September 29, 2013

Journey to Palm Bay

Press HERE to see a slideshow
of our drive south.

Galena's Main Street
IMG_5478: Galena's Main Street
Smokey Mountains
IMG_5480: Smokey Mountains
Big Love in Asheville
IMG_5485: Big Love Festival
Flying Rays
IMG_0013: Flying Rays
Greensboro Tiger
IMG_0031: Greensboro Tiger
Savannah Mansion
IMG_5502: Savannah Mansion
Bill and Betty
On St. Simon Island

IMG_5519: Flying Rays

We head south more than two weeks ago. We drove through Rochester, where Betty dropped off something for her niece Andrea. We also stopped by her nephew James home, but alas they were not at home. We continued south and had lunch in the iconic little village of Lanesboro. I was surprised by the amount of tourist trade. I guess the bike trails that run along the Root River are very popular. From here we made our way to the Mississippi River, which we drove along for a hundred miles. In the afternoon we were in Galena, IL, where we could easily see that thousand of tourists make their way there every year. The draw is the very old main street, where many of its buildings are over 150 years old. We were couchsurfing and we had an excellent host, David Wells. He owns a building right on the town's main street and his apartment was on the second floor, which I can only describe as Zen. It was very peaceful and quiet.

After leaving Galena we were headed east and then south and then east again. That means we drove to Rockford, and then south until we got to I-40, which took us through Indianapolis. Then we proceeded south to Louisville and then east to Lexington, KY. We came too late to see much of the town. Our host Addison Hoffman is quite the craftsman. He was making some large artistic lamps when we arrived. The next day, he brought up to a 150 year old house that he is totally rebuilding. The home had long ago been converted to a barn and then been abandon. I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw the magnitude of the project. But it was clear that he knew what he was doing and was making good progress. If we pass through Lexington again, we will have to stop in and see the finished project.

From Lexington, we drove south to Knoxville and the then east through the Smokey Mountains. We got off the freeway for a detour through the hills. It was beautiful drive. We got to Asheville and drove around a bit in the city center. The weather was near perfect being a bit cooler and drier than we had seen all day. We made our way to our wonderful hosts Walter Thames and his daughter Miriam. It was fun getting to know them. We went back to the city center for a dinner of fish and chips at a local Irish pub. We topped the meal off with some mighty fine ale. The next day there was a festival in the central park of the city. We got see a lot of local artists and to hear two very good bands. It was a fun afternoon.

In the mid afternoon we started towards Greensboro. We were going to the home of our hosts Dean and Laurel Driver. Their farm was enchanting. And their farmhouse was incredibly lovely. Laurel has an excellent eye for decoration. We were very lucky to arrive shorty before their book club was meeting. We had not read the book but we really enjoyed the conversations with the club members. At the end we mentioned a number of our favorite reads. I wish that I had a better memory for names, because I could have told who all was there.

The next three days, we spent visiting my sister Dawn and her partner Mitsy. The first day we just spent our time catching up on our lives. We especially got an earful about all the travails in the Glenwood neighborhood where the university is expanding and the activities of some pretty vile land speculators. After all the talk, we made a meal of the pesto my brother Steve sent with us. It was great. Steve is such a good cook.

The next day we went to a small local aquarium. Even though it was quite small there was plenty to see. I especially liked the collection of rays that were "flying around" in a shallow pool. The stingers were removed, so it was safe to touch them. Another tank had a good collection of sharks and a moray eel. Cool!. There is also a small zoo attached to the aquarium and the best thing there were two large Asian tigers. After the zoo we went out for a late lunch.

Our next destination was Charleston. There we stated looking for a house-share or condo to rent. We made a lot of calls and sent a good number of emails and even saw one place to share. But nothing clicked. We spent two days with a fairly eclectic host, Pierre Nantell. He was quite an interesting guy. He was just starting a new graphic arts business. He was really happy and excited for this change in his life. We did take a walk downtown; Charleston is such a beautiful and unique old town. We also walked through the lovely Hampden Park, which is near the Citadel.

We spent a whole day working our way south from Charleston. We try to avoid freeways and while the travel is slower, the routes are more interesting. When we got to Savannah we parked for a couple of hours and walked through the city once again. I have not been very good at taking pictures on this trip, but we took a good number in Savannah. Birgitta had specifically requested them. Before arriving we had searched for places to rent, but nobody returned our emails. We might have spent the night, but it was early in the day so we kept going south. We stopped at Saint Simon Island, a beautiful little village with lots of tourists about. We walked a bit and took some pics of their lighthouse. From there we headed south again to Saint Augustine.

We checked into a very cheap motel. We continued our search for a house-share or condo. The next day we got to see two possible houses. One was near perfect about 8 miles south on the A1A. It was on the beach! And it was priced right! But the room was not really ready for prime time. If the landlord put some real effort into it, it might have been ready in two weeks. We did not pass on it, because if it did get completed before we found something else we would be back. The next place was very nice and ready, but it was 20 miles from the city. Once again we did not pass, and left things open.

After two nights in Saint Augustine, we were on our way to Melbourne, Florida. Al Colomberti is one of those wonderful hosts that really took care of us. He is semi-retired now and is an adjunct professor at a local community college. We were able to use his home to continue our search for a rental. On our first day out we saw several places. None were perfect. Two condos were just too close to major roads. One house share was OK, but not great. After looking all day as far south as Vero Beach, we had almost nada to go on. That evening we cooked for Al. We cooked the second package of pesto that Steve had given us. Man was it good! The next day we had about four possibilities lined up. After seeing one we got a call to see the last one on our list, so we scurried over to it. The house seemed to be a really good fit for us, so we decided to take this house-share. We will have our own room with a bath next to our BR door that we do not need to share. We will also have a little living area to ourselves and a kitchen to share. There is patio and a screened in pool. Quite lovely! The home is located just south of West Melbourne in Palm Bay.
That evening we took Al out to eat at a rather good local Mexican restaurant. A friend of his, Aldo, who also lives in Palm Bay, joined us for dinner. After dinner we went to a comedy club. The amateur comics were a mixed bag, a couple funny but not most. But, hey, they are all works in progress. The headliner was very funny and I really enjoyed his stories and jokes. I have a confession to make, I cannot ever remember going to a comedy club before. Crazy for a guy my age, but one is never to old to try something new.

We had only scheduled three nights with Al, so we needed to move on for a night or two before moving into our rental. We had found another host, Annette Anastasia. She is a very kind a good woman. She has a small home just a short distance for the river or coastal waterway. She was a very good host.

And finally we have moved into our Palm Bay home.

Indian River Lagoon or Waterway in Melbourne, Florida
IMG_0034: Indian River

Posted by bill at 12:40 PM | Comments (1)