After a week with the kids in Kissimmee, we return to our RV and head for the Gulf Coast, searching out what we came to Florida for: sun, sand, friends, fun, and food.
We had a long list of Boondockers Welcome hosts lined up. More than we had originally planned. Some who contacted us to ask if we could include them when they heard we were in Florida.
Our first destination was Punta Gorda where we had arranged a reunion with hosts who have become friends – we first met these gals seven years ago.
Punta Gorda is a very pretty town but doesn’t have much beachfront. At Ponce de Leon Park, we found just enough pristine white sand to whet our appetite for more. It’s our first taste of salt air on this trip.
We enjoyed a two-day visit and several meals with our dear friends.
The next day we went to Sanibel Island – an upscale community. It was a lovely outing and a treat for us, because it’s not cheap (by our standards). The toll bridge costs $6.00 and beach parking $5.00 per hour. We splurged because we really craved a long- beach walk and this was the first beach-perfect weather of the trip.
When we landed at our next host in North Fort Myers, we were amazed to find they had five other guest RVs parked on their property. This is normal for them at this time of year. They have often host many RVs at once and tell us they just love meeting new people.
Schoolmarmandgpa are truly “ultra hosts”. They were proud to announce that they had recently hosted their 100th guest RV! Of course, the numbers add up quickly when you can accept multiple requests at once.
To our delight, we were soon part of an impromptu social evening. At one point there were eleven of us (a cross-section representing several states and provinces) gathered around to share snacks, libations, stories, and camaraderie.
Before we left, fellow guests, Lyne & Rejean from Quebec, asked to interview me and our host for a French-language You-Tube video. Luckily we didn’t need to reply in French. He has software to take care of the translating.
On our hosts’ suggestion, the next morning we visited a unique “sustainable” community called Babcock Ranch just northeast of Fort Myers.
We spent two more evenings camped with local hosts east of Tampa.
It’s strawberry season. We saw many fields with pickers at work – manually picking berries. They are stooped over for hours at a time; it must be back-breaking work.
More than one host suggested we should stop at this particular market in Plant City for their famous strawberry sundae. The line-up gives you an idea of how popular it is.