The good times keep on Rollin’. Running short on superlatives to describe our delightful visit with Cathy’s cousin, “Sister Pat”, retired Nun extraordinaire, and her life-long fellow-sisters and friends, Gertrude and Marianne. They are also inhabitants of “The Villages” and have been for a dozen years or so. The conversations were non-stop and wide-ranging. We Travelers were treated to a delicious repast at the famed Nancy Lopez Country Club. We know our sons-in-law Marc and Paul would have loved a chance to try their golf clubs there! Following that, we attended Mass in the recently-new St. Mark the Evangelist church. Being able to worship alongside such wonderful Servants of Christ was so uplifting. Add to that Gertrude’s gorgeous singing (a lifetime of teaching music are among her credits), made it a totally memorable experience for us.
We have to admit that we have not been disappointed so far with the Florida weather. If it’s always like this in January, no wonder there are so many snowbirds here. Mid-70s, sunny with just enough clouds to keep it pleasant, and light breezes. I’m sure our kids remember the two times we came to Disney in the winter and froze ourselves!
Back aboard STella for another sprint south and within sight of all of Disney’s amazing creations in central Florida. Winnowed our selection to a return visit (last time for Cathy’s 60th birthday, you do the math) to our favorite site, Epcot Center (for the out-of-country readers: EPCOT-Experimental, Prototype, City of Tomorrow). Google it for the high lights, of which there are many. We arrived early enough to (Surprise!) beat the ticket takers at the parking lots and enjoy a full free day of parking :). Not to worry, the entry fee and all condiments available will keep those with Disney stock well payed for decades to come.
Next scheduled stop, Sarasota and visiting with Brenna’s father in law, Earl and his lovely wife, Jane. Stay tuned.
Thanks for all the prayers from home and St. Joseph’s yesterday. We felt them!
PFJ and Cathy
It’s cold, it’s wet, it’s miserable! I want to go South, She said. So it’s time to actually put the rubber on the road and get this long-delayed cross-country journey underway. First night destination, Aunt Margie Sweeney, St. Louis. Thrilled to have Diane, Jared and Kelsey Everitt join us for a wonderful meal and priceless conversation.
Wednesday on south with final destination Montgomery, AL. Passed thru the Home Town of Superman, Metropolis, IL. He graciously allowed us a photo op. Something very familiar about his face, but couldn’t put my finger on it.
Everybody’s read about “The Villages” of Florida. Reading will never give the Big Picture. We were graciously welcomed by Jerry and Robbey Brust in their lovely home located on the banks of a bird-heaven wetland preserve (we called it a “swamp”, but that’s not cool). Loved having personal guides showing us all (ok, no way to show ALL) of this living Paradise. There are 114,000 easy-going “seniors” in 56 Villages with more fun stuff to do than anybody could envision. Example, on ANY night of the year, in 4 different venues, there is LIVE music and entertainment. And, they play all the GOOD MUSIC. Thus, on an early January night, there is music and dancing for wide-eyed visiting farmers.
The bronze herd of wandering cattle and the cowboy attending them are there solely for the purpose of reminding Midwest visiting farmers just how far from home there are.
New Blog Site. New Blog. “Pilgrim Farmer John Along the Southern Tier.” On two wheels, self powered, hiking poles not needed. 4000 miles, give or take detours and an occasional “lost” episode. There’s the inevitable “But, WHY?” I have two answers: Because I want to. Because I can. And since the “Because I can” response has a clock running, the time is now. D-Day (back wheel wet, Atlantic Ocean) is set for 1/30/17, place, St. Augustine, FL. With several scheduled visits with friends and family between here and there, our “we’re outta here” date is 10 Jan, 2017. Mission accomplished date (front wheel wet, Pacific Ocean); to be determined. Goal, early April, 2017.
Ops O (Operations Officer) for the exercise is my Dearest Cathy. Once the bike ride begins, she’ll be at the wheel of STella, (ST: Southern Tier, cute, huh) the mini motor home, our “home away from home” for the next three months. Pix of STella to follow in later blogs after we ascertain that we actually know HOW to use this blog site.
Speaking of this blog site, Word Press, we have selected it for its ease of replying by the tens of readers that we hope are paying attention to our newest adventure. I follow numerous blogs that make use of this site and find it very user friendly and reliable. It doesn’t have the data limitations of the site I used for the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage, and since I’ll (hopefully) have more time to compose the blogs, I won’t feel as restricted in what I can post.
And, the first photo of the first post will reveal the obvious reason for the blog name. This ride has been very well researched and professionally mapped by the good folks at Adventure Cycling. They also provided the maps for our “Duo of Discovery” bike tour that Cathy and I enjoyed in 2006, following the Lewis and Clark trail from Washington State to Iowa and the Mississippi River.
This is the post excerpt.
“It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters, in the end”. So good, only wish I had thought of it first.