Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Plans Change Twice in One Day

Monday February 29, 2016                                                              Most Recent Posts:
Koreshan State Historic Site                                                           The Tour, the Jacks, the Carts and the Week-end
Estero, Florida                                                                                 A Contemplative Walk by the River




We were just about to walk out the door for an excursion to the Edison/Ford Winter Estates when the phone rang and it was HWH about the jack.  They were responding to David’s Friday phone call telling them that putting in a new solenoid didn’t make the jack go down. It’s stuck in the UP position.

For an hour David and Randy from HWH work through what’s next.   David is up and down and on the ground under the coach talking to Randy on the phone.  They finally get the jack to come down and to slowly, very very very slowly, go back up.  Randy says that means the jack will have to be replaced.  We’ll either have to buy a new one for $410 or send ours in and have it rebuilt for $278. 

The jack is now down.  Hopefully we can get it to go back up in order to move by the end of the week so we will wait until we get to our next destination to change it out.  By then we’ll have decided which we want to buy since both come with the same one year warranty.

At this point it is too late to spend the day at Edison/Ford which closes at 5:00.  For the $20 a head admission price we want to have all day.  So instead we decide we’ll go over to Lover’s Key State Park and kayak out to the Mound Key Archeological State Park in Estero Bay which historians believe was the ceremonial center of the Calusa Culture in south Florida at the time of the Spanish Invasion.



You can paddle to Mound Key from Koreshan by going all the way down the Estero River and into Estero Bay.  This would be a one way trip of about 3 hours so we cut off the river part and drive to the farthest parking lot in Lover’s Key to launch into the bay after about a 1/2 mile paddle in the park’s canal.

We are shocked to see the first two parking lots completely full of cars.  We weren’t expecting so many people given that we were here last week and there were less than half that.  But last week was Tuesday and this is a Monday.  Note to self, skip Mondays in South West Florida next winter.  Or perhaps the March Spring Break madness has already begun on this Leap Day.

Orange seems to be the color of the parks’ rental kayaks so David fits right in.  Everybody is checking their maps.  I’m already in the water.


And what a  beautiful day to be on the water.



This tri-colored heron obviously thinks so too.



Above, an osprey is snacking on his catch.




The snowy egret must have great eyes to be able to see the fish from this far back or pehaps he’s just resting.





More tri-coloreds are poised on the mangrove roots.



We find the tunnel through the mangroves and out to the bay.




There is a sign in the middle to discourage power boats and a sentinel is keeping watch.









Estero Bay is huge.  We can see the island over there but we also see that we’ll have to cross a couple of boating lanes and today must be Daytona 500 time trials on the water.




Jet skis and power boats by the score are zooming back and forth and creating waves that come up over the bow of the kayak.



This is not my kind of paddling.  I’m bailing on this plan.  David is ahead of me, on his way.  I blow my distress whistle to let him know I’m not following.  He doesn’t hear me.  No wonder with all the power motor noise.   After blowing and blowing, I give up, turn around and head back.

I wait just under the bridge to see if he notices.  He does and follows me.  When he arrives, I tell him to go on and I’ll just kayak the 5 miles of the canal and meet him back at the put in.   He says he’s not “wedded to it”.  I wish he’d go on rather than let me spoil his fun. 


Back we go.  The sentinel has moved off the sign onto a nearby mangrove.







Back through the tunnel and into the canals which are much wider than I was expecting.



It even looks prettier to me here than out on the big bay. 



After the number of boats on the bay, the ones in the canal seem few by comparison.  We notice that most have the orange paddles and yellow/orange boats of the park’s rentals.




We also pass paddle boarders and folks biking and hiking around the trails.  All these toys are for rent here if you don’t have your own.






Each half mile on the canal is marked by bouys.   Of course they too are orange.  It appears this one has an employee to answer questions if you get lost.






We don’t get to see Mound Key today but we do discover what looks like a shell island.  Maybe the Calusa deposited these shells as well.







A closer look at the eroded banks shows that the entire thing does seems to be made of piles of shells.




There are a few viewpoint platforms along the trails around the canal.  I”m surprised that we only see one person fishing.  The wading birds and the cormorant seem to think it’s a good area. Hope this fisherwoman catches something.





This is one of my favorite pictures of the day as we approach another larger island in the middle of the canal to find it ringed with clouds.




An osprey is busy on his nest beside the water.  He too seems to have a fish.  Zooming in, I can’t tell if he’s eating it or feeding it to a youngster in the nest.






The canal is an in and out paddle.  We have reached the 2.5 mile point at the cul-de-sac where we must turn around and return.



On our way around the edge we spot a yellow crowned night heron.  This is great since we seldom see them.  Usually we see only the black crowned night heron.







On the return trip, paddling back by the osprey nest I see a head poking out.  If this is the juvenile, he’s plenty big at this point.







What am I spotting on this 1/2 mile marker?   Is it a juvenile spotted sandpiper?  Or??   He’s bobbing up and down.  Very cute!







Love this Gumbo Limbo tree leaning out over the water.  It’s just beginning to get its leaves but its bark gives it away.




It’s also called the tourist tree because it’s bark is red and often pealing.




The snowy egret has stepped out of the water to show off his golden slippers.






He is fishing on one side of the canal as I float past and the tri-colored heron is fishing on the other side.  I’m surrounded by fishermen.




Even above me, the pelican sentinal is heading down the canal.



It’s been a lovely afternoon on the park’s canals even if we didn’t get to Mound Key.  Maybe another day with less traffic.



We get the boats out of the water and back on the car and it’s only 3:30.  Plenty of time to stop by the beach, maybe even stay for sunset.

The new cart’s big wheels work great in the sand.  It carries everything, even the umbrella we don’t need, with ease.




Someone earlier in the day has built some nice real estate for us to take over.






Not many people left on the beach.  Just the way we like it.



We read and nap and as the sun goes down the air cools off quite a bit.  So much so that we decide about 20 minutes before sunset to take everything back to the car and get some warmer clothes and come back down just for a look as the sun goes down.

My camera makes it look much darker out as we cross the bridge with the sun dropping quickly behind us.

On our way over the bridges that cross the canal, we see a great egret and another solo sandpiper.












We arrive back just in time to catch the sun dropping into the sea.





We attempt another of our hilarious selfies.  I won’t bore you with the worst of them.  Sadly, this is the best.



I take a couple of looks back at our last beach day on the Gulf for Winter 2016.   It has been a really unusual weather year in Southwest Florida, unlike any other we’ve experienced.  But it was beautiful today.






  1. A wonderful day on the water. I always avoid the open water unless it is a short shot. Loved the yellowcrested night heron.... A real cutie. Loving the sunsets over the water. Isn't it spring yet?

  2. Nice captures of those beautiful birds! And, fun selfie :)

  3. It has been very busy here in the Crystal River area as well. I don't let it get to me, as it's only fair that other people get to share in the magic of our area, and the manatees. I've been in much worseand far more crowded areas! Your kayak looks great. I have been trying for a last minute open site in Koreshan, but nothing big enough for us. It looks so nice, maybe next winter.

  4. It's always calming to go for a paddle when thngs aren't going right.

  5. You weren't kidding about the boaters thinking it was the Daytona 500. I've always been amazed at how boaters just love to speed around and miss all the beauty around them. That's why we love our kayak, slow down and smell the roses, or the gumbo limbo trees. ;c)

    Those jack prices are hair raising. Nothing is cheap about owning an RV, I don't know how people that aren't handy and can't do repairs like David does can afford to own one.

  6. I think I would have left the jack up until I could get it in to be seen. I would be terrified that it wouldn't go back up when I wanted to leave. The comment just above mine certainly applies to me. I think I lived in my 5th wheel for 2-3 years and then had to sell it because I could't do basic maintenance.

    The yellow night heron is a fine looking bird!

  7. You really did have to be flexible on this day...but it certainly turned out to be a beauty. Just such a nice final kayak and beach day for your final Florida Gulf Coast visit this winter!!! Let's hope next winter the Real Florida returns;o))

  8. we awoke in Tallahassee this morning to 44*. . .it was warmer than this in TX. . .LOL!

    Love the selfie. . .I took our very first one the other day. . .I'll hafta send you a copy. . .

  9. What a perfect last day at the Gulf. That pelican was doing a great job of guarding the waters.

  10. Beautiful paddle through the mangroves -- I would have opted for that, too, instead of fighting traffic in Estero Bay. Your photos of the wading birds are wonderful! It's always a delight to get so close to them on paddling trails. Glad you had a lovely last day on the beach for this winter.

  11. What beautiful pictures, love all the birds! Hope that your jack problems are resolved soon!

  12. Lovely birds...I like the yellow crowned night heron. Neat sighting! Good choice to stay in the mangroves. Full day on and by the water. The cart looks great for the beach...well done catching sunset. A good day with the exception of the jack problem. Hope that resolves!!

  13. It was certainly sounding like a new jack was in your future :-( Just the other day I checked to see the dates for Spring Break and this year they started yesterday and go through April 12! Most are next week and the week after. I don't suppose we'll have much impact in New Mexico :-) Love the noble pelican - he always looks so much more serious than the other fishermen. Your time on the water is always so peaceful, it's no wonder you see such a wonderful variety of birds - thanks for sharing! The shell island is fascinating - and cactus too! It feels like winter is ending if you're leaving the beach :-)

  14. I would have stayed off of the bay too. So, where are you headed?

  15. The yellow crowned heron is very handsome! You got some great bird shots- love the baby osprey peeking out of the nest. Looks like a nice paddle and I don't blame you for turning around to avoid the jet skis and motorboats. No chance of seeing any wildlife with them around. Cactus on the shell island looks out of place like it would be too wet for cactus to grow. xxxooo

  16. Do make sure you add the Edison/Ford Estate for your next visit. A really neat place. Looks like a nice day on the water even if you had a little bit of a crowd:) Glad the new cart worked so well!

  17. Beautiful,beautiful paddling day, mostly because a lot of your feathered friends were there fishing and posing for you. We joined a bike tour around the canal and it was fun going around the canal but of course we did not see as much birds as you have.

  18. While it might not have been your original plan looks like it turned into a wonderful day on the water...once you got away from the boats. I'm sure glad Dave is handy like David...can't imagine what the cost would be if he weren't.

  19. Turned out to be a great day without the Mound Key adventure. I too enjoyed all the birds and beautiful skies and temperatures. On the repair side, I am just happy that both Winnebago and HWH are supportive and understanding of owners who want or need to do their own repairs. They don't mind if you ask how to do it yourself and will alert you if it is better to take it to a shop.

  20. I wouldn't want to mess with all those power boats either. I like that canal better and I'm sure you saw more birds there. Not a bad way to say goodbye to the Gulf. Hope you get the jack problem solved soon.

  21. You need a selfie stick, surprised you don't have one yet. They are really cheap and available just about anywhere these days. Some of us don't have arms long enough! Great bird shots.


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