Saturday, March 09, 2013

The Hunger Games


Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 76, low 50)

The Hunger Games was the title of a hit movie.

It is also what goes on around here, every morning.

Mr. Baxter, who is a really big boy, with a really big appetite, is ready for a really big breakfast very early in the morning.

He went from this:


To this:

Baxter and Little Noogie

Notice the other kitty?  She’s a little smaller than normal, but can you see the difference in size?  He’s a really big boy, with a really big appetite.

We’ve had a real problem breaking him of waking us up at 3:00 or 4:00 am for his breakfast.  That in itself was a real battle of the wills, but we finally won that one.  Or maybe, we compromised because he still wakes us up, just not as early.   :)

However, he is only patient for so long and then we start hearing the pitter patter of “little” feet running from the front of the coach, all the way back to the bedroom.  He runs down the hall, jumps up on the dresser and then does a quick scratch on the shades to make sure he gets your attention.  He knows he is not supposed to scratch on the shades, so he does it real quick, and then watches for the reaction!

For his efforts, he gets a squirt with the water sprayer, and off he goes running back down the hall.  Pitter patter, pitter patter.

It becomes quite a game.

Al is in charge of the pistol grip sprayer, which is kept by his side of the bed.  After a few blasts of water, he starts to chuckle.  I lay there trying to get a few more minutes of sleep, until I finally wake up to watch the “hunger games.”

By the time we finally get up Baxter is pretty wet!

As time goes on, the running gets more insistent and the “pitter patter of little feet” starts to sound more like a herd of wild elephants.   The light scratch on the shades gets consistently louder.  It becomes more and more frequent, and more and more insistent, until we finally decide to get up.

Mr. Baxter wakes up hungry! 

But….before he gets his breakfast, we have all three have to make the bed.  

What a lot of fun that is, with the help of a big furry, hungry, playful cat!

As you start smoothing the sheets, up pounces a big fluffy, hungry kitty ready to help!

We toss a Q-tip down the hall to get him off the bed long enough to start the bed making process.  He chases the Q-tip, retrieves it,  and then brings it right back and drops it on the bed, ready to go again.  I’ve never seen a cat play fetch before.  Each time he brings it back, he gets praised.  It takes quite a few “fetches” before we can get the bed made, but Baxter enjoys it and it gives him some much needed exercise.

So…..that’s how our mornings begin around here.  The cats get their breakfast before we get our coffee, but we wake up with a few laughs and smiles on our faces.

Baxter eats his breakfast and guess what he does next?  Yup, he goes and takes a long nap!  Hey, the boy is tired after getting up so early!


Our weather has been pretty cold here for 5-6 nights.  The day time temperatures are fine, but we’ve had quite a few nights in the 30’s.  Anything lower than the heat pump runs on, is too cold for me, and that is exactly what we’ve had.

It looks like winter is over now, with temps to be in the low 80’s all the rest of the week.  Hopefully the temperatures in the 30’s are over for the winter, but….

We have decided that winter is definitely going to be over for us, because……..



We decided to take a different route down this time.  We normally take I-75 south to Highway 41 and stay overnight at Midway Campground off 41.  There are two problems there.  One, Midway Campground  is first come first serve and you cannot call to see if there are any spots.  We always worry if we’ll be able to get a site or not. The other problem is the construction on 41 heading to the Keys is  horrible.  We’ve gone that route quite a few times and with the construction and narrow one way lanes, it’s an accident waiting to happen.

We decided we’ll head east on Highway 60 and then take I-95 and the turnpike south.   We really hate I-95 around Miami, so we’ll probably hop over to the turnpike, despite the extra expense.

This way we could bypass the construction on highway 41 and hopefully find a campsite we could get a reservation for.

Unfortunately, getting a reservation this time of year in Florida is not easy.  At least not a reservation where we knew was big rig friendly and not the only site no one else wanted.

We wanted to stay at Jonathan Dickenson State Park, but of course nothing was available.  I decided to keep checking and hope for a cancellation and I got lucky and snagged one!  We’ll only be there one night, but maybe we’ll stay longer on the way back.  We have reservations in the Keys from March 19, through April 17.  I hope nothing happens to prevent our travels.  I always worry!

We’re starting to get into the “Keys mood”.  Sherry mentioned in a recent blog about how you develop a routine at each place you stay. That is so true and we already know our routine in the Keys.   Up early and walk along the bridges watching the sunrise.  Play all day around the water and then watch the sunset at the Sunset Bar and Grill!   Can’t wait!



  1. we really love the Sunset Bar and Grill...glad you get to get back. During the two weeks we were there, we went quite a few times. :-)

  2. Enjoy the Keys again. as I kn ow you will. Maybe with the time change Baxter will be getting you up an hour later.

  3. Baxter is the kind of cat I would love - I personally believe he thinks he's a dog. Love him. The Keys sound wonderful. I know you're going to have a great time.

  4. What a great way to start the day! We have never been to the keys.....can't wait to see your posts!

  5. So I guess you bath Baxter one squirt at a time?

    Have a nice time in the Keys, life is good! :c)

    1. Yes, and he gets his bath daily!

      Come on down to the Keys and see us!

  6. Enjoy the Keys- We will be in Wesley Chapel at the end of the month.

    1. How long will you be in Wesley Chapel? We'll be back towards the end of April. Hope to see you both again.

  7. It must be a cat thing. Bella does like Baxter. Up around 4, jumps on Paul, purrs loudly, runs around like a horse, and does anything else she thinks will drive us nuts till he gets up. She eats three bites then goes back to sleep. One day we will miss that.

  8. I wish we could do Florida, but John can't take the humidity. Southwest is his cuppa tea. Have fun in the keys.

  9. Ah Baxter was such a cute kitten, and now a beautiful cat. I know what you mean about making the bed, we always have a little black wiener dog helping us. That is his time to get wrestled with.
    Be safe traveling.

  10. Bowie is like Baxter. Runs the length of the 5er, jumps on the dresser, chews on a print we have sitting on the dresser, gets sprayed with the spray bottle and keeps on doing it.

    The cats we have now used to play fetch, and I've had other cats (mostly Siamese) who loved fetch and never got enough.

    Enjoy Key West!

  11. I don't suppose you could leave a bowl of dry kibble out all the time? Probably he would overeat, right? Maybe some kind of chew toy for cats to satisfy him until you wake up? Could you feed him later in the evening so he's not hungry so early? I don't suppose he'd take well to a crate at night. He's such a beautiful guy with quite a personality. I hope the change in times this Sunday will give you an extra hour.

    1. We had to laugh out loud at your suggestions! Mr. Bax is a PORKER and he would love for us to leave the food out at night! :)

      We do try to give him a late night snack, but it doesn't seem to help...he's always hungry.

      The time changed this morning and we didn't get awakened by Bax....but it may have been because we forgot to put the food up last night before we went to bed.

      Bax was one happy kitty last night.

  12. Enjoy your time in the Keys! :-) Safe travels.

    Baxter is a cute!

  13. Bwaahaaahaaa sounds like Baxter had you both trained quite well! LOL

    Karen and Steve
    RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

  14. Our kitty has a mouse that she will bat back to us to toss down the hall. She will then bat it back again. We keep playing until she tires of it for the day.

    I'd love to meet Baxter some day.

  15. Great post about your morning "routine". That Baxter has you well trained. I am not going to say a thing about how envious I am of your having pretty much a MONTH in the keys. Now how did you do that? I guess your 1000 Trails isn't limited to two weeks. Well done!! Can't wait to hear all about it.

  16. Loved your story about Baxter. Sounds like he is a lot of fun even if he is an early riser.


  17. Know you are both ready to hit the road and head in the direction of your favorite place..... Sounds like a good route to avoid the problems on 41...... The cocktail hour is waiting for you ..... HAVE FUN !!!!

  18. 45 years ago, just before our daughter was born, Craig brought me a kitten. She was a delight, except for her morning routine after the baby was born. As soon as the baby woke and began to stir, the cat would run into our bedroom, jump on the bed, and bite Craig in the toe. He would nudge me, I would get up and while the bottle warmed I would feed the kitten. Smart cat! our daughter never ad to cry in the morning, she had an early warning system to wake up Mom.

  19. I think it is Baxter who has done a good job of training. Have you thought of doing a comic strp featuring Baxter, I think it could work.

  20. Fun story about your morning routine. Have a delightful time in the Keys!

  21. Where are you staying in the Keys? We are heading down to Curry Hammock State Park in June. Knowing in winter you're heading for a tropical oasis certainly puts you into a better frame of mind!

    1. Paula, we're staying at Sunshine Key. It's between Marathon and Big Pine.

  22. Enjoy your time in the keys. We just spent six days at Jonathon Dickinson State Park. We enjoyed a nice kayak paddle. I will post about it in a couple of days. The river sites are not big rig friendly.

  23. We took the Turnpike from Orlando all the way to the end. It was worth the 34.50 total fees. Not much traffic and easy off/on when necessary. We also loved the wide open spaces of Jonathon Dickinson.
    Have fun and travel safe!


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