#FloridaForty Day 16 Marathon to Islamorada

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We actually learned how to say the city’s name correctly after saying it incorrectly for months.  We had been saying ‘Is-lam-a-do-ra’ (I don’t know why).  One of the ladies at the Visitor’s Center told us that there are two ways to say it.  The Spanish is ‘Is-la-mor-a-da’ where the “is” is pronounced like the English word “is.”  And the Portuguese version ‘I-la-mor-a-da’ where the “is” is pronounced like it is in “Island” and the “s” is silent.

In 1935, there was a hurricane that came onto land and killed over 300 civilians and servicemembers.  A monument was decided to their sacrifice, and included their cremated remains.

We took a little break from learning to go souvenir shopping.

Back to learning…It seems like the kids are starting to like what we like: National Parks and the history behind them.

Biscayne National Park has some great history.  One name you should check out is Sir Lancelot Jones.  Click Here to learn more.

On our way to our campground, we knew we needed to pick up a few items, but we are absolutely tired of going to Walmart, so thankfully we found an Aldi.

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We pulled into our campground right before the rain started.  It stopped long enough for Mackenzie and Gig-Up to get a chance to try their hand at fishing.

God even smiled at us with a beautiful rainbow.

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#FloridaForty Day 15 Key West to Marathon

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We did school before we headed out for the day. The view was phenomenal!

As we headed to Marathon, we couldn’t help but wonder how quickly some of these businesses got back up and running after Hurricane Irma.

It seems that the smaller, mom and pop type stores and businesses, had to get in and re-open since their livelihood depended on it, whereas some of the bigger chains are able to stay closed until they are completely remodeled.

Many people lost a majority of their homes and were forced to get back in there, clean out and salvage what they could, and leave the damage on the side of the road.

It is amazing, though, that the locals, while they have been greatly affected, are still so hospitable.

One store owner, when she found out we have 4 kids and homeschool, gave us over $20 of free books about Florida for them to have.

We found a pavilion behind city hall, overlooking the water, to have lunch.  We hadn’t packed anything, so pizza it was!

#FloridaForty Day 14 Dania Beach to Key West

These past few days have been slammed packed with fun and new sights!!

Driving down, through all the Keys, on the Seven Mile Bridge, to Key West was only half the fun.

Our first stop in Key West was the historic “The Southernmost Point” of the U.S.  Literally 90 miles behind this point is the county of Cuba.  Pretty surreal.

We decided to park here and just walk around the city.

Our first stop took us to the end of Highway U.S. 1, at mile marker 0.  It runs 2,369 miles from Kent. ME to Key West, FL.

Further down, and pretty obvious, are two giant kissers.

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You have to get a picture of that.

Of course, after all this walking, in the sun, the kids were “dying” and needed some ice cream to re-energize their bodies.

Had to get the big kids something too, so we got some pralines at River Street Sweets Candy Kitchen.

We also got our fix at the Harley store!

Don’t think we are horrible parents, but we had ice cream and sweets before lunch. 🙂

And, we had the perfect spot to eat lunch…so, we just had to wait to get there before eating it!  Fort Taylor beach picnic area is awesome!

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We enjoyed Fort Taylor, too!

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Kelly looked up two headstones in the Key West cemetery that had some humor in their death.  That’s the way I want to go when I do…at least they can laugh some too!

Somehow, after getting back to the RV park, the kids had enough energy to go to the pool…

…and still be able to do schoolwork (oh, yeah, we started back again).

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What a day!

#FloridaForty Day 13 Taylor Creek to Dania Beach

What a day!  We started the day and finished it by eating some great food!

“The Crack” (Cracker Barrel) in the morning….

And finished the day at a local bar and grill, The Florida Boy (William even had Fish Tacos).

In between those food endcaps, we saw some sights, went To The Moon, saw Santa, sat on the beach, met the elephant’s cousin, and visited another Harley Dealership.

After eating, we went to Manatee Lagoon.  It is a place where the manatee come to enjoy the warm water.  When Kelly took the picture of the kids listening to the manatee, we thought they were really into learning about them.  Come to find out, they were listening to the sound they make when they fart.  Should have known!

Picked up some cool souvenirs too!  Could you have guessed that the manatee is a cousin of the elephant based on this one in a stocking?

We stopped at the W. Palm Beach Harley and had some stares as we drove the RV around their tight parking lot…”don’t worry, we won’t hit your bikes!”

After seeing the Harleys that we like to ride, the little kids wanted to ride too.

So we took them to Sugar Sand Park in Boca Raton to ride a carousel.

Next, it was To The Moon, (http://tothemoonmarketplace.com/) a small novelty shop that has all the popular candies of the past two hundred years and from over 60 countries.

Of course the kids were in heaven…and so was Kelly, literally like a kid in a candy store.

Had to see Santa and this amazing Christmas Village at The Christmas Palace in Fort Lauderdale!

As the day got warmer, and the showers looked like they were going to miss us, we stopped at a great beach, with a lot of history.  Check out this link to read a little about it: Dr. Von D. Mizell-Eula Johnson State Park

We arrived at our campground just before dark, did necessary laundry, got the kids bathed, had a cup of coffee, and that was all she wrote.  We were worn out.

#FloridaForty Day 12 Okeechobee to Taylor Creek

FB_IMG_1515331347736Got up early to catch the sunrise.   What a beautiful treat God gives us each day!

We saw a flea market while in Okeechobee the other day and decided to let the kids experience their first one.

We tried to make it to Lake Okeechobee to have a picnic,  but couldn’t figure out how to cross a waterway that would take us to it, so we found a cute park in downtown.

Out final night here at this beautiful park was spent around the campfire, of course, complete with pork chops, chicken legs, potatoes, squash, zucchini, and for dessert-fudge stripe smores.

 

#FloridaForty Day 11 Frostproof to Okeechobee

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Another successful city sign picture, minus the ant pile Madison stepped in!  We spent the next 5 minutes stomping, and slapping, and swatting ants off of her pants and shoes!

Kelly has been craving her strawberry soda that she grew up with.  And since there is no Winn-Dixie in N. Georgia anymore, we had to make a stop.

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Don’t let the smiles fool you-one of them was just crying about not having a small cart to push around…I won’t tell which one is was, but he stopped crying as soon as he had one too 🙂

We found a fresh food market on the side of the road and Kelly knew it would be great to have some good eating with her bratwurst for dinner.  So we picked up some squash, zucchini, serrano peppers, onions, and some fresh potatoes.

Needless to say, dinner was a success.

We spent a good deal of the day outside in the sun at the campground.  It is a beautiful place.  It is a State Prairie Preserve so we were away from civilization about 25 miles and the park ranger and camp volunteers were amazing.

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One of the camp volunteers, Mr. Allen, who knows more about the celestial images than most I would say, was kind enough to allow us to look through his specially filtered binoculars to look at the sun as well as his high powered telescope at night to see the stars!

It is looking like we are headed towards warmer weather!

#FloridaForty Day 10 Groveland to Frostproof

We are 1/4 of the way through our trip.  And finally a day of sun, so we made the most of it!

With the all the cold we have had, each of the last few nights, we’ve gone through quite a bit of propane.  So, once again, we headed to Walmart, but this time we loaded up so it should keep us a few days from having to go back.

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We stopped by the last Harley Davidson of Orlando to pick up another poker chip.

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Driving through downtown Kissimmee, we stopped at a massive structure, called the “Monument to States” and discovered a beautiful memorial to veterans of Kissimmee, FL.

And how can you travel through Florida without tasting their orange juice? No better place than to get it than Florida’s Natural Orange Juice Visitor Center, right across from their plant.