Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Closing the loops

Tonight we are at our old familiar spot in Cocoa Beach, Florida.  As usual, no map link in consideration of our very generous host here.  Regular readers may remember that we were in exactly this spot near the end of September when we made a last-minute decision to drive to California, by way of South Dakota, to attend a wedding and then stick around to help my cousins get settled there.  It's good to be back, and it feels like closure for that trip, so that's one loop closed.

This morning found us at a familiar Walmart in Jacksonville, Florida (map), which is somewhat of another loop closed, considering we had to stop there on our way to Savannah to wire the funds for the boat.  We did not quite make it all the way back to the bank, but we passed the exit for it this morning.  This particular Walmart is across the street from a Home Depot, and after dinner last night we walked over and picked up a number of hardware items for the boat that, for whatever reason, we could not find in Savannah at either Home Depot or Lowe's.  We also dropped a few coins in the Walmart on extra dishware, mats, and other items that, again, we had trouble finding in Savannah.

While it's great to be back here, it's hard to stop for just a single night.  We really like it here, just a block from the beach, and walking distance to several stores and nice restaurants.  Louise took me across the street to one of our favorites to celebrate my closing, yet again, of that biggest loop of all, the one around the sun.  It will be difficult to leave here in the morning.  We might make it back for another single night on our trip north, but either way, this is likely either our last or second-to-last night in this spot in the bus, and that makes me a little sad.

The combination of yesterday's shift from unseasonably cold temperatures in the east to unseasonably warm ones (the result of an odd weather pattern) with moving south some 4° in latitude, has caused us to go from running the furnace to running the air conditioning literally overnight.  In Savannah we were running the heat in the evening and again in the morning, and had the electric blanket on.  By the time we woke up in Jacksonville we had the windows open, and on the way here I change to short sleeves and we cranked up the A/C.  By the time we hit Fort Lauderdale I'll be in sandals.

Yesterday we wrapped up whatever we could on the boat, left the keys with the marina staff, and headed out by mid-afternoon.  We met John at the Ford Plantation, where they have a cottage, to return the car they so generously loaned us, and he gave us a little tour.  The grounds, now a gated residential community, were once the winter estate of Henry Ford.  The property is well-manicured and some of it is in much the same state as Ford left it.  We got to walk through Ford's house, now used for guest quarters and dining facilities for club members.  It was very nice of John to give us a tour of the area.  Of course, we also used the opportunity to ask questions about the boat, which we've been writing down as we go along (what does that red switch do?)  I'm hoping we'll be able to have another dinner with John and Laura Lee when we return to Savannah after our training cruise.

Tomorrow we will leave here mid-day and head to Bahia Mar in Fort Lauderdale.  Our friends Martin and Stephanie, freshly returned from a visit to the factory in China where their new Nordhavn is under construction, also arrive tomorrow afternoon and we plan to have dinner with them.  We're looking forward to catching up with the rest of the Passagemaker/Trawler Fest gang as well, and we've also got about three notebook pages full of things to research while we are at the show.  It should be a very rewarding event, but I expect I will not have much, if any, time to blog until after it is over.

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