Well, we are home from our adventures in southwest Florida. The traveling to and fro went well and the time down there was wonderful. The vacation marked a milestone for me. It was the first vacation in which I did not have to do my work while on it since 1991! It did not feel too much different from the previous ones, probably because I have not had to wake up at 4:15 and do my regular work for almost 2 years now. None the less, it was so nice to be able to be free from the workload and worries while on vacation!

The weather was beautiful. A bit hot, but I have found that I am way more tolerant of the heat and humidity while on vacation in FL or the Caribbean than I am when home. Temps topped out in the low 90’s just about every day and the sky was free from clouds until the last two days of our vacation and even on those days, it was not a solid overcast. The evenings down there were even nicer than the daytime. There is just something about the sun going down on the west coast of FL that is extra relaxing.

We stayed at the townhome that my older brother had purchased for my parents and got a pool pass that was put to good use both at daytime and in the evening. The pool closed at dark because it did not have any lights, but on a couple of occasions we went down for a last minute dip. One of those was the second night there and I was able to capture the sun setting in the west and painting the sky in yellows and oranges, with the blue of the pool in the foreground. As serene as that shot was, just 50 feet away was a pond that had this creature swimming around in it! Thankfully there was a retaining wall between it and the pool and we did not have to share the pool with it! Pretty cool to see a 6 foot alligator in the wild though. There were also manatees in the marina that is connected to the gulf and a couple of evenings we went to check them out. Here is Grace watching for one to surface to take a breath on the last night we were there. Here is a shot Nora took of one surfacing.

The one downside to the community that the townhouse was in was that it did not have direct access to the beach. In fact, the closest gulfside beach was about 45 minutes away at Ft Meyers. We did plan a trip to the beach, but not Ft Meyers. I had done some research and found a beautiful beach on Gaspirlla Island, almost due west of where we were staying. The beach was as beautiful as my research had indicated and not too crowded either. Back in in September of last year, hurricane Ian made a direct hit on where we were staying with winds of 155 mph. Many of the buildings withstood the wrath of the storm quite well, thanks to the updated building codes, although a handful of the roofs did have damage and even though it was around 6 1/2 months since the storm hit, there were quite a few rooftops without the shingles, just a weather proof barrier. At the beach, there was also a sailboat still there from when the storm tore it from its moorings and pushed it up onto the beach.

It’s hard to believe, but this was the first time to the Gulf of Mexico beach that Grace will be able to remember. The other two times, she was about 6 months old and 18 months old. So she was quite excited for us to get to the beach and was rewarded with a nice shell to remind her of our trip to the beach.

On Friday, I met up with one of my best friends from high school. I had not seen him in around 15 years, but as happens with an old friend, it was like we had seen each other just the other day. We went to lunch, then to his brand new home and then to a shooting range where we took turns firing one of his 9mm handguns and then a .357 magnum, which was rented from the store we were at. I have a 9mm, but don’t fire it too often. I have never fired a .357 before and it was quite the experience! I can’t see the reason why I would ever need a weapon like that. If I lived in grizzly bear territory, that would be a different story, but I will say, it was a thrill to fire that hand-cannon!

On the final night there, Nora and I were inside winding down, while Grace was in the lani, writing her next story. She has around a half dozen under her belt and they are quite good. I believe that anyone reading them without knowing they were written by Grace would think they were written by an adult. One of her ambitions is to be a published writer and I have no doubt that she will be able to accomplish that.

So updates from the Keweenaw are kind of slim, other than to say I believe some of the FL heat found it’s way into our bags! Today’s high was 70 here in Jake and tomorrow we are suppose to warm into the mid to upper 70’s! Needless to say that the snow is melting fast. We are suppose to stay warm and dry until around Saturday, when some rains look to pass through and then cooler for the early part of next week. Maybe even a few snowflakes! That’s April in the Keweenaw alright!

It is my hope the we do not get too much rain and can return to warm and sunny weather after the current round we are in. The area around the new house is like a mud bog and it would be nice for it to dry up so I don’t have to worry about losing a boot coming to and from the house!

That does it for this one, blessings to all of you and…

Good Night from the Keweenaw..