March 31 - 8 April 2016 Florida - Orlando

Thursday 31st March – Lake City to Orlando 163 miles

Got to Orlando this afternoon and booked in at the Tropical Palms RV Park in Kissimmee.

This marks the end of our road trip from Mexico across the US. Since leaving Los Barrilas on the 20th March we have clocked up 3437 miles.

Simon, Nin, Tom and Ellie were staying at a nearby hotel, Simon and Tom were out in the car and called in not long after we arrived. We all met up for dinner later at The Kitchen Restaurant in the Hard Rock Hotel. It was great to see everyone again after fifteen months away. Carlton, a friend of Simon and Ninette, is the Managing Director of the Hard Rock Orlando and arranged dinner for us all.

When we arrived there was a queue for valet parking, the place was really buzzing, a great atmosphere.

We had a lovely meal and great service and the dessert choice arrived displayed on a guitar, nice touch. Around the restaurant are the uniforms worn by rockstar chefs that have cooked there.

Later in the evening Wilson (Carlton’s husband) joined us straight from the airport after flying in from Mexico and we all moved down to the hotel foyer. On the way we saw lots of rock memorabilia, including a pair of pajamas worn by Elvis, he must have been smaller in real life than he looked in films.

The hotel had one of their Velvet sessions on featuring Morris Day & The Time. Simon, Nin, Carlton and Wilson stayed to catch up and listen to the band. We went next door into Universal with Tom and Ellie for a look at what was going on at City Walk.

Tom and Ellie came back to stay at the RV.

Friday 1st April

Breakfast outside the RV.

Went with Tom to watch while he water skied at Phil Hughes ski school on Champions Lake, Clermont. This is a purpose built ski lake surrounded by houses with boats in the back yards.

Later in the day we went to Wild Willy’s Airboat Tours for a ride in an airboat on Lake Tohopekaliga.

Simon stayed behind because he is not well and decided to rest up. Mike our driver said that the lake was on the head waters of the Everglades and was one of a series of lakes linked together by canals which made it possible to boat to the Atlantic Ocean. The lake was abundant with wildlife and Mike described what we were seeing as we glided through the lily pads and grassland.

Wood Stork

Herons

The Lake has the third highest population of Bald Eagles in the US. Bald Eagle after catching a catfish.

Here there are three to four and a half thousand alligators but it was a hot day and most of them were hiding in the shade. We did see one out swimming.

Purple Gallinule.

Back on land we had the opportunity to hold a baby alligator.

This evening we had barbeque back at the RV.

Saturday 2nd April

We moved RV sites today to KOA Kissimmee.

Simon went to the doctors this morning. He has been ill since before arriving in Orlando and was not feeling any better after a week of being here. He had a battery of tests including a CT scan and the outcome was that he has pneumonia. He is now taking penicillin and painkillers.

This evening we went to Carlton and Wilson’s house for pre-dinner drinks and hors d’oeuvres. The house is just delightful, Wilson has a real flair for design and decoration. We met Wilson’s sister, Sheila who is celebrating her birthday this week and staying at the house for a few days.

Then on to Urbain 40 an American Brasserie for dinner. This a very stylish restaurant in the Doctor Phillips area of Orlando and i