S: Florida 2010
1: In October of 2010 we visited Santa Rosa Beach located on the Gulf coast of Florida. We stayed at a five bedroom house with direct access to the beach and our own private swimming pool.
2: ROAD TRIP | 15 people rode in two vehicles "the silver bullet" (Moore's Dodge Grand Caravan) and "the tank" (Pickering's Expedition) down to Florida. Our trip to Florida was adventurous to say the least. At 9p.m. the alternator of the expedition died. We could not get an alternator till 6 a.m. when the stores opened. We were determined to drive anyways, so they swapped batteries with "the silver bullet" 4 times throughout the night. for over 500 miles. This also gave the guys the opportunity to bond and urinate on the side of the road every 1.5 hours. The first time it died on a dangerous overpass three police cars assisted us. Gavin, Garrett, and Emery received their first police car ride. and hopefully their only! The alternator was changed in the cracker Barrel parking lot. We did not have any excitement on the way home. The trip on the way back took roughly 21 hours including all the stops! | Our trip to Florida was extended by four hours due to a bad alternator in "the tank"
3: We believed it was our parental duty to run the kids around as much as possible at stops.
5: We spent a lot of time swimming in our own private heated pool!
10: Everyone enjoyed hanging out at the white sand beach. We had direct access to the beach from the house. One morning we were eating breakfast and saw dolphins swimming from our kitchen table!
18: The Big Catch!
19: They cornered the Gar fish and caught it with their bare hands and than we said "Good Bye" to it as we released it!
20: Things we found at the beach! | Persian man of war jelly fish, one of Florida's most dangerous jellyfish! | Some of the warning flags on the beach; Yellow-caution, swim at your own risk, Red-illegal to be in the water, Purple-dangerous marine creatures
21: We saw dolphins from the kitchen table and while we were hanging out at the beach. We saw sting rays while we were wading in the beach. We saw a lot of jelly fish and sand dollars | Erik was stung by a jelly fish!
23: Glass Bottom Boat
24: They let all the kids drive the boat! They also gave the kids sea shells and everyone received a beaded necklace!
27: They gave us Cheetos so we could feed the seagulls!
29: The boat ride took us to shell Island. We saw dolphins and many birds.
30: They did a charted fishing trip. They caught Trigger, Grouper, Amberjack, and Red Snapper.
31: 10 Amberjack were caught, but only 3 were keepers. They had to be 29 in. long to keep. Unfortunately, they were unable to keep the huge Red Snappers that they caught because it was not a weekend. Derek caught the biggest Grouper of the day and won a T-shirt. Patti and Erik wish they could have done more fishing for they were busy doing other things!.
32: The Gulfarium | The Gulfarium had dolphin, sea lion, and multispecies shows every half hour. They also had other exhibits including an alligator, because you can't go to Florida without seeing one!
34: Goofing around at the Gulfarium!
35: Hanging out at Bass Pro Shop! | Watching the shows at the Gulfarium!
36: COUSINS | The cousins spent a lot of time watching movies on Nana and Papa's bed.
37: Playing doctor in Nana and Papa's closet
39: Mom and Laurie wanted a glass of wine. Instead mom bargained for a bottle of dessert wine for $65 and paid $38! | Bill impressed the locals by drinking three Chamays for $8.42 a glass at 9 % alcohol!
41: Friday morning was a long wait watching the clock for when we could be on our way. It was quit the challenge getting Emery and the Pickering boys to run around and burn some energy because they all wanted to be in the truck so bad. The trip down was uneventful until we started having alternator issues. The truck and men in the family picked a not so awesome place to die on the side of the road or rather on an overpass. Emery got her first cop car ride and hopefully the last to the nearest truck stop to wait for a new battery to be put in. Apparently the guardian angels were working overtime as we had some nerve wracking will we make to the next exit before the battery dies moments. our first stop was a beachside restaurant. I think those were the best crab cakes I've had. The house was very nice. The view was even better. It was great spending the morning by the gulf and the afternoon in the pool or vice versa. Emery lost some of her fear of water this trip. She proudly could "float' by herself by the end of the week. Playing in the waves was fun until Erik got stung by a jelly fish. Better him than me. Emery has a book with a picture of a jelly fish. Every time she sees the picture she says, "Daddy put his foot in a jelly fish." Emery enjoyed seeing the dolphins and picking up shells on the Shell Island trip. I found a full sand dollar and then I broke it later. Charter Fishing was fun until Erik than I started throwing up. It sounds like everyone else had fun though. Erik got to go golfing, the first and only time this year. Overall it was a really fun trip and it was nice to be able to relax and not think about work for a week
43: Our trip to Florida was a little bit adventurous as you have already read. It was a little nerve wrecking each time we needed to pull over to swap batteries. “The tank” would suddenly loose power (including lights, power steering, acceleration) and we would have to find a safe spot quickly to pull over on. Every time we had to pull over it seemed like there was a hill or a curve. When we were lucky, we were actually able to make it to an off ramp. Patti and I were rather nervous and found ourselves trying not to look or listen to what was going on. The first time the battery died we were just able to get over a bridge that several people had died on in the past and ended up on an overpass. We were parked on the side of the road in the dark with very faint flashers on for a half hour before any cops arrived. We all went down the embankment while we waited to be rescued. That is when we got our police car ride. Than after the battery was swapped three police cars escorted “the tank” to the nearest gas station. After the alternator was finally fixed, I teased the guys about how they were all disappointed because they missed their “adrenaline rush”. I howeve,r, enjoyed being able to drive safely again. Gavin and Garrett enjoyed playing in the sand at the beach and looking for sea shells. They loved the boat ride where they fed the seagulls and watched the dolphins swim. They enjoyed the pool. Gavin learned to swim by himself with a life jacket and he found that very exciting. He said he really liked the Root beer floats Nana made. Jason and I really enjoyed hanging out at the beach and relaxing. You never know what the ocean washed up to shore to find and explore. It was very cool to see dolphins and jelly fish in “real life”. The boat ride was pretty cool. Going to the bar with Bill, Mom, and Dad was very memorable (See bar page). I never thought I would sit at the bar with Mom and drink a $65 bottle of wine.
45: All the kids were super happy to get to the beach. Caleb started “swimming” in the sand as soon as his feet hit the nice, smooth, white beach. The kids spent an hour running from the waves while we waited to get into the house. Katherine’s favorite part was the pool. She’d have loved to be in the pool 100% of the time. She enjoyed playing with her cousins, steering the Dolphin Cruise boat, and jumping into the pool with a lift jacket on. Davis would have been happy spending half the time playing with the sand on the beach and the other half playing with the waves. Davis wasn’t a big fan of the pool. He preferred to play on the first step of the pool entrance. He enjoyed watching videos in Nana & Papa’s room & falling asleep on their bed. He also enjoyed asking Papa to be his helper when he needed to go to the bathroom. Caleb would have loved to spend 100% of the time in the sand, rolling in it, swimming it, he loved every second of it. The highlight of my trip was the fishing charter. Reeling in the Amberjack fish was harder than I expected but fun none the less. Watching the dolphins surf the waves behind the boat was very neat too. I also enjoyed seeing all the jelly fish while on the Dolphin Cruise. Derek favorite part of the trip was the fishing adventure. Derek caught the largest Grouper of the day and won a T-shirt.
46: Even though the family vacation interrupted my bow hunting, I agreed to go to Florida because it did not interfere with turkey hunting. The road trip literally started without a charge when the Expedition crossed into Kentucky with a failing battery. Soon, the friendly sheriffs showed up and kindly offered to give the vehicles’ women, children, and me a ride to the nearest truck stop. It was the first time I got to ride in the front seat of a squad car. The 2 women and 3 children (all under 4) got the backseat (without carseats!). I assume that it was their first squad car ride too. Because the battery failed after 10 pm, the other vehicle stopped at WalMart and purchased a replacement. Then, we continued our road trip with short interruptions to switch batteries between the 2 vehicles on an hourly basis and replaced the alternator in the morning. When we finally arrived at our destination, the house was not ready and I needed some sanity. As we were driving around, I saw a bunch SEC flags hanging from a bar patio and I demanded the vehicle to stop. Shortly thereafter, I ordered a beer and demanded the Badger game. Watching Badgers beat Iowa at the Naked Grape (the bar) was a pleasurable start the week’s stay in Florida. The trip was very similar to last year’s NC trip with few additions/modifications: we played cards and RISK, fished (this time on a charter with puking shipmates and I caught something bigger than a small perch), a dolphin cruise (seagulls love cheetos and they are quite agile when you throw behind them), lost a lot a balls golfing, and the children are a year louder.