Tag Archives: Ft. Myers

Island Life

Wanting to take a small break from the winter, Mo and I returned to our favorite sunny getaway — Ft. Myers, FL, and specifically Sanibel Island. We’d visited Sanibel (and Captiva) several times on our trips to Florida, but this was our first time staying on the Island proper. We spent four nights on Sanibel, staying at the West Wind Inn.

We visited with many interesting folks around the pool, several who have come back year after year for over twenty years. The shells were there, but seemed to be a couple yards out from shore whenever we walked the beach, and no jellyfish visible anywhere this time around. Temperatures were between 50s and 70s with no rain, so we couldn’t have asked for more in that regard. Our first two evenings we dined with Sandy, my recently retired boss of twenty years, and her husband Rich, who I also worked with. Retirement seems to agree with them (and why wouldn’t it??)


first sunset on Sanibel

With the weather so nice, besides spending time on the beach and poolside, we took several excursions to the various hiking trails on the island. We enjoyed a nice morning walk along Sanibel River in the SCCF Nature Center‘s collection of trails, seeing a few waterfowl, turtles, and fish, but generally just soaking up the peaceful walk. One highlight was a bald eagle taking off parallel with us about 15 yards out in the clearing alongside the path — the sound of its wings was impressive.

Our second hike was at Ding Darling Bailey Tract, which was more exposed than the Nature Center’s trails but included a lot of open water, which lead to more sightings of waterfowl (and gators). We saw several of the larger bird varieties here: Wood Storks, Anhinga, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, and their lesser brethren like Common Gallinule, Blue Heron, and American White Ibis.

We later returned to both locations to hike other trails that we hadn’t gotten to the previous time. We learned that the first hikers on the trail in the morning have the responsibility of clearing any spider webs :/


Great Blue Heron drying itself at Bailey Tract

On our return to the airport, Mo allowed me a few minutes to wander around Hammond Stadium and “breathe in a little MN Twins baseball” while there, since she inexplicably scheduled this vacation before spring training began. There were a handful of people at the ticket office, and groundskeepers doing their thing. I wandered into the team store by the front entrance and had a nice visit with the employee there…and grabbed a handful of pocket schedules.


Hammond Stadium, home of the Minnesota Twins Spring Training

Not sure when we return to Ft. Myers, but it’s always a good time there.

Ft. Myers Spring Training IV

This post is way late due to photos lost from my phone, but I had a few that survived, so here goes…

On our yearly trip to Florida, Mo and I stayed again in Ft. Myers at the same Cornerstone Resort condo we were at last year. Thanks to construction along the main drag, Ft. Myers Beach traffic was even more traffic-er than before. Still…no snow, though. And this year, we were joined for a couple days by my (retired) co-worker Ted and his wife Dixie.

Apparently attending a spring training game had been on Ted’s bucket list, so I was looking forward to treating him to the March 8th Cardinals vs. Twins game. Unfortunately, it was a Twins split squad game, plus the first day of their minor league camp, so the practice fields normally bustling with the veterans and promising prospects were empty. Still, it was a beautiful day for a game, and we both had our teams on the field.

Joe
Joe scores in the fourth

We had seats in the same location I’ve sat in the past trips to Hammond Stadium, which provided a great view of the field. The Cards went on to eventually win 5-3. We saw a little of everything, but we didn’t see Sano and Park homer, like in the other split squad game against Toronto in Dunedin.

One other disappointment with split squad games is the limited autograph opportunities. I did manage to catch one:

program
backup catcher Juan Centeno’s autograph

When it all comes down to it, though, you can’t beat the beach.

condo
the view from our lanai

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Ft. Myers Spring Training — Third Edition

This year, MLB caught us off guard: we had to make our condo reservations early, and when the spring training schedules came out, the season was starting later than usual. This would call for some strategic planning…

During our Ft. Myers stay, one thing I could plan on was dropping by the practice facilities, so I picked a nice morning, fought traffic off the island, and hung out at CenturyLink Sports Complex with many other Twins fans.

practice
team gathers on the big field for drills

It was great seeing the young ballplayers — Sano and Vargas definitely stand out, size-wise.

3rd basemen
third basemen practice fielding, including Miguel Sano

The new coaches were very involved and hands-on in the drills I watched, particularly Molitor, Mientkiewicz, and Guardado. Alumni were also visible all over, including Carew and Oliva.

everyday
Coach Guardado works on fielding with the bullpen

So, what ballgame did I eventually get to? The only Twins games played in Ft. Myers while we were there were either the home opener, or against the Red Sox at their home opener the next day. There was also a road game against the Tampa Bay Rays at Charlotte Sports Park up in Port Charlotte just over an hour away, though.

The ballpark was quite nice, and the weather was sunny and beautiful. When I bought my ticket earlier in the year, I looked for my traditional spot just past the dugout on the third place side, and I found a nice seat in the fourth row with a great view of the action.

ballgame
in-game action

Only one extra base bit in this game, but overall play was pretty clean and still had its share of action. The Rays ended up winning 2-1.

I was able to get three autographs on my program: Max Kepler, catcher Dan Rohlfing, and extra catcher Mitch Garver.

autos
game program

Barring a rainout, you really can’t lose when attending a Florida spring training game.

Southern Beauties, And A Cautionary Tale

I haven’t posted any insect photos in quite some time. Hence the cautionary tale: I had my “working files” of photos to polish off and post stored on a flash drive, along with some back-up files of other miscellaneous items. Well, at one point a couple months ago, the flash drive stopped being recognized by any laptop or PC I plugged it into. I don’t know that there is any real way to rescue files off a malfunctioning flash drive, but I have to think the multitude of the unposted photos are gone. 😦

While on our Ft. Myers vacation trip, I kept my eyes open for any possible photo opportunities with the regional insect life, and it ended up paying off. The best pics were taken on our day at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, which isn’t too surprising given the multitude of flowering plants and shrubs there.


Tersa Sphinx Moth (Xylophanes tersa) – Hodges #7890

The first photo was taken of a familiar friend, a Tersa Sphinx moth just inside the screened porch of the caretaker’s house. The woodgrain pattern on the wings and body is quite eye-catching.


Monk Skipper (Asbolis capucinus)

While wandering along the waterline and dock area, I saw this skipper perched on a relatively bare shrub. A plain skipper like this one isn’t easily identified (initially I guessed it might be a Swarthy Skipper or somesuch) but given its size, it’s no doubt a Monk Skipper, indigenous to the area. Got a little eye damage, too, from the looks of it.


Gulf Fritillary (Agraulis vanillae)

Lastly, while wandering the floral area near the gift shop on the way out, I stalked this Gulf Fritillary for a while. Like its name sounds, they are very flitty, and with the breeze that was blowing I was lucky to even get a photo as still as this one ended up. The bright orange color looked very striking among the flowers there.

Well, getting back to my cautionary tale, I guess the moral of the story is always back up your files, no matter where you keep them.

Second Annual Ft. Myers Spring Training Game – Twins 4, Cardinals 10

Once again we included a Spring Training game in our vacation at Ft. Myers, and once again we scheduled our trip to include the Cardinals March 7th visit to Hammond Stadium. The tickets I picked up were just two down from last year’s seats, fourth row just downfield from the Twins’ 3rd base dugout. The weather was sunny and ~80°F with a light breeze, so we were workin’ the sunscreen.

We were parked on Puckett Pkwy this year, and noticed Hammond Stadium again had a liberal sprinkling of Cardinal Red shirts in the capacity crowd. Who were the first ballplayers I saw when visiting the neighboring practice field?


left to right: Trevor Plouffe, Danny Valencia, Alexi Casilla, Tsuyoshi Nishioka

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Ft. Myers, FL Redux

Mo & I had kicked around a few ideas off-and-on this winter regarding where to vacation, and when we came back to it, we decided to visit Ft. Myers area again this year. Why not — we knew our way around now, and we hadn’t seen everything when we were there last year. So we checked the Spring Training schedule, and made our reservations.

We arrived on Wednesday afternoon, got our rental car (a Chevy Aveo) and checked into our hotel, which was nicely located on Colonial Blvd. On a tip from a pizza delivery guy we shared an elevator with, we had a relaxing meal of grinders and Sicilian pizza at Bellacino’s and then called it a night.

Thursday: Because we gave Ft. Myers Beach short shrift last year, we started out this year’s vacation by heading to the south end of the Trollee line and going to Bonita Beach Park in Bonita Springs. We picked shells, laid out and read books, and watched a small (~18″) shark near the shoreline. It was a little breezy, but pleasantly warm.


Bonita Beach Park

We grabbed lunch at Doc’s Beach House and then rode the trollee up to Ft. Myers Beach pier and hung out there for a while before finally heading back for the day.

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Ft. Myers, FL! Part II – Twins 7, Cardinals 6

One of the reasons we chose Ft. Myers, FL for our vacation, besides the beaches and the warm weather, was of course it’s the Spring Training home of the Minnesota Twins. A quick look at the schedule and we HAD to see the March 9th game vs. the St. Louis Cardinals.


Hammond Stadium under overcast skies

The weather was overcast but a warm 72°F — a perfect day, if the sprinkles hold off. We parked on Battey Blvd, and walking to Hammond Stadium we got plenty of remarks on our attire; Mo was wearing her Cards shirt, while I wore the Twins away gray pinstripe jersey. Our response was that we had a “mixed marriage.”


one of the first things we saw was at the batting cage on the neighboring field: from left, Tony O., Gardy, and Rod Carew with a bat in hand

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