October 2, 2005 12:45 - Stay Three, Get Free - Steinhatchee Landings Resort
There is a little-known vacation spot on Florida's Nature Coast that is a slice of old Florida. Steinhatchee is in the "big bend" area of Florida, where the peninsula bends to meet the panhandle. Fishing, boating, hiking...or just kicking back and relaxing are favorite pastimes in this corner of the Sunshine State.
You can take advantage of a special going on now at the Steinhatchee Landings resort. Extend your stay with free nights, when you book one of their cottages. For example:
October 4, 2005 16:20 - Wet and Wild in South Florida!
Here's hoping you aren't coming down to South Florida this week, hoping for sunshine and beach weather...
...because we have a tropical wave sitting over us.
What does this mean? It's nothing scary, just a lot of rain and some gusty wind at times. Definitely not beach weather.
I hear that the may start shining again come Saturday, though.
Hope the weather improves soon for everyone, and that beach weather returns!
October 5, 2005 20:29 - Florida Weather - Wait 10 Minutes and it Changes
Florida weather - you gotta love it. Okay, I said yesterday that it was going to be wet and wild here in South Florida, due to the tropical wave moving over us.
Her name is now Tropical Storm Tammy and she's taking on North Florida -- huffing and puffing and raining all around.
Us here in South Florida? Just the normal rain showers we get on any given day.
So leave it to Mother Nature to make a fool out of me.
Beach weather is back, so come on down!
October 7, 2005 15:16 - Bahia Honda State Park - Open, Sesame!
Good news -- the Sandspur Campground at Bahia Honda State Park in the Florida Keys is getting ready to re-open for campers on October 10th!
The Sandspur Campground has been closed for repairs, due to effects from the most recent hurricanes and other assorted bad weather. However, the remainder of Bahia Honda State Park is open, including the Buttonwood Campground.
It seems like 2005 was a bad year for storms in the Florida Keys, but things are looking up -- the most active part of the hurricane season is behind us...
...and the glorious winter weather in the Florida Keys is before us. Yahoo!
October 9, 2005 17:29 - Attention Florida - Calling All Bugs!
And no, I don't mean those pesky insects that call Florida home. I mean the real Bugs.
You know, Volkswagons.
If you are a Bug fan, mark November 13th on your calendar. Then head out to the Pasco County Fairgrounds in Central Florida.
Food, live entertainment, activities for the whole family. Admission is $5 per adult, plus a can of food. Children 10 and under are free with a canned food donation.
Need more info? Call (800) 842-1873.
October 19, 2005 13:03 - The Trouble With Hurricanes
The trouble with hurricanes is that they don't ever show up at a convenient time (like, never). I live in South Florida, and naturally Wilma has set her sights on us at the moment. As I found out last year, hurricanes can be a mite unpredictable.
I made it through Frances and Jeanne last year, so I at least know more what to expect with Wilma. I thought I'd share with you what a Florida resident goes through when preparing for one of these storms. No, I won't deal with securing the outside items, putting up shutters, etc.
Everyone knows to do that. Here are the little things I learned through trial and error last year.
Do laundry. Okay, that seems strange to be at the top of the list, but it really isn't. If your house and possessions are fine but you are without electricity for several days or even week, you will appreciate clean clothes.
Have lots of clean towels. Kind of goes with the above, but here's what we used them for; when the wind was from the south, it drove the rainwater under our front door. We had a pond. Fortunately we have ceramic tile, but we went through a lot of towels trying to soak up all that water.
Handi-Wipes. Or whatever name they go by - the pre-moistened towelettes. If you live in a house with well water and lose electricity, you don't have water. These wipes are great for "washing" hands and faces and myriad other functions as needed.
Not just water. Everyone buys water, and the stores run out. Buy lots of canned (single-serving) fruit juices. Sometimes you need the sugar, and they're better for you than sodas. (But get water too!). Bottled tea is good as well.
Check the tubs - now. You always see instructions to fill the tubs with water, but if you're like me, you have a tub with a bad seal. The water just slowly drains away. Best to find that out now and locate some backups. Plastic tubs, coolers, whatever you can find that can hold water can be pressed into service.
Call it in. I take prescription medications, and I normally order refills online. Imagine my surprise last year when the pharmacy said they had been handling all the phone-in refills and hadn't even downloaded the on-line prescriptions in the last 36 hours. I ended up having to do without the prescription.
Remember the four-footed ones. Don't forget plenty of pet food -- at least 2 weeks' worth. And remember your pets when figuring out how much water you will need.
Turn down the air. You want it as cold as you can in your place -- once the electricity goes out, it will heat up awfully fast. Turning it down really chilly helps keep you cool a little longer.
Turn up the water heater. Get it really hot. That way you can use a smaller amount to get a tepid shower. I sure did miss having a shower when the water was out, and when we did get it back -- the water was cooooollllldddd!
Pre-tune your radio to the news simulcast. Do this before you lose electricity, so that you know the correct radio station to listen to, instead of frantically searching for it. (Face it -- everyone has their favorite weatherman.)
Charge your cell phone. Then turn it off once the storm arrives! You'll just waste your battery strength. Turn it back on when the worst is past.
That gives you a good idea of what we go through. And I am hoping that Wilma decides to leave the scene without making landfall anywhere. But if she comes calling -- I'm as ready as I'll ever be.
See you on the flip side I guess!
October 21, 2005 08:13 - Wilma Will, Wilma Won't - What Will Wilma Do?
After going through hurricane Frances last year, I really feel for the people in the Yucatan right now. They are looking at a couple of days of hurricane winds, and let me tell you -- that's scary.
Your house it totally black inside, because you have your storm shutters up. Wouldn't really matter much even if the shutters weren't up -- it's dark outside.
You have no electricity, so your only light source is a flashlight. You don't want to light candles because it makes it too hot and smoky inside.
It's hot and stuffy, because there is no air conditioning and no air circulation -- the house is shut up tight.
The wind howls, and yes, at times it does sound like a freight train. Someone could be standing 2 feet away from you and you might not hear them speak, unless they yelled.
You hear the wind rip shingles off the roof, and you wonder if the house will survive the winds. And what happens if the roof gives way? You can't stand up in the wind, and there is nowhere to run anyway.
And the worst part -- this goes on for days. You're so wired up, you can't sleep. When you do manage to get a little shut-eye, there comes a crash and you wonder what just happened. Did a tree just fall down? If it did, on what? Please don't let it be one of the cars...
Yes, that is what the people in the Yucatan are going through. I truly feel for them - I've been through it too. My prayers go out to them, that the storm changes its mind and passes through quickly. That they come through it safely.
If you've got one to spare, send a prayer too.
October 31, 2005 13:37 - Hurricane Wilma Came and Went
After waiting almost a week for Hurricane Wilma to show up, she certainly made her presence felt when she arrived. From the Florida Keys to Vero Beach to Everglades City, Wilma beat a path across the state.
I must live in Hurricane Central, because this is the third storm in 13 months that I've gone through. Once, twice, three times unlucky I guess! (On the positive side, hurricane preparedness comes naturally to me now.)
The Florida Keys are finally letting tourists back in. They've had a lot of clean-up to do and not all businesses are open yet, especially in the lower Keys.
We're all getting back to normal. I just got my power back after waiting a week in the dark. and the phones are back too.
Do you have an upcoming reservation or vacation planned for South Florida or the Florida Keys? If it's in the next few weeks, you might want to double-check any reservations you have made. Not all places have electricity at the moment, although many are running on generator power.
It's a price we pay for living in paradise I guess. Here's to hoping that next year's hurricane season is extra-quiet.