Seems like the only things we use the RV for these days are fishing and travelling to Tampa for surgery at the VA hospital. Right now, we're in Tampa and I had my fourth bladder surgery yesterday - that's one every year since 2003. Good news is that they didn't find any tumors this time, just a suspicious area that has to be explored.

How would we get along if we didn't have the RV? That was what I said to Joyce this morning. We've got 4 dogs, so that kind of eliminates hotels and most friends' homes. We could board the dogs, but they're so spoiled that would probably traumatize them too much. And these out-patient surgeries in Tampa would be a real problem. Even without the dogs, I'd be a lot less comfortable in a hotel than I am in the RV. You really can't beat having your own kitchen, bed, bathroom, etc. I guess if we didn't have the RV, we'd figure out something, but since we're fortunate enough to have one, at least we don't have to figure out something.  It's been so long since I stayed in a hotel that the idea really seems foreign to me. I'll be happy if I never see a hotel room again. Not sure if Joyce agrees, though, so it still might happen someday.

Back in Chapter 70, I rambled along about our first fishing trip in March. Since then, we've had two more ... one in April and the most recent a week ago. In fact, I spent my 65th birthday on the water ... and had a great day!

It amazes me how every fishing trip, and actually every day of every trip, is entirely different. When I took my first fishing trip with Buckner back in July 2000 (Chapter 28), we were out for 8 days and caught bunches of fish every day. I thought that's the way fishing always was in the Atlantic! Not so, as it turns out. Buckner told me later that the July 2000 trip was one of the most successful 8 days that he's ever had on the water. Since then, we've had days of no fish at all or just catching fish that can't be eaten, like in Chapter 67. But our last two trips have been two of the most unusual .. read on. Note that there are a bunch of photos, so I've made them small. You'll need to click on most of them to get a large enough view to appreciate what's being described.

Our April trip started out really windy. On our first day, it was so windy that we spent it working on fishing gear, eating Pizza, and doing some sight-seeing around Jonathan Dickinson State Park. Out near the front of the park, we found an observation tower and went on up. It provided some great views of the park, the inland waterway, and the ocean. You'll also note in the photos below that there are many bare trees in the park. I think that's the result of last year's hurricanes and I think the greenery in amongst the bareness is nature regenerating.
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More Alton Travels
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Inland Waterway and
Ocean Beyond
Fishing the inland waterway turned out to be really wild! First, Bruce caught a crab -- very unusual when you're fishing. Did we keep him? Heck, yes! If we didn't bring something in, it would be hot dogs and left-over Pizza for supper! After the crab, Bruce next brought in what he referred to as a "woodfish" - a very large branch that really had him excited for a few minutes. Next, he brought in a Catfish - another surprise, but certainly worth keeping for supper. After that, there were several more Catfish - more than enough to provide us with a fine supper.

Somewhere during the afternoon, I actually hooked a Pelican! What a wierd day! It's not unusual for a Seagull or Pelican to check out your bait, but that's the first time we actually had one take the bait. Below right, Buckner and Bruce freeing the not-so-bright bird. He was soon free and flying off to find a more agreeable meal.
On the third day, more wind was predicted, so we decided to fish out of Sebastian Inlet, just South of Melbourne, instead. And a great decision that was! We caught more Dolphin that day than on any previous fishing day. We got over a dozen, but had to throw back 3 or 4 because they were under-sized. They've now raised the minimum to 20" for Dolphin and we had a few that were just barely under that size, so back they went. And so ended the April trip.
And we thought the April trip was strange ... then came the May trip. As I mentioned above, May 4th was my 65th birthday. Coincidentally, Bruce and Buckner decided they wanted to come down that week to fish. Buckner had been talking to his son in Miami, who told him of going out and catching "gaffers" all day (i.e., fish big enough to merit using the gaff to bring them in). On the assumption that the fish were travelling Northward, the following week would be similar off the Central Florida coast ... or so goes the assumption.

I had doctor appointments Tuesday and Wednesday, so they had gotten a hotel room for the week. They planned to go out of Sebastian Inlet, instead of travelling all the way down to Jupiter. I went down the previous week and did some checking on campgrounds, since we'd seen some right at the inlet on our previous trip. As it turns out, there are several in the area, but two right at the inlet. The Sebastion Inlet State Park is on the South side and the Long Point RV Resort, a Brevard County park is on the North side. I checked them out and decided that Long Point was really the only choice. Large campsites, camping right on the water, excellent boat ramp, and plenty of empty sites if you didn't want to be there on the weekend. We reserved a site for Monday through Thursday, thinking we'd try to work something out for Friday if the fishing was good.

Buckner and Bruce drove down to Rockledge on Monday, got the boat from our yard, and we all went down to Long Point, with them pulling the boat and Joyce and I in the RV, pulling my Suzuki. Right! I actually talked Joyce into coming down to see one of our "fishing spots." We set up the RV, looked around the park awhile, then drove up and had a nice seafood dinner at the nearby Boston Pub and Grille. Great food! Then Joyce and I went home, while Buckner and Bruce returned to the RV and readied for a week of fishing. The plan was for me to come down Wednesday afternoon, join them fishing Thursday, then take the RV back to storage on Friday.
So, there are a couple more fishing adventures for you. I almost didn't include them in my travel log, since there's already so much fishing rambling here, but I thought that last story was worth telling. I'm sure I'll look back here and enjoy the story again in the future, even if nobody else does.
On the second day, we got up early as usual and went out to the inlet, only to find that it was still way too choppy to attempt. After some pondering, we decided to fish the inland waterway. Below left is a photo of a Catamaran coming in the inlet. Hard to catch in a photo, but he really had a time coming through that choppy water! Later, we saw a cigarette boat come roaring out, straight out of the inlet without slowing down. I didn't get my camera out in time, but it was really a sight! He went straight up vertically and hung there for a second before finally falling forward and continuing on out. It really looked like he was going to just keep coming on over backward! He went out for a very few minutes, then came right back in again ... much slower on the return trip.

The center photo below is the last home on the North side of the inlet. Quite a nice place, where they've extended the rocky seawall to form a little cove and beach behind the house. Really a beautiful setup!

The right photo is another impressive home that we saw further up the waterway. This one had a large RV parked out back and a large yacht parked out front. Ahh ... t'would be nice ...
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Picturesque Wooden Walkway
to the Observation Tower
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Stormy Sunset
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Hurricane Results
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Catamaran Coming In
(click to enlarge)
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A Very Nice Private Beach
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Did I Mention It Was Windy?
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Freeing the Pelican
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Bruce and I With Some of the Catch
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Joyce Feeds a Stork
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Sitting in a Lounge Chair with My Feet Up, Looking Out From  our Campsite
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Plenty of Room for RV, Boat, and Extra Car
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Camped Right on the Water
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Campground Not Crowded During the Week
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A Neighbor's RV, Showing Boat Pulled Up in Back
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Long Point's Boat Ramp
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Playing the "Surprise Fish"
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Buckner and I, Showing Off the
Catch of the Day
(That's my little surprise fish that Buckner is holding)
Long Point Park and the neat campsite was the good news. The bad news was that the weatherman really missed the mark. The wind was supposed to be up Monday, but dying down Tuesday and insignificant the rest of the week. Way wrong! Monday was way too windy to go out, so Buckner and Bruce fished the river. Caught several Tarpon, some Catfish, a Trout, and one fish that they couldn't identify but that turned out to taste very good. They had enough for a good meal, with some left over.

Wednesday was again windy, but they decided to go on out anyway. They had a really "bouncy" day, but managed to come back with enough Dolphin for a great meal. I got there in mid-afternoon and had plenty of time to sit in a lounge chair, read a book, eat a bunch of Cashews, and enjoy the beauty and peacefulness of the river behind the RV. When they returned, we set up three Fry-Daddies and had a mess of fish, hush-puppies, French Fries, and Onion Rings ... great meal!

Thursday was a really strange day ... started out a little windy, got really calm about mid-day, wind changed direction about 3 times, and the day ended with rain (after we had bedded down for the night). By late afternoon, we had already decided that Friday was off and that we'd be wrapping things up that afternoon, so the late evening rain just confirmed the decision.

With the early wind coming from the West, we didn't expect much, but Bruce came through early. He started off with a couple of Bonita, then brought in a really nice Dolphin. Then, after a couple of quiet hours with a few more Bonita, he caught another nice Dolphin. At about 3:30, we decided to wrap things up, despite the fact that I hadn't yet caught my "birthday fish." We brought in two of the four trolling lines, lettting the two out-rigger lines with Ballyhoo just drop to the bottom. Buckner's plan was to pull them up from the bottom when we got ready to leave, in one last attempt to get a couple of more hits.

We then decided to take some photos. Below left and second left, you'll see Bruce and I posing. Bruce was getting ready to take some of Buckner and me when ZI-I-I-INGGGGG ... something grabbed one of those hanging lines and took off with it! I grabbed the pole and pulled, but, alas, the fish was gone. I reeled the line in slowly, jerking it now and then, in hopes of "re-hooking" the fish. I had it almost up to the boat when, to our surprise, there was a Dolphin, following my bait! We threw in some cut bait, which he grabbed immediately, then each of us threw in a line in hopes of hooking one last catch. After teasing all three of us, the fish finally took my bait. I was playing it, carefully bringing it up to the boat, when Buckner hollered that there were some Dolphin (the mammal type) at the front of the boat. He said I'd better bring that fish in immediately or they'd grab it! I had no idea the Dolphin-mammals were so fond of  Dolphin-fish, but they certainly are. I managed to get the fish in the boat almost immediately, so we had one more to add to our catch, plus I'd finished off my birthday with a very unusual and exciting catch. A great end to a great day!  While uploading these photos, however, I noticed that I wasn't smiling much in the earlier photos ... I guess holding up someone else's fish just isn't the same ... hahaha.
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Me, Holding Bruce's Fish (not smiling yet)
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Bruce and I, Showing Bruce's Fish
(LOL ...I don't appear to be smiling)
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72. Fishing and Surgery