Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kissimmee, Melbourne and the Floridians...

Pictured is a sixty-one-year-old tadpole refreshing in Blue Springs on the St. John River. No, I'm not still that white, it's an illusion.

When we left Blue Springs State Park we headed for Kissimmee, ending up at the Aloha Campground, where several elders were hanging around in the shade of one of the units near the front of the park, by the pool. As we were setting up several of them came by, eager to introduce themselves, letting us know that there would be a community campfire at sundown.

By late afternoon it was hot so we took our books to the pool. For me, a good read called The Brooklyn Follies by Paul Auster. For Janice, Spanish Made Simple.

There had been a solar cover on the pool when we arrived. It had been removed for us after we’d enquired about pool use. No doubt, for those ‘Crazy Canucks who’ll swim under any conditions.’ When we entered the pool we looked at each other rather incredulously - the water was actually warmer than the air, which was about eighty-five degrees Fahrenheit. The oldsters were still gathered, watching, perhaps wondering if we were really going to go through with getting wet under such chilly conditions. We did get wet, but it wasn’t worth the time, so we went back to the RV and had cold showers.

There are yellow and pink grapefruits growing on the trees in the park. They won ’t be ripe until January but that didn’t stop one of those watching us in the pool to offer up a of couple green ones to us.

Later, as we approached the campfire, we noticed that the solar cover had been put back in place over the pool/soup pit. Unbelievable.

Everyone at the fire, but us, had been coming to the park for the past twelve or fourteen winters. Originally, most had been attracted to the reasonable rates. Now, having found themselves in a weird kind of time warp, they have come together and formed a loose sort of family; where they hang out together and look out for each other.

As Ward continued to feed the fire, Bill, Sylvia, Janice, me and Gill were swapping ’How you got here stories‘. It didn’t take long though for the talk to turn to health; and these people’s general lack of it. Some of them were younger than me, but to a person, they all moved so SLOWLY. Surely it didn’t help that most of them had golf carts to get around the campsite, which was no more than one block square. When they weren’t riding in those carts, and actually had to walk a few feet, they moved like a bunch of geriatrics.

In the morning, after eating one of the green grapefruits, which was actually quite juicy and delicious, we took off and ended up at a good spot at The Lucky Clover Campsite in Melbourne, back at the coast. It has a nice pool that is about seventy-four degrees - just right. Cape Canaveral is only about ten miles up the coast and we got a great view of where they launch the shuttles when we took a drive to Cocoa Beach. We may or may not wait on the shuttle - it keeps getting pushed back and, anyway, people say you can see it from just about anywhere on the coast.

Pictured is a typical entrance to the beach around Melbourne.

The pool has been providing a nice respite in the afternoon. When we first checked in I asked the caretaker why there was nobody in the pool. He said, “Because we’re Floridians. If it gets below eighty degrees, I put my sweater on.” He pointed to his sweater hanging over the seat of his golf cart just to show me that he wasn’t kidding.

We’ve found the Lucky Clover RV Park to be central to lots of stuff so we decided to book another couple of days. Today is Tuesday and the count-down to the launch has begun for 3:52pm tomorrow so, maybe we’ll catch it after all.

My sister, Lisa’s, husband BJ has a sister in Vero beach, about an hour south of here. We’ll probably stop for a day there and visit them before heading for The Keys, where an old friend of mine from North Van, Robyn Rands (MacMillan), has been generous enough to invite us to stay a day or two at her boutique hotel in Key West. She’s even found a place for us to drop the trailer while we’re there.

We’ve been going for bike rides in the morning, scoping out the lay of the land and seeing what else is about. Today we were exploring a bit of the Intra Coastal Waterway. Basically it’s an inland waterway that extends all the way from Miami to Maine. From there boaters navigate the Saint Lawrence Seaway, The Great Lakes, and the Mississippi River, back to The Gulf of Mexico. It’s navigable by large yachts and man are there a lot of them down here in the Sunshine State. Most people here mistakenly call it the Inter Coastal Waterway, but that would mean it went coast-to-coast - so they’re just plane wrong.

We drove to Sebastian Inlet State Park, checking out the over-saturated real estate market along the way. A really nice 3bd2bth condo with a water view is about $150,000.00. Probably 20% of the recreational real estate here is for sale. We saw one condo advertised for $39,500. The ocean here is currently eighty degrees and Vero Beach, about thirty miles down the coast is said to be the real start of The Tropics.

Pictured is Tim walking down Palm Beach, just south of Melbourne. Janice doesn't get any picture time today.

Our bike ride on Wednesday morning took us to the ocean side of Melbourne where they’ve done a great job of keeping public beach access between almost every hotel or condo development and, where there are houses, between every half dozen or so of them.

The damn space shuttle has been put off again so we’re taking off tomorrow. From the beach here you can see Cape Canaveral in the distance and people tell us that you can feel the ground rumble during the launch. It would have been fantastic weather for it too.

We’re off to Vero Beach tomorrow.

1 comment:

  1. well I haven't really thought of Florida as a destination but you've got my interest now. I really miss being on the road, carrying a house behind us. Maybe there will come a time when the elders and babies won't miss us if we take off a year!