Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Starting the long drive home, but first Thanksgiving!

We thought we knew what we were doing!  Just drive north until Alligator Alley which would take us west to Naples and points north.  Yes, we have a GPS, two in fact, and yes we saw many signs for the Florida Turnpike which we obviously ignored.  Because we ended up in:

Downtown Miami!

We reminded ourselves how long we're been doing this and then had the fleeting thought that maybe it has been too long!  Nah....  We were soon back on course for our overnight stop at Franklin Lock and Dam campground near Fort Myers, FL.

This has to be one of the most beautiful campgrounds we've been to, and what's even better is the price:  $24 for water and electric, $12 with senior discount as it is a Corps of Engineers park which honors the Golden Age Pass.  All the sites are situated around the Okeechobee Waterway, a protected inland passage between Stuart on Florida's east coast, and Tampa Bay on the west.  There are boat moorings as well as RV sites, and eagles and alligators.  We had stayed here years ago on our last trip in 2004.

Franklin Lock and Dam for transiting boats:

We continued on to the real piece de resistance, friends Judy and George McAnally who live just north of Tampa, and our Thanksgiving reunion.  Their friendship goes way back to the early 1970's in the Half Moon Bay-Coastside area.  Judy was manager of Founders Title Company and I was just beginning a 25 year real estate run.  George sailed with Howard from HMB to Cabo San Lucas and back.  What a friend, as that is a long, hard run, especially the return "uphill"!  I chose to fly down and meet them.

Our memories are unclear but this may have been the last time we saw Judy and George when we chartered a sailboat in Belize and cruised to South Water Caye in 2005!  We also chartered a catamaran together in the British Virgin Islands and they started full-time RVing at about the same time as we did.  Then came our private caravan of 3 rigs to Alaska, often referred to as the trip from hell, which had nothing to do with the road trip.  They've since settled down in a nice golfing community and graciously invited us for Thanksgiving and entertained us in grand style for 3 nights.

Judy, George, and son Mike, down from Atlanta

Now look closely at that beautiful turkey 'cause there is a story attached.  When we arrived Wednesday night Judy said come look at my turkey.  In the refrigerator sat a flat pile of raw skin! George had de-boned the turkey but Judy promised it would be properly inflated with her homemade stuffing.  And it was delicious, in fact the entire dinner was a feast and we did not lift a finger except to hoist a glass!

Mike's yummy Brussels sprouts

Yams, of course

And more!

If we couldn't be home with all the family, then this was by far the next best place to be, with good friends sharing old and new stories and really good food!

MN friends Galyn & Linda joined us

Let's dig in!

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