DAY SEVEN – Heading North on leg two
This has been the most social day of the trip starting with a visit to Gail and Tony in Naples. Not only did I get a nice chance to catch up after not seeing each other for well over a year, I also got a great dinner, my laundry and homemade scones for breakfast (plus a couple for the road –yum!) The GT visit was followed a couple hours after I left their house with a CD visit…my other sister Cynthia and her husband David. We met in the little town of Arcadia where we stood under some lovely trees next to the McDonalds a can’t miss meeting place that was too crowded to be Covid comfortable. They also gave me a snack pack for the road with a healthy apple and a, less healthy but very welcome, giant bag of peanut M&M’s.
The drive from Naples to Arcadia almost paralleled I-75 and here is where my desire to avoid the Interstate may be misplaced. The roads I drove were grand six lane boulevards but with stop lights every mile or so for the first hour of the trip. Why they have these giant roads that run 50-55 miles per hour and then stop them for every subdivision entrance that generates random traffic is beyond me. It would seem to me that the lives of the subdivision residents would be easier and smoother if they waited a bit to get to the main road then were able to glide along once there. But what do I know?
From Arcadia I headed north on mostly rural roads that let me keep a steady pace of about 60 and did fine until Bartow. From there I was in the magnetic field of the I-4 corridor and a stop to visit Mike and Betty Kennedy who had staked out a table at the Main Street Café in Auburndale. After a nice lunch and visit I started north on a neat county road that avoided all the congestion. My hope that I would be out of the heat and humidity was dashed though as clouds gathered and the discomfort factor doubled. Then I had a hard time connecting to the right county roads and state highways in the towns as they were poorly marked or changed names. I finally found myself on the Bear Scenic Byway which was indeed scenic but got me to thinking. As uncomfortable as I was in a short sleeved shirt, how does a bear manage with a heavy fur coat?
Apparently I was contemplating too much about bears, as I missed the turn in Green Cove Springs that was to take me east of the St. John’s River so I sailed up the west side while Tom Bungay was waiting on the east side to escort me to his home for the evening. When I finally realized that I was in the wrong place I called Tom who rerouted me to a meeting place and guided me home. There he and Polly had prepared a lovely evening with dinner drinks and friends which was just wonderful. They had invited other “Car Guys” including Bill and Jane Warner, Chris Tchorznicki, and Joe Petty who told more stories and memories than you could ever believe and all of them fun and funny. Accompanied by Polly’s wonderful Chicken Alfredo, it made for a great night. And…that is the reason this blog never got posted last night.
Impressions from the seventh day:
• After six days alone it was really nice to have some company, but then it all happened at once so the day was a lot longer than I would have planned if I were planning. Hence the rest day today.
• The car is still running great and following Tom as he flew at high speed across the Jacksonville highways in his Alfa GTV with the five speed made me appreciate her even more though I was mesmerized by the Alfa!
• I avoided any real rain yet again today. That is until the evening when it really rained and kept up through the night and until midafternoon Sunday.
• We had a great evening as a gift from my thoughtful hosts Tom and Polly, and then I get to stay another day!