Monday, June 25, 2007

Sandi's Final Florida Vacation Entry

Well, I finally finished the Everglades entry, and...Praise God!...other than recuperating from the burns and bites we've had no major problems since then...well, except for May Ruth's two falls from that tree Friday...

When we left the Collier-Seminole it was already pretty late, and we were all exhausted. We hadn't planned on any hotel expenses, but due to the emotional and physical state we were all in, we spent the night in a hotel in the Naples area. We also got a good warm meal at Cracker Barrel. It wasn't until in the morning (Tuesday) that Rachael and I really realized how badly we had been burned. Neither one of us could hardly walk. Talk about pain! That was a week ago, and it wasn't until yesterday that we were able to stop taking pain meds every four hours around the clock. The makers of acetaminophen and ibuprofen made some money on the two of us and the kids.

There is a place called Dinosaur Playground in Naples. It is an incredible indoor playground for kids that even has a music room complete with a drum set and guitars. We took the kids there to try and make up for some of the pain and suffering they had endured the last couple days. They had a blast. Someone needs to build one up here in Roanoke or Salem. After we left there we headed towards Palmetto, FL. The boys had agreed to work with their dad one day to make an extra $100 each as our cash supply was somewhat low. We arrived at Sonny's without mishap. The guys went fishing that night and Rachael and I went to bed early. She and I spent much of the next day doing laundry...washing the swamp muck from our clothes and gear. I also had a chance to visit with my mother-in-law whom I hadn't seen in years...I guess it's been since before my divorce in 1998. She's as feisty as ever! :D It was really good to see her. I've missed her a lot, and we only talk occasionally by phone.

After the boys got done working that day we said goodbye to everyone (Mom, my-ex, and my sons' half-brother, Dakota) and headed towards Ft. DeSoto State Park. Oh my gosh! I've visited and camped in State Parks all across the USA, but this was the best one I've ever been to so far! The park covers five interconnected islands and is unspoiled by the commercialism of the nearby Tampa Bay area. It was pretty much perfect. We had two campsites the first two nights that we'd had to purchase back in January. They were the most sought after sites in the park and the Park Ranger who checked us in was stunned..."How did you get both of these sites? And for TWO NIGHTS!" Troy and I looked at him and simply said, "It was God." He looked back and said, "It HAD to be divine intervention, becasue NOBODY ever gets both of those sites at the same time and especially for more than one night!" We smiled. God is so faithful, even when we're less than obedient!

They save a few sites for walk-up registration for the weekends, and we wanted to stay Friday night as well. I got in line at 6:45 am and there were already over 20 people standing there hoping to get a site. I had to stand there over an hour with the biting no see 'um, but I got that third night! We had to move to a different site, but that was just fine. It was beautiful too. We spent our time there swimming, fishing, relaxing, and recovering from the first part of our trip. We have a lot of family within 30-90 minutes of Ft. Desoto, so we had a cookout Thursday night and invited all of our family to come out, but the only ones who actually came were Sonny and Dakota.

Saturday we packed up, toured the old Fort DeSoto, and began our trip home. We picked up a hitchhiker named Bill on I-4 and gave him a ride to the point where we were exiting the interstate. He'd hitched from California and was going to the Daytona area to do roofing work. We were glad we could offer him a ride, a cold drink, and a snack to eat. We made a detour to Apopka and swam in Wekiwa Springs, which was wonderfully refreshing. Florida Springs are beautiful. From there we headed home. I'd planned on driving all night to get home for church Sunday AM. I felt like I was starving for some good teaching. I got so sleepy, though, that I wasn't able to drive any more. Troy was exhausted as well, so I decided to suck it up and get a hotel room for the night. I was still in a lot of pain from where some skin had sloughed off of my leg and it was raw and oozing. I wanted a real bed. The Holy Spirit led us to an inexpensive, yet nice and clean hotel, and we all got some much needed rest. We got back to Roanoke late yesterday evening where my wonderful daughter, Zipporah, and her finacee, Thurston, had food ready to throw on the grill for us. It's good to be home!

1 comment:

wonnov said...

Hey Sandi, it's Won. you met Justin and I at BNI.

You weren't kidding about what you went through... WOW!

I'm curious now to hear about your cross country and couch surfing experience.