Friday, March 31, 2017

Myakka Memories: January, February and March

From Myakka River Motorcoach Resort, Port Charlotte, Florida        The new year rolled around without much notice inside our coach since we didn't attend the New Years party.  The next three months brought much the same fun as the previous two, except now there were more new people to meet. It was great.  Covering 90 days here, I'll mostly let the pictures cover the highlights.

A day trip to walk Stump Pass beach in Englewood with friends.
Pam and Joyce take a rest after our beach stroll. 

Nearby Englewood beaches are easy to reach.
Here, Charlie, removes sandy shoes after our walk.

Ernie's shoes filled with sand during our walk.
This day the six of us ate lunch at Lock and Key Restaurant before strolling the beach at Stump Pass.
In mid January, Pam, Ernie, Wayne and I took our coaches to the 2017 RV Show in Tampa Wednesday through Saturday. We ran into several of our friends during the show. Joyce and Charlie came up for a day with us. The weather was perfect this year.
On our way to the show, we girls discovered we had formed an unofficial "tan and black" group.
Cindy, me, Pam and ?? (forgot) 
Golf. Lots of golf was played over the winter months. We even played in the resort tournament. A first for me. Just down the road from our resort, we played our favorite course, Riverwood and took a series of lessons from Bob Ridge, the head pro. Our lessons package included use of the superb practice facilities.

Wayne getting a golf a "tweak" from Bob Ridge. 

A day in Naples with Joyce and Charlie included lunch at Snook Inn on Marco Island. 

My new neighbor and friend, Mary and her 15 year old Maltese, Tessa.
Sadly, sweet little Tessa would pass away in late April. I cried for days.

The Myakka gators always provide sightseeing and photo opportunities. This big guy sunned himself here often. 

Our Valentines Day picture. Thank you, Bruce.
Those who have known me for a long time know that I don't dance. No real reason... just never learned. But this season, Theresa Smart, a guest at Myakka, convinced me to participate in her line dance class. I had a blast... and after much effort, Theresa managed to teach four line dances. Our group showed off our skill at a pool party in February.

There were always gatherings at Myakka that would include food, drink, music and dance. Pictures below are of the Oldies themed night, I believe.

Lou Ann in the foreground. Amber in the background

Yes, we can line dance. This particular party night, we invited Pam, Ernie, Joyce and Charlie to join us at Myakka.
Left to right, Cindy, Cathy, me, Pam, Sara, Jean and I don't know the last one's name. 

Participation is the key to insanity.
Here, Cindy and I try our hand at bongo drums while Pam sharpens her skill on the cow bell. 

Pam and Ernie burning up the dance floor. Cathy looks on. 

Our "old friends" day started with lunch on the Sunset Patio and swimming in the pool below.
L-R, Joyce, Scott, Wayne, Charlie and Ernie.
Dinner at Farley's on the Water and then the dance party in the clubhouse. 

A walk along Myakka dock with Joyce and Pam.
This one was taken at Farley's On The Water. That's Joyce and me. 

Here's to friendship!  At Farlows On The Water. 
 I did manage to remember to take a few pictures during one of our final Neighborhood Walk Around evenings. By this time, we knew almost everyone in the park.

Pickleball pals, Shirley (who taught me so much) and Mary.

Hard to see because of the sun overhead, but Wayne (yellow shirt) is riding "The Beer Wagon" which is his bike, pulling Lexie and Ozzie's wagon, filled with cold beer.
Others, (L-R) are Laurie and Bruce on the cart, Shirley, Cathy, Scott and Mary.

Dave, Cindy and Jean

The pool. Ahhh, it was simply fabulous at Myakka. A constant perfect temperature. We enjoyed it several times. A loosely formed Sunday water volleyball game was played on Sunday afternoons. 

Golf. Mary is in great form.
She got new clubs for next year too. 

We made a change in our sleeping arrangement over these few months. After Lexie had three falls from the bed (two in her sleep), we began building the nightly fence to keep her safe. Wayne is a good man. He never complained.

We celebrated Joyce's birthday in early March by starting the day with a tour of Alligator Bay Rum Distillery.
The scent burned in my memory for days.....  

Once Joyce was properly adorned in her tiara, we took the boat ride from Leverocks across the channel to have lunch at Rum Bay.  The celebration included her bucket cocktail drink from a nearby table.  
Then there was the St. Patrick's Day dinner of cornbeef, cabbage and potatoes. First I've ever eaten and it was delicious. Naturally, when the music started, our line dance group raced to the floor at every opportunity to use our new dance skill.

Janice, Laurie (behind me), Jan and Bob. We're the die hards. 

Another great group afternoon outing is the ride from Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island. Scott, Mary, Larry, Cathy, Tony, Wayne and I made a Sunday afternoon visit there for drinks at this beach bar and dinner at another great restaurant named, simply... Sisters.

Sitting around the table, clockwise, me, Wayne, Cathy, Tony, Larry, Mary and Scott.

No pictures at Sisters Restaurant, but here we go directly from dinner to the ice cream store across the street. That's where I discovered my newest favorite ice cream flavor: Trash Can. That's Tony and Cathy.
Wildlife is abundant around Myakka. Along with alligators, our lakes held plenty of fish and a few otters. Lots of raptors, a couple bald eagles and a huge variety of shore birds.

A killdeer made her ground nest near our coach. Wayne protected her four large speckled eggs with a "Bird Nest - Don't Mow" sign taped to one of our patio chairs. The lawn guy laughed and took a picture. 

More golf. This afternoon, I rode while Wayne and Scott paired up with two others for 9 holes at Riverwood. 

St. Patty's dinner photo with our pickleball pro, Bob Oakley. 

The killdeer and her nest... 4 eggs... to the far left... hard to see.
One of our final March Friday evening Meet N Greet gatherings. I remembered to take a few pictures...
Mary and Ron Lee. They bought a lot here. They are from Wyoming. 

Shirley and Ken are from Canada 

Virginia and Cleve bought a lot at Myakka this year. They're from Vermont.

Jan and Bob Oakley bought a lot too. They are full-timers. 

Sweet Margaret.  

Ruthie and Ron joined us late. From Michigan.
They both learned to play pickleball this year too. 

Nan. Another fun pickleball partner. Her husband is Ron. They play golf too. 

Dave and Lou Ann are from Knoxville. He is my verbal sparring partner.
They have a lovely lot and casita at Myakka. 

Shrimp boil. Afterward, a group of us went out for trash can ice cream.
L - R Bob, Jan, Phil, me, Wayne, Scott and Mary. Phil's wife, Theresa is the photographer. 

There's Theresa, our dance instructor.
Not a birthday or anniversary. Just a piece of leftover lemon pie for Phil.

Wayne and Mary at the shrimp boil 
One of our last outings with neighbors was at Beach Road Wine Bar and Bistro in Englewood.
Tony and Larry 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Pickleball Addiction

From Myakka River Motorcoach Resort, Port Charlotte, Florida

Myakka Activities Director, Carol Black. 
In early November I was one of about four people attending one of the resort's first "Pickleball Basics" courses of the winter 2016 season. Pickleball was taught by Carol Black, activities director at Mykka.

The winter crowd isn't here yet so the crowd is small. A group plays every morning around 8 a.m. and I decided to get in on this sport early enough to play all season. Everyone was helpful in teaching and coach me toward improvement.

My first pickleball paddle

I played pickleball with a borrowed paddle the first few weeks. I also attended the next couple of "basics" courses to glean everything possible from Carol about the game. I loved it!

Within a week, I knew I was hooked and after the second week, I ordered my very own paddle, carrying bag and a sleeve of balls.

Ironically, I developed a tenderness my right knee and couldn't use my new paddle for about two weeks. I still went to pickleball every morning and watched the others play.

Wayne isn't interested.

The November group of pickleball players totaled about six people, sometimes more and usually included Carol and a few seasoned players who graciously took turns teaming up with me.

It didn't take long for me to become addicted to pickleball.  I played every morning and stayed as long as there were players with whom I could practice. The group was great, not too serious and eager to share whatever they could to improve my game.

Bill and Ken are playing against Carol and Bruce
Myakka has three nice pickleball courts. One is dedicated to pickleball and the other two other use the adjacent tennis court where two temporary nets are placed. It would be a long time before we used all three pickleball nets but by January, the pickleball group had grown to more than 15, sometimes 20 players.

By January, I began hearing about Myakka's Annual Pickleball Tournament. I was all in. By this time, I was working on strategies and ball placement. Wayne still didn't have an interest.

The day of the 2017 tournament finally came and the weather was perfect. I played well and enjoyed every game. Wayne didn't attend a single game in which I played. I was furious for weeks.

That's me... Serving in one of the final matches in the tournament. 

Intense concentration --  keep  your eye on the ball. That's the secret.
By now, I had a second paddle in hopes Wayne would play.  I used it in the tournament.

Tournament participants.
Ron, Big Bill, Phil, Carol, Shirley, Ken, Mary, me, Bob, Doug, Scott, Doug, Oscar, Cleve, Dick, Allen and Bruce.
To the far left, Jan keeps score.
A potluck lunch after the tournament. Certificates were presented.
Carol, Bob and me. I'm one of four "most improved" pickleball players.
Wayne didn't attend the awards luncheon.  I steamed but did eventually recover. 

My friend, Phil was one of two mens "most improved" at Pickleball. 

Scott was a "Most Improved" player too. 
And my friend Mary won the coveted "Most Improved for next year" trophy.
It's a pickleball stuck to the lid of a jar of pickles. 

It was no surprise Shirley and Bob were the 2017 Champions.
All three of these folks taught me to play better and to love pickleball!