Tag Archives: Cocoa Beach

Happy Holidays!

It is that time of year when many of us celebrate the holidays with our loved ones!  Here in the United States, the season focuses mostly on Christmas…but let’s not forget that many of us have other traditions.  On my rounds through the neighborhoods delivering packages for UPS, I’ve also noticed several Happy Hanukkah signs.  Still others celebrate Kwanzaa, Chinese New Year, St. Lucia Day, and Omisoka this time of year.


Most of them involve gifts!  The streets are filled with not only our UPS golf carts, but also FedEx and USPS trucks.  I was even surprised to see a plain white cargo van pull up to a house filled to the roof with Amazon boxes!  I found out later that Amazon is delivering some (but not all) of their packages themselves.  With that said, here’s a quick update on the delivery gig:  Since our last post, the routes have pretty much been covered with employees who chose to stick with the job.  That’s a good thing, as it meant I was able to work just at my pod and help out on the pod next to mine.  The amount of packages settled down until the Wednesday before Christmas, when things ramped up.  This last Friday was my busiest day, with 149 stops and 197 packages delivered.  That happened in 7 hours and 22 minutes (including sorting and loading) for an average of one package every two-and-a-half minutes!  The step count on my Fitbit came in at a little over 15,000 steps that day.  Several of those stops involved adult signatures, as wine is a popular thing to ship this time of year.  The very next day…Saturday…the volume dropped way off.


I covered BOTH pods in one load.  But while it doesn’t seem like much, it represents 38 very happy households who were able to get their last minute gifts in time for their celebrations.  Notice that someone even shipped Graeter’s ice cream from Ohio!  It was rock-solid, so it must work to do that.  I will be providing a wrap-up of the job, once it ends in mid-January…so be sure to stay tuned.

Lots of other things have been happening in our area!  On December 9th, we got together for dinner with our friends Bob and Pat from Michigan Traveler.


They were staying at Wickham Park for a few weeks, and are ultimately hoping to head for their spot in the Keys…which is still in recovery mode from Hurricane Irma.  It was great to see them again!

We also had an unexpected visit from our friends Dave and Lois from Wild Cherry.  Unfortunately, their visit was rushed, as they were travelling with their dog Darby.  Within two minutes of them arriving, the park owner rolled up on his golf cart to remind us of the ‘no pet’ rule in the park.  It’s the only rule in our annual Letter of Intent that is in bold type, so he’s adamant about it.  As animal lovers, it’s not our favorite thing…but the park works well for us otherwise.  As we said, we would love for people to stop by and visit; just remember that the puppies and kitties have to stay home.  😦

This past week has also seen many of the park residents head back north for the holidays.  It’s a little quiet around here.  They will all be back next week, plus many more.  The park should be hopping soon!

Diana and I saw another SpaceX launch.  She was at our park and I was loading up my golf cart at the time.


My pod is a little over 10 miles from the launch pad.  The exhaust flames were clearly visible going up, followed by the low rumble of the rocket several seconds later.  The entire scene was played back in reverse a couple minutes later, as the first stage descended back to the Cape and landed upright on an adjacent landing pad.  Absolutely amazing to be able to see that.  SpaceX is hoping to launch their Falcon Heavy for the first time in January, which is three of these rockets strapped together.  The payload will be Elon Musk’s personal red Tesla, which will hopefully end up in the same orbit around the sun as Mars.  A red roadster and a red planet.  We are hoping to get tickets for that launch, so we will be sure to let you know how that goes!

And Christmas in Florida wouldn’t be complete without Surfing Santas!


Once again, Cocoa Beach was packed with elves on surfboards on Christmas Eve!


Thousands of people were there to have a good time, listen to various bands and watch the hula dancers.  Even though the ocean was flat, an occasional wave would come in to provide some surfing entertainment.


With that, Diana and I wish you a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year, Boxing Day, Festivus, or whatever you may celebrate.  Stay safe and enjoy!


Christmas Eve – Cocoa Beach Style!

Dawn broke at the North Pole on Christmas Eve and the place was in an uproar.  Santa had issued a red alert, as it seems his Santas at malls all over Florida had deserted their posts, leaving children across the Sunshine State standing in line with their last minute lists.  We decided to join in the hunt for the wayward St. Nick stand-ins!  We drove north through the towns of Melbourne Beach, Indialantic, Satellite Beach and Indian Harbour Beach.  We even checked with the tower at Patrick Air Force Base, to see if they saw any reindeer on their radar.  Nothing.  Where could they be?

We continued on to Cocoa Beach when what to our wondering eyes did appear…

…but a bike, a surfboard and Santa in all his gear!

That was our first clue that we might have this in the bag.  We followed him until he turned onto the main drag.  As our toes hit the sand, we found those jolly men.  Every Santa in Florida was here hangin’ ten!

For the past several years, Cocoa Beach has held the Surfing Santas event on Christmas Eve to benefit two local organizations, a local cancer charity called Grind For Life and also the Florida Surf Museum.  This year’s event played host to somewhere in the vicinity of 800 surfing Santas, along with thousands of spectators!

There were even a few elves!

It looks like that one Santa just got out of bed!

Above the roar of the surf was the song Mele Kalikimaka being sung by this singer with a ukulele.  The gentleman with the red shirt between the two turquoise surfboards was the minister who delivered the invocation.

Diana spotted this good looking guy in a Ron Jon shirt trying to take photos of the festivities…

…and then she got a selfie with him.  😉

These young ladies were sporting this year’s Surfing Santas shirts.

“It’s the white button at the bottom, sweetie!”

In order to be able to drink all day, you must start in the morning…

…and bring along a few friends! 

When Santa got word up at the North Pole that we had found the Florida Santas, it didn’t take him long to decide what to do.  As we headed towards the car, we spotted him under a beach umbrella.

I guess if you can’t beat ’em…join ’em!

Merry Christmas to y’all, and to y’all a good night!

Love and peace,

Diana and Jim


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Friends, Good Times and a Little Exploring

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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