I was up at my usual 6:00 am and Linda was up shortly thereafter. I had forgotten that there was a pancake breakfast at the rec hall at 8:00. We threw on some clothes and grabbed our $6 for pancakes, sausage, and juice.
While at breakfast we met another full-timing couple, Sue & Don. We chatted with them for a bit before heading back to the rig.
It was a cloudy day, but it was supposed to be warm and I wanted to go canoeing. The Withlacoochee River is nearby and it is designated as a canoe trail. I have a map of several put-ins, but we had no idea which would be the best. We thought we might go with Martin & Carol who have a canoe with a small motor, but when I rode my bike to their site, they were gone.
The sun came out and we finally decided to go around 12:30. We loaded up our dry bag with the camera, binoculars, GPS, bug spray, sunscreen, snacks, and water. Since we did not have anyone to shuttle with or to tow us upriver, we decided to go to a put-in where we could paddle a lake. We went to the Silver Lake Recreation Area and put-in at Silver Lake by 1:15. The Withlacoochee runs through the lake, so there was a little current. But we stayed close to shore as we paddled south (the Withlacoochee runs south to north).
With our inflatable canoe, we have not quite mastered our synchronized paddling that we have always been pretty good at before. Because the boat is so susceptible to current and wind and can get sideways quickly with an off stroke, it is actually easier if I paddle by myself most of the time. It's a little harder on me, but Linda can relax and be ready with the camera, so I like our teamwork. The only way it could be better would be if Linda sat in the back and did all the paddling and I took pictures. :)
We were on the prowl for alligators, but didn't see any. We did see lots of turtles and Linda got a couple of great shots of a great blue heron. Once we reached the other side of the lake, the river was scenic and the current was not too strong. So we continued upstream to the point we were about a mile and a half from our put-in. Except for the din of the interstate it was very quiet.
After stopping on a sand bar for a snack and water, we continued around a curve and then started making our way back. The current was so slow, we couldn't just sit back and float. We paddled leisurely until we came to a small branch that headed off to the east. We decided to explore it. It was more narrow and the current was a little stronger, but it was a nice little excursion. We passed by a primitive campground for tent campers (and paddlers I presume). We eventually turned around thinking we probably needed to get back before evening approached.
As we pulled back out into the main river channel, Martin & Carol came floating down the river. They made a spur of the moment decision and thought it was too late in the day to ask us to go. I had just missed them when I went to their site. So we chatted as we paddled back and they told us about some great paddling at Weeki Watchee about 25 miles away (clear water and manatees). We may do that while we are here.
We made it back to the truck where we wiped down the canoe, deflated it, bagged it, and loaded it. We were back home in no time. The rest of the afternoon we read emails (got some great ones today), got showers, ate dinner, and waited for the time to go to the New Year's Eve party at 9:00.
While waiting, I watched the last half of "Field of Dreams" which may be my favorite movie due to my connection with baseball. I also watched part of "League of Their Own" which is another favorite for some of the dialogue: "Are you crying? There's no crying in baseball!" :)
Finally, it was time to go to the New Year's Eve party. It cost us $5 for an evening of finger foods and entertainment. We sat with our new friends from Maine, Tom & Jean, Richard & Trudy from California, and two other couples we just met - John & Dale and Dell & Shirley.
The first hour was eating, of course, and mingling. Linda is now calling this park "Fat City." Then there was a little music and dancing with some karaoke mixed in. Linda did a beautiful version of Evergreen at my request. And then there was a little skit called "Humiliate Howard" - well, maybe that wasn't exactly the name. The emcee's wife picked a couple out of the audience and guess who that was?
So for everyone's amusement, I had to put on a bra and a dress and stand behind a screen where I hung my arms over so they could put stockings on them and I put my hands in high heel shoes so that my arms looked like legs. With my wig, I was now portraying a day in the life of Debbie Reynolds.
Linda had to stand behind me and be my "arms". First, Linda had to put whipped cream from a spray can on a fig newton (in front of me where she couldn't see) and feed it to me. She made one spritz and put a perfect dollop right on the cookie - whew, nothing on me. :) She fed it to me with no mess - Ha! Then I had to wash it down with "champagne" (luckily it was water), and we did it without a spill - Ha again! Then she had to put lipstick on me, and with teamwork, she did a great job there - yeah it was not exactly perfect, but it wasn't all over my face either. Next was sparkly blush on my cheeks. And finally, it was "Singin' In The Rain" as Linda held an umbrella while "rain" was sprayed my way. I danced and kicked with my little high heels and the audience snapped photos and laughed the whole time. I have a feeling us "youngsters" got set up.
We were congratulated for being good sports and the emcee gave us rain ponchos - those will come in handy some day. Again, it was more silliness that we could have fun with, whereas a year ago, with a different mindset, we likely would have scoffed at the whole thing. Midnight came and we counted it down. We got in our New Year's kiss and made noise like we were supposed to. It was one of the rare times we had seen midnight at New Year's. I guess we did ring in the New Year last year at the country club, but there was quite a difference in that $150 per couple affair compared to this fun $5 evening. :)
So Happy New Year to everyone and we hope 2006 brings you closer to your dreams whatever they may be!