Friday, February 7, 2020

Florida Keys

Our month long stay at the Florida Keys Elks in Tavernier was a roller coaster of ups and downs with many fun things happening and some low points with friends becoming ill and the passing of Nanc's sister Michelle. It was great that we had so may friends there to support us during the down times. As usual the hardest decision we had to make all month was which restaurant we were going to for dinner.
We love to watch the sunsets here as they are so different every day depending on the wind and clouds. Here is the RV park from the pier during sunset.
Unless it is really windy Dennis and Sue go out in their kayaks to see the sunset from different spots.
As I posted on Facebook, we had a couple of days where it was so chilly that the iguanas were falling out of the trees. We saw quite a few that did not survive the cold. These two did and recovered by soaking up the warm sun on the rock.
A sure sign of chilly weather here in the Keys is a manatee wearing a babushka. Even with the cold this local motel had the no vacancy sign out.
Joe and Kathy were here until the middle of January. On their last day we went to Pierre's, a fancier place where we had a wonderful dinner. After a great meal we checked out the Third Thursday Art Walk in Islamorada.
Another great sunset.
The flag is a new addition to the sunsets at the Elks.
Every Wednesday is the Queen of Hearts drawing at the lodge. Someone new is running the drawing this year and by giving away a few additional prizes more people come so the pot gets much bigger. While we were there it had grown to over $16,000. Not a bad amount for a one dollar ticket. Here are Nanc and Linda hoping to win one of the extra prizes. 
Another favorite restaurant is Snappers. It is right on the Atlantic Ocean so it has taken them a while to recover for the storm two years ago. They are finally up and running and have added a big chair, something Nanc can never pass up.
The RVers often gather at the lodge's Tiki hut to have food, drinks and fun while watching the sunset. Here are Jeannie, Nanc, Linda, Sharon and Goerge waiting for the sun to go down.
John and John chatting in the foreground and Gary and Brian in the background.
We were rewarded with the spectacular rays of the setting sun. 
It was an interesting reflection on Nanc.
Laurie and Ray with a couple of their friends who were down south to escape the Wisconsin winter.
Judy, Sue, Pat, Sharon and George with Gary and Betty in the back all watching the beautiful sunset.
Sunday is bingo day at the lodge. Here are Phyllis, Betty, Nanc, Patty, Linda and Sharon with dabbers in hand all ready to play. Betty and Sharon were the only RVers to win, sharing one winning pot. 
Another wonderful sunset with a new waxing moon in the sky.
Love the picture of the sunset and Tiki hut.
We have been to the Keys several times and always like to add at least one new event or site to our list. This year it was a group of traveling Tibetan monks who did a program for Keys to Peace at the Islander Resort in Islamorada.
The monks were part of a group that escaped torture and suppression in Tibet by the Chinese army. With their families they fled on foot over the Himalayas to India and now live in Kentucky. The destruction of Tibetan culture that began 70 years ago continues today with only about one percent of the monasteries surviving.
To celebrate their message of peace the monks made a World Peace Mandala. Mandala is a Sanskrit word meaning world in harmony. It is made by placing one grain of sand at a time while contemplating world peace, compassion, wisdom, wellness and long life. In the middle the dove symbolizes world peace surrounded by the symbols of 12 world religions. Each religion is given equal space showing that all are beautiful and equal, with none being more right than others. Wow, that sure is a fantastic concept in these decisive times. After it is completed they hold an elaborate closing ceremony where all the sand is swept into the middle. Sand is given to those who attend (we left too soon) and the rest is poured into a body of water so the blessings and healing flow to all. It was a very interesting and informative day.  
One evening we saw a couple dolphins swimming into a cove were the manatees like to stay. A short time later this manatee came out of the cove and hung around the Elks pier. As you can see by the marks on its back this poor fellow has been hit by a motorboat. Last year 129 were killed by boat strikes in Florida.
Why we love spending January in the Keys. This is our view.
Sam the resident heron at the Elks takes off to get a better look at the sunset.
Our last day in the Keys we drove to Marathon for lunch. George and Linda drove us down and we met up with Randy who we got to know at Betty's RV Park last spring. She is staying at her sister's place on Sugarloaf Key closer to Key West.
We had a wonderful lunch and the Florida Keys Steak and Fish House where happy hour prices are available from 11 AM to 6 PM everyday. Great food and great friends make for a fun time.
Our last sunset for January 2020 was fantastic with the wispy clouds.  
Just so you know, staying at the Elks is not all great food, friends and sunsets. The one down side is we only have water and electric hook-ups so we need to have our waste tanks pumped out when we are here. A small price to pay for a great place to stay right on the water.

We are now back home in Stuart until after Memorial Day. Our first winter guest, Georgie, has arrived and we are looking forward to having more friends and family join us this year. 

At this point I'm not sure what is going to happen with the blog. I don't plan to write about the routine things we do all the time when we are in Stuart, so I will not be posting as often as I did in the past. If you are in the area give us a shout so I will have something new to write about. 

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