Thursday, June 23, 2011

Boats, Planes and Green Lanterns - Michael

I spent the last evening in Columbia SC at a Ruth's Chris Steak house.  Ummm, good, but very expensive.  The best part was the company - old friends.  The next morning began the second stage of the trip.  Picked up a rental car at the airport and set out for Tallahassee, FL.  The car I got was a Versa - a brand new Versa.  Of the total miles on the vehicle, I did not put 9 miles on it.  I have never experienced that before.  I am still of the mind that the fun of driving a brand new vehicle is dampened when you realize that those first nine miles cost $2-4K (+?) in value of the vehicle.  I will still by used.

Traveled through Georgia.  Got to experience the wild fires down there.  It was very smoky for miles on end.  Did not see too many areas that had actually burned, but the whole area was marked by the smoke.  I could not imagine having to live in that stuff.  It was hard to breathe.

Stopped at a motel for the night because I was struggling with fatigue.  I get the impression that Days Inns are falling behind the power curve for doing deep maintenance and remodels - either that or each motel is independently owned and operated.  Either way, entropy is at work.  One thing I will say, I really slept well there.
I tried to catch up with email while at this motel but was falling asleep on the keyboard.  This was unfortunate because I missed a critical point in the directions for going to Steve and Renee's.  I ended up on a 50 mile side trip.  The good thing?  I found a watermelon stand.  Oh yeah!!!  Japanese watermelons are roughly the size of a cantaloupe - that is not right.  A watermelon that weighs less than ten pounds needs to be left in the field til it grows up.  The melon I found was around 36 lbs.  Farm fresh, tight skin, good yellow spot, and just the right sound when you knock on it.  When I began to cut it open, it popped and split with a most gratifying sound.  That was a good melon.  It was so big, even with Steve and I working on it, we could not eat it all.

After the detour, I found the campgrounds.  Steve and Renee had rented a cabin at a fishing camp/ boat dock.  It was quite rustic but just fine.  It had two bedrooms.  Steve stayed in the one, I had the other.  The day I arrived, Steve had arranged for a boat ride up the St Marks river guided by his uncle.  It was beautiful.  We saw dolphins, an alligator, turtles, herons, manatees, mullets, and much more.  The water was murky at the bottom end of the river, but further upstream, it cleared up enough that you could clearly see the bottom.  We did manage to run over a couple of logs.  They were a constant navigation hazard.  It was getting hot so we had to improvise.  Steve and I took off our shoes and dangled our feet into the water.  Kept an eye out for gators, but it was oh so very nice.
 Dinner was followed by a lot of conversation.  It appears that Steve and Renee have been rather busy with some local issues.  Some good results by the sound of it.  Renee went on back to their house as the evening was getting on, but Steve and I talked late.  We had at least ten years to catch up on.

There was a cryptic reference in regards to the next day.  I was going to get to meet his friend, Steve.  Nothing more.  Next day, we head out of the cabin for this friends house.  We rolled into this area that was designated as a "flying community".  Hmmm.  Can you say Beechcraft Baron?  Oh yeah!  We piled in and went for a flight around the area.  I got to do most of the flying.  It was fun, fun, fun.  I kept it fairly level because I knew that Steve was a bit queazy.  We flew out over the Gulf of Mexico over some islands.  The Baron is a little bit heavier on the controls than the single engine aircraft I am used to, but I could definitely get used to it.

When we got home, we were greeted by this critter at our back door.  Friendly, but decidedly inquisitive and hungry by all appearances.

Again, Steve and I stayed up late talking, again.  He had to take care of some issues with his business that following morning so we got a little bit of a late start.  We went into Tallahassee to catch a movie.  It was The Green Lantern, but before we got there, we stopped at one of the buildings that Steve's construction company had built.  Very impressive work.   The movie?  It was OK.  Not what I would call a family movie, but that did not stop the people behind us from bringing their rather young children in  to see it.  I will say, though, whoever made the film, really set themsleves up for the next movie.
--  Michael

Choosing Joy!
©2011 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...