Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Our time here in Key West is drawing to a close. We have thoroughly enjoyed this quirky, fun Florida city and are so glad we got to share the adventure with equally fun (and sometimes quirky!) friends! We were able to have one final amazing dinner together at a place called Hot Tin Roof before everyone had to start heading home.
Our 25th Anniversary was October 12th. We celebrated with a champagne toast (thanks Deb!)a stroll down Duval Street, a visit to the Hemingway House, a climb up the Lighthouse, and finally a pizza party back at the resort topped off with a red velvet cake (thanks Pam!)and gifts and cards. A singing card was even delivered all the way from Croton, NY from Holly's brother Chris and his family congratulating us on the journey and our anniversary. A perfect day!
So, as I stated up top, it has been quite a ride...literally and figuratively. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect combination of favorable weather, shared moments with special people, and most of all the realization of Joel's dream to celebrate his 50th birthday and our anniversary on our bikes in such epic style!
Monday, October 11, 2010
Even though we had several rest days throughout our east coast odyssey it sure feels really weird to be done! We don't fret for too long, though, because we are surrounded by great friends who are helping us to enjoy our stay in Key West. In addition to Pam and Bruce, Walt and Kelly have arrived as has Deb Finnegan all the way from San Diego. Deb and Holly have been great friends since elementary school and are always successful in planning get togethers every couple of years in different parts of the country. Quite a crew! Various configurations have gotten up early to watch the sunrise, taken a Conch Train city tour (by the way Joel and Paige, the same driver who took us all 10 years ago is still conducting!), eaten lunch at Sloppy's Joe's, visited the butterfly conservatory which is owned and operated by Sam Trophia from Rome (he is in North Carolina this week so we were unable to say hello), listened to Bruce's cousin's husband sing at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville way past our bedtimes, and finally taken part in the revelry at sunset down in Mallory Square...a Key West tradition. We still have a few more days to play then Mom and Dad will fly home and we will drive north. Something to look forward to along the way is a visit from Candy and Mitch who are meeting us in Emerald Isle for a few days! More fun times ahead then back to reality, which is a good place for us...we are blessed. Stay tuned for more blog action!
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
Pam and Bruce have arrived in South Florida and it is time to say adios to South Beach! We started our day bright and early at the Hilton (Bruce shot this bon voyage photo of us), and immediately began to experience the first in a series of outrageous and weird events. Within a few miles of the hotel we encountered flooded streets that were just not passable; that is unless you walked your bike through them in ankle deep water or rode through and kicked up a wake...we did both! As we got south of the city we were able to get on a pretty neat bike path that ran right under the metro. It was there that a dachshund puppy named Lady who was not on a leash ran right into Pam's path...luckily an accident was averted but it was a close call. We called Bruce to check in and found out that he had been sitting at a repair shop most of the morning due to a ruptured brake line in his car. It was eventually fixed but not until late day. Finally, just as we approached our hotel in Florida City we were turned back at the intersection by police and CSI and you name the emergency crew. No explanations were given. We backtracked and found our way to a different entrance and breathed a sigh of relief that we had covered 45 miles and reached the "Gateway to the Keys." We were joined shortly by Mom and Dad and then Bruce with the repaired car. The 5 o'clock news had two major headlines...the first being the unusual tidal flooding back up in Miami (been there, done that) and the allegedly naked man who shot a police officer during a traffic stop then was tasered and arrested in front of the Holiday Inn on Route 1! The policeman was taken into surgery for injuries to both hands. We certainly had enough excitement for one day!
Day two of our final four was much better! The weather was terrific; a little cooler and very sunny. We basically rode Route 1 the entire 47 miles. It was so much nicer being out of the city and back near the water. Our destination for the day was Islamorada and we made it by lunchtime. The hotel is oceanfront and lunch was just down the beach at a place called Lazy Days (a misnomer for the cyclists but the food was great!) We all thought Dad's shirt matched the blues of the sea. After our meal Bruce did some snorkeling and we all relaxed by the pool and on the beach. Another wonderful day!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Our ride from Fort Pierce to West Palm was very nice. The temperature was pleasant and we were along the ocean all the way..yay! We met Mom and Dad at a park on the Inter coastal and Joel popped Holly's bike on the rack for the ride to Wellington..he cycled. We all met up at the Kennedy's in the late afternoon and enjoyed some mango spicy shrimp and Coronas. It was so wonderful to reunite with our very good friends. It is hard to believe that Colin and Connor are almost 14! And by the way, we love Murphy, their three year old Cockapoo. Karen and Bill whipped up a wonderful meal of steak kabobs and scallops and salad with a homemade lemon pie. We really did not want to call it a night as we were having so much fun catching up. Luckily we had one more day to "play" which we did. Both Bill and Karen took the day off of work which we greatly appreciated. They took us to a great restaurant for lunch called the Key Lime House and then toured us around the terrific ocean communities. We ended our stay with pizzas and Cupcake chardonnay at their home watching the Patriots play the Dolphins..forgot who won! Missed seeing their oldest son Ryan who lives and works in NYC and Kyle who is one of Paige's best friends and attends WVU. We really miss this family who was a staple in out lives for so long, but as Bill so aptly put it..no matter how much time passes we will always be comfortable with each other and enjoy each other's company. Amen!
We left the Kennedy's on Tuesday morning after fixing two flats on Holly's bike before we even covered 3 miles. Very discouraging. Started out strong on the 70 mile ride to Miami but battled 20 or so mile an hour winds and heavy traffic which kept Mom and Dad on pins and needles as we kept calling with updates. Finally arrived in South Beach at around 4 pm to check into our oceanfront Hilton who gave us an upgrade with an oceanfront room and nice beverages! Tomorrow we meet up with Pam and Bruce and start the final leg of the trip..the Keys!
Saturday, October 2, 2010
Here is the promised photo of Ponce's Lighthouse. The reason I waited to post it is we saw it up close and personal during our day in Daytona, but got this view of it from across the inlet after a morning cycle off that barrier island, south on Route 1 and then back over a causeway onto another barrier island. Talk about taking the long way!
We cannot reiterate enough how great it is to be able to catch up with friends on this journey of ours! John and Liz both took time off of work and drove from Winter Park to the beach (NSB)to meet us at their family's ocean side home. Liz is a lifelong friend from Hamilton freshman year. She and John have three terrific teenagers who unfortunately could not join the fun because they had school to attend and band practice and lessons etc. Ah, I remember those days! John took us on a wonderful all day boat trip throughout the waters of the Inter coastal showing us their favorite fishing and camping spots. We had lunch at an old fishing camp turned restaurant and saw Flip Pallot and his film crew dining there. I guess he has a fishing show on cable which I want to check out. Dinner was at a Spanish Tapas eatery on the island which was fabulous. Between the four of us we tried an entire snapper fish, tostones, empanadas and more foie gras. And I thought we were going to lose weight!
Liz saw us off in the morning as John had to leave even earlier to get the kids' day started. Thanks so much you two for a great time!! Our ride to Melbourne (MLB) was quite long...80 miles, but we are getting the hang of this and time flew by. One particular encounter brightened our ride. We stopped for a midmorning coffee and sweet treat in Titusville. No sooner had we settled in than a very well spoken, handsome 81 year old gentleman joined us. He was curious to learn where we had been and where we were headed. He has children and grandchildren all over the US and offered stories and suggestions for any future trips we may take. He thanked us for indulging him and went on his way as did we, but it was so nice to just spend some time together. A little further on down the route, which by the way was almost all waterside, we came across this old sailing boat which is reminiscent of the Hesper and the Luther Little, although a much smaller version. These two vessels used to reside in Wiscasset, Maine but have now rotted away to nothing. Late afternoon brought us to the home (but only for 1 more week!) of Cathy and Steve Olney. Cathy is a childhood friend from Rome and is the mother of Stefan (remember him from Savannah?!) We got to visit these two a couple years ago when they lived on Tybee Island and are excited that they will be moving back to Rome soon. Boy were we ever treated royally. Steve, who is a retired firefighter and amazing chef, put together a delicious meal of steaks and scallops over vermicelli and lemon meringue pie for dessert. Heaven! Look for a television show he and a colleague are pitching called Heroes in the House. We saw the demo, and it is good! I can see it being picked up by the food network or the travel channel someday. The evening out on their patio was breezy and pleasant, and we wished it didn't have to end. Never fear, though. A mere few hours later we were being served homemade waffles and maple syrup by candlelight for breakfast. You guys are awesome! Thanks for taking us in on the eve of your move back to upstate NY.
Upon leaving Melbourne we had a reasonable ride of 50 or so miles to Fort Pierce. Today was sunny and nice...the temperatures have dipped to more Holly pleasing numbers! We met back up with Mom and Dad who have just spent three enjoyable days at Universal Studios. We are on the homestretch now...just one more week to the day till we arrive in Key west!!