February 2009 Archives

Awake: 6:18am Temp 53 sleep 6+20 sunny overnight @ Cocoa, Florida.

After breakfast, we leave @ 10:20am to go birding on Merritt Island, relatively close to the Kennedy Space Center; in fact, it is owned by the KSC. We check out the National Wildlife Refuge visitors center, pick up a few brochures of the area including a good map, get some pertinent information from the lady working behind the counter & then watch a movie covering the history of this paradise for birds & other wildlife. Sorry, no extra reporting on how these habitats began or are controlled & maintained.

Next, we do the auto trail of (7) miles. With camera & binoculars nearby, our (5-10) mph speed gives plenty of time to watch on both sides of the gravel road. I will admit that our timing was not the best; fowl & animals are most active during the early morning hrs & late afternoon hrs, however, we were content @ what we photographed & viewed. My bird life list today grew by (3): a Roseate Spoonbill, an American Coot & a Killdeer & I have yet to identify correctly (1) more on the memory stick.

We spent a good (3) hrs birding & that included the refuge center stop. Then we auto explored the downtown historical district of Titusville en route to a grocery stop @ Publix + a fuel stop for the Suzuki (13 gal @ $1.87 per gal) before arriving at our coach @ about 4:00pm.

We watch our usual TV programs before, during & after dinner & dish cleaning.

Dinner: Pork chops with fried whole wheat noodles & a spinach salad.

Evening movie: "Parallax View" with Warren Beatty, Paula Prentiss, William Daniels, Walter McGinn, etc. Reporter Beatty investigates a senator's assassination. Frightening story unfolds with each piece of evidence he uncovers; gripping to the very end. 1974.

Lights out: 12:12am

Awake: 6:21am Temp 55 sleep 6+23 mostly sunny overnight @ Cocoa, FL.

Before breakfast, K & I attend 8:30am Mass @ Blessed Sacrament Church in Cocoa, a (28) min drive. We also get a good dose of ashes on our foreheads for Ash Wednesday.

Later, @ home, I check my credit card receipts against the computerized version. Then I start searching for our next campground destination. It took some time but finally I settled on a campground in St. Augustine, FL.

Next, before tossing one of our early movie guide books that was falling apart, we take turns transposing the movie titles we saw with the date seen to our newest movie guide book. We 1st started recording these statistics in April, 2006.

We watch our usual TV programs before, during & after dinner & dish cleanup.

Dinner: Tilapia fish, brown rice with golden raisins, broccoli, whole grain bread & a mixed salad with homemade dressing.

Finish watching the movie: "Sergeant York" with Gary Cooper, Walter Brennan, Joan Leslie, George Tobias, Stanley Ridges, Margaret, etc. Excellent story of pacifist York (Cooper) drafted during WWII, realizing purpose of fighting & becoming a hero. Oscar-winning performance by Cooper in fine, intelligent film, balancing segments of rural America with battle scenes; based on a true story. 1941. We Googled this movie & found it to be a close replica of what Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, had to say about the story. If you haven't seen it, move it to the top of your list.

Lights out: 11:50pm

Awake: 6:21am Temp 55 sleep 6+23 mostly sunny overnight @ Cocoa, FL.

After breakfast, we leave @ 10:00am & motor back to the Kennedy Space Center visitors' complex. After going thru security, we board (1) of the fleet of (44) tour buses, (this (45) ft bus is full) & are transported to an area as close as any visitor can get to the two giant Shuttle Launch Pads, 39A and 39B.

We climb the stairs of the 60-foot-tall Launch Complex (LC) 39 Observation Gantry to get the best view & take a few photos. One could easily see the well-traveled crawlerway, where the gigantic Crawler-Transporter takes the Space Shuttle out to the launch pad. The crawlerway is a (100) ft wide double pathway; a seven foot bed of stones lies beneath a layer of asphalt & a rock surface.

In another building @ our 1st stop, we watched a movie from start (crawler-transporter moving the space shuttle @ ½ miles per hr) to finish of a typical launch of the space shuttle. Everything has to be carefully carried out in a most precise & complex manner.

Our next bus ride takes us to the Apollo/Saturn V Center; the Saturn Five rocket was a multistage liquid-fuel (expendable rocket) used by NASA's Apollo & Skylab programs from 1967 until 1973. In total NASA launched thirteen Saturn V rockets with no loss of payload. It remains the largest and most powerful launch vehicle ever brought to operational status from a height, weight and payload standpoint.....& one of them has had a complete make-over & is now on display in the huge building we are about to enter. But 1st, we watch another movie of a count-down for the launching of a Saturn Five.

On January 10, 1962, NASA announced plans to build the C-5. The three-stage rocket would consist of five F-1 engines for the first stage, five J-2 engines for the second stage, and a single, additional J-2 engine for the third stage. The C-5 was designed for the higher payload capacity necessary for a lunar mission, and could carry up to 41,000 kg into lunar orbit.

Seeing this monstrous rocket in person was phenomenal to say the least; Kathy & I just stood there, mouths open & speechless. As we gain our composure back & walk along this mighty creation of yesteryear, (363 ft) long, (33 ft) diameter & weighing (6,699,000 lb) we read the many plaques posted here & there giving its statistics: number of flights, safety record, etc. Then we watched another good movie which re-creates an Apollo rocket launch with the Lunar Theater depicting the 1st moon landing.

Bus stop # 3 brought us to a warehouse where the Discovery's cargo is being organized & loaded for the next shuttle flight. We didn't know what we were seeing but the guys were using a heavy crane to maneuver the stuff around. In this building we also had the opportunity to see samples & pictures of previous cargo gone into space; here is the latest bulletin update on Discovery launch:

"WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The launch of the space shuttle Discovery, originally scheduled for Feb. 12, has been tentatively targeted for March 12, after repeated delays caused by critical valves, the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) said on Wednesday.
An exact target launch date will be determined as work progresses with the shuttle's three gaseous hydrogen flow control valves, NASA said in a statement.
At NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, technicians have started removing Discovery's three valves, two of which will undergo detailed inspection. About 4,000 images of each valve will be reviewed for evidence of cracks. Valves that have flown fewer times will be installed in Discovery.
Engineering teams will also complete analysis and testing to understand the consequences if a valve piece were to break off and strike pressurization lines between the shuttle and the external fuel tank. Hardware modifications may be made to the pressurization lines to add extra protection in the unlikely event debris is released.
Discovery's 14-day mission will deliver the International Space Station's fourth and final set of solar arrays, completing the orbiting laboratory's truss, or backbone. The shuttle also will carry a replacement distillation assembly for the station's new water recycling system.
According to the statement, NASA's Space Shuttle Program will hold a meeting on March 4 to review new data and assess ongoing work. Managers then will determine whether to move forward with a flight readiness review on March 6.
The agency has just a few days in March to get Discovery off the launch pad in time to avoid a schedule conflict with a Russian Soyuz capsule that is to fly to the station at the end of the month."

Editor: Chris

Back @ the Visitors Complex, we self tour the Shuttle Explorer; which is a full-scale replica of a Space Shuttle. The Explorer includes replicas of the interior spaces.

Next we visit the Astronaut Memorial area; then, from a distance, the Rocket Garden & then...K & get in line, listen carefully to instructions, strap in & get vertical & experience a realistic simulation of an actual space shuttle launch which includes: shaking, motion/vibrations, loud noise, visual & lighting effects.... & then the heavenly sights of outer space. Kathy was skeptical of doing this & several times suggested that the observation room would be sufficient; but afterward told me, "it was great!"

We finished our self touring in the visitors' complex by looking @ outer space pictures from the Hubble Space Telescope. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing & experiencing the Kennedy Space Center & all its wonders. We highly recommend this look into the future anytime one gets close to the Space Coast of Florida.

Dinner: beef burgers with honey-mustard cream sauce over lettuce & tomato, 4 bean salad, & whole grain bread.

Melissa calls: we haven't heard from her in what seems to be a long time; she tells us she has needed more sleep with her pregnancy.... & we are holding back calling to respect that plan. Our talk time was ended when Nathan woke up. All seems to be going well at the Foote castle.

Later, we watch & listen to President Obama's speech on the economy. No movie tonight.
Lights out: 11:58pm

Awake: 7:33am Temp 53 sleep 6+38 sunny overnight @ Cocoa, FL.

While drinking my coffee, I notice a 5th wheel & a motorhome pulling out of the campground; moments later in the office, I report this to Maxine; she asks if I could walk the campground & get the site numbers of the vacant campsites? "Sure!" I tell her.

"(3) campsites vacant," I tell Maxine & "if # 42 is not reserved, that would be my choice." She appeared happy that # 42 became available for us.

Kathy retracts the slides while I reel in the water hose & shore power cable. # 42 campsite has no trees nearby, is long & a easy back in & easy pull out + we have (50) amps with a full hookup.

After breakfast, we auto tour the historical area of downtown Cocoa with its unique sidewalk café's, quaint antique shops, galleries & many active businesses. We were most impressed with the activity in the park & pedestrian traffic. What do they have that Hollywood, FL doesn't have?
From here, we motor about (40) min to the Kennedy Space Center visitors complex.
As we drive into a huge parking lot for visitors, we witness dozens of buses constantly on the move, driving in the complex, then driving out. At entrance booth #(15) to this expansive compound, we had (3) ticket choices; we chose # 2 as it gave us the bus tour & the opportunity to return for a 2nd day free if done within (7) days. We passed on the bus tour circuit today as the time was already 3:00pm & most of the activity closes around 6:00pm.

After going thru security & inside the complex, we watched (2) great I-Max movies, both in 3-D; "Magnificent Desolation" & "Space Station 3D." Then in another building, we were treated to a short talk by Astronaut Commander (retired) John Blaha, who was elected as an astronaut in May 1980 & logged 161 days in space on five space missions. He described his experience in space during his various missions on the International Space Station & on Mir with the Russian Cosmonauts; followed by an audience Q&A session. It was all so fascinating; we can hardly wait until tomorrow to visit this complex again. We return to our campsite @ 7:05pm.

Dinner: Paprika chicken with whole wheat noodles & a mixed salad.

We watch the rest of Jeopardy, the O'Reilly Factor & ½ of the movie: "Sergeant York."

Lights out: 12:49am

Awake: 6+23 Temp 60 sleep 6+44 sunny overnight @ Pahokee, FL.

Before having my coffee, I climb up on the roof & wipe the slide tops clean of heavy dew; then Kathy & I have our coffee & a Kathy muffin for breakfast, hook up our Suzuki & @ 9:30am, start heading north on U.S. 98, then northeast on State Road 26, then I-95 to the Sonrise Palms Christian RV Park in the town of Cocoa, FL.

Today's travel: 140 miles 3+12 time 23 gal used 6.2 mpg 47 avg speed.

Small campground but big rig friendly & quite nice; we were forewarned last week by the campground office that if they were full, they would offer us a site in the overflow area, and when a site opened up, it would be 1st come, 1st served. Sure enough, they were full when we arrived so, with Kathy's help, we avoided the tree limbs & other obstacles as we parked with only 30 amps electric & water for the night. I did ask if a few limbs could be trimmed so our # 1 slide could be extended but didn't bother extending # 4 slide due to other close tree branches. The overflow area was not designed for big rigs.

After setting up our home, K & I take a walk around the campground for curiosity & a little exercise.

Skype Ray in Ocean Park, WA; Ray looks good & sounds good. We have some high- quality talk for nearly an hr.

Dinner: leftover Italian Tuna casserole & broccoli.

We start watching the 81st Oscars from Hollywood, CA. @ 8:30pm; @10:20 pm, Nick Skypes & we use our split cord ear plugs so we can both see, hear & talk @ the same time. Jerry has a fever & was rather sluggish so most of our talk time was with Nick. He told us about his interesting meetings with oilmen last week in Houston, TX. Only (37) min tonight due to Jerry's condition.

We continue watching the Oscars having recorded the time we were on the phone.
Lights out: 12:55am

Awake: 7:25am Temp 57 sleep 7+18 sunny-windy overnight @ Pahokee, FL.

A casual morning for us. Along with our regular mail, FedEx sent a bunch of revisions for updating my retirement status & health coverage, etc. There must have been over (200) pages.

Then K & I take turns finding the movies we watched during 2005-6 from our 1st Movie Guide. Later we plan to copy those dated titles into our bigger print & nearly new movie guide.

K & I attend the 5:00 pm vigil Mass @ St. Mary's; (45) min. Afterward we say our goodbyes to these friendly & good people, esp. Father John.

Dinner: hamburger with 4-bean salad.

Evening movie: "Gabriel Over the White House" with Walter Huston, Karen Morley, Franchot Tone, C. Henry Gordon, Samuel S. Hinds, Jean Parker, etc. Dizzying Depression fantasy of crooked Huston elected President, experiencing mysterious change that turns him into Super president, determined to eliminate racketeers, find world peace; Bizarre, fascinating. 1933. In this story, Huston spoke of families having trouble paying their home mortgages, men out of work & no Social Security; what goes around comes around?
Lights out: 11:39pm

Awake: 6:28am Temp 61 sleep 6+20 sunny-windy overnight @ Pahokee, FL.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass @ Saint Mary's Church; Father is quick...another Mass finished in (16) min. Afterward, he invites K & me plus Nadia (a local) for a tour of the church hall. Nadia was one of the people on yesterday's museum tour & was very happy to receive a photo of the group.

This church began in 1922 in peoples' homes &, after a fire & other complications, the construction of the current church building began in June, 1933 & was dedicated on March 11, 1934. Father mentioned that there are (400) families in this parish & I couldn't understand how all these people could fit into this small church (seating 75). After seeing the church hall, I understand; he tells me the hall will hold over (200) people & it is filled for the Spanish Mass on Sun. They are planning on building a new (500) seat church S00000ooon & even have the altar, stations of the cross & other church items purchased & waiting. Besides the church, there is a pantry & clothing store & a free medical/dental clinic.

After breakfast, Kathy does (2) loads of laundry while I spend some time on the computer. One call I made was to the campground office; "has our forwarded mail arrived from Alaska yet?" I ask Betty. "You know, it arrived a few minutes ago," she tells me. Then Kathy joins me for a little exercise & a walk to the office (20) min to pick up our mail.
Mail call... most of the time is good; this time of year: bills & more bills.

Dinner: Italian tuna casserole, asparagus & whole grain bread.

We watch our usual TV programs but for now, O'Reilly is left out due to recording a good movie. We do however, finish the movie: "Darling Lili" with Julie Andrews, Rock Hudson, Jeremy Kemp, Lance Percival, Jacques Marin, etc. Critically lambasted when 1st released, this entertaining spoof has Andrews & Hudson @ their best, along with writer/director Edwards, keeping tongue-in-cheek but not becoming coy in telling story of German spy Julie posing as London entertainer during WWI. Falling in love with squadron commander Hudson; great fun & good music. 1970. Story is so-so; singing with drama is not my cup of tea. Kathy however, sang along with the chorus.
Then....we watched "The O'Reilly Factor."
Lights out: 12:07am

Awake: 7:00am Temp 59 sleep 7+25 sunny overnight @ Pahokee, FL.

Before breakfast, K & I attend 8:00am Mass @ Saint Mary's Church; (16) min. Afterward, Father John tours us & a few other locals that attended Mass today, thru St.Mary's Catholic Church Family Museun which is loaded with statues of a religious nature; manikins clothed in costumes from various countries, mostly representing the origins of the people in this community; souvenirs from the various countries of his congregants (the Philippines, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Nicaragua, etc) as well as from places he's either served or visited over the yrs (Chili, Mexico, Colombia, etc.); & many pictures of people he's met along the way, including members of this little church; + so many other items of interest, too numerous to mention. He has verbal stories to accompany each thing in the museum. I took a few pictures of these things & then decided to take a picture of our small group; they liked the picture so much, they talked me into sending them a print when possible.

My brother calls mid morning; he tells me that Blaze M. has passed away. He was only (60) yrs of age. Later, when I check my e-mail, I find my sister Corinne had sent a similar message.

K & I talked about seeing the town of Okeechobee; besides our curiosity, we need to do some light grocery shopping & have a few prints made of that picture the church group liked so much.

On our way north, we stopped along the way to catch a picture of the farmers burning their sugar cane field; huge bellows of black smoke & flames of maybe (20) ft high or more. Sugarcane is harvested mostly by hand and sometimes mechanically. When harvested by hand, the field is first set on fire. The fire spreads rapidly, burning away dry dead leaves, and killing any venomous snakes hiding in the crop, but leaving the water-rich stalks and roots unharmed. With cane knives or machetes, harvesters then cut the standing cane just above the ground. A skilled harvester can cut 500 kg (1100 #) of sugarcane in an hour.

It was a (76) mile round trip to Okeechobee from our campground. Some groceries & (5) prints of a picture @ Wal-Mart & then, a halogen light bulb from Home Depot concluded our business.

We were amazed @ the number of small RV parks along the way, especially when getting close to the suburbs of Okeechobee. And seeing more of the (110) mile dike of Lake Okeechobee was interesting as well.

Dinner: leftover pork with Porta-Bella mushrooms, fresh spaghetti & a mixed salad.
We watch our usual TV programs....with the exception of "The O'Reilly Factor." We have a movie recording which takes precedence over O'Reilly, so we'll watch ½ of the movie: "Darling Lili."
Just before midnight, I send our condolences to Bill M. one of Blaze's brothers.

Lights out: 12:08am

Awake: 7:02am Temp 50 sleep 5+58 partly cloudy overnight @ Pahokee, FL.

Kathy attends 8:00am Mass @ Saint Mary's Church in Pahokee; about (2) miles from our campsite. I stay in our motorhome & prep for shrinking the bus within the hr. The so called "Park Model" unit next to us is scheduled to be spray painted today & with a slight wind blowing off the lake, I'll take no chances of some stray spray repainting our home.

"8:00am Mass was over in (18) minutes," says Kathy as she enters the coach & "(9) people attended." Fr. John Mericantante,III, from MA originally, has been at this parish for 16 years and is fluent in Spanish, having been in the missions in Chile for several years. Fluency in Spanish is necessary since Spanish speaking people make up most of the congregation. He is a very pleasant guy with a ready smile & laugh. I didn't expect Kathy to be here early so we have time to have a quick breakfast before the painters show up.

@ 9:30am I back our coach out & thru the turn circle; then park partly on the campground road & partly on the grass, allowing single vehicle traffic. Kathy kept herself busy reading a novel & I continued playing catch up on my magazines throughout most of the morning; some computer usage early afternoon.

@ 1:45pm, the main painter man signaled us to return to our campsite. They are finished spray painting but have some brush painting yet to do.

With very little wind today, we were comfortable that none of their compressor spray painting attached to our coach.

K & I got LOST for an hour! Actually, we walked on the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail. The trail itself is located atop the Herbert Hoover Dike, which surrounds the lake for flood protection, and provides views ranging from scenic lakeside to backyards to working agricultural landscapes. Waterfowl, herons, & egrets are abundant along the 110 mile trail. Obviously, we only covered a couple miles of the LOST.

Dinner: Bass fish, asparagus, brown rice & a spinach salad with fresh strawberries.

Before, during & after dinner, we watch our scheduled TV programs; then finish watching: "The Loved One" with Robert Morse, Jonathan Winters, Anjanette Comer, Rod Steiger, Dana Andrews, Milton Berle, James Coburn, John Gielgud, Tab Hunter, Margaret Leighton, Liberace, etc. Correctly advertised as the picture with something to offend everyone; often howlingly funny & equally gross. Once seen, Mrs. Joyboy can never be forgotten. 1965. What a cast to behold! Caution, they are not kidding about something to offend everyone. Kathy doesn't even want to think about it!
Lights out: 11:35pm

Awake: 7:10am Temp 60 sleep 5+40 sunny overnight @ Pahokee, FL.

After a quick breakfast, we motor east about (45) miles to Palm Beach, FL & tour the Henry Morrison Flagler Museum. We arrived just in time to join the docent & about (30) others on his tour.

To begin with, ever since Kathy & I drove to Key West in our motorhome in 2003 & witnessed sections of the old railroad & bridges that Flagler had built to bring Key West transportation from Miami, I've been fascinated about his life, his railroads, the Gilded Age hotels & his home, Whitehall, in Palm Beach; Florida's 1st museum.

Focusing more on the Flagler Museum for now in lieu of his life, business, railroads, hotels, etc, we follow the crowd into Whitehall, Flagler's winter retreat. Our docent tells us that the entrance hall for receiving guests (which we all came into), is the largest room at 4500 square feet, of the (55) rooms in Whitehall.

We followed our docent & the crowd into room after room, being amazed & awe struck @ the magnificent décor; using cloth on the walls, gold on the ceilings & aluminum wherever it fits in (which @ that time period, was more expensive than gold); the collection of paintings, statues, & fine furniture from all over the world is like an Art Museum in itself. We were allowed picture taking but no flash shots. We spent a good hr listening to our docent as our crowd moved from different rooms, each with dissimilar décor.

Next, @ no additional charge, we pick up hand held transponders for a narrated audio tour, retracing our walk through the rooms, this time @ our own pace; that gadget gives us even more insight & descriptions of what we've seen while touring with the docent. We also scrutinize the 2nd floor bedrooms which had not been part of the docent led tour. We were given information about: central heating systems, electric lighting, push button call units to ring the servants, telephones, indoor plumbing, hidden stairways, etc. Amenities like the above were not yet available to the common residents of America during this period in time.

Next, just outside of & behind Whitehall, we visit Flagler's private railroad car, #91, on display in a newly designed pavilion in the style of a 19th century Beaux-Arts railway palace. #91 was brought here & reconditioned as it was when Flagler was using it. After spending a little time in the gift shop, we admitted that in (3.5) hrs we had sufficiently perused this fine museum.

Now, a little history of how Henry Morrison Flagler acquired his fortune & some of the things he did with it. Info borrowed from: "The Palm Beach Post."

Henry Flagler received an eighth grade education before leaving home at 14 to work in his cousin's store, L.G. Harkness and Company, in Bellevue, Ohio at a salary of US$5 per month plus room and board. By 1849, Flagler was promoted to sales staff of the company at a salary of $400 per month.

In 1867, Flagler became partners with John D. Rockefeller, an oil refiner in Cleveland, Ohio. The partnership emerged as the Standard Oil Company and, in less than two years, was leading the oil refining industry, producing over 10,000 barrels a day. Rockefeller was once asked if it was he who conceived the idea for Standard Oil, to which he replied, "No, sir. I wish I'd had the brains to think of it. It was Henry M. Flagler." By the time he was 50, Henry Flagler was one of the wealthiest men in the world.

It was Flagler's idea to use the rebate system to strengthen the firm's position against competitors and the transporting enterprises alike. Though the refunds issued amounted to no more than fifteen cents on the dollar, they put Standard Oil in position to out-compete other oil refineries.[4] By 1872, it led the American oil refining industry, producing 10,000 barrels per day. In 1877, Standard Oil moved its headquarters to New York City, and Flagler and his family moved there as well.

In 1878, on the advice of his physician, Flagler traveled to Jacksonville for the winter with his first wife, Mary Flagler, who was quite ill. Two years after she died in 1881, he married again. Ida Alice Shourds had been a caregiver for Mary Flagler. After their wedding, the couple traveled to Saint Augustine. Flagler found the city charming, but the hotel facilities and transportation systems inadequate. He recognized Florida's potential to attract out-of-state visitors

Flagler's second wife, the former Ida Alice Shourds, had been institutionalized for mental illness since 1895. In 1901, the Florida Legislature passed a bill that made incurable insanity grounds for divorce, opening the way for Flagler to remarry.

On August 24 of that year, Flagler married his third wife, Mary Lily Kenan, and the couple soon moved into their new Palm Beach estate, Whitehall, a 55-room Beaux Arts home; built in 1902 as a wedding present to Mary Lily and Florida's first museum, Whitehall was the 60,000 square foot winter retreat that established the Palm Beach "Season" for the wealthy of America's Gilded Age.

Though Flagler remained on the Board of Directors of Standard Oil, he gave up his day-to-day involvement in the corporation in order to pursue his interests in Florida. He returned to St. Augustine in 1885 and began construction on the 540-room Ponce de Leon Hotel. Realizing the need for a sound transportation system to support his hotel ventures, Flagler purchased short line railroads in what would later become known as the Florida East Coast Railway

The Hotel Ponce de Leon, now part of Flagler College, opened on January 10, 1888 and was an instant success. This project sparked Flagler's interest in creating a new "American Riviera." Two years later, Flagler expanded his Florida holdings. He built a railroad bridge across the St. Johns River to gain access to the southern half of the state and purchased the Hotel Ormond, just north of Daytona. His personal dedication to the state of Florida was demonstrated when he began construction on his private residence, Kirkside, in St. Augustine.

Flagler completed the 1,100-room Royal Poinciana Hotel on the shores of Lake Worth in Palm Beach and extended his railroad to its service town, West Palm Beach, by 1894, founding Palm Beach and West Palm Beach.[1] The Royal Poinciana Hotel was at the time the largest wooden structure in the world. Two years later, Flagler built the Palm Beach Inn (renamed Breakers Hotel Complex in 1901) overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Palm Beach.

Flagler originally intended West Palm Beach to be the terminus of his railroad system, but during 1894 and 1895, severe freezes hit the area, causing Flagler to rethink his original decision. Sixty miles south, the town today known as Miami was reportedly unharmed by the freeze. To further convince Flagler to continue the railroad to Miami, he was offered land in exchange for laying rail tracks. This led to the development of Miami, which was only an unincorporated area at the time. Flagler encouraged fruit farming and settlement along his railway line and made many gifts to build hospitals, churches and schools in Florida.
Flagler's railroad, the Florida East Coast Railway, reached Biscayne Bay by 1896. Flagler dredged a channel, built streets, instituted the first water and power systems, and financed the city's first newspaper, The Metropolis.

By 1905, Flagler decided that his Florida East Coast Railway should be extended from Biscayne Bay to Key West, a point 128 miles (206 km) past the end of the Florida peninsula. At the time, Key West was Florida's most populous city and it was also the United States' closest deep water port to the canal that the U.S. government proposed to build in Panama. Flagler wanted to take advantage of additional trade with Cuba and Latin America as well as the increased trade with the west that the Panama Canal would bring. In 1912, the Florida Overseas Railroad was completed to Key West.

Over thirty years, Flagler had invested roughly fifty million dollars between railroad, home, and hotel construction, not to mention the aid he gave suffering farmers after the 1894 freeze. When asked about his philanthropic efforts by the President of Rollins College in Winter Park, Flagler is reported to have replied, "I believe this state is the easiest place for many men to gain a living. I do not believe any one else would develop it if I do not...but I do hope to live long enough to prove I am a good business man by getting a dividend on my investment."

In 1913, Flagler fell down a flight of stairs at Whitehall. He never recovered from the fall and died in Palm Beach of his injuries on May 20 at 83 years of age. He was buried in St. Augustine alongside his daughter, Jenny Louise and first wife, Mary Harkness. Only his son Harry survived of the three children by his first marriage in 1853 to Mary Harkness.

The Overseas Railroad, also known as the Key West Extension of the Florida East Coast Railway, was heavily damaged and partially destroyed in the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935. The Florida East Coast Railway was financially unable to rebuild the destroyed sections, so the roadbed and remaining bridges were sold to the State of Florida, who built the Overseas Highway to Key West, using much of the remaining railway infrastructure.

So there you have it folks; Henry Flagler put his money to work by funding libraries, schools, cemeteries, churches, courthouses, parks & hospitals. He built Florida's 1st museum, Whitehall. His fortune has funded more than $1,000,000,000 in endowments & trusts, which fund more than $50,000,000 in educational activities each year; his legacy of philanthropy continues to benefit many thousands of Americans each year. As reported by: "The Palm Beach Post." Newspapers in Education.

After our (3.5) hrs of Whitehall experience, we motor up the street, find a parking spot & walk to one of Flagler's Magnificent Hotels called: "The Breakers." We casually toured the 200-foot long main lobby & first-floor public rooms. We were a little shy in asking to see a regular room but instead, Kathy talked to a clerk behind the check-in counter, "What is the price for a regular room?" she inquired. The clerk told us, "It varies. During the winter months, like now, $650.00 per night; summer season, one has to call to get that price." Gosh, even today this place could be like a "who's who" of the 21st century America--the Gates, Bloombergs, Helus, Buffet, etc, vacationing alongside the United States president, Obama, or the Prime Minister of France, Sarkozy, or the prime Minister of Canada, Harper.

After walking around the beautifully manicured grounds & circling the enormous Breakers Hotel, seeing the Atlantic Ocean & watching a few surfboarders, we return to our Suzuki, join the rush-hour traffic, fuel up @ Costco + buy a few groceries & return to our home by the lake by 7:45pm.
We watch the "O'Reilly Factor while having a dinner of: leftover stuffed peppers; then watch ½ of the movie: "The Loved One."

Lights out: 1:04am

Awake: 6:33am Temp 66 sleep 7+00 low clouds overnight @ Pahokee, FL.

Before Kathy wakes up, I do some bird watching from inside our motorhome. Using my binoculars & field guide on birds, I identify a Little Egret, a Snowy Egret, a Brown Pelican & a Great Blue Heron.
Then late morning, we take an auto tour of the town of Pahokee (some 5000) people; a very old town but still alive with many businesses & services. According to their literature, "In 1957 a vigorous rebirth of the sugar industry kindled by the Cuban Revolution made Pahokee & the Everglades Agricultural Area, the "Sugar Capital of the US." (1) teaspoon in every (4) consumed in the US is grown in Pahokee & South Central Florida
Majestic towering royal palm trees and other varieties are plentiful in this area due in large part to the rich, peat-like Everglades organic soil called "Muck."

Early afternoon, I spend hrs finishing up the butternut cleaning process & rewarding myself by cracking & eating about (20) nuts.

Dinner: Lamb chops, rice, broccoli & whole grain bread.

Evening movie: "Witness for the Prosecution" with Marlene Dietrich, Tyrone Power, Charles Laughton, Elsa Lanchester, John Williams, etc. Fantastically effective London courtroom suspenser from Agatha Christie play. Dietrich is peerless as wife of alleged killer (Power). Laughton at his best as defense attorney & Lanchester delightful as his long-suffering nurse. 1957. This movie was so good that we filed it into our "keep" compartment; only (4) movies so far have made it to that distinguished position.
Lights out: 1:30am

Awake: 7:12am Temp 66 sleep 6+35 sunny overnight @ Fort Lauderdale, FL.

We each have our coffee & a Kathy muffin for breakfast, then shrink the bus & leave the Yacht Haven RV Resort @ 9:28am... going west on US-84 to I-595- to I-95-north, then north on US-27-to State Road (15) to US-441 arriving in the town of Pahokee, FL @ 10:50 am.

Today's travel: 74 miles 1 hr 50 min 12 gal used 6.2 mpg 40 mph avg speed

This campground (Everglades Adventure RV & Sailing Resort) is right on Lake Okeechobee, (Seminole for "Grassy Waters"),the 2nd largest fresh water lake in the continental United States with (730) square miles (467,000) acres of fresh water, teeming with natural wildlife.

Before checking in @ the office, K & I drive our Suzuki south along the lake where all the RV's are parked. I was curious & thinking: "How will we fit our coach in such small campsites?" And Kathy was thinking out loud about the same time: "we can't stay here; the sites aren't long enough; we'll have to start making phone calls for another campground....but 1st, we'll get our money back!" "Hey!" I said, "I made a lot of phone calls to find this campground & we should look it over more carefully & maybe we'll find a site we can fit into.

Down the long road a little further, a turn-around had what looked like a bigger campsite. I got out of the car, paced it off in feet, & checked the electrical box for (50) amps, then suggested to Kathy that this site # 82 might work.

Back @ the office, the lady had our paperwork all printed up & there on the sheet was: site # 82. After parking the coach & extending the slides, etc., Kathy tells me she likes it here. Our view out our front & side windows across this fresh water lake is beautiful!

I was curious about our motorhome roof & what debris has contaminated the white look after our (10) day parking @ Fort Lauderdale. What I found I didn't like: soot, grunge, dirt, muck, etc. We had some strong winds during our stay in Lauderdale & I brought some of that stuff up here to Pahokee. So I cleaned the top of our motorhome off by hand using only clean water. (3) hrs later, I felt much better about our roof.

Meanwhile, my sister Corinne calls from Lilly, PA & later, my sister Mary Jo calls from Lodi, CA. All is well with both sisters & that's always nice to hear.

Dinner: Tilapia fish, asparagus, brown rice & some leftover Italian sausage.

Tonight's movie: "Bang the Drum Slowly" with Michael Moriarty, Robert De Niro, Vincent Gardenia, Phil Foster, Ann Wedgeworth, etc. Touching study of (2) professional baseball players on fictional N.Y. team drawn to each other under unusual circumstances. Outstanding performances by (2) leads (Moriarty-- as hustling star pitcher & De Niro as simpleton catcher). 1973. Hmmm, we weren't that enthused over this story; not recommended for non-baseball enthusiasts. But, the song is hauntingly beautiful!
Lights out: 11:33pm

Awake: 7:32am Temp 67 sleep 7+00 sunny overnight @ Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Kathy does (3) loads of laundry & some ironing; during the idle moments of doing laundry, she was looking up Newell people who live on the Atlantic side of Florida & found Bob & Susan, living only (7) min from our campground. I have great admiration for Bob as he has designed (3) different & creative floor plans & also changed some of the electrical systems around in those (3) coaches that the Newell Company built for him. Each time we've toured those coaches, we were amazed & impressed @ his ingenuity & talent.

I call Bob & confess that we completely forgot about him living in Florida; he invites us for a short visit but warns us that they are getting Valentine company mid afternoon. "We'll leave the gate open for you" says Bob.

We hustled for the opportunity to visit & sure enough, the drive took a mere (8) min. Bob & Susan sold their other FL house & moved into their current house on (3.5) acres about (3) yrs ago; Bob admits that they have been working like dogs ever since buying the property....outside & inside.

Susan & Bob gave us a detailed outdoor tour: identifying many different species of trees (banana, mango, coffee, etc), plants (bamboo, orchids, etc), thicket growth, etc.

They pointed out the renovated water system & new standby Kubota generator unit. When removing the thick growth, they uncovered a concrete patio slab & found a shuffle board in fine condition. They rewired the outdoor kitchen & grill units, rebuilt a gazebo with air conditioning & ceiling fans, etc. Susan told us there was so much overgrown jungle thicket, they didn't even know there was a fence between them & their neighbor.

Inside the house, Bob changed window placement, closed walls & opened rooms with wall removal & different door placement; changed a porch into a TV & lounge area complete with a rotating BIG flat screen TV, redid the entire floor with cherry wood, etc, etc. These kids are amazing! I've always wanted to tour Bob's workshop but we didn't have enough time; the shop is located about (15) min away & I didn't want to press our luck & run out of time. It was great seeing them again & we thanked them profusely for being so flexible & giving us their time & tour under such short notice.

Back in our coach, I upload (1) of my memory sticks onto our hard drive.

I call my Sister Corinne in Lilly, PA; she was not home so I left a message.

K & I attend the 5:30pm vigil Mass @ Saint Jerome Catholic Church; afterwards, we say our goodbyes to Monsignor Kenneth Schwanger who remembered us & gave us a blessing for safe travel. After some light grocery shopping @ the Winn Dixie store, return to the campground, stopping in the office to say our goodbyes to Tammy + turn in our gate key.

Dinner: pork tenderloin medallions with Marsala sauce & pasta & a fresh strawberry-spinach salad with balsamic drizzle.

Call my Sister Mary Jo in Lodi, Ca; she was not home so I left a message.

Evening movie: "Enchanted April" with Josie Lawrence, Miranda Richardson, Joan Plowright, Pollly Walker, Alfred Molina, etc. Utterly charming film about (2) repressed, married women who seize an impulse & rent an Italian villa for a month, taking on (2) very different women as housemates for this daring adventure. Ideally cast & nicely realized + very romantic. 1991. Interesting character study, without a doubt.

Lights out: 12:37am

Awake: 6:42am Temp 66 sleep 6+34 sunny overnight @ Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Katrina calls before leaving for school; she wants to confirm: when having a dirty furnace air filter, will it keep the bed rooms from warming up fast in the morning. We talked about the air flow & how long it's been since the filter has been changed. In conclusion, we both agreed that the dirty filter should be changed ASAP &, without my knowing it, she was already downstairs & had the dirty filter out; after school, she will stop @ Home Depot & pick up a replacement.

Late morning, K & I motor to the town of Hollywood, FL, a (15) min drive. We do an auto grid pattern of the downtown, seeing the quaint areas of outdoor cafes, restaurants & business stores among the middle tree lined streets. In their heyday, this had to be the busiest & most popular area in town. Today, however, this downtown section had many store fronts empty with signs of rental available.

From here, we continue north on A1A to the restaurant "Le Tub" 1100 North Ocean Drive, Hollywood, FL. It used to be a Sunoco gas station in 1959 until the energy crunch of the early 70's then Russell purchased the barren property in 1974 & dedicated a concentrated year, personally hand building "Le Tub." The place is made from flotsam & jetsam the owner found on the beach, including the tables & benches so it is a rough keys type atmosphere. You can get there by boat & this is when cold beer tastes best, - there is NO draft beer.

They advertise: "if you're a clean freak, if you're in a hurry, if you don't like insects, lizards or birds, if you don't like to wait, if you want your behind kissed, if you want fine furniture, crystal, silver and gourmet food, DON'T come to LE TUB. They have a kitchen that is 4'x6' - maybe; with ONE cook & ONE bartender & a huge local customer base so everyone has to wait. Everyone! They do NOT take reservations, credit cards or large parties. They do NOT have HIGH CHAIRS. They are a beach bar."

"The servers are overworked and underpaid so they do not have time to do anything but take your order & bring your food. If you want water you have to get up & get it yourself from a huge orange cooler on a table in the garden. It is cold & it is free. Le Tub is a pleasant place to wait as it's on the water & you can watch the boats pass by while being caressed by soft Caribbean breezes. You can relax & watch spectacular sunsets while drinking yummy margueritas."

We found the place around 12:00 noon & there were only a half-dozen people ordering @ that time. Our waitress told us it would take (45) min for our meal to arrive, which it did. We helped ourselves to some of that free cold water from the orange cooler & enjoyed our wait, as we soaked in the breeze from the water, watched the birds & boats & thought the place was great & our (13) oz hamburger was the Best we have had in a long time. Next time, if there is one, I'll order the Seafood Gumbo; I've heard from other customers that it is GREAT.

Next, we headed west on Hollywood Blvd to find Norm & Beverly in Pembrook Pines, FL @ their Holly Brook Condominium. I had called Norm earlier this week & asked if they were interested in having a few young people visit. "We have Friday open so come on over" said Norm.

When we did our "work camp" in Watertown, WI (2007), we met Beverly & Norm & had some attention-grabbing conversations during our (3) week camping in Larry & Sally's circular driveway. @ that time, Norm let us know that we were welcome to visit them whenever we were in Florida. We chat for over an hr while Beverly makes a quick trip to the hair dresser & then, we (4) go in Norm's car to the eye doctor for an adjustment of his glasses. We & Beverly chat in the car while waiting for Norm to finish & then tour the C.B. Smith Park & Campground nearby. We didn't know about this campground; all the book, computer & phone calls we made to find a campsite, we just didn't know of this one; big rig friendly with (50) amps. Back @ Norm & Beverly's condo, we thank them for the tour & let them know we enjoyed seeing them again.

Back @ our home-on-wheels, Kathy heats up dinner: clam chowder with oyster crackers & salad with Triscuits. Neither of us are that hungry after our BIG hamburger.

I call Ray in Ocean Shores & get updated on Ray's activities.

Late movie: "First Lady" with Kay Francis, Anita Louise, Verree Teasdale, Preston Foster, Walter Connolly, etc. Witty adaptation of the acerbic George S. Kaufman-Katherine Dayton play, with Francis as the ambitious wife of the Secretary of State (Foster), whom she's pushing into presidential campaign against corrupt judge Connolly. Not very cinematic, but brightly acted by fine ensemble. 1937. Yes, I agree with their description; watch this movie only when you're desperate for political maneuvering.

Lights out: 12:32am

Awake: 7:47am Temp 68 sleep 6+42 a few clouds overnight @ Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Kathy makes a nice breakfast & bargains with me on cleaning up the dishes; she will do that if I continue searching for our next campground. "OK" I tell her. The rest of the morning I call and/or use the computer searching (14) campgrounds; finally, I find one further north that's in the vicinity of our interest, reasonably priced & big rig friendly.

Around 3:45pm, Tammy knocks on our door; I had offered her a free tour of our motorhome if she could maneuver a few more days for us to stay in this campground. She did & today she takes us up on my offer. Tammy is no spring chicken but she has been, more or less, the leader of the front desk for over (20) yrs now; Kathy gives her the special 25 cent tour & then we gab for another hr about her earlier days when she & her husband were full time RVing. We really appreciated her going the extra mile to accommodate us & making us feel welcome here.

Nick calls while walking home from Isilon; tonight is my turn....so we talk tech talk relating to his company & his obligations when he travels to meet with business customers. Other subjects involving Jerry & Eriko were also covered. He tells me it's not as cold walking home this evening as it was last night.

Dinner: stuffed peppers & corn on the cob....while watching our favorite TV channels.

Evening movie: "White Heat" with James Cagney, Virginia Mayo, Edmond O'Brien, Margaret Wycherly, Steve Cochran. Cagney returned to gangster films, older but forceful as ever, as psychopathic hood with mother obsession; May is his neglected wife. O'Brien, the cop, is out to get him. "Top of the World" finale is now movie legend. 1949. Interestingly enough, the police used some high tech homing devices to catch these thugs in action; which was entertaining in itself. Save this one for a rainy day.

Lights out: 12:08am

Awake: 7:40am Temp 71 sleep 6+55 sunny-breezy overnight @ Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Before lunch, we drive (6) miles to the Fort Lauderdale Beach; park the car & walk north along Atlantic Blvd while watching people eat lunch on the sidewalk cafés on one side & ogling some of the beach ladies toward the Atlantic Ocean.

We were curious about the Bonnet House, Museum & Gardens. It was advertised as "stepping back in time to a period of gracious living, charm & whimsy." Try as we might, we could not find a true entrance to this huge mansion; we could see portions of the building as we circled the area but every entrance was either blocked or locked.... & so we gave up.

After that disappointment, we reversed our trail somewhat & spent some time checking out more yachts docked in the Intracoastal Waterway just off of Seabreeze Blvd. A cool breeze off the Atlantic Ocean kept us comfortable throughout the afternoon. I bet we covered a good (5) miles on foot today.

This time, we left the area about 3:40pm, staying ahead of the rush hr traffic; one stop @ Winn Dixie for Organic Milk, fresh asparagus & bananas, then home @ 4:20.

Katrina calls & talks with Kathy: the Dr's evaluation of Katrina's enlarged lymph nodes was "folliculitis" possibly caused from shaving with a dull razor or from a hot tub. Not serious now, but, of course, she should watch for changes. They obviously talked about other things as they were on the phone over an hour.

Nick calls while walking home from work on a very cold evening: it's Kathy's turn to talk & get caught up on happenings at Isilon & Nick's travel to the Bay area of CA & his next trip to Houston, TX. On the home front: Jerry still has a cold & Nick & Eriko are working on getting him on a more scheduled nap/nighttime sleep schedule.

Dinner: Tuna steak, asparagus, brown rice & tomato slices.

Zack calls from Seattle: we discuss his Camry & the question of: how much money does one pour into a used car to make it road-worthy without going overboard on the expense...vs. buying a newer pre-owned car, selling the old car & living happily ever after? We tossed this subject around for a good (40) min.

Late movie: "Mr. Deeds goes to Town" with Gary Cooper, Jean Arthur, George Bancroft, Lionel Stander, Douglass Dumbrille, Mayo Methot, etc. Cooper is Longfellow Deeds, who inherits (20) million dollars &wants to give it all away to needy people. Arthur is appealing as the hardboiled big-city reporter who tries to figure out what makes him tick. Capra won his 2nd Oscar for this irresistible film. 1936. Superb, heartwarming, outstanding, etc. This one goes to the top of our list.
Lights out: 11:05pm

Awake: 7:33am Temp 69 sleep 7+13 sunny overnight @ Fort Lauderdale, FL.

K & I organize our home-on-wheels for visitors. @ 9:55am, Judy & Jerry with friends Glen & Cheryl, Kathy & Mary pay us a visit & tour our motorhome...inside & outside. These guys all have yachts, except Mary, & they are curious to compare their boat yacht to our land yacht..... & it's true, some of the systems are comparable; we go by land & they go by sea.

Next, the (7) of us walk some of the campground,s yacht boardwalk; admiring the different types & sizes of these vessels. After a good (40) min of yacht sighting, Judy rides with us in our Suzuki & the rest follow in Jerry's car to the Sample Flea Market near Pompano Beach, a (20) min drive.

This, so called Flea Market, is more like a huge Mall, long aisles & aisles of different things, mostly for the ladies. K & I separate from the rest of the gang &, before long, due to skipping breakfast, our stomachs led us to the food court where we shared a stuffed Rubin Sandwich from the 1st Avenue Deli; it really hit the spot. Judy & I played phone tag & rendezvoused several times until we felt we had seen enough of the Mall; then we met in the parking lot for pictures & to say our Bon Voyage, have a fun cruise, & let's keep in touch. It was grand seeing Judy & Jerry & getting to know their friends a little from Ohio.

Next K & I visit the nearby Costco & Wal-Mart & then continue further south & auto tour Fort Lauderdale Beach, where lots of sidewalk cafés line the streets & the beaches are littered with brown bodies. Returning to our campsite was ill timed as we were right smack in the middle of rush-hour.

Dinner: leftover Italian sausage, sautéed peppers, broccoli, mixed salad & whole grain bread. Before & during dinner, we watch: ABC news & Jeopardy. After dinner, Katrina calls: she's been very busy as usual; doing fine, etc but has a question for our nurse. Seems she has found some enlarged axillary lymph nodes & wants to know what she should do. Kathy asks a few questions & recommends she be evaluated by a doctor.

Tonight's movie: "Jewel Robbery" with William Powell, Kay Francis, Hardie Albright, Henry Kolker, etc. Lubitsch-like bauble with wealthy, married Francis (who aches for excitement in her life) being captivated by debonair burglar Powell; breathlessly paced, witty & charming. 1932. Short story & very entertaining; it was great!

Lights out: 12:45am

Awake: 7:42am Temp 65 sleep 7+09 mostly sunny - breezy overnight @ Fort Lauderdale, FL.

I visit the office & ask Tammy if we can have a few more days here; she checks her computer & shows me: (3) days open. The party who reserved our site had slid their arrival time again. We needed these days; there remain more things to see & people to visit.

After a small breakfast, K & I motor to Del Ray Beach & visit Susan & Elton @ their winter home in the gated community of Valencia Falls. We met these people during our Asian Pacific cruise in 2005 & were trivia partners for days @ sea.

We sit & chat for a good hr, catching up with each other on the years gone by. Then they invite us to go birding on the nearby boardwalk....which I was hoping to do since they are both very serious birders. With camera, binoculars, pad & pen, we walk the (1.5) mile boardwalk & see many birds I have never seen before and an alligator nest with several very small babies. Elton was precise in identifying each & every bird he could see & I was busy taking pictures & making notes to keep my life bird list accurate. Such a great bird sanctuary so close to their winter home.

Next, I ride with Elton to downtown Del Ray Beach where we pick up a couple pizzas and salads to take back to their house where we enjoy lunch on their lanai with more bird & some future planning talk. Susan suggests that, before dark, we visit Wakodahatchee Wetlands, a bird nesting area where the birds begin arriving for the night.

It's another short drive with more walking the boardwalk where we witness hundreds of birds landing to roost; for a junior birdwatcher like me, this experience was simply phenomenal. We also watched a few alligators swim around. Back @ their winter home, we have some ice cream & yummy homemade oatmeal raisin cookies that Susan made while Elton & I got the pizzas. We talk about a rendezvous @ our motorhome on Saturday & thank Elton & Susan for a wonderful get-together & look forward to seeing them on Saturday.

En route to our campsite, we make a quick stop @ a Wal-Mart in Boynton Beach for organic milk which they had run out of for the day.

Evening movie: "The Informer" with Victor McLaglen, Heather Angel, Preston Foster, Margot Grahame, etc. Dated but still potent study of human nature tells of hard-drinking McLaglen, who informs on buddy to collect reward during Irish Rebellion of 1922. McLaglen's performance won the Oscar, as did Ford, the director. 1935. An edge of your seat story...check it out.

Lights out: 12:20am

Awake: 7:22am Temp 65 sleep 7+43 mostly sunny overnight @ Fort Lauderdale, FL.
K & I attend 8:30am Mass @ Saint Jerome Catholic Church (3) miles from our campground. After Mass, an announcement was made that breakfast was being served in the church hall; Kathy liked this idea & I agreed. Monsignor Kenneth Schwanger who celebrated the Mass we attended, sat @ our table & chatted with us until he had to leave to celebrate the 10:00 Mass; he was born & raised in Philidelphia, PA. We enjoyed talking with the Monsignor & we feel certain that he truly runs a fine tuned school & parish; in fact he received the 2009 "Distinguished Pastor of theYear"award from NCEA.

Back @ our motorhome, I call & talk with Susan & Elton, also wintering in Florida. We make plans for a rendezvous on Monday.

Next, we shop for groceries @ Costco in the town of Davie; a mere (6) miles. Back in our home-on-wheels, Kathy organizes our food stash & then we walk the marina boardwalk for a good (40) min of exercise.

Dinner: leftover beef stew & whole grain wheat bread.

After watching Huckabee, we watch the movie: "The Lost Patrol" with Victor McLaglen, Boris Karloff, Wallace Ford, etc. McLaglen's small British military group lost in Mesopotamian desert, as Arabs repeatedly attack the dwindling unit. Classic actioner filled with slice-of-life stereotypes, headed by religious fanatic Karloff. 1934. In retrospect, Although Karloff was rightly touted for his portrayal of a religious fanatic, I should have passed on this sluggish & of little action story; Kathy gave it thumbs down from the beginning.

Since "The Lost Patrol" movie was so short, we continue our movie time with: "The White House: Behind Closed Doors." This look at various rooms in the White House narrated by Laura Bush with historical perspectives was most interesting for both of us.

Lights out: 12:33am

Awake: 7:07am Temp 63 sleep 6+04 mostly cloudy overnight @ Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Morning computer time for both of us; then we drive north on U.S.-1 to Boca Raton, Fl & visit with friends, Judy, her husband, Jerry, & a friend, Mary, all from Ohio. Judy & Jerry will be taking a (16) day cruise during the (2) months they are renting a house in Florida & Mary has come to care for their cats while they're cruising.

We all sit in the lanai @ the back of the rental house & do some catching up on each others families. One interesting thing about Judy & Jerry: several months ago their oldest son, Aaron & his wife, & their family (12) sons, (9) of them adopted, were chosen by the Extreme Makeover TV show. Aaron & his family were sent to Disney World for a week while the Extreme Makeover crew totally destroyed & removed their old house & built a new, bigger one with all new furnishings, landscaping, garage, etc. Judy brought a picture book put together by Extreme Makeover & explained all the proceedings of how this fantastic event materialized. We watched the show on TV but still found it: unbelievable!

Then Jerry & I discussed the engine problems they had during their (14) months of boating around North America's Great Circle Route, a continuous waterway that encompasses the eastern portion of North America - including the Atlantic & Gulf intra coastal Waterways, the Great Lakes, the Canadian Heritage Canals, & the inland rivers of America's heartland. Jerry literally had to take out his (2) engines from their yacht & replace them with rebuilt one's. Jerry is not a mechanic but he apparently has unknown mechanical skills.

Next, we all climb into Jerry's car & visit the town of Delray Beach & walk on the beach. There were a few kite surfers in the water & some people playing in the sand, but the cool wind must have discouraged the many average beach goers; we didn't hang around too long either! Jerry & Judy also took us thru the George W. Bush road where some fantastic mansions could barely be seen along the highway.

Back @ the rental house, with Jerry controlling the grill & Judy prepping the table & other condiments, we enjoyed a very good dinner of: hamburgers, hot dogs, hot (4) bean salad, apple sauce, & coleslaw.

After dinner, Judy & Jerry narrated a slide show of their North America Great Circle Route boat trip; very interesting! Then it was time for dessert, tea & apple pie. After some more gabbing in the living room it was time for us to hit the road. We do consider rendezvous plans for next week but for now, we thank them for the good times, good talks, great tour, dinner, etc.

Back @ our motorhome, we watch the movie: "Cheaper by the Dozen" with Clifton Webb, Myrna Loy, Jeanne Crain, Mildred Natwick, Edgar Buchanan. Charming turn-of-the-century story of the Gilbreth children; 12 strong, their exacting father (Webb) & mother (Loy). 1950. They made it look easy....but only in the movies.

Lights out: 11:44pm

Awake: 7:10am Temp 46 sleep 6+28 mostly cloudy & breezy overnight @ For Lauderdale, FL.

After some morning computer time, we motor in the Suzuki to the Headhunter Factory nearby in Fort Lauderdale. One of the plastic bolts on our Royal Flush toilet lid has been tightened too many times & now the philips head is worn out. I took a chance by visiting the company in hopes they might have replacement plastic bolts; and they did @ no charge. This company is located near the International Airport so I can't help but wander around & gaze @ a few FedEx aircraft on the tarmac & other private jets & commercial carriers.

From here, we drive downtown Fort Lauderdale to the River Walk area, spending about 1.5 hrs walking & staring @ more docked yachts in the Inner Coastal Waterway thru downtown. We share a 20 oz Newcastle beer @ the Briny Riverfront Bar & Restaurant & then....we each have a big fresh slice of Pizza @ the Las Olas Riverfront Pizza about (100) ft away. After that yummy pause, we do an auto grid pattern to see more of downtown Fort Lauderdale; then return to our campsite.

Shortly after we arrive, Zack calls with Camry questions about what preventive maintenance repairs are reasonable to have done on his car. I agree to peruse his e-mail & respond accordingly after tonight's movie.

Evening movie: "Mogambo" with Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Donald Sinden, Philip Stainton, Eric Pohlmann, etc. Lusty remake of Red Dust. Romantic triangle in Africa combines love & action; beautifully filmed by Robert Surtees & Freddie Young. 1953. We did not see Red Dust, but this movie is rated as good as the 1932 movie, and, in addition, it is in color. We enjoyed the story as well as seeing so many of the wild animals in Africa.

It takes close to an hr for me to seriously go through all the proper preventive maintenance items that are considered to be done to Zack's Camry. Due to the fact that he has done so little maintenance since buying this 1995 car, I had to mull over more on the list than one would do to a continually maintained car. I sincerely hope my choices are of the right stuff.

Lights out: 1:03am

Awake: 6:50am Temp 36 sleep 6+46 sunny overnight @ Everglades City, FL.

Mike D. joins us for Kathy's famous sourdough pancake breakfast with all the trimmings this morning. We enjoyed a good (2) hrs gab time with Mike & we were ever so glad to have spent some time with him & Denise, but now we must bid adieu to Mike.

Before leaving this campground, we say our goodbyes to the clubhouse staff, Susan the concierge lady, Don the operating manager, Bob the broker, etc & thank them for their hospitality & generosity & wish them all the best with their beautiful Everglades Isle Retreat sales.

Kathy assists my backing out of our campsite with Bob watching nearby. We leave the Everglades Isle Retreat @ 11:14am....following U.S.-29 to I-75 across Alligator Alley, then State Road 84 to the Yacht Haven Park & Marina Resort in Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Today's travel: 95 miles 1hr 55 min 16 gal used 5.8 mpg 43 avg speed.
When we checked in, Tammy reminded us that she had many chances to fill that campsite she held for us the last (2) days & I thanked her profusely for that favor. With Kathy's help, we had no problem backing into our site.

After extending our slides & getting settled into the new neighborhood, K & I take an extended walk around the (500 +) campsites; not only viewing motorhomes, 5th wheels & trailers, but also yachts....big yachts, parked along the boardwalk on the Inner Coastal Waterway. What a sight to behold! After talking to a few yacht owners, we found out: they pay upwards of $2700.00 a month for renting their water site.

We watch ABC news & Jeopardy during & after our dinner of: Tilapia fish, broccoli, brown rice & a mixed salad.

Zack calls during a class break @ U W; he tells us the good news that Katie has landed a job as a traveling assistant veterinarian in Seattle. He had little time to talk but it was good hearing from him.

Evening movie: "Touch of Evil" with Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Janet Leigh, Joseph Calleia, Akim Tamiroff, Marlene Dietrich, Dennis Weaver, Zsa Zsa Gabor, etc. Narc Heston & corrupt cop Welles tangle over murder investigation in sleazy Mexican border town, with Heston's bride Leigh the pawn of their struggle. Reconstructed according to Welles' notes in 1998. 1958. In places, difficult to follow; but with a few...play it over back ups, it was understood & a fairly good story.

After the movie, wide awake Kathy suggests that we watch today's recorded: "O'Reilly Factor" before hitting the sack & I approve of that idea.

Lights out: 12:42am

Awake: 7:04am Temp 47 sleep 6+39 mostly sunny breezy overnight @ Everglades City, FL.

K & I exercise in the clubhouse gym for an hr. Then Gary & Grace J. arrive around 11:40am.

We chat in our motorhome for a good hr before touring the clubhouse. Inside the clubhouse, Gary talks with Don (operations manager) about the Everglades Isle Resort: high & low cost of the campsites, monthly fee for upkeep, extra cost of private boat slip, etc.

Then all (4) of us walk about (5) blocks toward town & visit with Mike D. Mike gives G & R a quick tour of his house renovation progress & the kayaks that he & Denise are making + other items of interest. Mike is a professional @ house renovation & enjoys doing this but only on his own structures.

Earlier, while Gary was talking with Don @ the clubhouse, Grace chatted with Susan, the concierge of the day, about a guy living on Chokoloskee Island who has a Harley Davidson motorcycle for sale; Gary is interested & would like to see what kind of condition it's in. (20) min later, Gary looks carefully @ the machine, asks a lot of questions, sits on the Harley checking for height...as the owner had lowered the bike for comfort, etc, then thanks the owner for his time & we return to our motorhome. Later Gary said it was in good shape but too many pock marks due to salt water.

Kathy serves a dinner for (4) of: beef stew with whole grain bread. R & G have a theater show to attend in Naples this evening so they had to scoot out so they wouldn't be late. We say our goodbyes for now & maybe see them again before heading north.

Evening movie: "The Captive City" with John Forsythe, Joan Camden, Harold J. Kennedy, Marjorie Crosland, Victor Sutherland, etc. Small-city newspaper editor Forsythe gradually learns that the Mafia has taken over bookie operations formerly run by corrupt local businessmen. Based-on-fact noir-style photography by Lee Garmes. 1952. Interesting story as it could happen in your town.
Lights out: 12:04am

Awake: 6:40 Temp 62 sleep 6+53 mostly sunny overnight @ Everglades City, FL.

Using # 17 golf cart, we mail a few postcards & then visit Mike & Denise @ their home. Denise is leaving for Europe today so we bid her a safe Bon Voyage. We were lucky to have spent as much time as we did with her as she is in & out of the country frequently.

Next, driving the Suzuki, we visit the Island of Chokoloskee (4) miles south of Everglades City & the historic ole Indian trading post & museum, Smallwood Store. We didn't tour inside the trading post but did see pictures of some of the antiques & things of yesteryear on line with our computer.

From here, we visit the Havana Café in Chokoloskee where (with Mike D's suggestion) Kathy orders a small "Café con leche." (coffee with milk). The owner asked if she wanted sugar, to which Kathy replied, "just a little." The coffee was very strong & too sweet, so more coffee was added, making it stronger & a little less sweet. The owner was amused & relayed that in Cuba they are brought up on sugar with it being added to everything (after all, they are in the midst of sugar cane fields); "I usually put 4 scoops of sugar into a small latte, but I only put one in yours." We then talked about the trend toward iced coffee & the "cafe con leche" was put in a blender with some ice; now we had (2 ) small coffees...not sweet, but a little weak, but still good. This little Havana Cafe, serving Cuban food, usually does a BIG business during the winter & closes for (4) months in the summer.

Next, we travel some (30) miles to visit the new town of Ave Maria; Ave Maria University is the 1st new Catholic University to be built in the U.S. in more than (50) yrs.

The experience we had visiting & seeing these sights & talking with people is better told by the founders, students, store keepers, priests, etc, themselves. I know it's a huge pack of information but I could in no way, explain it the way they do.

PHIL JONES: What was once tomato-growing farmland in southwest Florida has grown into something dramatically different. A 100 foot-tall, $24 million house of worship has risen, the centerpiece for a new town with a population goal of 25,000 and a new university, Ave Maria -- the dream of a very rich man, Tom Monaghan, who wants to produce more than diplomas.

TOM MONAGHAN (Chancellor, Ave Maria University): We don't want to be a diploma factory. We want to be a saint factory.

JONES: Monaghan's "saint factory" offers a rigorous liberal arts curriculum, including a doctoral program in theology. Its goal: to create the next generation of Catholic leaders. Enrollment now is fewer than 700. He wants 5,000 in 20 years.

Who is Tom Monaghan? Well, he's as close to being a self-made man as any mortal can be. His father was a truck driver who died before Monaghan was five. Monaghan ended up in a series of foster homes and an orphanage. He dreamed of becoming a priest one day, or a ballplayer, or an architect. Instead, he ended up selling pizzas and became a billionaire.

Tom Monaghan

Mr. MONAGHAN: In the orphanage I kept saying to myself, "Why'd my daddy have to die? Why'd my daddy have to die?"

JONES: For a poor boy who lived on a farm and went to school with manure on his shoes, life would get better -- much better. Monaghan turned one pizza shop in Michigan into the nationwide Domino's brand with 5,000 stores. He says he took pride in having his own jet, helicopter, luxury cars, and big house. Then one day he saw through his pride.

Mr. MONAGHAN: Pride is a source of all sins, and I figured I must be the biggest sinner in the world because I certainly got a lot of pride and a lot of ego.

JONES: Monaghan is no longer on anyone's list of richest men. In the past decade he says he's committed at least $400 million to Catholic higher education. Monaghan gives his own money and raises more, claiming to have more than 40,000 donors, and at fundraisers he talks about his "big" vision.

Mr. MONAGHAN (speaking at fundraiser): So fasten your seat belts. I don't want anybody to get whiplash here. So we're going to go fast forward to 2077. We'll probably have over 2,500 priests -- and not just ordinary priests. Good priests. A lot of those priests are going to become bishops. We're going to have about 2,000 sisters that come out of Ave Maria. And how about this one -- 45,000 great Catholic marriages!

JONES: There are three Masses a day on campus -- five on Sundays. Underage drinking is forbidden. So is premarital sex. Students live in single-sex dormitories.

Ave Maria students

BILL WATERS (Freshman, Ave Maria University): Everyone thinks oh, it's Ave Maria, you know, it's real closed. It's like a bubble, you know, we don't do anything, everybody's all home schooled. There's normal people here.

LINA WILLIAMS (Sophomore, Ave Maria University): We have the foundation in faith here that I very much find important for me in my life. It's good to come here and find the real truth, get grounded in that and then go out and see what the world has to say.

JONES: But what about academic freedom? Research, learning, teaching, free inquiry -- no matter where it leads? Ave Maria's mission statement says it is to be "an institution of Catholic higher education that will be faithful to the Magisterium" -- the magisterium being the teaching authority of the Church, the bishops and ultimately the pope. But it's not clear who has final authority over what is taught -- the faculty, the local bishop, or Tom Monaghan?

Mr. MONAGHAN: The bishop has the final say on things to do with the liturgy and with the theology that's taught here and the spiritual leadership of our students, of our faculty, and of our staff. He doesn't have responsibility for the academics.

JONES: It remains to be seen just what academic freedom will mean at Ave Maria. The relationship between the university and the local bishop has been an uneasy one. For months Mass could not be said in this house of worship because Bishop Frank Dewayne had not consecrated it as a church. He finally came this spring, dedicating it as a "quasi-parish" where the sacraments can be performed, but not as a full parish with a pastor.

Bishop Frank Dewayne

Bishop FRANK DEWAYNE (speaking at press conference): There were, I think, surprises along the way for the officials of the university when I said, you know, the Church has to do it this way.

JONES (during press conference): Who has the authority over this church right now? Does the church? Mr. Monaghan? I mean, who is in charge?

Mr. MONAGHAN: (points to bishop and smiles)

JONES: In the town of Ave Maria there are Catholic schools for kindergarten through high school. Non-Catholic public schools are coming. Some stores are open, but the sluggish economy has caused delays. Although there's not a pharmacy yet, there had been controversy when Monaghan said the town drug store would not be allowed to sell contraceptives. He's now backed away from that.

Mr. MONAGHAN: I never saw this as an exclusively Catholic town. I wanted, to the extent I could, to make it family-oriented -- no massage parlors, no adult bookstores, pornography, or things like that, that would be in my mind anti-family.

JONES: The housing bust has slowed residential development; only a few hundred homes have been built. The town's private developer insists it will be independent of both the Church and Tom Monaghan.

BLAKE GABLE (Vice President, Barron Collier Company): The community will be whatever the residents and the people who live here determine that they want for their community. I mean that's not something -- I can't impose my views on 25,000 people.

JONES: Jeanne Rush, who has opened a women's fashion boutique, says she's not been told what she can or can't sell.

JEANNE RUSH (Boutique Owner): I have short shorts. I have tank tops. I have sheer tops. We're all happy people enjoying the fruits of what Tom Monaghan inspired us to do in our lives.

Ave Maria Chapel

JONES: Monaghan plans to move the Ave Maria Law School, now in Michigan, to the Florida campus. But some faculty members have taken Monaghan to court, alleging he reneged on a promise never to relocate. The university is awaiting accreditation, and the bishop has yet to declare it a Catholic university. Observers say Ave Maria's biggest challenge will come when Monaghan, who is 71, passes on -- or runs out of money.

RICHARD YANIKOSKI (Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities): At that point the question will be, is it attracting enough students? Is it financially capable of succession once Tom Monaghan passes from the scene? Is it going to be able to attract the quality of faculty over the long term, and in his particular model will the surrounding community that he has developed retain the character that it has at the time that it's first inhabited?

JONES: A recent survey of U.S. Catholics found that no more than 12 percent support so-called hard core, traditional, conservative Catholicism. But that's still a lot of Catholics, and many of them, like Tom Monaghan, are committed.

Mr. MONAGHAN: I can't think of anything more important that I could do with my resources, with the experience that God gave me and the 38 years of fairly intensive business experience -- to use it for something that's a lot more important than selling pizzas or making money.

JONES: Monaghan says that, for him, the most important thing in life has always been to be a good Catholic.

Mr. MONAGHAN: I don't want any legacy. I don't even think about that. I just want to get a small air-conditioning unit when I get into purgatory -- if I get there.

JONES: Monaghan describes his personal story as rags to riches to rags. The question yet to be answered: will Ave Maria eventually turn out to be the Promised Land he dreams of?

For RELIGION & ETHICS NEWSWEEKLY, I'm Phil Jones, Ave Maria, Florida.
We return to our Motorcoach around 6:00pm, after much reminiscing about what we have just seen, heard & experienced about the Ave Maria town.
Watch ABC news, Jeopardy & the O'Reilly Factor during & after our dinner of: crab cakes, brown rice & a mixed salad.
Late movie: "The Catered Affair" with Bette Davis, Ernest Borgnine, Debbie Reynolds, Barry Fitzgerald, Rod Taylor. Davis sheds all glamour as Bronx taxi drive's wife wanting to give daughter ritzy wedding. 1956. Wonderful movie...with a good message.

Lights out: 12:25am

Awake: 7:34am Temp 61 sleep 6+24 rain...off & on all day overnight @ E.C. FL.

Kathy irons clothes while I call prospective campgrounds in southeast Florida; the 1st (5) were either not suitable or too highly priced. On the 6th call, Tammy expressed her apprehension in regards to finding a vacant site for our rig this time of yr. We talked for quite awhile about the area she's in & how sparse the campgrounds are for someone staying only for a week, but she said she'd check the computer. "Boy are you lucky!" she tells me. "I found someone who just delayed their reservation to arrive a week later so if you want it, it's yours." I waste no time in signing up.

K & I spend an hr working out @ the clubhouse gym. Then Kathy walks the town, stopping @ the post office & a few small stores incl. a thrift store.

Gary J. calls while motoring thru South Carolina; he predicts he'll be in Everglade City by Wednesday.

I leave a phone message for both Denise & Mike inviting them for dinner tonight....but no reply. Later we think they might have unexpected company.

Dinner: Italian sausage with sautéed onions, peppers, mushroom, & fresh tomatoes & a mixed salad.
Heavy rain & moderate winds keep us indoors before & after dinner.

We watch ABC news, Jeopardy & the O'Reilly Factor before finishing the movie: "Saboteur" with Robert Cummings, Priscilla Lane, Norman Lloyd, Otto Kruger, Alan Baxter, etc. Extremely offbeat war-worker who's falsely accused of sabotage & forced to take it on the lam. Full of quirky touches, unusual supporting characters & some outstanding set pieces, including famous Statue of Liberty finale. 1942. Another good Hitchcock story....make a note of it.

Lights out: 11:47pm

Awake: 6:55am Temp 46 sleep 6+24 sunny overnight @ Everglade City, FL.

K & I walk to Holy Family Catholic Church & attend 10:30am Mass. We join Mike & Denise in the same pew &, after Mass, talk outside about travel plans for the day.

Early afternoon, K & I dress nice & pose for some advertising photos on the front porch of the clubhouse overlooking the Barron River. Then K & I climb the steps to the lighthouse for a 360 degree view of some of Everglade City. As we're taking in the view, we spot this Mini Cooper driving into Everglades Isle, and after much shouting & whistling, get Mike & Denise's attention.

Mike takes photos of our motorhome for his good buddy Steve while Kathy & Denise tour the clubhouse.

K & I are invited for dinner today @ the Penthouse on Marco Island with Denise's parents, Jo & Dan. En route we stop @ Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve & walk the boardwalk; identifying different trees & birds. Roundtrip boardwalk was a little over a mile.

We arrive @ the Penthouse about 5:30 & greet Jo & Dan, Denise's brother Danny, Denise & Mike; then we settle in the living room where we have wine time with mixed nuts. I ask Dan about his twin Baron & whatever became of it; "It's a long story!" he tells me &, believe me, it was a long, long story but very interesting as well. Dan barely finished the Baron story when Denise calls out: "Dinner is ready!"

Dad's meatloaf with tomato relish, smashed potatoes, corn on the cob, & salad; coffee or vanilla ice cream with chocolate covered nuts for dessert; a wonderful & delicious meal made by a great cook...Denise.

After dinner, us guys scoot back into the living room in time to start watching the Super Bowl XLIII 2009; Pitt Steelers vs. Arizona Cardinals. Since Danny had to work early tomorrow, he bade all farewell and left while Denise & Kathy washed the dishes & finished cleaning up the kitchen before joining us in front of the TV.

I openly admit that I am not a football fan, but as we casually chatted & covered many subjects of interest, that game began to get our undivided attention. Both Mike & Denise & we were certain that the Steelers had clinched the game, so we were ready to leave & motor back to Everglade City until....ouch, the Cardinals got a touchdown & then, jumped a few points ahead of the Steelers. Yes, we stayed sitting on the edge of our seats until the last few minutes of victory for the Steelers. Oh, what a heart thumping finish it was.

The years have taken their toll on Jo & Dan, leaving them less than healthy; Jo suffers from some dementia & is supposed to use oxygen more than she does to help with her breathing & Dan is quite bent over & in much pain due to the effects of radiation (he was a radiologist), but they are still very pleasant & in good spirits making them good hosts. We thank them for the invitation & say our goodbyes, hoping to see them again. We return to our home-on-wheels by 11:02pm.

Late movie: "Saboteur." We watch ½.
Lights out: 1:10am

Awake: 6:50am Temp 44 sleep 6+40 sunny-windy overnight @ Everglade City, FL.

Call Gary J. in eastern PA. Gary is busy doing some volunteer electrical work & calls while driving; he thinks they might be traveling to Florida next week if they can get themselves organized.

Mike & Denise visit mid morning; Kathy gives Denise a tour of the inside of our coach & I tour Mike around the outside. Then we sit & gab for an hr over coffee & Kathy muffins.
During M & D's visit, Grace J. calls Kathy; Grace reports that her daughter Sherry & husband Dave just bought a house & Gary is helping them with some electrical needs.

Rose, from the concierge desk, calls & talks with Kathy about taking pictures of us to possibly use in their advertising; she would like to set a time.

Corinne calls from Lilly, PA; she informs us of the recent blizzard that blew through their town yesterday & reported other cool facts & happenings.

Mid afternoon, K & I visit the clubhouse & play numerous games of 8-ball on the pool table. We were about to wind up our pool playing when (3) gentlemen arrive from Naples, FL; (2) of them are the main investors of this Everglades Isle & the other is the co-pilot. The one who is the co-pilot ( Herb) introduced himself & we exchanged info about each other. He was born & raised in Carrolltown, PA....(5) miles from where I was born & raised; a small world it is! Herb & I end up playing a game of 8-ball before he has to leave & fly back to PA.

Dinner @ Denise & Mike's home was a real treat; Denise has nearly perfected a noodle soup formula with gyoza that we were hooked on in Narita, Japan during our aviation days. Many of us would walk from our hotel all the way into the town....just to have our fix of this noodle soup; with the distance being about (5) miles round trip. We used chop sticks for tonight's meal but not on the key lime pie that was served for dessert. It was a fun evening with lots of gab time.

Tonight's movie: "The Lady is Willing" with Marlene Dietrich, Fred MacMurray, Aline MacMahon, Arline Judge, etc. Agreeable comedy; glamorous Dietrich wants to adopt a baby, so she marries pediatrician MacMurray. Dramatic segment near the end spoils lively mood. 1942. Unless you're a MacMurray or Dietrich fan, this story & the acting are: so-so.

Lights out: 12:31am

Awake: 7:14am Temp 69 sleep 7+19 mostly sunny overnight @ Everglade City, FL.

Before breakfast, K & I exercise in the club workout room for about (45) min. Then we take showers & have breakfast @ the clubhouse.

Next, using # 17 Golf Cart, we ride into town & visit the library, located in City Hall, to use their copy machine; then return in time to watch the movie: "The Bucket List" in the Clubhouse Theatre @ 1:00pm. Oops, this brand new, fully automatic theatre that brings down the window shades, opens the curtains & slowly dims the lights....developed a problem; try as he might, Don could not get the system working so the movie was canceled for now.

Later, Kathy writes "thank you" cards while I try & catch up on late e-mail.
Dinner @ the Clubhouse: appetizer of fresh lobster with butter & fresh stone crab claws followed by lobster soup for me & a salad with turkey strips for Kathy & for dessert, key lime pie.

Evening movie: "Terms of Endearment" with Shirley MacLame, Debra Winger, Jack Nicholson, John Lithgow, Jeff Daniels, Lisa Hart Carroll, Danny DeVito. Wonderful mix of humor & heartache follows the relationship of a mother & daughter over the years. Consistently offbeat & unpredictable, with exceptional performances by all three stars. 1983. Good story....add it to your list.
Lights out: 12:10am

Awake: 5:55am Temp 65 sleep 6+19 sunny overnight @ Punta Gorda, FL.

Friends from Ohio (Bub & Pat) arrive @ 7:50am for a short visit & a planned breakfast of: ham, spinach, & egg casserole, fresh fruit, & muffins. After that delicious start for the day, they hang out long enough to watch the shrinking of our bus (retracting the slides) & other preparations for our travel further south. B & P also stopped to visit Helen & Walt in Port Charlotte & will continue southeast & visit Judy & Jerry in Boca Raton; Bub's sisters. B & P served us a good meal @ their home many yrs ago so finally we have the opportunity to get even. We wish them safe travels & fun times; then continue our prep for moving out of our camping site.

Backing our bus out of our tight parking spot went smoothly with (6) sharp eyes watching closely. We leave the Gulf View RV Resort @ 10:32am traveling I-75 south to State Road-29....arriving @ the Everglades Isle RV Resort in Everglade City, Florida @ 12:32pm.
Today's travel: 101 miles 2+00 hrs 17 gal used 6 mpg 51 mph avg speed.

Bob, the resort host, greets us @ the entrance to Everglades Isle & suggests that we walk down the curved brick road, pick out a campsite & leave our motorhome parked where it is for now.
This campground just opened for business January 9, 2009; not all sites are finished but about (20) out of (60) are. After a careful sizing up, we select site-13 & easily pull in to the site. The Barron River is directly in front of us as we are parked. Airboats continually idle up & down this river taking customers for a tour of the Everglades; a very popular adventure. But what we find most amusing are the Pelican birds that literally fly & land on the airboats during their cruising & watch the customers watching them. Of course, we've seen some of the customers feeding those Pelicans & that most likely attracts them.

We are assigned Golf Cart # 17 as our transportation vehicle; the town of Everglade City (population 500) has no traffic lights & is easy to get around in. Bob suggested we take a tour of the town & when we return, he'll give us a tour of the clubhouse.

Exactly (1) hr later, we had ridden past the Catholic Church, City Hall, Rod & Gun Club, a small grocery store, several large hotels, gas station, K-thru 12 school, etc.

We park #17 in the garage for a recharge &, later, park it on our site under the Chickee Hut which was constructed by the Miccosukee Indians.

Inside the clubhouse, we are impressed with the attention to detail this place has: a wide ½ circle porch with chairs, huge bar with separate liquor & wine storage & (12) chairs to sit up to the bar; dining room with (4) circular tables & (1) large circular table; a pool table; workout room with (2) treadmills each with its own attached TV screen with controls alongside; & other workout units are lined around the room. There is a (14) seat theatre with a wide screen just around the corner & a hair & beauty salon next door.

Back in the dining room & bar area, Bob notifies us that there is a guy riding a bicycle outside, like he is looking for someone. We walk over toward the porch & sure enough, it's Mike D. Kathy gives her loud whistle & Mike joins us for a little libation at Bob's suggestion.

Mike invites us to have dinner with them @ the Camellia Street Grill, a (5) min Golf Cart ride; but before we leave for the Camellia, Mike & Denise give us a tour of their partially renovated home. They both have been diligently working on this house during the winter months for (3) yrs now & it is really looking good.

Dinner: K & I have a good sized salad topped with a delicious crab cake while enjoying plenty of gab time. Afterward, we retire to our respective homes.

Late movie: "2000 Women." The critics were a bit sniffy at the time of its release, but this is one of the jolliest films made during the war. It concerns a group of English women caught in France during World War II and interned in a posh hotel.

It's full of the sort of "There'll always be an England" stiff upper lip stuff that looks so kitch these days, and yet there's also a feeling of release for these women since there are no men around.
Sadly, some RAF men accidentally parachute into the camp and the women have to hide them from the Germans. The men are undercast and a bit dreary, but they wouldn't stand a chance against the cream of British character actresses anyway.

The rest of the film concerns the women's attempts to smuggle the men out of the camp. The plot however is irrelevant. What matters is the way these actresses work without having to compete for billing with any male star.

The film is fun, risqué and the best British romp before Tom Jones. 1944. Entertaining to say the least.
Lights out: 11:55pm


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