Let me see where last I left my dear readers. We were tied up in Palatka waiting for the police to toss us off. But they never came and so on Wednesday morning we awoke to watch our new friends Gary Lee and Captain Kiki with kittens shoving off for parts unknown.
Within an hour we too were leaving. The weather was perfect and new adventures awaited. But before we share those with you I wanted to tell you how to see a certain photograph taken in 1953. Remember when we stayed three nights ago at the old naval base where they temporarily stored the Atlantic fleet after WWII on 1000 foot piers? Well if you go to http://www.desausa.org/images5/ships_mouthballed_green_cove_springs_fl_2.htm and yes I know it should be mothballed but that is not the way it is listed, so there. Then you will see why they built those piers so long.
Now back aboard Cbay we were moving further up or down the St. John’s when a voice on the VHF was calling Cbay. It was Gary Lee. He had not gone far and was tied up at Corky Bell’s which he claims is the best food on this river. We will surely try to stop there on our way back out. Gary Lee was having radio problems but soon discovered that his new radio was set on Canadian channels which vary from US bands. All decent VHF have three selections. US, Canadian and European. Once he switched over all was fine. I wonder if we will ever run into him again. He says he is headed north soon.
Today we were passed by scads of the old wooden boats. What beauty to behold.
Our side trip today was to be Murphy’s Creek which was to be a fairly natural area. It is several miles long and is deep and convenient because it runs right back into the St. John’s so we do not have to backtrack.
We saw a bald eagle soaring over the creek, a beautiful male wood duck with his green and blue and white striped head and one lonely alligator. The birds were too fast to photograph but we got the gator.
But the wildest thing we found was totally unexpected. No, it was not the Chicken Boat. It was a huge ship in a creek and it was covered with trailers! I am talking Airstreams and Winnebagos here. But what is more interesting is that people were living in them. I have got to ask some locals and find out what the rest of the story is. I will keep you posted.
Our stop on this day was Acosta Marina in Welaka. A quaint little marina with super nice folks who said Jan did the finest job of threading Cbay in there that they had ever seen. It was big talk around the marina about the lady boat driver.
We wanted to ride bikes a few miles to town and eat lunch and visit a wooden boat museum. It looked like rain but off we went and sure enough just as a Pileated Woodpecker flew across our path the bottom fell out and the rain came down. I wanted to seek shelter on the porch of a nearby house but Jan was afraid to do that. So I went up on the porch and she tried standing under a tree. Take a close look at this photo and you will see a red bike and just to the left a pink shirt, a very wet pink shirt. As my mother said,”a hard head carries a sore tail” or in this case a very wet tail. Those who know and love her can understand how this happened. After she was thoroughly soaked she finally came up on the porch. It is this same thinking that pushed me to go against my better judgement and ask the police if we could stay on the public dock in Palatka. You would think eventually I would rub off on her a little and she would take more chances but not yet.
We ate at Anderson’s and were served by a nice lady.
Next we went to the wooden boat museum where we ran into the one rudest woman I have ever met. The museum had a closed sign out but a large overhead door was open at one end of the building so we walked in and saw part of the finest collection of antique wooden boats in existence. I sought out someone to speak to and found a lady. I told her we were traveling by boat and had come from GUNTERSVILLE, AL to see this collection. Could she just allow us a few minutes to walk through? Well not only did she refuse, she did so in the ugliest manner possible. I do not say it lightly but she was a witch with a “b”. Even Jan said so and she always tries to find the good in everyone. I merely thanked her for her courtesy and left but I will write a scathing review on the AGLCA website. This collection should be in the hands of a real museum to preserve these things but now family members of the deceased owner have it and do not know how to use it. Sad, very sad.
Back at the boat we took out the Kool-Aid and washed the salt off. We should not have to use it for a couple of weeks as we are now in freshwater.
On Thursday we went from Acosta to Astor and in the process crossed the infamous Lake George. But as we were leaving our marina and made the first turn a four foot long snake dropped out of a tree and fell into the water and started swimming toward a log. If that thing had fallen on us I would have wet my pants again!
Lake George is infamous because it is a huge shallow lake with a narrow trench running through the middle. High winds can create 4-5 foot waves within minutes but thankfully this was not the case today. We decided to let Cbay run and jumped up on plane and ran 24mph for the 12 mile length of the lake.
On the other side begins a beautiful stretch of river where many older homes line the shore. Here is where I saw the most interesting sight that has ever greeted my eyes. I will show you the picture and see if anyone can tell us what you are seeing. I will give you the answer tomorrow.
We docked at Williams Landing at the Blackwater Inn. What a great place. We ate lunch and dinner here. This is an area filled with rich history.
We crossed the river bridge on foot in the afternoon and went for a beer at Castaways where Jan made the acquaintance of two nice bikers, Phil and Ray. We spent a pleasant afternoon conversing. It amazes me how my sweet little wife can get picked up in a biker bar. I know her family will not believe it but here is the proof. Also here is a picture of Phil’s custom bike which he hand painted with a map of the US including Alaska and Hawaii. Such detail I have never seen in a paint job.
As we were going out to dinner we met Casey and Chris who were fishing next to the boat. We chatted a bit and I tried to convince Chris to quit smoking but doubt he is going to stop. I told him he could buy a boat to fish from in just five years if he put the money in a jar instead of burning it up.
Tomorrow we leave for Sanford where racial tensions are rising if you are following the news. 10,000 people were supposed to march there today and the police chief has just been fired. Not sure whether we will dock right downtown or not. This is an unexpected development.