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final edition of trip report.

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Hell, Michigan
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final edition of trip report.

Phew - done. Until the next time.

The one where there are four Wed March 25

My BFF and her family are leaving today - bittersweet. Bittersweet as it was great to have unlimited access to her, as we live in different states and our kids have such a fun time together. Bittersweet as it will be nice to be just us, spending the time together that we don’t get in our day to day life.

The weather continues to be crazy windy, with big waves. A little chilly on the beach before noon, by chilly I mean we are on the beach in bathing suits with cold drinks. Hub takes a turn at body surfing - he keeps yelling my name, expecting me to watch his every trick and move, like we’re newlyweds without 15 years and 2 kids behind us. Ha ha! I smile and wave a 2 minute intervals, as it benefits both of us. : )

The beach isn’t very crowded at all today, shelling continues to be lackluster and banana hammock man is nowhere to be seen.

After a late lunch, pool time and dinner at Matzaluna. We have our usual round of pizza and salad, with one kid having chicken fingers - but this time no bread and seasoned dipping oil is served. I watch as others around us receive this much anticipated treat, getting more disappointed by the moment. I ask for it - am told it will be a charge, as you only served bread if you order an entree. Ummmm - my son had an entree and we have always ordered only pizza and had bread. I ask about this, am told by our server that it must have been a mistake in the past. Ok - every time it was a mistake. Hmmmm.

The one with the cougar Thur March 26

Drive to Over Easy for breakfast - decide to give them another chance, some of you will remember the debacle we had here in November. Driving slowly up Tarpon Bay, schwwoop! Holy Cat Scratch Fever. What was that?? Stunned, I stop driving and we just sit there quietly staring into the Bailey Tract. Cougars aren’t only at happy hour, they also roam the island, seen by the lucky and the few.

Over Easy has earned my high marks again - breakfast was fab, no one refused to give Cutie Pie a mug of hot chocolate, I did not have to consider breaking my mug in protest. We shared a half melon, I ate eggs/bacon and toast, pancakes for cutie, omelet for daughter and fried eggs, ham with fried tomatoes (spoken with British accent, please) for hub.

Decide to visit the new CROW building - parked under the building, Hub yakking at me that I shouldn’t park there. What I heard “ blah blah blah blah blah” ( sort of like the Charlie Browns teacher) Go in - Beautiful, stunning, we are sucked in, all I want to do is pay my entrance dues and see the exhibits. Of course, I am a little bit of a chatter box, so I get in a long conversation with the volunteer manning the cash register. Purchase the family membership ($50 and 10% off any purchase). There are videos telling about the animals they’ve rehabbed, sample case files you follow along. Cameras into some of the cages - soon up will be cameras showing the rehabilitation of the critters. There was a story about Pelicans who got caught in Minnesota during a snow storm - they didn’t fly south in time. CROW rescued them, brought them to Sanibel. Cool, right?

On the way out - stop by the gift shop. One t-shirt will pay for a pelican for a week. A few shirts, stuffed armadillo and Ibis later, we leave.

Drive across the street to Ding Darling, pay the entrance fee. Not to exciting today, plenty of birds and raccoons, we listen in on a talk of about Mangroves which is interesting. My kids are surprised to learn that ‘ Mangos ‘ are grown in swamp like conditions... ha ha ha.

Hit the beach once again. The waves are HUGE - swells are at least 5 feet, there are at least 8 layers of waves coming ashore. The wind has not let up since we arrived, the gulf is normally calmer. Quite a few are enjoying the beach today, large groups of families have gathered. Body surfing is premium - young and old are having a go, even the dolphins are doing full body jumps over the waves.

We see the second wedding of our visit being set up at Waterside. We watch as a bamboo pavilion set up on the beach, it blows over several times, but finally stays upright recalling memories of a leaning tower in Piazza. Microphone, speakers and chairs are put in place, a singer practices for the ceremony. I lay on the sand, watching the dolphins, waves, Cutie Pie running around with crab claws stuck on the tips of his fingers while listening to Amazing Grace softly fill the air. Tears stream down my face at the wonder if it all; as I turn my head, I’m hit with a blast of sand. Now I’m wondering if salt and sand will be an effective exfoliator.

Sanibel Grill for dinner, we turn in early after a long day of activities and fresh air.

The One with the End in Sight Fri March 27

I wake up sad and apprehensive, knowing there are only 2 days left. Needing some quiet time, I get up early and go to Blind Pass by myself to explore. Parking lot on the Sanibel side is fairly full, diners are waiting on the porch of Sunset Grill. It is low tide, I can see a couple small tidal pools in the distance. There are bigger piles of shells here, more than I have seen all week on West Gulf. Walk, enjoying the views, searching thru piles of shells for an hour or so.

The Lions Club Art and Craft Show starts today, we bike, kids in tow. You can find everything here - great art, glass/pottery, clothes, pillows, food, ice cream, and most importantly - cotton candy flavored sno cones. I buy a couple prints, one an original, from an artist and begin my search for the perfect bowl. Find it. As my daughter and I are standing in the booth, admiring the pottery, I spy exactly what I have been looking for, being all the more meaningful, as it was found here. My daughter stands at my side, not touching a thing, exclaiming how beautiful everything is. As I pick up the bowl, a woman comes over, leans down over my kid and says “ These are breakable”!! I stare are her, momma bear mode. I tell the lady ( I use this term loosely, as no lady would speak to a child in this manner ) my daughter did nothing wrong, knows to respect others property and you have lost a big sale.

After this, we let the kids run around the new playground before heading home. It is seriously hot today, the winds aren’t as strong, off the beach. The waves are still high, but more disorganized, it is really choppy. I’m not brave enough to body surf in this, my hub tries, but doesn’t stay long. The water is rough, he says it keep pushing him in the wrong direction. After a couple hours here, we spend the rest of the day at the pool.

Decide on Lazy Flamingo for dinner, head to the original version on Santiva. Lazy Flamingo I is very different from II. At LF II, they have team servers, you are seated and served fairly quickly and efficiently. LF I, you wait in line at the bar, to put your name on a list for a table. Drinks and food are ordered here as well. Outside are bar tables and benches to enjoy cocktails and apps as you are waiting. Total party atmosphere - locals and tourists mingle together, kids playing and dancing to the music. Oh, All right, it was my kid who was dancing and singing to the music.

We wait about an hour for a table, while conversing with a ‘regular’ not a local. That is how he described himself. He gets the attention of a staff member, and tells him our drink order. I hand him a $20, the ‘regular’ hands it to the bartender, who sticks it in the tip jar. Apparently the ‘regular’ put our drinks on his ‘tab’ and I just paid 20 bucks for 2 kiddy lemonades, a diet coke and a beer. Moving on, we eventually get seated, get our food and eat. We got here about 5:30, it is now 7:30 and my kids have had it. Home and bed are up next on the agenda.

The one where they are finally friendly Sat March 28

Make coffee, take it to the beach for my morning walk. Holy Crap. The tide, which was supposed to be low, is wayyyyyy up, almost to the high tide line. The waves are crashing like crazy, the sea mist is blowing making it look like rain ahead. I am wishing my camera was here, instead of at the condo with an empty battery pack. That darn battery pack is going to be mad, when it finds out we went to Sanibel, leaving it behind in the charger.... ; )

Lighthouse Cafe for breakfast, just delicious as usual. I had the granola pancakes, tastes like a warm cookie with syrup drizzled on top. mmmm mmmmmm

I wish had something exciting to report, but we once again spend the day at the beach, forgetting about our plans to kayak at Tarpon Bay this morning. By the time we hit the sand, high tide has come in. I have never seen the tide as high, or so little beach exposed. As you look west, it looks like the waves and tide are covering most of the beach. In front of Waterside, there is still enough beach for loungers and chairs, for kids to play and moms to start water fights with their children. I try to get in the gulf, to body surf - but the waves keep pushing me out. There are some piles of shells toward Shalimar, but nothing worth taking home, at least to me.

Around 2 p.m., we eat a light lunch and spend the rest of the day at the pool. No dinner out tonight, we have to many leftovers and a frozen pizza. We make the last jaunt this trip to Pinnochios - only a few people hanging ‘round, saturdays on Sanibel are historically quieter than the rest of the week. I am happy to report that we were greeted when we walked in the door, we were treated with samples of the ice cream, and I am pretty sure that was a smile from the scooper person. The gal who takes the money, not so much. She’s worked her a long time, not sure if she is related to the owners or not - but SMILE, it would make you feel better, too.

Back to the condo - finish packing while hubby reads a book, drinking a beer. Grrrrr.

Sunday March 29

Good Bye Sanibel!!!! Cry on the sad lane, it is so difficult to leave.

On the plane ride home, hub is upgraded to First class, he offers it to me, but the kids are screaming for MOMMY. He says he’ll be back after take off to trade with me. 2.5 hours later, several bouts of turbulence and a Cutie Pie who looks like he is going to hurl, we see him again. Oh, well, There is always next time.

Captiva Island...
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1. Re: final edition of trip report.

I love, love, love part three! Thank you for taking the time to write it all three parts for us. I love the wedding part, especially the description of your cutie pie running around with the crab claws. I can't wait to visit the new C.R.O.W visitors center, we were there when it was under the pavilion and we just loved hearing about all they do there. Thanks again for sharing sunny!

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2. Re: final edition of trip report.

Love,love,love your trip reports!I think ou should make aniother trip,just so you can write another trip report.;)

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3. Re: final edition of trip report.

Thanks Sunny! I was at Oceans Reach during a tropical storm that was off-shore, the waves were huge and there was no beach to be seen. Pretty amazing isn't it!

I can totally relate to the mommabear thing too, that has happened to me and it makes my blood boil.

I have always been apprehensive about the Lazy Flamingo I, I wasn't sure if it was the right place for kids, now I think I will try it.

I will check out the new Crow too!

Southeast PA
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4. Re: final edition of trip report.

Oh Sunny, the more I read the more I wish we could extend our trip:::sigh:::

But I will graciously accept the time I do get!! Awww, no banana hammock send off on your last days?? What a shame...LOL! Your cutie pie sounds like he (boy,right?) would get along with my sweet pea! She would be dancin & singin right along :)

I want to start packing now! Thanks for a stupendous trip report Sunny...I am looking forward to your next trip!

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5. Re: final edition of trip report.

Well, Sunny, I have thoroughly enjoyed your writings. Better than the book I was reading. Loved it all & I guess I will give 'Over Easy' another try because of your comments. Very enjoyable!! Thanks:) Hope my daughter's beach wedding is as nice as the picture you painted...Thanks,again!

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6. Re: final edition of trip report.

I made granola pancakes this morning because your's sounded so good. I will have to try the ones at Lighthouse to see how mine compare.

Monmouth County,NJ
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7. Re: final edition of trip report.

I LOVED reading your trip report! I can just picture it all. 8 more days till it's my turn!

BTW, just wondering if the banana hammock guy is the same one that I used to see. Does he hang out by the Waterside or Sandy Bend? Just curious.....

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8. Re: final edition of trip report.

Sunny you have a book idea in these trip reports they are the best...even for those of us stuck in the north this year! And I am serious...it is awesome!

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9. Re: final edition of trip report.

Great trip report! Loved the Momma Bear Mode!

Hell, Michigan
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10. Re: final edition of trip report.

Thank you all for your kind accolades.

Banana hammock man walks toward Waterside, from the sandy bend area - WSD... do you know of him??? lol... I also saw a similar gentleman down around Somerset on the Reef, a couple years ago.

Mcnaught - the granola pancakes have granola, nuts and raisins in them, and are topped with bananas. I, of course, having enough 'bananas' on this trip, has for them on the side...

; ^ )