Scott has been trying to get an appointment for the COVID 19 vaccine since we took off from Vermont. Florida had a wide-open policy for over 65 with no need for residency. But each of the 67 counties had their own system (or lack of system) so it's been difficult and involved lots of hours online. On Tuesday morning early he suddenly got a hit - the first chance was 2 PM on Wednesday, Woops missed it. Then a second opportunity for 8:45 AM on Thursday and he got it! In all the excitement I thought to ask, "Where?" I guess the answer could have been worse - it was Melbourne in Brevard County. We were currently in St. Petersberg and had planned to head north on Thursday morning. So lots of work to be done rescheduling our lunch with friends in Homosassa and all our reservations for the next week.
We were staying with my first cousin Joanie and her husband Kent in their beautiful historic home in St. Petersberg. They were happy to have us stay another night and it was easy to change our luncheon with Richard and Debra to Friday. Our Thursday night stay at a Harvest Host farm couldn't be rescheduled so we booked a KOA in Perry but the Southern Grace Lavender farm had no problem. As did the French Quarter RV Park in New Orleans. So it just meant getting up at 5 AM on Thursday to drive across the state. We arrived at 8:15 and got in the line of cars stretching 4 blocks long. In a half-hour, we entered the big parking lot behind the Health Center and stopped at several check-in locations that took our paperwork and looked us up on their computers. Now we were a little nervous because the day before, on Wednesday, the Governor had announced that the vaccines would be for residents only. But that was not true when we got our appointment. When questioned though I said we were "winter residents" and after a hesitation, she let us continue. We never got out of our car - the vaccines (Moderna) were administered at our windows and we were monitored at parking spots for 15 minutes before getting our next appointment papers - February 17 at 9:45 AM. If we can't get our second shots where we end up then, we'll fly back to Orlando, rent a car, and go to our appointments. The Governor has said that all 2nd shot appointments will be honored.
So let's go back to our cruising narrative. From Duck Key we drove over to Bonita Springs to visit our long time cruiser friend Barbara Craig (formerly Barbara Gilmour from Enkidu and Bonaire). Bonita Terra was the RV park where we spent 3 nights. We left the trailer there and stayed with Barbara for 2 nights and then returned for the last evening. The weather was good so we walked on the beach, around her huge very attractive gated community, and enjoyed the pool & hot tub. And of course, some great meals.
Next, we had 3 nights with my cousin in St. Petersberg. We were very impressed with this beautiful city and the historic area where they live near the Bay. Their home was featured in "Fear of Rain", a new movie with Katherine Heigel & Harry Connick, Jr. coming out in February. As usual, we had long walks with them around the city and great meals. It was quite exciting driving into their narrow driveway and even more so, backing out. Luckily one of the neighbors helped out by moving his car. We had to stop traffic!
On Friday we drove north to Homosassa, the home of Richard & Debra Boileau, cruiser friends from Tango. They are on a creek leading to the Homosassa River and have a Grady White motorboat at their dock and a lovely view of undeveloped forest beyond. We caught up on our lives since we last saw them in Cartegna, Columbia over a long lunch of Cuban sandwiches and salad. Then it was off to a KOA RV park in Perry - long stretches of nothing in between the two locations. We went 40 miles without seeing a house!
We were really looking forward to our next stop - the Southern Grace Lavender Farm in Southport, FL, a Harvest Host location. Jason & Kari Leabo and their two children have a small farm and shop where they sell a large variety of lavender products, many of which they make themselves. We shared the location with 3 other RVs and struck up a friendship with Eli, Kelly, Dakota, and Isabelle Pyke. They are living in their big motorhome and have made two documentary films about their adventures available on Vimeo - The Far Green Company and The Far Green Company - In the Twilight. You can watch the promo on either Vimeo or Utube.
On our way there we stopped for a lovely walk in the Ecofina River State Park and the next day we had lunch mid-way to New Orleans at the famous BBQ place, The Shed. It's been on a number of food TV shows and the food was great (and huge portions, we ate the leftovers that night for dinner). Our home in New Orleans is right in the city - the French Quarter RV Park. After settling in, we walked through the French Quarter down to the River. Of course, we had to pay respects to the Old Man. Parts of the city were crowded, like Bourbon Street, and other parts felt deserted. We did a lot of dodging non-masked people and kept our's on. It was fun to sit at an outside table and have a drink watching the action from a distant enough location. We're getting good at spotting these places. Nervous at walking back in the dark (there is a deserted empty area to go through to get back), we called Uber (the driver was masked and we opened our windows).
Today we'll explore the city some more and tonight we're going out with New Orleans locals and cruiser friends from our Marina in Guatemala - Roy & Dale Ross of Wahoo. More to come in another post!
|Scott and Barbara at her condo in Bonita Springs|
|Scott and I try out the spiffy new rocking chairs|
James & Morgen gave us for Christmas
|Barbara grows orchids on the trees around her|
|Cousins Heather, Joanie & Mary - our|
mothers were sisters.
|Just blocks from Joanie & Kent's home are miles|
of parks along the Bay. They are right in the
middle of the historic district and within walking
distance of everything.
|This is their home and over on the left, you can see our trailer. The truck is in front and the end of|
the trailer just cleared the sidewalk.
|Richard and Debra's home was beautifully |
decorated with items from their travels all over
|Richard & Debra Boileau|
|A view from the Blue Trail at Ecofina River|
State Park where we stopped to hike.
|Another view, this time of the marshes|
|The Shed BBQ in Ocean Springs, Mississippi|
|Our great lunches of BBQ and various sides.|
|The Bayou at The Shed|
|Our new friends we met at the Southern Grace|
Lavender Farm - Eli, Kelly, Dakota, and Isabelle