Mike & Joyces Travel logs

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Places Visited: Bradenton, Lake Manatee State Park, Cortez, Anna Maria Island

On Sunday January 15 we moved the motor home to Lake Manatee State Park east of Bradenton, FL. $18.00 30-amps & water----central dump station, paved interior roads with compacted dirt sites N27° 28.917 W82° 20.819'

Lake Manatee State Park is a rather nondescript park and campground. While it is on Lake Manatee there is not much to it unless you have a boat. To us the biggest draw is the proximity to Bradenton and Sarasota where RV-Parks are charging two to three times the $18 that Lake Manatee State Park is. Joyce was able to take a few interesting sunset pictures in the park but that's about all there is to say about it. We spent our days and evenings in Bradenton and Sarasota or the barrier islands.

On Sunday January 22 we moved the motorhome to Keilly's automotive in southeast Bradenton to have them change the oil and fix an annoying oil leak. We thought by making an appointment and being at Keilly's when the door opened at 7AM that we could possibly get out of there sometime on Monday. That was wishful thinking. Ha, Ha! They did look at it sometime on Monday and determined that the oil leak was caused by the right side valve cover gasket and the front seal. This is an almost new engine, what is going on? To my relief the cost is fully covered by warranty on the new/rebuilt engine. Late Monday they ordered the parts (valve cover gasket and front seal) from a local auto parts house. Sometime on Tuesday they started installing the parts and completed the valve cover gasket portion of the job. But when they pulled the front seal they discovered that during the rebuild of the engine by Jasper that they had installed a sleeve on the crankshaft. At this time the mechanics realized that they were going to have to replace the sleeve as well as the front seal. They found a replacement seal in Tampa that would be delivered tomorrow which is Wednesday. As it turned out the sleeve arrived via "slow-delivery" after noon. The mechanic returned to our job as soon as he could and finished it in time for us to head out around 4:30 that afternoon. We had spent Sunday, Monday and Tuesday night in our motorhome at the repair shop. We were ready to get outta (redneck term) there if you get my drift. We made it as far as the Wal-Mart parking lot in Arcadia before we stopped for the night.

While the motorhome was at the mechanic's shop we made the best of our situation by visiting the historic old fishing village of Cortez and Santa Maria Island. This was our routine for the four days we spent in that area while the motorhome was being serviced.


One of Joyce's favorite things to do is walk on the beach collecting sea shells. The beach at the south end of Santa Maria Island is a wonderful place for her to enjoy this sport. The beach is littered with thousands upon thousands of shells so it is a "can't miss" opportunity. We made many trips to this beach shelling and walking.




We made other trips to the beach to capture the sunset. Several times there wasn't any sunset. One night a fog bank rolled in while other nights were just too cloudy. Persistance payed off on several occasions as you can see.







While these birds look so different in these pictures they look remarkably similar when flying high overhead. The bird on the left is a white pelican that winters in Florida while spending the summer in more northern latitudes. The bird on the right is a wood stork. When flying both of these birds are very big with huge wingspans. Additionally, both have black wing tips although you would not know it from these pictures.





We spotted this converted VW in the quaint fishing village of Cortez located on the northern shore of Sarasota Bay. As you can see the back end has been cut away and replaced with some sort of wicker & bamboo siding.








This is a picture of the waterfront in Cortez complete with docks, restaurant and fish house.









To the right is Joyce, our family's number one sheller with her famous pink shelling bag.








These are visiting (snowbirds aka, white pelicans) sharing a sandbar with native brown pelicans. Pelicans spend the day like this waiting for hunger pains to return.



Until next week just remember how good life is.

Mike & Joyce Hendrix







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