Monday, February 24, 2014

Bahia Honda State Park, Florida

Miccosukee Indian Casino...sun rises

February 2014
On the way down to the Keys we usually stop and overnight at the Miccosukee Indian Casino.  On this occasion as always, we were not alone. It was quiet where we were and not too hot. 

Get a fruit milkshake!
We got up early the next morning to get to Robert is Here fruit/veggie stand.  Hot on my list was the strawberry milkshake made with fresh strawberries.  David had Key Lime...both were delicious!  We bought fresh veggies/fruits for our first week in the Keys.

Beaching it in Bahia!
We were lucky to spend time this year in Bahia Honda State Park. If you can get past the road noise factor, it is quite a nice park. Our time is spent swimming, biking (5 mile loop we invented within the park), walking the beaches, kayaking.

Dear daughter comes for beach week!
This year it was especially nice to be here because while the temperatures ranged from high 70's to low 80's here in the Keys, winter raged on up North with a fury. The pictures tell the story. Favorite restaurants: Square Grouper (hey, they have a gluten free menu) and Big Pine Restaurant and Keys Fisheries.

Another fine sunset

Big Pine Flea market gets us some fresh veggies. Cell reception was spotty this time around and we had to sit in one particular spot in trailer. It wasn't much better when we went outside. We did have better reception up on the Old Bahia Honda Bridge:)

View of campground

Fish in the quarry are right by water's edge

Flat water morning...gorgeous clouds

Tent camping by the quarry

You can rent one of these cabins!

Sun rises at low tide
This is a really good reason to get up early to bike ride!

Love the early morning bike rides


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Jonathan Dickenson State Park, Jupiter, FL

February 16, 2014

Cycling path in Jonathan Dickenson
This is one of our favorite parks...because we can bike within the park and get as many miles in as we wish/generally quiet paths/roadways.  The sites are spacious although it pretty much an open field.  There is sewer hookup at our site which we only use when we leave.  David can kayak here if he wants to.  It is close to civilization and services/grocery. 

from the path
There are actually two campgrounds here but we've only stayed in the Pine Grove Campground...named so because it used to be a pine grove before the fire.  It was revamped after that fire to a new modern campground with ample shower houses.  The River campground has smaller sites but lots of shade trees and an older bath house.  We haven't seen many larger units in that one.

David on the path
While here we visited the Stuart Green Market and found lots of fresh veggies from various booths.
Pricing...they weren't giving them away but at least they were very fresh. 

We decided to make a stop at B&A Flea market on Sunday (it is open both Saturday and Sunday)

kayak and boat launch area
We pulled into the paid parking area not realizing that you could park for free next door (duh).  Paid our $1.00 parking fee only to discover that the lot was full (with other cars paying behind us).  This didn't sit real well with David so we pulled up by one of the entrances and asked to get our $1.00 back.  He said, he couldn't do that; David said that well there are no spots and I have no intention of moving  until I get my $1.00 back. (It was the principle not really the money here.)  Meanwhile, there is a rather long line forming behind us.  An overseer in a golf came rolling up, he did not want to give the $1.00  back either (despite no parking spaces).  David told him that he would just wait then until he got it back.  The golf cart man reconsidered and we got our $1.00 back.  Then we just left and it was then we realized that there was free parking right next door.....

mixed herd of birds

Whole Foods Market is down in Palm Beach Gardens...maybe 1/2 hour away so one afternoon we took a ride down there to stock up on some pantry items.  (We needed to stock up on some rice and quinoa among other hard-to-find things for my gluten free diet).  Since I am kind of new at this, shopping in Whole Foods is like shopping on Mars...lots of things I've never seen before.  I filled up the larders with things like brown rice, quinoa, craisins, and some gluten free items.

On a side note: my first attempt at gluten free pancakes (actually buckwheat that I freshly ground) was a thumbs down from David and he only had one bight!  I thought it was okay enough especially after adding our maple syrup/strawberries...remembering that at this point almost anything excites my taste buds....  I will probably make them again but I wouldn't dream of serving them to anyone but me!

off road biking area

Animal sightings:  Otters crossing the road in park, feral CUTE piggies on the side of route A1A/1...and lots of birds.

Cons:  no laundry at this campground.

biking on the road to the river campground

saw some wild pigs here...

view from the overlook of park

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Phipps Park, Stuart, Florida

Feb 9, 2014

Vultures in the trees
We stayed a few days at Phipps Park in the past.  It is a county park run by Martin County.  This time we just needed a place to stay for a few nights.

View across the canal
The sites are very spacious but there is no privacy or boundary between any of them.  We scored one of the 18 electric campsites $25.30 per night and were glad we did because it was rather hot humid during the day.  It is very close (like 1/2 mile) to the Fed Campground St. Lucie which sits next to the canal locks where you can watch the yachts go by.  They've recently cleared out the brush along the canal so you could see boats going by if you wished...nice fix.  At times, even though we were the farthest away from the Florida Turnpike, you could hear it (not a nice perk).

View of the lock on waterway
This park is in a somewhat congested area just outside stuart and therefore there really is not biking...just little walks.  We used this time to secure a new phone for David. (He scored a good deal on the IPHONE 4...which we will use to accept credit cards soon.)  Getting that phone was somewhat of an adventure; usually his phone hunting is!  We did our laundry on site...convenient.  I also plantedmy "garden"...started an assortment of seeds to bring home to transplant in April and beyond.

View of Campground with our Van/Trailer
We visited the Stuart Green Market (sundays 9 - 1)....I wanted to see what fresh veggies they had to offer.  Also we had to visit Walmart to stock up on staples for our time in the Keys...our only source down there is Publix or Winn Dixie which find pricey.

This system of plants cleanses the water from agricultural run off.
We will again use this park for a few days but most likely never for more than a few days.  Also, we had good cell service (Verizon) and MIFI.  The reservation system online didn't work well for us so I ended up calling them with my credit card.

Green, green and more green

Cleansing green

Birds make their home there too

The loch that allows boats to commute from Lake to sea