Kent and Carol - Mobile travel blog

Dolphin jumping behind the Sanibel Island boat ride.

Piles of sea shells.

Air Boat Ride.

Me holding an alligator.

Truman's Little White House at Key West, FL.

Ernest Hemingway's House.

Six-toed cat.

Street Performer at Mallory Square.

This Street Performer had trained cats. Cruise ship pulling out of the...

Sueset at Mallory Square.

Duval Street, Key West. From atop our hotel.

Sunset from the Ferry Boat on our way to Ft. Myers.

Monday April 4, 2011 we arrived at the Bonita Lake RV Resort in Bonita Springs, FL. This town is mid-way between Naples and Fort Myers, FL. and is the rendezvous location of our Winnebago Florida Tour. Although the tour does not start until Wednesday, our host couple and two other rigs were there also. We use this time to meet the other folks, do some shopping and getting ready to have the busy schedule begin in a couple days. Wednesday was our opening meeting and dinner.

Thursday morning our bus picked up all 31 participates of our group and we headed to the Naples Zoo at Caribbean Gardens. After visiting the animals and gardens the bus took us to downtown Naples to a fancy restaurant for lunch. Following lunch we browsed some of the shops and galleries in the area and then mid-afternoon the bus picked us up, along with a step on guide. He took us to a popular fishing wharf and beach and then around some magnificent estates in the area. The houses and shopping area sure indicates there is lots of money in this region of Florida.

Friday morning the bus took us to Sanibel and Captiva Islands, which are off the coast of Ft. Myers, FL. We boarded a speedboat at Sanibel Harbor. This boat got up to 40mph and through up a rooster tail behind the boat. The dolphins were playing and jumping over the wake developed by the boat. This 1 ½ hour boat tour took us totally around the two islands and the guide pointed out the high priced beach estates. Lunch was at the Dunes Golf and Tennis Club on Sanibel Island. There is a meal provided each day we are on this tour. That afternoon we took a tour of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum. It was a very interesting and educational tour led by some very knowledgeable guides. Afterward our bus driver took us to a beach that was litterly piled with a two-foot high pile of seashells. We all picked out the best looking shells for mementoes.

Saturday, our bus took us to Everglade City, where we got on airboats for a fast and thrilling ride through the swamp area. Afterward there were some animals on display along with many alligators and crocodiles. Some of us were brave enough to hold a couple of baby alligators. The bus then took us to the Seafood Depot for lunch. We were then delivered to the Everglades National Park, where we took a 1-½ hour boat tour through some of the 10,000 islands of the National Park. These islands are mostly formed by clusters of Mangrove Trees and extend along the Gulf of Mexico side of the National Park. Our bus driver then took us to the smallest United States Post Office Building at Ochopee, FL. It looked like there was just enough room for one person to stand inside.

Sunday morning, we were able to sleep in a little bit since the bus was to pick us up at 10:15 for a trip to a fantastic brunch buffet at the Edison Restaurant. From there, it was only a short bus ride to the Thomas Edison and Henry Ford Winter Estates on riverfront property. Edison had this home built in 1885 along with botanical gardens, pool, office and laboratory so that he could do research during the winters. Edison persuaded his close friend, Ford to come to the area about 1915. All the buildings are open for viewing along with a museum of Edison’s inventions. Our group was given a tour of the homes. Sunday evening our group had a pizza dinner and a travel meeting about the details of Monday’s Ferry Boat trip to Key West.

Monday, we had an early 6:30 am bus trip to the Ferry Boat. The Ferry departed at 8:30 for a high-speed, yet four hour trip to Key West. A movie was shown on the TVs and then a video about places to visit at Key West, so the time went fast. Upon arrival, vans were waiting to take our suitcases and us to the Crowne Plaza La Concha Hotel. We got checked in and had lunch on our own. Carol and I did a little shopping than at 5:00 pm, we had an hour narrated Conch Train tour of Key West followed by dinner at Kelly’s Caribbean Bar & Grill.

Tuesday, we had a voucher for a Breakfast Buffet at the hotel. Carol and I did some more shopping and that afternoon, Carol rested while I toured Truman’s Little White House and then I took a Pedicab to Ernest Hemingway’s House. Hemingway’s favorite pet were cats and there are still about 50 descendents of his cats roaming the house and property along with a few six-toed cats. Tuesday evening Carol and I went to Mallory Square, where every evening is a celebration of the sunset. After the huge cruise ship moved, which by law must be out of the way by 7:00 pm, it was a beautiful view of the western sky. On the Square there were vendors, many street performers, a couple psychic practitioners. I walked the full extent of the wharf to watch bits of as many street performers as I could, stopping only long enough to take some photos of the great sunset. A fun celebration.

Wednesday, Carol and I did some more shopping. We checked out of the hotel and had a sandwich buffet supplied by the hotel. We had enough food that we all made extra sandwiches to take on the ferry boat later. About 4:30 the vans took us back to the ferry marina for our return to Ft. Myers. The ferry departed before the scheduled 6:00 pm for the four-hour trip that was accented by a beautiful sunset. A different movie was shown and several of our group played cards. By the time the bus delivered us back to our RVs it was about 11:00 pm.

Thursday was a free day until the evening closing farewell dinner at 5:00 pm. I spent some of the free day doing laundry. Friday morning, April 15, was a continental breakfast before everyone hopped in their RVs and went their own way.

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