After hanging out in Boca for a few weeks, we were ready to settle down and work on the rig. Particularly getting all of our possessions organized and accessible. We were also getting familiar with the bus and researching some purchases, including our screen room and a waterless RV wash system. (Reviews coming soon.)
We moved into MRV Resort in Moore Haven, FL, just west of Lake Okeechobee. It was our intention to stay a month or two, but we ended up staying the whole winter! The neighbors couldn’t be friendlier. (Shout out to the Slyters, rocking Phae’s sister Phaeton. Hope your spirits are high and your golf scores are low!) I hoped to catch a couple of French lessons and learn Petanque from the French Canadian snowbird population while we were there. Alas, my work schedule did not allow it.
Maybe Dog was still adjusting to the RV lifestyle. We found many pup-friendly folks willing to patiently show her that friendly strangers aren’t something to fear. (At least when Mom and Dad say it’s ok.)
She particularly enjoyed meeting the calves just born in the neighboring field. Here is a short clip of her meeting a “moo-cow” for the first time.
They moved the cows to a different field shortly after that, but they returned a couple months later to wean. That same red calf came right up to meet her every time. Maybe Dog was a little unsure at first, because the calves had tripled in size. But she quickly accepted them. I’m pretty sure she thinks they are just big, stinky dogs. Now she gets excited anytime we pass “moo-cows” on the road.
We visited an awesome dog beach near Fort Myers. You have to wade out through an inlet to get to it, but it was well worth the effort. Maybe Dog had a blast and was completely tuckered out by the time we left. Although, if you’ve been following our social media, you know we’ve had some differences of doggie opinion since then. Based on the vet’s advice, we will no longer participate in dog parks. There are just too many folks bringing aggressive, untrained dogs. 😦
The pup was taking a good bit of our attention, as we focused on getting her comfortable in the new living arrangements. I was still working my day job at that point. So we didn’t have much time to do fun “people” things, but we did find this…
That’s right. Authentic Skyline Chili in Florida! I was stoked! It’s important for me to note here that not only was I born in Cincinnati and spent much of my time there visiting family, but Matt and I are basically addicted to Cincinnati chili. You may know it as “Greek” chili, thinner than the chili you’re used to and seasoned with chocolate and cinnamon. It’s so easy to make (and reheat), it’s delicious, AND if made with the right ingredients, it’s quite healthy. I should be embarrassed to admit that at least once a month, we make a giant batch and eat it for a week straight. But I’m not embarrassed, because it’s the best thing ever! Food of the Gods, I tell you! You can buy the seasoning on Amazon or at any Kroger grocer, if you’re lucky enough to live near one. It is equally great over noodles or a hot dog.
In other news, while Matt was out of town working, I got into some poison ivy. A few years ago, I must have rolled around in a patch of it and had it head to toe. Now, any time I even look at poison ivy, it pops up again in those same spots. It had been creeping up for a couple of days. On the third morning, I woke up with a funny feeling in my mouth. When I turned on the light, I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror.
I made the executive decision to have a couple Benadryl, attend a critical conference call, then drive myself to the ER. Of course, without Matt there, I didn’t say a word all morning until I joined the call. At that point, I realized my tongue was swelling up so much I couldn’t speak around it. Scary! I got through the call as quickly as possible and discovered that the nearest ER was 30 minutes away. I considered hitchin’ a ride with a neighbor (and probably should have), but ended up driving myself.
By the time I arrived, I was slightly out of breathe. Benadryl usually makes me feel that way. I assumed it was from the light sedation, but the ER doctors tell me that I am probably allergic to Benadryl, too. (Seriously???) After several jokes about saving big money on lip injections, I got an IV drip of steroids. My breathing was normal and my face was nearly so when I left a few hours later. All in all, it wasn’t too bad, but it does make me a little nervous about being solo in a wilder setting. They wrote me a prescription for an epi-pen, but those suckers cost $500+, and they expire every year! I think I’ll just be more proactive the next time I have a run in with poison ivy. It’s probably a good idea to put together an emergency first-aid kit, though. In case of bumps, bruises, fermented salmonella, poison oak, etc.
When Matt returned, we spent a couple days at the Lover’s Key beach in Fort Myers. The water was chilly, but when has that ever stopped me? A dip in the ocean is like a drought at the fountain of youth for me, regardless of the temperature! I never miss an opportunity.
If you hang out on the foot bridge for a few minutes, you’ll see the leaping fish. I swear a few got five feet into the air! We wanted to check out the kayaking down the street, but ran out of time. You can never do it all.
Matt’s folks joined us for a week. I was able to take some time off work, because I need a break as well. It was our first experience having guests. Admittedly, I was concerned we would be at each others’ throats by the end of a week in our 400 sq. foot home. I’m happy to report that it was a lovely visit and we were all sad to part ways at the end of the week. Jeff and Linda have the perfect personalities to be RV guests. They are completely laid back about itinerary and timing, and they subscribe to the theory that “many hands make light work”. This meant that the tiny living space never got overly cluttered, which makes all the difference.
We did our best to find some decent snorkeling, but the unusually cold weather was not in our favor. That didn’t stop us from enjoying Jupiter Island Beach. The ‘rents had dive suits and we picked up some surf wear. The extra layers made the water bearable for everyone. Afterwards we hit the brakes for distilled spirits and a yummy dinner overlooking the marina at The Catch.
We couldn’t miss the standard fan-boat ride to see the alleged alligators. (I say “alleged” because we never once saw an alligator outside of the fan boat ride. Even though our neighbors swore there was a five-footer in the pond directly behind our bus. I’m pretty sure its all just an urban legend.) The boat ride was a blast, if a bit chilly, and we did in fact see some frighteningly large alligators! We also picked up some fresh strawberries at the farmers’ market, to dip in chocolate for Valentine’s Day. Love that fresh local produce!
We left Moore Haven shortly after Matt’s folks headed home. After spending the whole winter in one place, it was sad to say goodbye to all of our neighbors. But you know I cannot lie. I was excited to get to our next stop in Orlando, where we trade the peace and quiet of the country for amenities like groceries and restaurants less than 20 minutes away. Universal, here we come!