Manatee Cove RV Park at Patrick Space Force Base is a nice location. The park itself is right on the shore of the Banana River and a short bike ride away from the Atlantic Ocean. On a clear day (or night) you have a great view of launches from the Kennedy Space Center. The downside is that they don’t accept reservations and you drive down with no guarantee of getting a site. We were lucky and we are all set on site #61.
We made contact with a veteran of my old National Guard unit, Company F (RANGER) 425th Infantry. Gary Siedel and his wife, Linda, moved to nearby Melbourne after he retired from the Southfield Fire Department. We shared a meal at the Manatee Cove Marina and an evening of Karaoke at their community clubhouse.
Our oldest granddaughter, Katrina, is enrolled in her freshman year at the University of Central Florida. We couldn’t be this close to her with paying her a visit. We enjoyed having lunch with her and getting a tour of the campus. It’s hard to believe this child I used to rock to sleep is now a young woman, starting out on her own! Unfortunately we were having so much fun together, we forgot to take any pictures.
The shortage of workers is affecting the Outdoor Recreation Department like the rest of the country. It took awhile for them to get activities coordinated, but they overcame that and got activities going as in past years. We now have karaoke once a week in the Community Center and the campground bowling league had its first practice session on November 15th with competition starting on November 20th. The league is fun. While everyone tries to bowl their best game, no one really cares about the score, just having a good time. The league is scheduled on a day when the bowling alley is not open, and we have the place to ourselves. Although no one really cares about the score, it’s pretty bad to get beat by VACANT, a player who isn’t even there!
Outdoor Recreation hosted a Welcome Back Luncheon to kick off the “high” season (when the bulk of the campers are here) and I was able to entertain everyone with a guitar concert while we were waiting for the food to be served. Unfortunately, there were no pictures.
After spending the summer in Washington with almost no rain, we have been blessed with an abundance of it here. Our site is prone to flooding and we have had a small lake next to our door several times. Fortunately, we have a platform so we can sit outside even when the ground is saturated. Thank goodness for small favors!
The Maxwell C. King Center for the Performing Arts at nearby Eastern Florida State College is the venue for many great performances. We have listened to Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas albums for years. Now we were able to watch Mannheim Steamroller give a Christmas performance at the King Center. What a great performance! Watching the musicians was as entertaining as listening to them.
We were considering several options for Thanksgiving dinner when one of our friends suggested that a group of us go to the “Mansion.” That sounded good to us and we couldn’t have been more thrilled. Tony and Lori invited their neighbors, Josh and Cassandra. While the Mansion was very busy, we had a small alcove all to ourselves. The food was delicious and the portions were huge! All of us took leftovers home with us. After our meal, we retired to Tony and Lori’s RV for a game of Dominoes. We had introduced them to Dominoes the week before and Tony fell in love with the game!
We discovered that Josh and Cassandra were also kayakers. Consequently, we invited both couples to join us for kayaking in the Thousand Islands at Ramp Road. We enjoyed paddling the trail through the mangroves and we checked the homes that none of us could afford in some nearby canals.
I enjoy entertaining with my guitar and I followed up my performance at the Welcome Luncheon with another performance in our Community Center. We had about twenty people show up and it was a good night for all.
One of the benefits of staying on the Space Coast is the opportunity to watch launches from the Kennedy Space Center. For nighttime launches, we only have to walk to the north end of the campground for a clear view of the launch. I want to thank my friend, Jim Belisle, who is a better photographer and has better equipment than I do for these terrific shots.
Every year Wickham Park, part of the Brevard County park system, hosts a fundraiser for the local Boy Scouts with their Space Coast Christmas Light Fest. One of the weekends is set aside as a “stroll though,” with no cars allowed. Two of our Key West friends, Steve and Kathleen, joined us for this. We started with a meal from a group of food trucks and then walked the 1.1 miles of lighted displays. It was a pleasant night for it and we had a wonderful time.
One of the last things we did was to visit the crafts fair at Historic Cocoa with Tony and Lori. There were plenty of shops and street music. One of the treasures we left with was a small steel drum. The jury is still out on how well I can play it!
Eventually, our time at Patrick SPB came to an end. We pulled out on December 9th and headed south to the Southernmost point in the USA – Key West.