Wednesday we went to visit a friend. He and I were next door neighbors, I have known him since I was 9 or 10 years old. We grew up together, went to school, played football, on the same track team and all that. He was my best man in our wedding which has now been 30 years ago, Holy cow. Over the years we have stayed, not stayed in touch. He and Ann marie have been in Florida for two week, staying at his house in Isle of Capri, which is just below Naples. We had a great visit with both of them, got to see the house ,and  good history lesson on Isle of Capri, and Marko Island Florida.


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My buddy Mike.


Mike’s house is on Dolphin Circle, which is in the upper left corner of the map. Mike’s father bought a vacant lot there in 1965 and built a two story, southern style house. At the time it was only about the 6 th house built, and all the roads in the whole entire area, were just crushed shells, and narrow one lanes.


Front of the house, for some reason we did not get a full view picture. Until a few years ago the house had been rented out to the same person for 18 years. To say the least it was not in tip top condition when he took it over a few years ago.Still needs some sprucing up but Mike has brought it a long way from what it looked like.


The back yard, one of the only lots that don’t have a dock. His father never put one in. The bay inlet there is not man made.


Nest door docks, and view of the bigger houses.


This house I believe Mike said ,belongs to the guy who owns John Deere


Some of the styles of houses, some had huge garage doors and garages, which Mike said inside are loaded with antique cars.


Next door neighbors infinity pool.

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Unique mail box décor.


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We ate a late lunh at this place which is right at the beach. Lunch was very good.

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South beach

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Another view of the beach.


Walk along the beach


Me, Mike, and his girl friend Anne-Marie, looking for shells


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Some of the nice shells we found on South beach on Marco Island.

Marco Island, and Isle of Capri are for sure, for the wealthy, Mike’s neighbors include, the owners of Allied Van Lines and John Deere Tractor. It was a great day like I said, and I am lucky to still have a good amount of my childhood friends, as FRIENDS.


Saturday we went on a guided fossil expedition in the peace river. YES, in the river. (You mainly find shark teeth and bone pieces on these hunts sometimes Mammoth and other ancient land creatures teeth and bones) We drove up to Arcadia Florida about an hour or so north of us. There we had a 10 o’clock meet up, at the Winn-Dixie parking lot, with Mark Lentz of Fossil Expeditions Inc. . Once everyone met, there were 10 of us. We all drove two miles to the county park, and parked at the boat ramp. We then got our shovels, and sifters, and walked about 1/4 mile along the Peace river to our entry point. We had no idea what to expect, we did not know if it was a gentle grade into the water or right in to three feet deep. When we got to the entry point, Mark gave us our last minute instructions. The water will be a little chilly, but the air temp will be good. Also there are two alligators in the area, but they have not been a problem. With that we all proceded to go in. Yes, the water was chilly, but after a minute or two it felt better. Melissa, and a lady, stayed out a bit and took pictures, then they proceded to come in. We all were in the water at about 10:30 or so.

fossil equipment

Tools of the trade, a long handled shovel and a home made sifter.

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This is after about a minute or two in the water. Mark was giving us pointers on how to shovel and sift. You dig a hole in the sand bottom, past the first 6 inch layer of gravely material(where you may find some teeth), then another 6 inch layer of sand, then down to the good layer, where you will find bigger teeth and bones. Basically your digging a large round hole about 2 feet into the sand bottom, and it is not as easy as it looks. The sand is heavy and you are bending over, bringing the shovel up to the sifter person. Once you deposit your sand into the sifter, they shake it and that leaves all the gravel, and hopefully any shark teeth and bones.

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It was a very nice day ,very sunny and about 75 degrees.

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Hi missy ,i’m digging in the water, come join me.


All of us soon were finding some small teeth and fragments of bones and stuff. Mark would come by to each couple every so often and see what you had, and offer some pointers on what to look for. We were in the water until 3p.m. . Melissa and I were in the river about 4.5 hours. We did not get out for lunch, others did and they had a very hard time getting back into the chilly water. When we got out it was hard to move and bend our legs and ankles. We then walked the 1/4 mile back to our vehicles, and everyone took out there finds, and let Mark go over them to see what was found. Every one found ancient teeth, from different kinds of sharks. Also most every one found in one form or another bones and fragments of bone.


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This is Mark, 35 years of guiding and a major figure in the fossil world. It was great to meet him. His trusty dog Darwin, he patrolled the banks looking out for gators. Missy was chest high in water as you can see by her shirt.


This is all of our finds, over 150 pieces.


Close up of all our fossilized bone, and a few tusk pieces, some are small to 3-4 inchs


Another close up.


These are worm holes. Made by ancient worms crawling through the mud and then they harden and fossilize. Ancient people painted them and made necklaces and bracelets out of them


All these pieces are from 1 inch to 3 inch or so, they are all pieces of ancient armor(Shell) from turtles, armadillos, and other creatures that had armor.


Close up of the armor pieces.


Whale tooth about 2 inch long


Alligator teeth, one on left about 1 inch long, on right almost 2 inch long

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This piece is about one inch long x 3/4 of an inch wide, it is a very small piece of the top portion of a mammonth tooth.




The piece we found is similar to one of the small ovals in the bottom of the picture.


Ancient Alligator vertabra, about 1-1/2 inch round


Close up of vertabra

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This is all of the shark teeth we found, from all kinds of different sharks, most an inch or so big. People do find 6 -7 inch teeth now and then but not this day for us.


Snaggletooth shark tooth, 1-1/2 inchs long, a good find


Sand-Tiger shark tooth, about 2 inch long, our best find, Mark showed it around to everyone.

Also in with all of our bone pieces, Mark found 3 or 4 pieces of Megalodon bone. About 3 inch long and narrow, he knew because of the way they were fractured. Megalodon, lived 60 million years ago. It was a giant shark, 60 feet in length and weighing over 100,000 pounds. He said we are now considered Meggies, in the fossil world, as we found fragments of bones.

It was a great and exciting day, and also a great learning experience into the world of fossils. We will do it again. We also bought his book “Megalodon, which he signed.

In the book I came across this verse which is fitting I guess.

“Seventy one percent of earth’s surface today is covered by water, and 80 percent of all lifeforms interact beneath the seas. The average depth of the oceans is 3,795 feet,(while land is 840 feet above sea level), and the deepest spot on earth is the Marianas trench in the pacific ocean, at 39,000 feet. This depth is deeper than the tallest mountain is tall. Ninety-five percent of all habitat space on our planet exist in the oceans. What a wonderful hiding place for a 60 foot shark that everyone thinks is extinct”


Tea Anyone!

Cypress held at Tea Party so I attended with my friend Jean.  It was my very first Tea Party and I learned a lot about tea from our host Debi.   I never realized that Lipton or Salada tea isn’t very good.  Actually very few tea’s in a bag are good.  White tea and a tea infuser are the way to go.

Vintage pastel and floral china tea cups lined up in rows and in stacks.

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Debi and her group of people put on a Great Tea Party with many, many tea sandwiches and desserts that were delicious.  If you left hungry it was your own fault!





Getting Settled in Cypress Trails

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We are now on a relaxing mode here in Cypress Trails. From January 10th – 17th my sister Jennifer and her husband Doug arrived from Niagara Falls to spend the week with us here in Cypress Trails in Ft. Myers.   We definitely kept them busy all week.

Saturday the 11th we started off with breakfast at the Club House and an afternoon at the pool.  Later that night we went to “The State Event, ” which Dave & I went to last year. It was even bigger and better this year.   People from various states in the park get together to form a celebration of their state. They provide food & drinks that their state is known for and everyone that attends gets to choose their favorite food. Lots of good eats and drinks!

Sunday off to the Waffle House, Dave’s favorite place for breakfast!

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And then off to The Shell Factory.  Which as a gift shop,  Nature Park, which has exotic animals from other countries many of which I never heard of.

Shell factory sign


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A white bird kept following Dave around the pen saying “Hello”


And they had Dinosaurs too …………………

dinosaur sign


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The Shell factory was entertaining to say the least.  Followed by a day at the pool and a beautiful night to sit outside.




Monday the 13th we took Doug & Jennifer to the beach

  We went to Sanibel Island to Bowman’s Beach it was a great beach day.





And then to he J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge which is part of the United States National Wildlife Refuge System, located in southwestern Florida, on Sanibel Island in the Gulf of Mexico.

ding enterance

ding darling scene





And then to Mel’s Diner for dinner.  Mel’s has been in Florida for many years and started out in an old truck stop building and now is the restaurant you see below.  There is a total of 5 Mel’s Diner in this area of Florida.  Mel’s has great food at reasonable prices! (A bit of advertising for them).

Mel's diner ent

Inside Mel’s Diner they had a small Buffalo/North Tonawanda corner which included a Wurlitzer Drive sign and memorabilia like Jim’s Kelly’s picture with his autograph.  A little bit of home inside Mel’s.




Tuesday the 15th we spent the day with Bob & Stella Spangler.

Bob & Stella owned the cabin in Holland that is before Doug & Jennifer’s cabin going up on the left side of the road before the creek.  They live in Naples for the winter months.  We met them at their condo and the 6 of us headed out!

Our 1st stop:  Naples Pier

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Our 2nd Stop: Clam Pass Beach Park

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To get to Clam Pass Beach Park  you can walk or take a tram from the parking lot down a three-quarters-mile long boardwalk through a mangrove forest.  After that, a small boardwalk gets you to a beautiful white sandy beach.

shut to clam pass


TRAIN        mangroves train

clam pass boardwalk

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We had an amazing day with Bob & Stella lots of spectacular scenery.  Many Thanks to the Spangler’s.


As we keep on Truckin:  On the 15th we headed out to the Edison & Ford Winter Estates.

In 1886, inventor Thomas Edison purchased land along the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers and built a winter home called The  Seminole Lodge where he and his wife Mina wintered until the inventor’s death in 1931. Wanting to spend the winters with the Edison’s, their friends Henry Ford and his wife Clara purchased the adjacent property in 1915 and built a bungalow-style house naming it The Mangoes.

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 The Winter Estates features over 20 acres of  botanical gardens and  over 1,700 plants and one of the largest Banyan trees in the U.S.




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And next: Muscle Car City Museum


Muscle Car City is a museum with well over 170 vintage ’50s to early ’70s muscle cars. Featuring classic cars and hot rods spanning 35 years of makes and models.  The museum we found out was an abandoned Walmart.  Perfect place to show all his cars.

celery     truck



Dave & I were here last year and we wanted Doug & Jennifer to see the museum too.


Thursday the 16th

Jennifer & Doug went to visit friends and Dave & I went to see Dave’s brother Jeff & Donna who were also in Ft. Myers.  We met them at Mel’s Diner for lunch




It was to see Jeff & Donna!!

The 17th was our last day before Jennifer & Doug left for Niagara Falls.

We relaxed once again at the pool and rested up for a fun night of dancing. Cypress had a 50’s-80’s dance night! and we danced the night away!


Elvis was even here

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We were Happier than ol’ Blue layin’ on the porch chewin’ on a big ol’ catfish head. Grinnin’ like a possum eatin’ a sweet tater. (It’s a Southern thing)  In other words we had a wonderful visit with them!



They were dropping like flies, people were running from under trees, panic ruled the morning. Not really but yesterday morning an alert went out over the radio, Tv ,and internet, to watch for falling Iquana.


It got down to 35 degrees, here in Fort Myers, and 40 in Miami.  It hasn’t been that cold in almost 10 years they said. Iquana, sleep in trees, they range in size from a foot to six feet long or so. In Key Largo it was not un common to see 4 to 5 footers all the time. They are invasive here in Florida and come from South America, where it is not cold. You can hunt them all year long. They eat all kinds of stuff, including plastic, and wiring. Sometimes you hear of one getting fried, because it ate through a power cable.

Well yesterday as it got cold, there bodies began to shut down and they go comatose. When that happens they just fall out of trees, sometimes they die from the fall or just lay there till it warms up. If you are under one when it falls, you are going to get hurt.

When they fall a lot of people go get them and put them in the freezer. They then sell them to markets for there meat. Today there is a lot of meat for sale. Who knew, now you know a little history of Iquanas. Also pythons freeze in the cold lets hope a lot of them die.


Friday, January 3rd, was our last day of volunteering, and had our exit interview with the volunteer cowardanator. Our work camping is over. We are now in Fort Myers. It has been quite an interesting 3 month stay. When we first got here, we had no idea really of what we were even going to do. Hosting (cleaning bathrooms and the camp sites after people leave) is the first thing people think of, because all parks have volunteers for that. This park being so big has other positions for volunteers. We were never asked to host, so we were in the dark.  I was put in shop/maintanace for the first month of our stay. I worked three days a week, or 20 hours. My duties, included working with almost all of the 14 rangers they have here. We did parking spot paver removal and replacement. Working in the wood shop on different projects. Cleaning of the beach area. Emptying of the recyclable containers. Trimming of trees, and brush, and a few other things I can’t remember any more. Almost all of this work is outside. October was a hot month, and more than a few days i was beat. All in all that was a fun position. Melissa started working with the volunteer cowardinator, in her office. Doing general office work and things like that. At first it took her awhile to adjust but she did.

In early November things changed a little for us. Melissa, was asked to work at the visitor center. The first place people go. There they have a large aquarium, and a movie on the coral reef. She greeted guests ,and answered questions that they had on the park. Then she was asked to work at the entrance gate. This is the first place people come into the park, they pay there fees, have many questions and are quidded to the parking areas. There is one maybe two other rangers there at all times. This is not an easy job, It was a little trying at times, but Melissa got used to it. So for the last month and a half, she has been on and off to all three of those jobs. I think she did great, and give her a lot of credit. Most volunteers here have one job only.

I was asked to be a greeter at the other state park down the road. My job was simple, I greeted people as they came in , gave them a brief history of  how the park came to be, go over the trails they were about to walk, and what to look for. Also and most importantly, give them the little blue envelope, so they could put there entrance fee in. I worked there three days a week for the rest of our time workcamping. I will say it was fun and a learning experience for me. I met people from all over the world, was outside all day, and no other park people were there, so I was on my own.

So you might ask how was it, this work camping gig, for three months.

For me it was a very rewarding experience. I had a lot of fun doing it, and felt part of something. It was at times, hard, easy, boring, busy, tiring. A few things I wasn’t fond of was getting up at 6:30 sometimes, and wearing a uniform shirt. I never really wore a button down shirt before let alone tucked in. What I did like, was the feeling of being a part of it all, and the weather, warm ,sunny most days. So now that it is over, would I do it again, Yes, I would.


As Dave mentioned I had different jobs but that made it a challenge. I would also agree that is was a good feeling to be part of a great organization like The Florida State Parks. It was a great opportunity to work with the Rangers, who were all great and have such a great group of Volunteers to be our neighbors!



There are 14 park rangers working here. Emerita, Dan, Serena, Chris, Drew, James, Mary, Shep, Bob, Rebecca, Lindsey, Liz, Michael, Ronnie. They range in age from 25 to 65. Some are married and some are single. Every one of them is very nice and pleasant. We got to know all of them, some a little better than others. It was a pleasure to get to know and work with them. Only a few have the same job every day, all the rest rotate , from opening early to the gate to maintanace, and other day to day operations of the park. So they all wear different hats. When you visit the park you do not see all the inner workings of it. Volunteering you get to see all aspects of how a state park works. We started to feel part of it as time went on, that was a pretty neat feeling, being only volunteers. The parks rely heavily on there volunteers. We both enjoyed working with them all.


Our little village, it has 6 Rv spots. They are tucked away behind one of the main bathhouses. The visiting camper does not have access to it. So it was pretty private. Out in the campground there are two Rv spots for volunteers who do hosting duties. We all got along good together, (sometimes they don’t), we had get to gethers for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Paled around doing other things, and generally all had a great time.


Bill and Barb from Ohio, they still own a house and part time Rv. This was there first time volunteering.


Lisa (on the right) from Florida, does not own a house, she is a full timer, and has volunteered many times.


Brian and Audrey from New Hampshire, do not own a house,and fulltime Rv, they have volunteered at a campground before, and have of all things house sitted for people, before they started Rving.


Dan and Jackie from California, do not own a house, and fulltime Rv, and have done lot’s of volunteering all over the country.


Charles and Mendy from Georgia, they still own a house, and part time Rv, and have volunteered before.


Frank and Lois, from Ohio, they own a house, and part time Rv. This was there first time volunteering.

All a great group of people!. In closing it was a great learning experience for both of us.



We are now in Fort Myers. Staying at Cypress Trails Rv resort for a month. Our work camping gig in Key largo is in the books. We were here last year about this time also. We left Key Largo about 10 and got here about 2 or so. It was a drive of 195 miles. It felt very weird driving with the 5er behind us. I am composing a post on our work camping experience and should have it done soon. Below is a pic of our spot here.