Sunday, 31 May 2015

FL15 - Day 11 - PG to Venice

Not that Venice. But one that was going to be styled on Italianate architecture and loads of natural waterways.

We had to be up early to do final packing and have breakfast. In the end we handed in the keys just about ten minutes to spare.

The plan was to go to the Muscle Car City and then to the Octagon Wildlife Center before heading on I75 North.

In the end we did it in the other direction and went to see the animals first.

The wildlife centre is for animals rescued from zoos and private individuals. Amongst the inmates are tigers kept in back gardens, bears used for commercial reasons (!) and a hyena that lived in some guys office.

Sadly the camera did a better job of focussing on the wire of the cages than the animals.







From there we headed across to Punta Gorda to see the Chevy's and other cars from the muscle car era.

We had lunch in the diner before going in.







Then into the museum housed in a former Walmart!

And wow. The view of all those cars. All those restored cars.







The museum definitely worth the trip. The rest of the photos I took can be found here.

Once away from the museum, we took a leisurely drive up US41 N to Venice to the Inn at the Beach where we will spend the remaining days of the holiday.  It looked really nice and scores abut 9.6/10 on booking.com and similarly high on Tripadvisor.

Our room is on the ground floor facing the beach.



Once checked in we had a walk across to look at the beach. The "danger rip tide" warnings certainly put you off going in the water!  If caught you are supposed to float as best you can until it lets you go, some 200 yards off the shore! Yeah right.







In the evening we set off to find an Italian Restaurant on Tamiami Trail and failed and so went into Cassariano on West Venice Avenue. Casual but superior dining.  Not cheap but the meal was excellent.

Then back to bed. After a few lazy days we had done quite a lot today.

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Friday, 29 May 2015

FL15 - Day 10

Is it that late already.  Our last full day here in Punta Gorda and then we head up to Venice for a few days and then fly home.

After breakfast we had a walk along W Retta towards the main town. The plan was to go to the Muscle Car Museum but in the end that was knocked on the head until tomorrow morning.

We are here for R&R not to be rushing about!



Coconuts

One of the houses nearby

Fishing Pier


Another Ponce de Leon statue

The afternoon slipped by until we went out and ended up in Walmart (!) to buy dinner and some shorts. Yep. Cargo shorts for me.

Dinner, TV and packing.

Thursday, 28 May 2015

FL15 - Day 9 - Local

Local today.  Firstly to the bank where we completely didn't understand how the drive-in worked, At least the lady on the TV screen realised we were foreign and directed us to the ATM that we didn't drive-thru but walked over to from the parking.

That done, we went down the road to Ponce de Leon park and the Peace River Wildlife Center.  It's a volunteer run sanctuary for injured birds and animals.  Free entry with a suggested donation of $5. Seemed very reasonable.

We had a chat with one of the volunteers about the inmates. Many of them have been injured and can't be released into the wild and they keep them for life.


Gopher Tortoise - this one weighs about 30lbs!


Pelican Spa - American White Pelicans and smaller brown pelicans,

Bald Headed Eagle - The US National Bird

Blue Heron nest - juveniles waiting for food! 
From the shelter we had a drive into PG for lunch, ending up parked in Gilchrist Park and walking around to Hurricane Charley's on the harbor walk near the US41 S bridge.  Very pleasant Waldorf salad wrap.

As we sat and ate we saw a few pelicans diving into the sea.  These were the brown pelican. Until we saw them at the shelter, we had no idea that they weighed only 8lbs!  They look quite big.

Claire told the guy serving us that she wanted to see dolphins and he said they are often seen swimming by, and minutes later we saw a fin about 200 yards off the bank as it rose and fell to breathe. Too far to get a good view.




FL15 - Days 7 & 8

Day 7 was Tuesday. The day after Memorial Day.  We had a local day at the Village as Claire wanted to get her nails done at the salon on site.  We had a read and she had a swim before the appointment.

Afterwards we had a drive down to the Miromar Outlet Mall between Fort Myers and Naples. Quite restful and she got a new pair of trainers from the Puma outlet.  On the way back it started to spit and we got caught by a guy selling Dead Sea Salt "treatments". You know it is wrong to stop but you get caught! It's the kind of time-share sales technique. They do half the woman's face and the wrinkles disappear and then they come out with $500 price for the kit. You say you don't want it, then it drops to $250. We made our escape at that point.

We ate in again. After two days of salads we had a Walmart pre-cooked chicken and veg. Yummy.

Day 8 was today.  Up and out and our destination was Sanibel Island.  I had a few places dialled into TomTom bur first of all it was a stop at Bailey's on the Island for a coffee and decide which place to go to. In the end we chose the Ding Darling Wildlife Refuge.  For $5 you can drive through in the car.

We saw loads of birds and fish. 














Heading off the island there is a causeway and a bridge. It's free to get off but $6 per car to get on.





On the way back TomTom took us on a different route to US41 and this time we went past the Ford Edison Winter Estates.  

As we are eating in again, we stopped at a Publix in PG for dinner.  Once back it was time to have a swim in the pool and then catch up with the blog.


Monday, 25 May 2015

FL15 - Day 6 - Memorial Day

A holiday in the US and there were so many people about. At the Village there was the veteran car show. The local club brought out their cars to show off. It was nice chatting with some of the owners and of course taking some photos.

























Me and 1940 Cadillac (fully restored)
My favourites are the Caddy's and the De Soto. The blue Buick was for sale at about $35000!

After a break we had a little walk around the site and Claire had a swim. In the background was the rumbling of thunder. The temps on the west coast are higher than normal and apparently the colder Atlantic air is colliding with it and there have been heavy storms inland.










At least we have seen more wildlife than we had at the Ponce de Leon boardwalk last evening. Lots of pelicans but few landed so far.