Thank you all for being patient with me and waiting for the rest of the story of our stay in Palatka. You will have to be even more patient because we are way out in the boonies and I am not even sure I can load text. There are great pictures that I will insert tomorrow. They are worth the wait I assure you.
One of our readers has asked if I would explain for newcomers how to access the SPOT. Gladly. Just go to aboardcbay.com and click on The Map/The Route and when the page comes up click on the link for the SPOT.
We went to lunch at the Beef O’Brady’s in the Quality Inn just across the highway. There we had a good meal and noticed their dock was filled with those old mahogany cruisers we had seen earlier in the day. Apparently they are headed for a huge rally in Tavares this weekend. They will motor to Sandford where they will haul the boats on trailers over to a lake at Tavares. There should be over 200 of them. The loving care and expense of restoring these works of art is amazing. We are thinking of modifying our plans and renting a car in Sanford to drive over and see the show.
My personal favorite was the last one. It is a Delmar and has twin Johnson 40hp outboards that look like they just came out of the box. Craftsmanship like this is hard to find.
After lunch we needed a bicycle shop. Jan had broken a front brake connection and was riding on a rear brake only. Of course when we were kids bikes only had a rear brake and no-one ever seemed worried. We found a nice little place called Palatka Bikes and amazingly they had exactly what we needed. Apparently our folding bikes use fairly standard parts.
I had tools in my backpack and immediately started tearing the front brake assembly down inside the shop. One fellow who owned the shop was not happy about that but the other one seemed amazed that someone could actually fix their own bike. I told the surly one that I was not trying to beat him out of a labor charge and I was going to buy more spare parts to take with me in case of future trouble. He had to understand that when it breaks again I may not be anywhere near a bike shop and aboard Cbay we like to be self sufficient.
Palatka is known as the City of Murals and over 21 decorate the sides of buildings in the downtown area. They are historical, religious and native. Here are a few examples.
We went to the Post Office to stock up on stamps. Jan has expanded our kids postcard list and now we are sending them all over the country. Kids do love to get their own mail. I know I did.
After the Post Office Jan was worried that her guidebook said we should check in with the police to get a permit to stay at the public dock in the park. I just wanted to operate on its easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission. Did I tell you we had decided to stay there and run the generator all night. About the same cost as a marina and it was so convenient to everything. Well, the police did not know anything about a permit so they called city hall where they did not know anything. I kept telling them that was fine and we would not worry but once you unleash the dogs they will bite anybody. So they were persistent and called the Parks Department who did not know but said nobody can stay overnight at the park. I thanked them for their help and left ready to strangle the Admiral. Before I had ignorance on my side if the police arrived. Now I was charged with knowledge of the consequences. Plus now we needed somewhere to go.
I needed a Dairy Queen to cool off and there was one just down the street.
After a little more sightseeing we began looking for a place to move the boat but there were none available. The wooden boats had arrived in masse and filled every available slip. I made an executive decision that there would be a shift change around 1900 and it was unlikely that the news had been passed along that some Georgia judge was squatting on the city dock and I would still try pleading ignorance. Alex and Lucas, do not try this, the Judge is wrong here but desperate.
Back at the boat we greeted a new arrival and this is how we met Gary Lee and his constant companion Captain Kiki. More on Gary later but Kiki was crazy. She is a cat from Saudi Arabia and has a coat like I have never seen. It looks tabby from a distance but up close it has little wispy tufts all over it like some sort of wild animal. And she has 3 kittens aboard Downwind. This is her seventh litter so you would think she has a Tomcat in every port but Gary says she only breeds with one Tom that she meets at the same marina every few months. He says she is a fantastic mother. She hops on and off the boat, jumps on our boat to see what is there and goes ashore where she catches rats and tries to bring them back aboard for the kittens to play with.
Dinner was at America’s oldest diner, Angel’s. What an interesting place. They could have filmed an episode of the Twilight Zone in there or Happy Days. There was such a mixture. Angel’s is famous for their one pound burger which looked huge. Three young men in the corner ordered them and when they arrived I asked could I take a picture in case we needed to identify them in the emergency room. They laughed and said OK. There was also a five pound burger on the menu but no-one went there while we were present.
Again back to Cbay where I went to visit Gary Lee. An interesting fellow. 70 years old and just humming around sailing and using his metal detector to supplement his income. He was drinking Fireball Tennessee sipping whiskey and offered me some but I respectfully declined. We talked of world affairs and our youth. He had been a pro golfer and pro caddy in the past. When he found out what I had done for a living he had some strong opinions to express but I have heard it from the masters before and know how to let people vent until they run out of steam. Then I do not give them a reason to rev back up. He has had an interesting journey through life and still has a ways to go. Reminds me a lot of a gentleman whose ashes we spread earlier in this trip.
As we sat on his boat into the wee hours of the morning there were numerous police cars that patrolled the park but none ever bothered to come see us.
And that was Palatka.
We cast off this morning and went adventuring up Murphy Creek and on to Acosta Marina but once again the blog will be a day late as we have have a long day and must face the infamous Lake George crossing in the morning.