Let’s get Ready to RUMMMMMMMMBLE!!!!

So here we are, the first day of camp, well maybe not camp but today is the first day most of the people will be arriving for camp.

I left Boston yesterday because I was paranoid about possible weather complications and I wanted to do some sight seeing while I was here.

I left Boston at 7:10 on a Delta Airline’s flight to Atlanta. I had decided to spoil myself with first class seats on my flight since I was paying for it with the mileage I earned at my last job flying all over the place, and it was only an extra 10K miles to do the upgraded service. I was a little bit disappointed since the itinerary said “Brunch” for my flight and it consisted of Sun Chips, peanuts, granola bars, and those butter cookie things. It was nice in the seats though, very comfortable.

I did run into another problem as well with the MD mixes I made to listen to on the way down, apparently I compressed the songs wrong, so they would play on my NetMD(which is dying) but they won’t play on the other not NetMD that I got from FreeCycle. DOH, lesson learned… Joe had an old MD player he offered me since he has gone Ipod, so I am hoping it is a NetMD so I can use it on the way home… and I hope he remembered to bring it with him.

I then had a layover in Atlanta and was going to grab a fruit smoothie and danish or something for a snack, but I couldn’t find a Starbuck’s to use the $80 in gift cards I have, so I settled on just watching CNN instead of paying for a way over priced danish with my own money.

So I arrived in Fort Myers around 1PM and the weather was great, got off the plane and headed to Avis where I got a rental car. I was fortunate and got one for the rate that I got when I worked for my old company, apparently their discount code was still part of my profile with Avis, so I saved $30 on a severely over priced Florida Rental Car. I could have saved $40 had I gone with someone like Enterprise, but less hassle with Avis, plus I got an auto upgrade from compact to Intermediate. So yeah, I am here in FL cruising around in an Impala, but it doesn’t have 20 inch blades…

I spent the day sort of driving around with no real plans. I found the Manatee Park and spent a couple hours there, supposedly they had an area with alligators too, but I couldn’t find them… at least not a real one…

I then went and checked out the Caloosahatchee Creeks Wildlife Preserve. It was nice, with a walkway through out most of it. Almost no one was there so I sorta had it all to myself. The only real wildlife I was able to get a picture of were some big buzzards or some other type of bird who was circling, huge wingspan and graceful. I was hoping for some snakes or something, but no luck outside of a raccoon.

I also played hide and seek with the raccoon who was really good at hiding so I wasn’t able to get a shot of him. I was walking on the wooden walkway, and he was on the left, but he ran under it when I was about 5 feet from him. He then poked his head out the left side and I tried to get a shot but he went back under it. I was patient and waited about 15 minutes to try to get a shot, being real quiet and just standing there, but I heard nothing and saw nothing. I finally gave up and lay down on the walkway and over the side, looked underneath and saw nothing!! He had completely vanished with no sound.

Then I left and drive around and ended up at a “Scenic View” at the beach on North Cleveland Avenue in Cape Coral. It was a nice little spot with a small pier, beach and nice view of the water. There was a guy there who was casting a net to catch fish, he actually caught a couple while I was there.

I then left there and headed south to Saninbel Island. I hear people talk about it all the time so I wanted to see it for myself, plus it was about 5PM and in looking at the map I thought I would have a good shot at a nice sunset out on the island. So I paid my $6 toll to get onto the bridge, and stopped a couple times before I got to the island. Once was for a few pelican pictures, and the other was to take some picture of some guys who were kite surfing. I drove around for a bit and just kind of saw what there was. It has a nice feel to it, especially with the cute little names of places, but it definitely had the “tourist feel” to it.

While driving I had to pull over to the side of the road because there were fire engines coming the other way, normally this wouldn’t be anything of note, but this was the first time I have ever seen a fire engine pulling a boat before!!

I then made my way down to Captiva where I stumbled onto Bowman’s Beach. This beach was charming, and really nice. It was especially nice since the majority of beach on that side of the island is taken up by private communities. I got out there and it was so peaceful, and the sun had awhile to go, so I setup and sat back to watch the sunset. I also decided to try to take a picture of me “holding the sun”, I figure it would be almost impossible since I was alone. Fortunately on the plane ride down I finally read how to use my camera and now know how to setup the timer function. It took me 3 tries to get the shot, I was shocked, but also kinda impressed with myself for getting it in 3 shots while by myself with no remote, even if I am out of focus a little bit and very dark because the sun caused issues, but I got my sunset shots and was on my way back.

Also at this point I am really wishing I had a zoom lens, I totally should have rented one for this trip. Mine gets close, but I spoiled myself when I rented the 100-400mm lens earlier this year on my trip to Toronto, the 28-135mm just wasn’t working for some of the shots I wanted to get, especially of the herons who were in the shallows doing their dinner hunting. Also with the sun shots, I think I need to get some UV filters, it will cut down on glare.

So it was getting late and I was hungry. I was going to eat somewhere on Sanibel, but the couple places I checked out had a 30% premium on dinner from what I would normally expect to pay, so the frugality in me won out and I left the island to find someting to eat. I headed back, ran into a little traffic but decided to go find my hotel, I found the hotel, checked in and then went to dinner. I actually don’t remember where I went to dinner, I just remember laughing that Stephan King was the General Manager and there was a stuffed Armadillo behind the bar. I had a caeser salad and a mediocre small prime rib that was supposed to have a baked potato with it, but they ran out so I got mashed, which had to be redone because they were cold in the center. Fortunately, the 3 margaritas I also had while not eating much all day long made me completely not care, also fortunately I was across the street from the hotel and walked here instead of driving.

I then went back to my hotel room, watched some TV and tried to get the pictures off my photo card… but apparently the 3 margaritas I had affected me that I couldn’t get my card reader to work right… I got it all taken care of the next day though… time to go pack up and check out now and then head out to wander around some more and then go check in at the Crowne Plaza where all the real fun starts to happen as the week at Fantasy Camp really begins!!!

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