|The Chronicles of
© 2008 Gail Hunter
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|Willie Nelson said it all: "On the road again."
Tuesday, April 1 - April Fools' Day. Exactly ten years after we set sail from Osprey, FL,
headed down around Cape Sable, through Buttonwood Sound, Biscayne Bay and up the ICW
(Intracoastal Waterway) to Connecticut. This present trip by Land Yacht is part nostalgia, part
seeing what lay more than 100 yards inland from the harbors we visited.
The next two weeks will take us to Flamingo, the tip of the Florida peninsula - deep in the
Everglades. I've just put The Kingston Trio's disk on..."If the 'skeeters don't get you, the
A DAY OF RELIVING VENICE started with breakfast at The Clock, always good for "over
easies," strong black coffee, and their homemade biscuits. We dropped by The Elephant's
Trunk Thrift Store run by the Venice Hospital Auxiliary to look for a bike for Gail. We
spotted it as soon as we entered the parking lot - first one in the rack - bright blue - thin tires
- a '50s relic with Manchester, NH tags. It was meant to be.
Took a spin over to one of our old homes,
Country Club Estates to check out the
boats in the harbor, and the condition of
our Myer Lemon Tree that supplied me
with enough juice to make dozens of jars
of Lemon Horseradish jelly each year.
While Cor did the laundry for the exorbitant price of $2.50 per load, I visited my favorite
southern hairdresser for a much needed clip. When Cor starts calling me "Camilla
Parker Bowles" I know it's time. Joan, at Palm Hair knows how to trim my wings, so I left
enough white stuff on the floor to knit a sweater.
Right: Paula & Jack Raimonde of Hudson ,OH. We struck up a
conversation with them after I narrowly missed running over her
foot as she enjoyed her orange/vanilla swirl ice cream cone in the
parking lot of Nokomis Groves. A few years ago, the groves
found a real money maker in ice cream. The fruit store closes in
the summer, but the ice cream stand is bustling all year round. In
addition to orange/vanilla, they have chocolate/lime.
Testament to Nokomis Grove's popularity. A
hot sunny day brings out old and young alike.
Inside, graders and packers sort and ready
for shipping the many varieties of orange. A
gift department does well too. That's where I
bought the rubber alligator that's ridden on
my dash board for the past twenty years.
Back out the wooded road to
Venice Campground - time to
disconnect all systems, stow all
breakables, and say our
farewells to the few people we'd
met in 3 days - Next to us were
the Peckhams from North Haven,
CT - Notice the hawk on their RV
Wednesday, April 2 - To Avon Park, an old Florida town "on The Ridge" just north of
Sebring. Our Burlington friend, John Davison has us convinced of the seriousness of global
warming: ergo The Ridge is the only place to be. We visited Betty and Court Houck,
formerly of Venice. Cor had known them from his boating years in Scituate, MA. Cor pulled
Moby into their circular driveway - not quite enough diameter to avoid running over the
sprinkler heads. They were very nice about it. Food: Olympia dinner, The Depot breakfast.
Route: The choice was between I-75 to Rt. 64 at Bradenton.
Googled that vs. Rt. 78 to Arcadia, then 27 to 17 to 64. Thought
it might be a nice change from super highways, but Cor did not
like the shoulderless two-lane roads and narrow bridges. It was
offset by lovely fragrant orange country though. We noticed a
distinct lack of cattle relative to ten years ago.
After roughly two hours from Avon Park, we arrived at Encore's
Sunshine RV Resort in Vero Beach, FL. It is near the Sebastian
Inlet. Having friends in Vero, we invited them for our first "dinner
party" aboard. It turned out to be quite a long trip for them.
Left top: Fran and Sammy San Miguel - Fran and I met when we
were roommates on a sketching trip to Italy, sponsored by Wellesley
College. It must have been in the '80s. Cor is sitting between
Ernie and Lee Wiehl, friends from Fairfield, CT. We've spent
many happy hours crewing for each other, they on our Irwin 38, and
we on their 50' Grand Banks. Cor and I are out of boats, and Ernie
has his for sale.
Left bottom: Sammy demonstrates his newest gadget. I don't even
know what it's called, but it holds a lifetime of photos, has Internet
access and does everything but drive you home.
Friday, April 4th - We took a quick hour-plus 90 mile hop down I-95 to Lake Worth, FL,
where we arrived at Palm Beach County's John Prince Park. It was a surprise to find they
weren't expecting us until the 5th. Life was getting a little confusing here. How many other
reservations have I messed up?
This is the prettiest place we've been. When I can find the transfer cord to my camera, I'll
upload the spectacular view from the bedroom window! That's after Cor finds the booklet with
numbers to program the TV. And the wrench to raise the seat on my bike...and on...and on.
The next evening, Ernie picked us up, gave us a quick tour of Sebastian, then brought us to
their house in John's Island. An exceptionally gorgeous part of town, the landscaping is lush
and the houses are reminiscent of Bermuda, right down to the tray ceiling in the living room.
Next door neighbors, Walter and Bunny Brown came bearing a gift. What a gift! It was a
small piano, around a foot square. A tiny bald man was seated on the bench. A hit on the
button and he requested you to put on one of his seven hats at which point, he would play a
tune to match the hat. Cowboy, top hat, baseball cap, etc.