October 16 – November 4, 2018
Melbourne Beach, Florida
Changing things up a bit this year, we arrived in Florida a full two weeks early. Our motivation was to see if I could get a UPS golf cart route closer to where we live. Last year, I had to drive 24 miles just to get to my pod and golf cart. It didn’t make a lot of sense, as our truck is fairly expensive to operate.
So far, I am on a route that is only 12 miles away. As the Melbourne Beach pods are put in place, I’m hoping to secure one of those. It’s fun to be back behind the wheel of the golf cart, delivering those smiles that Amazon used to tell us about. 🙂
We are back on our site at Melbourne Beach Mobile Park. The vegetation grew like crazy over the summer, so we had a bit of landscaping to do. Nothing as difficult as last year though. It definitely feels like home!
Our first morning back brought us a beautiful sunrise over the Atlantic. Unfortunately for us…
…the next week saw blooms of red tide work their way north on the Gulf Stream, kicked loose from the Gulf of Mexico by Hurricane Michael. We had thousands of dead fish along the shores of Brevard County, and we ended up having to wear surgical masks to go outdoors, due to the smell from the red tide itself. We were concerned to say the least, as no one knew how long it would last. Fortunately, it continued north and left our area within a week.
Slowly, our friends at the park started showing up. Jerry and Linda who we visited in Rhode Island were already here, as they have bought a mobile home and are in the process of fixing it up. We also had other friends roll into the area, so it was great to see them! Bob and Pat (Michigan Traveler) are in the area until December, so we met them for dinner one evening. We forgot to get a photo, but we will get one sometime here in the next month. After that, we were paid a visit by Tessa (aka Fluffy Dog)!
She brought her mom and dad, Jodee and Bill (On the Road Abode), so the five of us made plans to search for the wild side of Florida.
They brought us a gift to keep us busy this winter: a Junior Ranger puzzle. 211 tiny pieces…
…and detailed instructions on how to put it all together! Hopefully we get a Junior Ranger badge if we complete it. 🙂
We had two different natural spaces in mind to visit with them. The first was Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. Nestled along the northern border of the Kennedy Space Center, this refuge if filled with all sorts of wild animals.
We saw multiple alligators…
…and birds of all different kinds.
We even saw a wild pig!
The Great Blue Heron were out in force.
This beauty was twice as pretty as the rest. 🙂
Its remarkable how large this preserve is. The views seemed to go on forever.
To the south, the Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center looms in the distance. Every Apollo rocket and space shuttle that ever flew was put together in this building. At 129,428,000 cubic feet, it is one of the largest buildings on Earth by volume.
And this is how a row of mangroves looks in infancy. Some of the ones along the Indian River are so expansive, a kayaker could easily get lost in them.
The next day, we went to Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge to visit the Barrier Island Education Center. There we learned about the sea turtle nesting efforts along the east coast of Florida. We followed that up with a visit to Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. This particular wild place is special in that it was the first wildlife refuge ever established in the United States.
They have a unique boardwalk that has slats inscribed for every one of the over 500 refuges across the country.
And there at the top of the walk is Pelican Island, a small 6 acre piece of land set aside by Teddy Roosevelt in 1903. What started out as a 6 acre preserve has grown to a national system of natural spaces covering over 150 million acres. Pretty cool to think you don’t have to go far to find a wild place in the United States. Thank you Teddy! 🙂
It was great to see Jodee and Bill (and Tessa) again! It’s also great to be back in Florida, our adopted home state. Stay tuned to see what other adventures we embark on over the winter. If you are in the area, give us a shout! Until next time, safe and happy travels to all. 🙂