Monday, April 19, 2010

Thursday, April 8 through Wednesday, April 21, 2010: At Flagler Beach, Florida (Near Daytona Beach):
The trip to Flagler Beach(more than 300 miles) was longer than we're used to, but it was uneventful. Flagler Beach is 20 miles north of Daytona Beach, about one-third of the way between Daytona Beach and Saint Augustine. We're staying at the Bulow RV Resort, an Encore resort. It's a nice place---lots of grass, big old trees, huge sites---but since it's out of season, there aren't many people here and not much to do at the resort itself. We'll have to improvise. The night we arrived we all went to dinner up the coast at JT's Seafood Shack. It had been advertised in the resort handout, and I expected a small, unpopular place. It was mobbed and we had to wait almost an hour for a table, but the food was excellent. It turned out to be a lot of fun.

Friday afternoon there was a luau at the pool.

The Wheelers and we wore the Hawaiian shirts Becky and I got at Meghan's bat mitzvah four years ago. (Bill and Kim Shelton gave us theirs, and we gave those to the Wheelers some time ago.) People thought we must be related. We played with that a little.

On Saturday we had some rain, so Becky and I made a post office trip through the nearby town of Ormond Beach, which is much bigger and more beautiful than Flagler Beach. There we toured "The Casements" which was the winter home of John D. Rockefeller for several years. After he died, the family sold it and it had gone through several owners and various stages of abandonment, until the city purchased it and it has now been fixed up. Unfortunately, the various changes through the years have made it impossible to know what it was like when Rockefeller was there, so its historical relevance is minor. The name comes from the fact that the windows are all of the casement type, and there are a zillion of them.

On Sunday Becky and Pat went on an 11-mile walk---Becky tuning up for her Havasupai hike at the end of April.

After that, we toured the waterfront area of Flagler Beach and (next door) Ormond Beach, and had lunch in Flager Beach---at the ocean. Flagler Beach, in Flagler County, is named after Henry Flagler, who, it turns out, was John D. Rockefeller's partner in starting Standard Oil. Not surprisingly, he was a very wealthy man. He built the railroad that first connected Miami with Key West (and the intervening keys), and his name is on buildings and institutions all over the state.

On Tuesday we travelled to the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse in Daytona Beach. It is a quite well-preserved bit of history, they having saved the outbuildings that housed the staff, etc. There is a small park next door, where we picnicked.

On Wednesday, after a trip to the lady who is repairing the bronze "Lady With A Hoop" piece of sculpture we managed to break (and which she is having a lot of trouble fixing), we visited Cecil and Marie Peak, who worked with all of us at the North Rim one year and with the Wheelers one year at Yellowstone.

Their off-season home is in a trailer park near Fruitland Park. (Their on-season home is in Kentucky.) The Peaks are a lot of fun and Marie made us a delicious lunch. We then walked around the park and were attacked by swarms of bugs. Ugh. It is said that the state bird of Florida is the mosquito, and I believe it.

On Thursday Becky drove to Orlando to have lunch with Fernando, a Thai fellow that worked for Becky at the South Rim. He's now working at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

On Saturday we all went for a 9-mile bike ride through some nearby subdivisions. The homes were uniformly quite beautiful, quite varied in design, with some being quite palacial in size.

On Sunday we went to Saint Augustine to visit Cathy Brown, an old friend from Los Angeles, and her husband, Warren (Butler). Cathy moved to the area almost 20 years ago after her first husband passed away. They live in a beautifully maintained (restored?) historic house (built in 1903) in downtown Saint Augustine. It was great fun catching up. She served us a delicious lunch, of course.

On Monday, the Wheelers visited some old friends, Becky got her hair cut, and I polyurethaned some new plywood squares that we use under our wheels and stabilizers to separate us from whatever is underneath our trailer. I made the original squares more than 7 years ago in the garage of our Pasadena house, and they are looking a little weathered. A few of them were even well-gnawed by gophers that lived under our rig (actually, under the squares) at Zion.

On Tuesday, the Peaks came and took the Wheelers away to Saint Augustine for the day while Becky and I took a 159 mile trip (it was supposed to be 150 miles, but I missed a turn that added 9 miles) to pick up the now-repaired "Girl With A Hoop" ststue we broke a few weeks ago. Tuesday night, we met everyone for a nice dinner at the River Grill in Ormond Beach.

On Wednesday, we all had lunch at a strange buffet restaurant (Holiday House) in DeLand with the Wheelers and Bob and Lori---some former Xanterra folks the Wheelers worked with at several locationa. They were nice people, and it was fun to hear how they fared with the folks we knew at the locations where they worked. After lunch we went to Blue Spring State Park, where there is an amazingly clear spring-fed lake. Interesting.

When we weren't doing memorable things, Pat and Becky usually went shopping and Bill and I essentially vegged out. Tomorrow it's off the South Carolina and points North, finally leaving Florida.

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