Monday, April 23, 2012

Things to do in Cedar Key......

One of the things I LOVE about Cedar Key is all the yoga that is available. I started my search for yoga in Cedar Key long before we arrived - there is a little  newsletter I found online that posted 3 different options for yoga - Tues/Thurs mornings- Relaxing Yoga with the masseuse Mary Innskeep at the Episcopal Church, Mon/Wed/Fri mornings - Intermediate Yoga with cd's at the Library and Tues/Thurs afternoons - Gentle Yoga at the Library. Initially I wasn't too excited about the offerings i.e. no real "studio" but I was happy that there were some options. My second day here I ventured out to the Relaxing Yoga class and was warmly greeted by about 20 people. Mary had brought a few extra mats for those who did not have any and she led a slow-paced hour-long yoga class. I happened to sit next to a woman who was extremely friendly and started up a conversation with me after the class. We immediately became friends. Her name was Lonna and she spends her winters here every year escaping the cold of her home in Michigan. She owns one of the elevated condos on the water. She also told me that I would really like the MWF yoga class as it was a little more advanced. This was the best advice as I'm not sure I would have ever gone to it because it was led with a cd; but I went the next day and was hooked! It was a great class and they use a different cd each day, all of which have been top notch; quite a few of them were in the Kripalu style which I really like. They use a separate meditation cd after shivasana for those that want to stay a bit longer. There is a closet full of mats, blankets, blocks and straps. Fewer people were in this class - the room was wonderful and the energy divine. These classes are all free, but once a year this class asks for a donation which they use for a specific purpose - this year they are going to buy a new cd player. I saw Lonna again at that class and we made plans to have dinner together. Lonna is my mom's age and we really just clicked - she said she's usually just too "quirky" for most people - hah, I thought, if she only knew!! Luckily for me she wasn't leaving town for a few weeks so we had time to get to know each other a little, have a few more meals together, and she even came over with her friend Neil to check out our rig and have happy hour with us.
Happy Hour with Lonna, Neil, Sini and Bob at our home. Lonna says "Peace baby".
I think that second day found Bill down at the local hardware store buying his Florida fishing license, a new, heavier pole, bait and tackle for the area. That license wasn't cheap but we expected to be in the state for a few months and he'd have lots of opportunities to bring home dinner. Most fishing in Cedar Key is done from a pier or dock, as opposed to stream fishing, which Bill usually does, so his little backpack fishing pole wasn't going to cut it. People were incredibly friendly and helpful and Bill isn't averse to asking questions, so it was a win-win situation. 

One of our favorite things to do is to hang out at the beach, floating the hours away on our rafts or just chillin' on the sand. Everyone here has gotten quite used to seeing our decorated bikes with us sporting our back-pack beach chairs and baskets full of coolers of refreshing beverages.

Cedar Key has a fairly new pier that is huge and is always busy with fishermen and pelicans any time of day or night...depending on the tide. That's one thing you have to watch around here - whether boating or fishing, the tides are important! The pier is right on Dock Street, close to the little park and beach and most of the restaurants and shops that make up "downtown." It's all a mere 1.5 miles from our rv park - easy biking and walking distance, which really floats my boat!

One doesn't come to Cedar Key to shop, that is for sure...but living in 
an RV isn't really conducive to much shopping anyway. There is a small grocery store that even sports a meat counter, well kind of! You can find fresh baked bread, produce, and actually just about everything you'd need. From Thursday to Sunday there is a nice produce stand and many of the cafes keep these same hours. The Pyrate Isle is a great little sauce store where Bill found the makings for some fabulous ribs he cooked up one night. 

Just up the street is a Dollar Store that has everything you need to set trail for a Hash! Of course, there's a liquor store and well, I guess that's just about it! We tend to hang out at The Big Deck for a couple of reasons...our new friend, Amy, works there, they allow dogs (good for Maria and Brian), and they actually have music, good food, and a great beer selection! We've been twice to the Island Room (kind of pricey but they have amazing specials on Mondays and Thursdays) and lately we've been frequenting the Island Hotel.

And last, but not least, we spend most everyday hanging out at the Low-Key Hideway Tiki Bar. It is literally stumbling distance from where we park. The sunset views are the very best, the beer selection pretty good, and the bar-keep extraordinary! I have mentioned Pat and Cindy in most every blog I've written about Cedar Key - they are one of "us"- full-timers who just happen to be temporarily parked right now, taking some time out to have a new and different experience. There have been many nights where we crowd-sourced our dinners on their gas bbq, some of these were quite epic!
Low-Key Hideaway Tiki Bar Fun!!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cedar Key fun begins...

I have seriously neglected my blogging and can't believe it's the end of April! I am happy to say that I haven't been working this entire time during tax season but have been very busy enjoying Cedar Key!

After settling into our little slice of paradise here, we took off for our first drive to the Tampa Bay area to see Bill's mom, Doano. She lives in a condo in a great area called Belleair Bluffs that is on the "intercoastal waterway". She is a fabulous photographer and writes beautiful Tanka. We spent the weekend and then headed back to our new "home" and found our friends Sini and Bob, who we met at Slab City, had arrived to stay at the Low-Key Hideaway for a week. 

Bob and Sini were so excited to finally be HERE as they had been following the blog of Pat and Cindy, managers of the Low-Key Hideway Motel & RV Resort,  for years and it had inspired them to get out on the road rv-ing. Bob and Sini had also befriended Dave and Sue, who ran the karaoke at our rv park --and guess what was happening that night?! Now Bill and I have NEVER done karaoke "out there" as we both are I just don't think either of us are that comfortable with our singing voices and try to spare our friends. That night, I don't know what happened, but there Bill was singing with Bob, who had also never done karaoke before then - and they were affectionately dubbed the Billy Bob show, serenading us all night. Finally by the end of the evening, with much fortification, Sini and I were up there with Sue belting out "Love Shack" - losing our cherry-oke, virgins no longer! That began this week of fun.

Pat hauled us all in his boat over to North Key Island for a day of frolicking au naturale among the flocks of birds that call it home. On the boat ride over he alerted us to watch over the back of the boat as the dolphins love to play in his wake and we were treated to a show by a pair that followed us almost all of the way there. The skipper dropped us off on a deserted part of the island where we sun-bathed, picnicked and developed one fabulous movie plot after another based on our crazy lives. 

Pat, being the consummate inn-keeper and concierge that he is, mentioned that we might want to "swim with the manatees" at Crystal River. So we planned another outing to see what there was to see...after several fits and starts we finally made it out onto the river in kayaks. We were warned that it was very late in the season  (and the afternoon) and really warming up and that we probably wouldn't see any manatees, but we didn't care, we were going! After paddling about for an hour we found a manatee that had a homing device attached to her.  We had been told there was a tagged mom and baby out there and to give them lots of space. After that we had an idea what to look for and then we found them! They are soooo cool, these big, funny looking mammals that occasionally come up to the surface to "blow". We had fun just hanging out and watching one point we were going to get in the water with them but we couldn't figure out how we'd get back into the we missed that part but I, for one, really didn't need to disturb them any more than we did.

on the dock at the Low-Key Hideaway with Bob & Sini


Is Your Stuff Weighing You Down?

My friend Kari shared the above article with me today. It reminded me about a conversation Bill and I overheard last night while dining at the Island Hotel in Cedar Key. A tourist was asking a resident "where do you shop" & the resident kind of looked at the woman blankly asking, what do you mean, for groceries? The tourist said no, like where is the Walmart? I couldn't live in a town without a Walmart! She kept going on and on about how she lived only a mile from the mall...blah, blah, blah. Our lives can so easily revolve around possessions and I myself was completely obsessed with this in my past; I also think it was a way of escaping my reality.

I have known Kari since she was a little girl and one of the few kids I ever babysat. She became my regular babysitter, when my kids were 2 and newborn, at about the age of 13 and has probably known me longer than anyone, aside from my family. As a teen she watched my floundering as a mother, experienced my roller coaster marriage, and saw first hand, my copious consumption - my viral need to acquire. Upon reflection I can see that this was a coping mechanism that I had learned from my childhood. "Things" made me feel better, made me think I was better. But in actuality it was the complete opposite. I became overwhelmed with debt and STUFF. So much so, that I actually remember getting sick to my stomach from shopping, even before I got home, more than once! I think my life began to change after my divorce, years of therapy and I fell in love with a man who helped assuage my insecurities and who encouraged me to grow in a more positive way. Our move to Tahoe, where there were no malls, or discount stores also made it easier for me to really change my life and my habits. Our life in Tahoe became about our love, our passion for exploring the great outdoors and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. I learned to CHILL OUT!

When we decided to full-time RV we had a lot of downsizing to do and I jumped in enthusiastically to purge through 3000 sq ft and a huge garage full of STUFF. I relished it, it purified me, it made made me really look at "things" differently. Now for any of you that has seen us parked for any length of time I know you will be laughing at this because we have seriously used every square foot of space in this motorhome to be comfortable. I really try, on a regular basis, to continue to pare down. Bill and I both LOVE to entertain and I think at least half of what we carry around in our basements is for that purpose alone. So I am still a work in progress, battling that inner-shopper and reminding myself constantly that all I really need is my best friend and lover by my side...

Thanks, Kari, I needed that!