Before we get too far along on our Florida adventures, we wanted to acknowledge the effort so many of our friends and family made in being with us during Diana’s mother’s funeral. Many of you came to Ortonville from great distances, many sent cards and flowers, and a lot of you sent condolences through this blog and Facebook. One really nice thing occoured after we were back in Grand Rapids, preparing to get south for the winter. Our friends from college, Paul and Sheryl, called us up and wanted to take us to dinner before we left.
We met halfway between Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo and had a nice evening. It was very sweet of them to do that. :). Thanks again to everyone; you all are treasures in our lives!
On the way down to Florida, Lois and Dave (fellow work campers from Wild Cherry Resort) contacted us about getting together. They were in the Melbourne area, as one of their sons lives here. We decided to host a happy hour. Rod and Mary (who also work camped with us) live a mile from our current location, so we all spent an evening together. They also had Diana and I over Christmas Eve for a yummy ham and shrimp dinner. 🙂
We had a good time at the happy hour catching up on what everyone is doing.
Monday morning, Diana was finishing up the thank you notes from the funeral, so I tagged along with Rod and Mary on a 10 mile bike ride to the top of the Melbourne Causeway and back. They wanted to show me the way to get through the neighborhoods to avoid traffic, as there isn’t a bike path the entire way in that direction. If you want to get your heart pumping, try riding a bike up one of those causeway bridges! :). Of special interest is the sports complex we passed by. Former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie is from Melbourne Beach, and the complex is named after him.
On Tuesday, Diana and I went for a sunrise walk down the beach.
We really are enjoying being able to go for these morning strolls.
The Great Blue Herons were out for their morning walks also.
They sure are beautiful to look at. We’ve noticed that they aren’t afraid of beach strollers. They also like to hang around the surf fishermen, as they sometimes get a free meal from them.
For such a large bird, they leave a delicate footprint.
The crabs were busy popping in and out of the holes they had burrowed in the sand.
Definitely a great way to start the day!
We then went for a bike ride down A1A and stopped into Outdoor Resorts on the way back. The property is one of a chain of resorts in Florida and Virginia. People purchase their lots and sometimes rent them out, if they aren’t there. Nice place with three seperate pools. We toured up and down the streets on our trikes, scouting for future reference. One thing is for certain: with properties such as this one and the one we are staying at spanning from the ocean to the intercoastal, it’s possible to put on some decent mileage without leaving the resort!
After that, we decided to drive down to Vero Beach and see what was there. On the way back Diana spotted the Disney Vero Beach Resort, so we pulled in and asked the gate guard if the restaurant was open to the public. It was, so we decided to have lunch and look around.
We ate at the bar on the second floor, and our table was on the deck overlooking the Atlantic. Pretty nice! I have to give a shout out to Disney on this: if you have a food allergy (which I do) and you alert the server to it, the chef makes a personal visit to your table to discuss what they can do for you. First class treatment, without a doubt. This happens at every Disney food establishment throughout the company.
After lunch, we strolled the grounds to check out what was there.
Diana is standing in front of their main building, and the deck where we had just eaten lunch.
The pool area was very crowded, as there weren’t the usual theme parks to draw the families away from the resort. They sure were having fun, though!
The Christmas tree in the soaring lobby was beautiful.
Upon closer inspection, the tree sported a sea turtle theme, as turtles are king along this coast.
The compass rose in the center of the lobby has an inlaid turtle in it, and the surrounding wooden floor has divots carved in it that mimic the tracks that the giant reptiles leave on the beach when they come onshore to lay their eggs. Mary and Rod had loaned us a DVD called Turtle: The Incredible Journey, which really explains about these magnificent creatures. We are looking forward to learning more about them during our time here.
Today we went north on A1A. The road heads up to Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center. That will be another adventure in the near future, but today’s destination was Cocoa Beach.
No, we weren’t looking for a genie in a bottle, but Diana did spot a reference to the 60’s sitcom ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ along the side of the road. The show was supposedly set in Cocoa Beach, as one of the show’s principal characters, Major Nelson, was a NASA astronaut.
Our destination was the iconic Ron Jon Surf Shop.
If it has to do with the beach, Ron Jon probably has it. They even had a live band playing! This was the second time we’ve been there, the first time being after watching the space shuttle Columbia being launched in the 1990’s. It is definitely a fun place to check out. 🙂
Until next time, safe travels!
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