Monday, February 13, 2012

Gulf Coast

We are now heading up the Gulf Coast of Florida where our first visit was to Sharon and Bill Blasdell in Placida. Sharon, who had moved to Florida 3 years ago, was in Adele’s tennis group at the Los Gatos JCC– a joyful reunion for Adele and Sharon! Our visit relates like a comedy of errors, Sharon had been out on her bike the day before we arrived, skidded, fell over the handle bars and landed (on shale) on a friends driveway ending up with a terrible cut on her eyebrow, an enormous black eye and bruising all down her cheek. We knew nothing of this until we arrived at their door to be greeted by Bill and Sharon hiding behind a pair of dark glasses; she looked like she could be in terrible pain but denied being so.  Sharon had a lovely lunch of lobster rolls ready for us, memories of our stay with Eileen and Carl in Maine where Eileen, Tom and Adele ate as many lobster rolls as we could. 

As Bill headed to his eye doctor Sharon took us to Gasparilla, a beautiful island in her neighborhood - it was a $5 toll to drive over a small bridge, they certainly want no riffraff on that island.  The beaches were long, white and sandy with thousands of pretty shells; one could feel and see that the sand was comprised of crushed shells. This is one of the things that we love about our travels around America…one can see how the earth evolved through observing Americas beaches, mountains, waterfalls, geysers and deep, seemingly bottomless pools. We had afternoon tea in a beautiful hotel which will be one hundred years old next year, a unique decorative feature in the hotel were spectacular pieces of art made entirely from sea shells known as “Sailors Valentines” prominently on display throughout. As we sat in the lounge we were entertained by a guest playing the piano – she must have been a concert pianist. Adele felt like a million dollars sitting there! Sharon forgot to take her cellphone and purse with her (her eye must have been bothering her) and when we got back we discovered that Bill had been trying to call her as his Doctor wanted to do a procedure on his eye which would have prevented him driving; he had to go back the following day to have it done.  We went over that little expensive bridge again to have dinner, only the rich can keep doing that - we reckon the Golden Gate Bridge is about the same price. We had a really lovely day together. Adele called Sharon a few days later, both were doing fine, although now her cheek was turning green.

Eileen and Carl decided to drive down from Maine to Clearwater in time for the Super Bowl weekend and as we had missed out on visiting Sanibel Island we decided to reverse ourselves and head south once again to Fort Myers. The RV Park had an exercise room so we both took advantage of it, however after a fast (what else?) 2 miles on the walking machine Adele ended up with a bad bout of Bronchitis; we wonder was it the fast walk or something she picked up off the machine handles, we don't know but Adele vowed to avoid exercise rooms from now on. Sanibel Island is lovely and once again only the rich can afford to live there and visit, it costs $6 to drive over the bridge, this bridge is substantial and worth the $6 – the catch however is that every time one parks ones car near a beach the cost is $2 an hour, making for expensive sunbathing and swimming.
The residents all cycle everywhere as there are very good cycling lanes all around the island, a cyclists paradise; in fact at every cross road the law is that car drivers give way to cyclists. The beaches were again long white sand stretching out for miles and miles; on one Adele saw 2 magnificent sculpted competition category sandcastles, a pity that she didn't have her camera and as we were coming to the end of our $2 parking, no time to get photos.

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