Saturday, January 17, 2009

Who Knew? Right in Our Own Backyard!!

Dianne here: For the past two weeks, we've had a nondescript view of a grassy embankment beyond a canal at the rear of our camp site.
We'd seen an occasional walker or bicyclist on the embankment and wondered where they came from. Roger took the dogs exploring yesterday and found out. Today we retraced his steps and found ourselves walking on top of a dike that stretches all the way to Palm Beach County and separates the canal from portions of the Everglades. Round trip, we walked 5.2 miles, according to my pedometer. Following are some of the sights we saw on our morning adventure, including a zoomed-in view of our campsite taken from the top of the dike.

Roger here.... It is amazing to me that the water from the Everglades has been flowing south just a few (unseen) feet from our campsite. When we arrived at the top of the dike during our hike, there was nothing but water and grass for as far as the eye could see.
We were looking at the horizon (including the Earth's curvature) except that instead of ocean, there was fresh water and grass. As we looked ahead straight down the path on top of the dike, it reminded me of the junior high (perspective) art projects that teacher, Kathy, used to have the students do. The images (path, canal, and power lines) eventually converging into a dot in the distance. While looking at the picture, be sure to check out the art work that our granddaughter, Kaia, did on Dianne's t-shirt.

During the first trip, without Dianne, I did not see much wildlife, but on the second visit we saw a variety of animals/birds that we had never seen before - including a couple of old coots (of the avian variety). We have seen several old coots of the human variety (present company included) since arriving in South Florida :-)

The photo of the Common Gallinule does not do it justice.
It had a brilliant red and yellow bill. We also saw a kestrel, a loggerhead shrike, and a flock of noisy parakeets. Former science teacher and birder, Brad, should be proud of our observations.

The view of our motor home from the dike was also kind of cool.
As you look at it try to visualize that prior to Hurricane Wilma the entire campground was a heavily-wooded pine forest. The locals that we have met told us that the entire park was closed for two years to repair the damage. It is a shame that the trees and the shade are gone, but we are enjoying the sunshine.

On a personal note, our daughter in Indiana called us during our hike to tell us that her water pipes were frozen. I guess that some of the worries with loved ones don't go away with the good times we are having. Update.... she just called back and the faucets now have water and no burst pipes. Whew!!!!!

Dianne here -- I'm taking over, because Roger just looked at his watch and realized (in our friend Cindy's terminology) that it's "wine-thirty." His job now is to fetch me a glass of wine so that I can finish this masterpiece.

Yesterday was an exciting day for us in our new life as fulltimers.
Our Datastorm Motosat satellite was installed by two very capable installers, Tony and Paul Arcuri, of Datastorm Florida. They are meticulous and very picky, and will not install something unless it is exactly right. I would highly recommend them to any of our readers! They had been recommended to us by Bill Adams of Internet Anywhere, who I contacted last summer after reading rave reviews about HIS installations. Unfortunately, he works mostly out west, but he works in a reciprocal agreement with the Arcuri brothers in Florida. We are now up and running with our very own satellite system for internet. In a few days, the Direct TV people will come and then we will REALLY be set for travel, with 200 channels and a DVR. The DVR is one of the few things I miss about our "sticks and bricks" house; it PAINS me not to be able to fast-forward through commercials! Roger will be very happy once it's installed, as he will then have the Big Ten Network so that he can follow his Purdue Boilermakers throughout both football and basketball seasons.

The satellite for both internet and TV would not really have been necessary on this winter trip, as we have been close to both cell phone coverage (to tether our laptop) and major metropolitan areas for TV stations over our batwing antenna. This will probably be our last trip to Florida, however, and next year and beyond will find us out west and often far from civilization.

The satellite dish is AMAZING to watch! (Roger here.... We have R2D2 on our roof!!!!) All we do is push a button and it opens up, scans the sky in jerky spurts, and locks onto our designated satellite (#99). Chuck, if you see this, you will be SO-O-O-O jealous!!!! It's even cooler than your new hammock! Now it's your turn to buy a new toy!

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