Sunday, August 30, 2015

Devil's in the Details

Hola, gentle readers! I'm in a bit of online 'can't get there from here' at the moment and working to figure it out, so just a non-photo update for now.

Savannah is a beautiful town. Getting here kept me laughing most of the way, especially when A1A ran out and there was a ferry to catch. A great couple in the parking area gave me all the details and for 6 bucks, off we went, the Turtle and me, onto a little ferry. Luckily it was roll on, roll off; though backing up is something I'm getting pretty comfortable doing, I am truly glad it wasn't required. Then, there was A1A again, over vast expanses of marshes, grasses growing up out of cloud reflecting waters, low arched bridges connecting land bits small and big. 

The back roads I've been taking are pretty perfect for the Turtle. Max speeds of 60, but usually 55 (my favorite), good surfaces and it seems we've left the semis back in Florida, except occasionally. In towns two or three lanes lets people get around me easily - they are speeding, I am not - but I always feel bad if someone is stuck behind me for long...

And then, into Savannah. I've decided, since landing at the ferry by surprise, to take the adventure pretty much just using the GPS. She screws us up on occasion, but it makes the journey more interesting, wending through neighborhoods I would have missed and maybe a couple I wish I'd missed. It makes me even more happy that the outside look of the Turtle is pretty much 'old' and not the fun vibrant colors in my imagination for her. Old is good, old looks boring. Better to let assumptions lead the way.

Savannah has very bumpy streets, cobbles stones that are really stones, round and separate. Lovely to look at, maybe fun to drive on in a certain type of vehicle like a Rolls Royce or a tank, hell in the Turtle. Rattling and rolling along, with no parking in sight, I finally said screw it and turned down a street and another into a beautiful dead end and parked. It was wonderful. Illegal but wonderful; I wanted to make tea. But I really only stayed long enough to get phone numbers and an address to lead me to the home of a wonderful woman who has been a bigger part of my life than I was of hers since I was barely a teen (she was 'older' you see, but not so much now!).

Like peas in the proverbial pod, we're filling in the history gaps easily. I'll be here until I leave for the mountains, surrounded by cats and dogs and all the tea in China.

Have a slew of sated sighs Saturday. Do something situationally sweet.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Here and Now and Some Other Bits ~ Free Range Style

Since I've been in St. Augustine I haven't been cooking, but I have been walking. As the oldest city in the country and in much contrast to the rest of Florida, history is rampant here, showing up visibly in the least expected places. Markers, plaques, stories...they are all here and no doubt I've bypassed many. You'll just have to visit yourself and make your own discoveries!

Before leaving Sebastian, I had one more look around.

Hello, good-bye Mr. Wood Stork. Up close you are even more weird!

When I see crushed oystershell used for fill or cover, my heart sings Florida!

This guy is ready for the noseeums!

Man's wife, yelling - Don't fall off those rocks!

Man - I won't.

Me, walking by - Yes, we don't heal nearly as fast as we used too

Wife - Nah, I'd be the one having to pick his fat ass up and I don't know if I can.

There was a little museum, The McLarty Treasure Museum, I wanted to see with some history that I only knew a tiny bit about. Now I know why this area is called the Treasure Coast. Tragedy and treasure, they seem to be associated all too often.

Lots of ships lost, lots of lives lost and all because a Queen wouldn't sleep with a King until she had her dowry. Three expeditions later...she still didn't and pretty much broke the Spanish Empire due to financial losses and a disheartened - being polite - King. 

The fun fact of the matter is, treasure is still being found around the area, as the ships spilled out millions of dollars of gold, jewels and silver. Beachwalkers have found silver coins and gold rings and necklaces. I guess it beats chaney...sort of.

I like tools!

The biggest piece of chaney!

Look at the pendant on the left, second row, then read the following 

Of course, professional treasure hunters have been hard at work
for decades here. 
Moving right along, I headed to St. Augustine. Between there and here lies my old stomping grounds. Eager to visit, I was confronted with a weird reality. Or more. One, the beach side was depressing. Every place I planned on going, I drove right by, mainly because they weren't there anymore, covered with buildings. Two, the river side was entrancing. I forgot how much I liked it. 

Our old house. At least funk lives here! 

Closed and literally gone. There used to be a cute set of pagoda like buildings
here. Why they were razed and the ugly strip mall left, who knows?

Those two buildings weren't there, fields of sea oats were. This was 'our' beach.
Off to the left of the green building, there is now a pocket park.
I guess that was the trade off. Ugh.
Somewhere in between Indian Harbour Beach and Ormond, a shimmying started in the Turtle. So far, she's been steady and solid and this was not good. I skipped a planned stop and visit, thinking I needed to get as far up the road toward St. A as I could, because if it was something bad, a port in the doodoostorm was going to be needed. 

Another one of the places we lived on the coast that has paved Paradise. 

At least Snack Jack's is still around! Albeit with valet parking. What??
After what should have been a really wonderful, cruisy drive and instead was more of a very slow, white knuckled (while pissing off everyone behind me when I couldn't pull over) trip up the coast. Luckily, the speed limit on A1A is usually pretty low anyway, except for the few stretches where it 60 and 65; my 40-45 was not delighting anyone.

Fishermen still fish
At last! St. Augustine! By this time the Turtle was rattling at 30 mph and I was pretty much a wreck. Of course the bridge was up and have you ever tried merging in rush hour traffic with a larger than usual vehicle? Well, it was easy. Someone kindly didn't run into me when I sort of took the space...

Bridge of Lions lion
(one of two donated by a couple quite recently.
He's German, she's Chinese - they love St. Augustine)
And then there was Nancy and wine and the suggestion of a good mechanic and some catch up talk and sleep. A shower washed away the sweat of heat and fear (yeah, I was scared)

In the morning, headed to Trained Help, just driving at all was very wobbly and very much more scary. I'd been advised it could be tires but the way it felt, the whole thing was just going to fall apart. All those earlier fears were going to come true and it would turn into a broken bicycle. But it was just a tire. One tire on the front was causing all that craziness! Incredible. Between a great mechanic and the tire guys across the street, I was back in business. 

He said the tire had separated (from the outside it looked fine - until it was up and spinning in a weeble-wobble way) and it could have and would have blown out. So once again, I'm putting on my luckiest woman in the world crown. That is an experience I'd really rather never, ever have. So if you feel your vehicle go wobbly, get it looked at immediately, hopefully it's just a tire!

The streets in St. Augustine are tiny. It's sort of like San Juan that way, old streets. So I left the does not turn on a dime Turtle in Nancy's driveway and did a walkabout. She lives very near the old town and it's all a curiosity of history, so why not walk it? I did. A few times.

I applied to teach here at Flagler College many, many years ago.
They said I'd have to wait until someone died.
Wonder if I could get a job there now?

Flagler might have been a robber baron and guilty of quite a few more transgressions, but he sure built some gorgeous buildings

Where there were once more historical bits along the pedestrian area, there are now almost all shops of one sort or another. I was reminded of New Orleans that way, where real, living history was replaced by tee shirt shops. 

Seeing these things bolsters in many of us the desire that Culebra hopefully won't lose what she's got and then regret it when it's gone. 

But of course I went into the Tervis shop. A whole shop of nothing but Tervis.
There are lids for using straws and lids for replacements and handles that
slip over your Tervis making it easier to hold.
I thought I'd buy something but the too much of too much
and the chirpy clerk had me edging out the door, empty handed.

I really did like this guy. Wish I liked cigars.

This was in a courtyard of what is now a shop.
I'd love to know this story! Close off history and put up Trump for Pres stickers.
You can't make this stuff up.
Among the limestone, wood and coquina homes is this Turkish?
influenced home. Everything fits, even the lamp.

A more modern sort of fountain

Simple is good 

This marshy area is right down the street. At low tide, it looked like a good oyster bar.

At high tide, it's a lovely marsh scene!
After a shower and resting awhile, the light was so pretty it was time to head back out. Not as far, but far enough.

No, this is not Nancy's gate!

I'm sure it's a day tripper but a surely pretty sight.
 That's the real deal lighthouse in the background.

I could have taken 100's of photos of all the homes. Well, I did.
Prettiness out there

The other lion. I love the expressions on their faces!
Carving out some time, we'll go have some breakfast and Nancy can be a bit of tour guide. Even though I've come here since I was 12 and she's been here six years or so, she knows the city, history and players better than I ever will, so since one of my life motto's adheres to not looking gifties in the mouth but rather right in the eye and enjoying them, I'm happy to learn of her discoveries. 

Then it will be onward, north! In a non-wobbly mobile.

Thankfully, Erika was more of a non than an event for Culebra. I'm not sure about how much rain we got but Bill K knows and I'll find out from his reporting. Spare some thoughts and whatever else you can to Dominica (and maybe other islands, I haven't looked at the news yet) who were badly hurt by the storm.

Have a fair-free-and-fine-world Friday. Do something flotational.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Thanks, Sebastian, It's Been Good to See You!

I've been watching fishermen all of my life and have come to one conclusion. They are all the same person (man or woman), just rotating into different bodies at different times. The intensity, dedication, laughter, chatter, never changes. It always changes.

The fishermen are everywhere, all rigged up, fishing off the shore, off the jetties (with special carts to carry their gear), off the bridges. Many cast for their own bait, and show off their catches or give reasons for their not-catches. It's a good story with no ending, day or night. I need to get a license, but I don't think it would have mattered much.

Ready to fish!
Birds are their only competitors (except each other), circling, diving, watching, waiting. With so many fish, bait fish unused is scattered around without being picked up by human or bird. A wealth of bounty, it seems...maybe land crabs make off with the booty, who knows?

Wild flowers, looking like baby orchids

Some crazy waves here, close to the shore and out on the reef.
This is a very popular surfing spot.

Beach star
The current is seriously strong coming through the inlet, so strong you can hear the surge of the water. Some of the folks in boats, instead of going out to sea, drive up to the bridge and then let the current carry them backwards while they fish. 

 Then on goes the engine to do it again.

Without a storm like the night before, the sunset was much more gentle last night, and still beautiful.

Stately blue

I didn't mean to startle you!

Coming in for the night

With a good night's sleep in preparation for taking off this morning, I took a walk over to the beach side for the sunrise.

All the fishers, folk and critter, starting the day

One last glimpse of a wood stork!
There is a guy plunking on a banjo across the way, not accomplished but not unpleasant either. He and his wife remind me, a lot, of Pat and Gary (except Gary doesn't play the banjo so I know it's not them). 

After getting my tires checked in a few hours (two seem a bit low - I didn't know dualies can be connected - yikes - there's much to learn that I didn't even know there was to learn. I like that!) I'll be heading up A1A to St. Augustine. My favorite road to one of my favorite places.

Have a waltz of a Wednesday. Do something widening.