Friday, January 24, 2020

Last Day at Lion Country

We had our last drive through Lion Country Safari and it is time for us to go.  We are going to take the Airstream up to Orlando and leave it there for a month until we come back to Disney World in February.  That way we don’t have to pull it home and back for no reason.

Our home for the past three weeks.
On our last day, we had a better than usual day with the animals.  The water buffalo has just been fed and they were eating right beside the road.  The Watusi cattle were also eating and showing their gigantic horns just for us.

Water Buffalo feeding time,
The tapirs had also just been fed and they lined up for close pictures.  We have learned so much about all of these animals by being here long enough to really study and live with them.

Tapirs accompanied by a Rhea.

The big treat came at the end of the visit when we got to the chimpanzees when their feeding was being prepared.  The chimps live on five islands and they are rotated among them so that they have a change in environment and so that the empty islands can be cleaned and the habitats refurbished.

There are rotating bridges that can open and close to allow them to move from island to island.  We watched the feeders make preparations and the chimps eagerly watch.  Then we got to watch them cross the bridge just like a group of humans would...some brave and slow and some slow and their new island.  It was a great end of our whole trip.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Palm Beach Day

One day this week, Trish and I decided to leave Animal Kingdom for the day and explore West Palm and Palm Beach itself.  To do this we took a Diva Duck Tour that promised us insight into both cities.  We were not disappointed.

First of all was the Diva Duck travel vehicle.  What started out as an F-350 Ford truck chassis was turned into an amphibious travel creature now boasting a hull, a double transmission (one for land and one for water) plus a 700 horsepower engine.

Our amphibious Diva Duck.
We rode high above the city streets while our guide told us stories of both past and present.  As we crossed the bridge from West Palm to Palm Beach all we could smell was MONEY!

Soon it was time to hit the water to travel the channel between both cities and look at them with a new vision and lots of new stories.  We saw many identified-owner houses.

As. close as we got to Palm Beach Country Club.

Last on the water was a visit to the mega-yacht harbor where we could, from our boat, watch the staff members who actually lived in these huge vessels full time enjoying them while the owners were away.
Can you imagine what it takes to maintain one of these, let alone pay for it!

After this trip, we were very glad to return to our little Airstream back at the campground and be very satisfied that it is all we have to take care of as a travel vehicle!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

News From Lion Country

As usual, we started out on our daily drive through Lion Country Safari.  Each day brings new surprises that we have not seen before.  Today was a very special one.

First of all, we had to deal with an ostrich that thought it was the ticket taker.  It began by standing in the middle of the road for a long time so we could not drive past.  Then, when it finally decided to move just a little bit, it came around to the side of the car proceeded to peck in the car window.  Since it was Trish’s day to drive, I got to be the one for the intimate ostrich visit.  It was fun!

Up close with an ostrich.
We have been very impressed learning about the breeding program here at Lion Country.  We see oryxes who are pregnant and carefully isolated while waiting for delivery.  There has been a baby water Buffalo, with it parents, visible on several days.  We have been notified that there are two new lion cubs which are not yet old enough to come out in public.

Our favorite “baby of interest” has been Bash, the baby rhino who came into the world at 100 pounds on September 26.  Each day we have watched Bash and his mama through the fence of the rhino maternity pen.  But today, something wonderful happened.

Baby rhino Bash on his first free day in the big park.
When we approached the part of the park where we usually see the adult rhinos, something new was happening. In addition to four pairs of adults, there was little (about 250 pounds now) Bash, running free in the rhino meadow for the first time.  He was evidently having a ball, running all over the place with new freedom.
Bash sticks with his mama.

Lion Country had staff members standing by in two trucks watching out for him on his first day out in the big world.  We loved watching him play around all of the gigantic adult rhinos as they obviously cared closely for him.

What a great day!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Daily Animal Visits

Trish and I are having such a wonderful time camping here at Lion Country.  First of all we are actually RESTING for the first time since we got married nearly a year ago.  Secondly, we get to drive through Lion Country Safari each day and are realizing that through the repeat visits we are really getting to know the animals and observe their habits.

Today we happened to enter the park just as the giant tortoises were being fed. They came walking right up to the park worker knowing that a treat was in store.  The feeder gave them bananas by hand and then gave them what I am guessing must be something like alfalfa pellets.  It was great to watch them interact with the Lion Country personnel.

The tortoises being hand fed bananas.

The Park has a huge herd of Kudus.  They wander around the very large natural habitat grasslands with several other ungulate antelope species.  The horns on the male kudus are spectacular.

An impressive male Kudu.

We really enjoy watching the white rhinos each day.  They always are wandering in pairs and we want to know more about their social habits.  Today we saw thirteen, including the new baby who is still with his mother.
Rhinos everywhere!

We are realizing that one trip through the Safari would have taught us very little compared to our daily trips.  This is turning out to be much more fun than we ever imagined.

At Lion Country

Each day, here at the Lion Country KOA Park, we take advantage of where we are and ride through the Lion Country Animal Park.  Times of day are quite different in terms of both sightings and activity of the animals.

Each morning we wake up to the echoing sounds of the lions roaring.  This starts about six-fifteen when there is just the first hint of daylight.  We figure they must be up and are trying to tell someone that they think it is time to be fed.  There is usually another big roaring time about an hour later.  Is this the time when the food actually comes?  They they roar a bit intermittently for the next hour or so and after that are quiet until the evening. We hear this clearly inside the Airstream as they have very big voices.

The dominant male blackbuck oversees his considerable herd.

The park opens at nine-thirty and they let the last people in at 4:30.  We have discovered that both ends of the day are best.  Not only do those seem to be the feeding times, but, the other visitors seem to come in the middle of the day.  We like to go first thing in the morning or late afternoon.

Wildebeests galore.  (Also called gnus.)

Trish and I are gradually learning what the animals are.  This is easy with lions, rhinos, and Watusi cattle, but more difficult with the variety of antelopes that are numerous here.  We can get a CD each day that takes us through the park and tells a lot about each animal.  We do this each day so we might at last be able to remember.

The beautiful scimitar horned oryx.

It really is fun being here.  The rest of our days are spent reading, resting, quilting and doing a bit of work to end the old year and put 2020 into action.

Friday, January 3, 2020

Arrival in Florida.

Trish and I arrived at our campground in Loxahatchee, Florida, yesterday afternoon and got the Airstream all set up for our three week stay here.  We are staying at a great KOA campground that is part of Lion Country Safari just west of Palm Beach.

We can hear the lions roar at our campsite.

As soon as we were all set up and unhooked, we began to discover our Lion Country neighborhood and get a bit of orientation to everything there is to enjoy here.

With our campsite we have an unlimited pass to Lion Country Safari, so we headed there to check it out.  It is wonderful.  The park is 265 acres of natural habitat animal country through which you drive your car to visit.  It is a mostly African environment with a few Asian additions.

As soon as we entered we had to wait for a gigantic Aldabra Tortoise to finish crossing the road before we could proceed.  These impressive creatures come from the island of Aldabra (north of Madagascar) and the ones we encountered are likely more than 100 years old.

Looks to be about five feet long.

It is about a one hour drive through the park at about four miles an hour...not counting stops.  Our plan is to drive through at a different time each day to take full advantage of being here.

The park has a very extensive breeding program and one of the new babies this year has been a 100 pound White Rhino.  It still looked tiny beside it gigantic mama.

At the Rhino nursery.

Our biggest plan for these three weeks is to work hard at doing nothing.  It is our first chance after the Hurricane Dorian flood to take time off and try to get totally rested.  Much needed!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Happy New Year 2020

We are on the early ferry heading to Florida with our Airstream for a month-long break and camping trip.  There is nothing we can do at home except wait for the plumber to come so the next stages of rebuilding can happen.  Trish and I decided it would be better for us to get out of the way and hope that a lot will happen before we return in February.

As we drive around the island, there still remains a lot of stuff to be picked up on the roadsides.  While truckloads continue to be taken away daily, the mountain of storm refuse in the beach parking lot it still outgrowing what is being taken away.  In spite of this, things are beginning to look better and better.

The mountain of refuse keeps growing faster than it can be hauled away.

We are still seeing more buildings torn down.  This includes both homes and businesses. We don’t know whether some of these will be built back or perhaps they are simply gone forever.  Only time will tell.

This is where The Oyster Company Restaurant used to be.  For years before it was Captain  Ben’s Restaurant.
Each day we are glad that we sowed rye grass all over the yard and around the house.  It continues to grow and make a beautiful green carpet that covers up what Hurricane Dorian did outside our house. What a help it is to have a bright growing spot of promise for the future.

Green grass in the yard makes things seem much brighter.

Our best Christmas gift was getting a water heater in the garage where we have been living.  Now we can have hot showers and dishes that feel properly clean.  Each little step helps.

We wish to offer thanks to all people and organizations who continue to help with hurricane recovery.  It is a long slow road for sure.  We also offer to all Best New Year’s wishes as we look forward to 2020!

The first sunrise of 2020!

Last Day at Lion Country

We had our last drive through Lion Country Safari and it is time for us to go.  We are going to take the Airstream up to Orlando and leave i...