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And finally…this is the stork sculpture located outside the visitor center…they even decorated for Saint Paddy’s Day.

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Ok, on to interesting things found on the net.

Seems suspicious to me.


More truth.


How you get off the bus in Canuckistan.


I’m glad somebody’s thinking of the teachers.


Drawbacks of being 100 years old.



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Dang…This is Gettin’ Old

Yeah…I know I’ve already said it a couple of times…but dang it there just still ain’t much going on. No worries though…tomorrow is Friday and we’re headed down to the Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary. It’s late enough in the dry season that the water will be lower and the water birds will be more abundant close to the boardwalk.

So…I’ll hopefully have some more photos of various things tomorrow and will do another post then. However…sinceI dun already started this one before I ‘membered that we were going out tomorrow I’ll just keep at it.

We’re continuing to work on our final few reservations and such that we need for the upcoming travel season…Neil’s having trouble getting hold of the place we’re planning on staying in CT in September. We’ve also got a symphony concert up in Sarasota this Sunday and will be meeting our friend Robert for dinner afterwards. 

Our list of pre-underway checks is up to over 20 items…but most of them are ticky-tack and will be easy to bang out. He’s included all of the “order this stuff before you leave so you’ll have enough for the summer” things as well as maintenance, checking fluids and the like so that when we hit the road we’ll not have to worry about any of those…in fact he just thought of and added 3…no make that 4…more things while I was writing this very paragraph.

Connie’s off to an Ladies of Elks lunch thing this morning and we’ll likely skip the tacos at the lodge tonight as we’re most likely going to head down and have the fish dinner tomorrow night. Neil took out a steak form K&J’s that we’ll cook either tonight or Saturday. We’ve mostly been buying our meat at Costco for the past couple of years but some friends down here turned us on to K&J’s and we headed up…saved a bunch of money over what we normally would spend for the same amount of meat at Costco and so far the pork tenderloin was excellent last night. They are located about 35 miles from here so you need to save enough to pay for the gas…but last week we got our normal 1 package of pork tenderloins, 6 of the largest chicken breasts we’ve ever seen and 8 steaks…along with a bunch of fresh produce…for 86 bucks…our normal Costco bill for that much meat would have been 125-135 so we’re clearly ahead of the game on cost. The steaks aren’t quite as thick as Costco’s although I’m sure they would cut us some thicker ones if we asked…but they’re ribeyes for $5.99 a pound and that’s quite a bargain.

Just a couple of photos for ya today…although the actual shots are from his eagle visit a week or so ago he processed them in a new-to-him processing application. He’s still using Lightroom to manage his photo library but kinda likes the processing features in his new application Luminar 2018 a little better. Luminar doesn’t do any photo library management yet…that’s coming in an update later this year…so he’ll try that out when it’s available as he really doesn’t like paying Adobe a monthly 10 bucks subscription fee to use Lightroom…he would much rather just buy his software outright because the subscription stuff quits working if you end the subscription.

First up is a shot of M15…although on further review as they say he’s really not as satisfied with this shot as he could be…the eye just isn’t quite as tack sharp focus as it should be. He’s still learning the ins and outs of his new camera though…and he had it on Group Focus for this shot instead of Single Point Focus and the camera focused on the needles in front of him…Neil should have changed to Single Point instead of Group and put it on his head…and he should have used a slightly higher ISO or lower shutter speed so he could get a smaller aperture and hence a bit more depth of field…I’ll make sure he works on this tomorrow at Corkscrew.

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Here’s another shot of the blown over by Irma tree…only this one I’ve included both the originally Lightroom only edited version as well as the Luminar only edited version…the Luminar version has a little more pop and brightening up the shadowed portion on the lower right was a lot easier/better in Luminar.

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Ok…on to interesting things found on the net.

Think you know how politicians will treat you…this is most definitely the way to help you do that.




Why one should always remember to wear underwear.


Pro tip…how to tell your twins apart.


Bit harsh for a sympathy card…doncha think?


And finally…instant karma.



Posted in RV, Travel | 2 Comments

The Eaglets are Growing Up

The two eaglets down at the local nesting site are 68 and 69 days old today…which means they’re right at the beginning of the two week period during which they should fledge the nest…which means they take their first flight. Since they’re now big enough to hop around the nest…Neil got up at the ungodly hour of 0500 this morning so that he could be there just about sunrise to get some photos.

He arrived and got set up a couple of minutes before 0700…and had just missed M15…the male half of the mated pair…fly off towards the south in search of breakfast…shoulda got there 5 minutes before and he could have gotten some shots of that. He did observe Harriet…the female adult…perched on an upper branch and she stayed there until without moving until he left about 0930. The babies…E10 and E11 based on hatching order…but then they’re really not babies any more as they’re almost as large as the adults…were hopping around the nest, up to what’s called the veranda and also to another branch over the nest and almost continuously stretching and testing their wings…from the way they almost lifted off on the downbeats they’re getting pretty close to fledging.

About 0820 or so M15 returned with a single small fish which was immediately claimed by E10 as it’s a little larger…from their size with only a single day in between hatching E10 looks to be female and E10 male as it’s smaller. He then had a conversation with Harriet for a couple ofd minutes and flew off for more breakfast…heading west. He returned after Neil came home with some sort of mammal road kill and fed E11.

Once he got bored and came home he made a couple of chicken sandwiches out of leftovers from Sunday and then Connie headed off to choir…she’ll pick him up later for dinner and Bingo at the Elks.

On to the photos.

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie…that’s amore.

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And here’s the amore part…a couple of likely mated wood storks that flew by.

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One of the eaglets on the nest.

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Then one of the storks came back and landed on a nearby tree…stayed a couple of minutes and departed. Neil got a nice sequence of it’s somewhat ungainly takeoff roll…definitely STOL (short take off and landing) capable but not pretty…and again, a bird with a face that only a mother could love.

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More eaglets.

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And mom…although Neil walked around the nesting tree about 90 degrees clockwise and took this one from the street side instead of the church parking lot where he was for the rest.

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This is a tree just inside the posted No Trespassing area where the nest is…it was a casualty of the Hurricane Irma back in the fall.

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The head of the local branch of the Hell’s Angels.

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M15 right after he dropped the fish off that E10 claimed…Neil didn’t see him coming so didn’t get any cool flight shots of him today.

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A family portrait of the eagles…Harriet at upper left and M15 to the right…with E11 off to the far left and E10 is just barely visible to the left of the main trunk…he’s head down and butt up at this point eating the fish.

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One of the horses in the posted area with the nest.

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Nothing much else going on here…we’re down to our last 2 months here at Seminole and our planning and reservations for the upcoming travel season are pretty much done. We’ve got a list of pre-underway tasks going and will be checking them off as we do them…maintenance and preparation for departure mostly.

Interesting things found on the net.

Commentary on the current “ban guns” debate. Funny how progressives have a different way of reading the Constitution depending on which part they’re reading. If it’s the 2nd amendment…they want to parse it and figure out a way to enact “sensible gun control” despite numerous affirmations by the Supremes that the amendment distinctly grants an individual right to own. Progressives ignore that and continue to try and nibble around the edges. However…when it comes to voting rights…which by Constitution are limited to citizens…when states pass laws to require proof of citizenship in order to register to vote and proof of identity when voting…they get all up in arms and demand that no laws can be passed that infringe on this right. Funny…we have to have an ID to buy booze or drive but not to vote…I’m even OK with requiring presentation of an ID to buy a firearm…but not in favor of registering all of them with the government…which pretty much makes presenting an ID to buy an exercise in futility.

IWantToBanGunsShe’s the Queen…she can move in any direction.


So that’s why they died out.


Pro tip for cooking kale.


Cannibalism at it’s finest.


Don’t speed in Michigan…they have some serious potholes.


God Bless the USMC…when there’s a crisis that needs solving the President wants to know two things…where are the carriers and where are the closest Marines. 


Ya’ call that a pothole?


Evil at it’s finest.


And finally…more truth.



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And Then More Life Happened…

Well…I wish I could say that really cool stuff happened in the last 18 days…but then I would be fibbin’…so I won’t say that. Instead I’ll just admit that nuttin’ really interesting happened and bore you with the details of the mostly minor stuff that we been doing.

Mostly…it’s just been day to day living…choir practice, Bingo, bike rides, cooling dinner and normal life stuff.

We did get to spend last Sunday evening at the emergency room at Gulf Coast Medical Center. Connie started feeling bad last Thursday afternoon and was pretty sure it was another diverticulitis attack…her last full one was back in 2003 or so. She’s had a couple of kinda sorta it was coming on over the years since but has usually been able to control it with more fiber and forcing fluids. She was feeling worse on Friday but decided to try and make it until Monday morning then call her GI doctor for an appointment and evaluation. That worked pretty well until Sunday when she decided to have Neil take her in as it was just hurting too bad by evening.

Long story short…it was actually a pretty decent ER visit by time standards…we arrived at 1815 and were on the way home shortly after 2100 including evaluation, a CT scan to verify the diagnosis, and getting some prescriptions to get filled.

Long story longer…the PA she saw actually gave her two antibiotics…one was Flagyl which is well known to mess up your stomach. The second was Cipro which is contraindicated for retina surgery patients…that was listed in her record with Lee Health but prescribed anyway…we did not get the Cipro filled. Second was the Tramidol they gave her for pain…it’s contraindicated with Cipro…but then we didn’t fill the Cipro so that was still OK. Next morning…she called her GI doctor and they told her to cease and desist taking Cipro and take the Augmentin they were prescribing instead as the second antibiotic.

She’s on the mend…the diverticulitis is getting better and the nausea medication is keeping her from tossing her cookies…and she’s quit taking the Tramidol since it messes with her head and the pain is better. She’s of the opinion that the cure is almost worse than the disease…she’s not in pain any more but feeling sick to her stomach all the time sucks she says.

Wednesday we drove over to West Palm Beach to get her dependent DoD ID renewed…it expires next month. It’s a little Naval Support Center where we went and they actually had more security than the Pentagon back in then days when Neil worked in the 5 sided puzzle palace. It’s only good until she turns 65 in 2019 as is Neil’s ID…so we’ll both need renewals in 2019 once we become Medicare and Tricare for Life eligible.

We got another overdue bill for her cataract surgery last March…it’s a paperwork drill and we’ve now talked to Bascom Palmer 4 times trying to get it resolved. The problem is that even though we’re Tricare for insurance and Bascom Palmer is a Tricare in-network provider…the surgery center in Naples was newly opened when she had her surgery. Tricare had already paid for the vitrectomy she got in October of 2016 over in Miami…and rightly collected the Tricare co-pay in March 2017 when she had the cataract surgery…but then Tricare rejected the claim. There were two problems…first was that the Naples surgery facility had no federal facility number assigned yet and second once they did the facility has to be activated with Tricare. We’ve ben round this with Bascom Palmer billing folks 3 times before today including a 3 way phone conversation with Connie, Bascom, and Tricare…and explained to Bascom that they need to fix the problem to get paid. We’re making progress…they now have a facility number but it’s still not activated. So Neil called the Patient Services folks instead and spoke to them…supposedly Giovanni will be chasing this down and getting it fixed and the claim resubmitted. We won’t know unless/until he calls us back and says it’s fixed or until we get the next overdue bill notice next month.

In other news…well, there really isn’t much other news. We cancelled a lot of planned activities this week due to Connie’s not feeling well…in fact we cancelled pretty much everything but the trip over to West Palm to get her ID and visit her mom and dad’s graves…but then we had an appointment for that and she wasn’t driving so feeling miserable in the car is no worse than feeling miserable at home.

The eaglets E10 and E11 are still growing as you can see in the screen capture below…one of the adults is on the right side and the babies…although they’re not babies much at this point just about 58 days after hatching…are in the center and left. They should be fledging (taking their first flight) in another 14-30 days.

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Neil’s been following a couple of ongoing discussions on his favorite RV forum at RV-Dreams…the first one is this ‘expert’ who claims that he’s going to buy his RV solar panels directly from China and thus get around the ‘outrageous’ markup that the suppliers here in the US charge and that with this 400 watts of solar and ‘massive’ (according to him) battery capacity of 400 amp hours will enable him to live completely off grid without a generator in the southwest where he can get a campground for the entire winter for a cost of $550…total. He’s been told that that’s not enough solar or battery capacity…and that parking for $550 a year might be possible but then you have to get water and dump tanks somehow…but his mind’s made up and he doesn’t want to be confused by the facts. The second one is this guy that says his inverter manual tells him to turn it off when he’s not using it to ‘increase it’s lifespan’. Again…he’s been told that turning electronic equipment on and off is far worse than just leaving it on…and that whatever loads are running off of the inverter usually won’t work at all without the inverter on because of how RVs are typically wired…but again he doesn’t want to be confused by the facts.

Interesting things found on the net.

This is what happens on your “Welcome to Heaven” tour.


Proof positive that technology…while it may be complicated…ain’t necessarily smart.


Scottish words of wisdom.


What happens at your IKEA job interview.


Supposedly…these are actual tenant complaints to the council in the UK.


I’m confused…seriously confused.


Math nerd humor.


And finally…the most ridiculous politically correct (or politically incorrect or perhaps even stupid depending on your point of view) apology ever goes to New York University (NYU) as described on this web page.  No picture…but for those who don’t follow the link the cafeteria there served watermelon flavored water and collard greens for lunch one day during Black History Month. One of their snowflake students complained to NYU administration that this was “racially insensitive” and “stereotypical”. NYU has publicly apologized and lambasted Aramark (their food service provider) as being inexcusably insensitive. Aramark in turn has fired all employees involved…including the head of food service…because of their “longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.” Seems to me that some people are just looking for things to be offended over.

Two comments on that web page illustrate the absurdity of this argument. The article itself refers to deferring to black students to determine what is valid to serve during Black History Month. The first comment says that it’s insensitive to focus on traditional black culture food selections and simultaneously says it’s insensitive not to focus on them…and the poster is confused. The second one asks if this means that it would be insensitive to serve bratwurst and sauerkraut during Oktoberfest or Potato Soup on Saint Patricks Day.

Inmates running the asylum I tell ya…way, way, way too damn much political correctness. Even the commenters on the article that admit to being black/brown/African American/race descriptive term of your choice think this is stupid.


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And Then Life Happened…

Apparently I’ve been derelict in my blogging duties…but there’s a reason Ima tellin’ ya.

It’s that whole nuttin goin’ on thang I say…just nuttin goin’ on atall.

Either that or I need to start this post with “Pardon me internet for I have sinned…it’s been 2.5 weeks since my last post.”

The real problem is that there just isn’t much goin’ on while we’re parked for the winter here in warm (well, now it is) Fort Myers. It ain’t like we got all sorts of Fun Stuff© to keep ourselves busy with…and it ain’t like we’re traveling every few days so there’s no put away, hitching, moving, unhitching, and putting things back out to keep ourselves busy…and you can only say we’re just ambling on through the winter so many times.

Our friends Bill and Linda Napier did spend a week down here after the Tampa RV Show…they were over at Cypress Trails Resort across the river…so we had dinner with them and fixed trailers just about every day. Neil made burgers, halibut, and ham/chicken gumbo on the days he cooked and Linda did steaks one night and pork tenderloin another night…there musta been another one but I forgot to write it down…we went out for sushi one night and Bill/Neil went over to the Nauti Parrot one evening while Linda/Connie were eating hot dogs at the Elks Quarter Auction. Linda also brought over home made brownies and apple crisp for our dinners. 

Beyond that…we fixed Bill’s fan, got some parts shipped into us for them, fixed our hydraulic brake reservoir leak, and fixed our black tank level sensor…well the last one he did the day before they arrived so it doesn’t count. We also significantly increased our ice cream usage as we were feeding 4 instead of just the normal 2 of us.

Beyond eatin’/fixin’/visitin’…let’s see what other interesting stuff we’ve been up to.

  • Dumped holding tanks
  • Regenerated water softener
  • Bingo at the lodge and park
  • Taco night at the lodge
  • Grocery shopping
  • Laundry
  • Nails done
  • Skipped the symphony concert this past weekend in Sarasota…there was crummy music on the program and it wasn’t worth an afternoon and 150 mile round trip…so we donated the tickets back to the orchestra to re-sell and we’ll get a couple bucks off our taxes
  • Continued gathering tax paperwork
  • Replaced the control board in our broken living room ventilation fan…this partially fixed it’s issue as the fan now runs. The raise/lower motor still doesn’t work but the AirXcel folks are sending us a new motor and gear assembly for it at no charge. Hopefully that will solve the problem.
  • Continued working on planning for the upcoming travel season.

Yeah…as you can see it’s just been a thrill a minute ‘round these parts.

Tomorrow we’ve got a busier day planned…Neil has an oil change appointment for Li’l Red in the morning and Connie has choir practice after lunch…it starts and ends early this week. Then instead of bingo at the Elks Lodge we’re heading over to the St. Therese Mardi Gras dinner and dance…yeah, I know it ain’t Mardi Gras until next week but that’s when they scheduled it. 

Anyways…on the travel season planning front as I reported last time Neil had figured out how to recover from his “can’t get 537 miles across Newfoundland and still make an 1145 ferry” miscalculation…he figured that we would just catch the longer (and more expensive overnight) ferry instead. Connie suggested that we leave St. John’s Newfoundland as scheduled and just make a 2 day trip back across the island to Port aux Basques and catch the ferry one day later than planned…then take that day out of our first stop back on the mainland. Since the overnight camping stop, fuel, and shorter ferry save money compared to the longer overnight ferry…that requires you to either buy a cabin as well as vehicle passage or else spend the night in a deck chair…that makes more sense anyway

We’re down to about a half dozen parks that we haven’t finalized yet…he’s got email or voice mail or web forms filled out for all of them and we’re just waiting to hear back…he’ll likely double check on those this week.

The super bowl was yesterday…apparently the Iggles won…we didn’t watch it. We did review the supposedly good Super Bowl commercials this morning and they were uniformly poor in our opinion. The Tide ones were at least amusing…well, some of them anyway…and the Danny DeVito M&M one was almost amusing. The rest of them…not so much. And Philadelphia got trashed last night…who woulda thunk that. I can never understand why people riot when their sports team loses the game…much less than when the team wins.

Interesting things found on the net.

You’ll never look at Australia the same way again.


Not all heroes wear capes…our kinda guy.


The way nice countries fight wars.


Basic helicopter rules…the only one I would add is that there is no such thing as a gliding helicopter.



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It’s Crazy Talk I Tellya…Crazy Talk

We’re in Florida…southern Florida…and it was 31 freaking degrees this morning. Way too cold for us but with with the fireplace and furnace we’re surviving. To hear them talking on the news last night it was hazardous to human and animal life out there. Really? At 31 degrees? Sure…it’s cold for southern Florida and way colder than we want to be but the weather folk on TV are carrying on just a mite much I think.

Anyway…Connie’s off this morning for the Ladies of Elks luncheon as our lodge is hosting this month…so Neil’s home working on travel plans. Connie finished up with the schedule for this summer yesterday…we’re reprising our cancelled 2016 trip to the Canadian Maritimes. She had done a whole bunch of research back then and a lot of the things we want to do are limited to certain days…so we just made sure we got to the first stop over the border on the right day of the week…that way all of the previous planning is still good. We’ll head out from here and stop at Savannah GA on the way to Midlothian to see grand baby Alex then after a stop in Boston we’ll bounce up the ME coast and cross into Canuckistan in early June and after touring around New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island and eastern Quebec we’ll cross back into ME in mid August…after that we’ll bum around ME, NH, VT, CT, and MA before heading southward in mid October for another stop to see Alex and then our normal end of the travel season stop in Cedar Key FL at the Low Key Hideaway before arriving back in North Fort Myers on 1 November. It’s only about 7,000 or so miles towing this year which seems short but on reviewing our past travel seasons while it is less than our average of just over 9,000 towing miles per year. However…our average is somewhat skewed by the almost 15,000 we did in 2015 on our Alaska trip…without that our average is a shade over 9,000…so I guess it is a short year.

After I wrote the above…Neil discovered we had a slight malfunction in our planning…long story short is that in order to catch the ferry back to the mainland from Newfoundland in mid July I had us driving  537 miles in one day…and that just ain’t likely to happen. Fortunately…it’s a relatively easy fix…we’ll just catch the ferry in Argentia instead of Port aux Bacques to come back the night before our original plan…and spend an extra day at Cape Breton Islands National Park to make the schedule come out the same. Dumb mistake on his part…but at least he figgered it out before it was hard and required changing reservations and such.

The eaglets continue to grow…here’s a screenshot from today…you can see they’re considerably larger than they were 3 weeks ago at hatching.

Screen Shot 2018 01 18 at 12 55 36 PM

Looking forward to our friends Bill and Linda arriving on Saturday for a week or so…he sent us a photo their neighbor took of their house in NC and it’s got 3 or 4 inches of snow on the ground…I’m thinking they’re glad they’re here and not there.

Ok, on to interesting things found on the net.

A couple weather related ones…


Although this particular one was for the British…it’s pretty much what the weather folks said last night on TV.


Australian road sign


From the personals…but he doesn’t want any weirdos.


What wedding RSVP forms would say if they were honest.


Yeah…still truth here too

Truth 2



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Closing Out Another Football Season

The football season is over as of a couple of days ago…Jan 8 was the Championship Game. College football only ‘round these parts…the NFL is dead to us. It’s always been pretty much an afterthought for us but with the taking a knee crap and management’s refusal to enforce the existing rules about what players are supposed to do during the National Anthem…well it’s dead. I saw on the news that the playoffs are going on but we don’t even know…much less care…even what teams are in.

The real football playoffs started off on New Year’s Day with the Rose Bowl pitting Oklahoma against Georgia in the afternoon and Alabama vs Clemson in the Sugar Bowl in the evening. After the conference championship games earlier in December…the Playoff Selection Committee picked the top 4 teams and seeded them. Oklahoma, Clemson, and Georgia were all obvious choices being conference champions but the fourth seed came down to a choice between Ohio State, ‘Bama, and the University of Central Florida as a slightly more distant option. The committee selected Alabama…which caused much wailing and gnashing of teeth in the press corps…even though the committee carefully explained why they made the decision they did. What it came down to was that Ohio State was a 2 loss team with one of those losses being by 31 to an unranked team…vs Alabama having 1 loss to Auburn who finished at 10-3 after the SEC Championship Game. In addition…the OSU boosters wanted to discount ‘Bama’s win over Florida State who ended up at 6-5 or something like that…but FSU was ranked in the top 10 at the beginning of the season and unfortunately lost their QB late in the ‘Bama game and with no real backup they struggled offensively. UCF was discounted because although finishing the regular season undefeated they played no highly ranked teams…although they did upset Auburn in their bowl game. The committee’s charge is to pick the 4 best teams for the playoffs regardless of conference championships and it turned out to be hard to discount a team that was ranked at the top the entire regular season until losing the Iron Bowl to Auburn.

An any event…the field was set and the Rose Bowl was a thrilling game with the lead going back and forth…Georgia finally won in double over time to advance to the championship. ‘Bama vs Clemson was more of a defensive struggle with Clemson basically stymied offensively while our offense put up 2 short TD drives after turnovers and scored another on defense with a pick 6.

The championship game…which most of you probably watched anyway…was another classic contest…’Bama was outscored and out gained in the first half but came back with a strong second half and overtime. They missed a field goal to win on the last play of regulation and in overtime scored a TD after Georgia kicked a field goal…final score 26-23 for ‘Bama’s 5th national championship in the last 9 years with Coach Saban tying the late great Bear Bryant’s record of 6 championships.

Coach Saban has a potential problem though…he pulled the starting QB who is primarily a runner who throws the ball adequately when we’re throwing on our terms at halftime and put in the true freshman backup…Georgia’s coach Kirby Smart was ‘Bama’s long time Defensive Coordinator and put together an excellent game plan which was to basically stop ‘Bama from running the ball and force QB Hurts to throw…which just isn’t his forte. The backup is not as good a runner but a far superior passer…throwing 2 TD passes in the second half and the game winner in overtime. Although I’m sure it’s not a QB controversy in his mind…the talking heads and headline writers are certainly trying to make it one. Must be a real struggle…figuring out which of your two very good QBs should start…maybe he’ll decide to play both of them and alternate series as each has strong points the other doesn’t. Jalen Hurts can throw adequately…he only had one interception all year…and is an outstanding runner and the freshman Tua Tagovailoa is an outstanding passer and better than average running QB…they’ve got complementary skillsets and I’m sure Coach Saban will figure out how to make best use of both.  

It’s a long time until September when the games start up again…but we’re so looking forward to it.

Our local eaglets seem to be thriving…at least they’re both growing rapidly and they’re a bit over 2 weeks old today. Here’s a screen capture of Harriet and the two eaglets sitting on the nest this afternoon. One is sort of huddling underneath momma and the other is down at the lower right corner of the nest.

Screen Shot 2018 01 11 at 2 22 14 PM

Not much else going on here…we ordered ourselves a Sleep Number bed which arrived today and will get installed by Neil tomorrow. Also ordered a couple of new folding chairs for our dinette…one of the originals broke so we bought the better quality ones that New Horizons is now providing. Our LR ventilation fan broke…the control board failed but we have a new one on the way. We also had a failure of our black tank level gauge sensor…long story short is that Neil was in idiot and broke it…but again we have a new one in hand and installation of the sensor, new fan board and whatever other trailer projects come to mind.

Ok, on to interesting stuff found on the net.

Meanwhile…in Florida.


Meanwhile…in Scotland.


Truer words never spoken.


Shark stepped on a Lego.


Obviously Boeing has a critical design flaw in their plane.


The To Do List.


It’s a tragedy I tellya.


Ya think?


I was confused but now it’s become clear.


And finally…this is a shot from the Balloon Fiesta we attended last fall…not one of our shots but taken from one of the balloons after liftoff. We recognize a bunch of those balloons so it was obviously taken this year…based on the perspective it’s very nearly overhead from where we were camped while attending.



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