Living under a bridge…

Note for our readers: some have said they did not see the snake in the weeds at Tavares. Perhaps I should remind everyone of a feature built in to our blog. If you click on any photo it will pop up and fill the screen giving you a larger view and make details easier to see. I can count the scales on that snake.

Unfortunately tonight we are back in an area where my Internet connection is sketchy and no photos can be uploaded in this original version. Tomorrow I will plug in the photos and resend to all registered readers. The rest of you will have to revisit the website tomorrow night.

I never thought Jan and I would be reduced to living under a bridge but I suppose the price of this trip is catching up to us. In a moment you will see our temporary residence under the Highway 17/42 bridge but let us first bump our way out of Sanford.

Last night Jesse Jackson arrived in Sanford and we knew it was time for us to get out. As you remember we arrived the day after the first demonstration with Al Sharpton and we left before the second one with Jesse. We do not wish to politicize our journey so we will just move along.

As we pulled out this morning we once again churned up mud. This is a very shallow marina. And as we moved through the harbor channel heading toward the middle of Lake Monroe we hit something a good lick. The whole place is shallow and we were in proper position but it was a lick.

At least there was plenty of lake coming up to run the boat wide open and see if we were about to add onto our world record attempt for trashing props. The boat ran fine and even up to 2700rpm’s there was no vibration and so we skated by this time. There was just no way to avoid this one.

As you leave Lake Monroe on the north end there are three bridges. They are all within 100 yards and the last two are on top of each other. The first two are tall highway bridges that we pass under with plenty to spare but the third is a 9 foot RR bridge that must open. When we came in last Friday this one was being repaired and held us up for over an hour. Approaching today we were discouraged to see a work truck(the kind that runs on RR tracks) was parked on the middle and not moving. A call to the bridge master went unanswered for nearly 15 minutes as we neared. We blew the horn and even tried calling another bridge twenty miles away to seek assistance. Nothing!

Finally the bridge master returned to the control house and we made contact only to discover that it would be over two hours before they would open. It was too far to go back and there was no convenient dock nearby to tie to. So I asked the bridge master if he had any objection to our tying to the wooden fenders under the highway bridge. Now this is strictly against the law and he has no authority over the highway bridge anyway but he must have felt sorry for us so he said it is up to you to be safe. So we safely eased over and settled into our new temporary residence under a bridge. We shut down the engines and cranked the generator and turned on the TV to watch the Today Show. Just like home.

When the two hours were up we fired things back up and got ready to go but they moved the truck and tried to raise the bridge and nothing happened. No power. They worked for some time and really tried but nothing moved. So we shut down again and watched and waited. This was getting old. I decided that maybe a little encouragement might help so I shouted to the nearest guy and suggested that maybe a safety cutoff switch was not making contact. In just a few minutes we were up and moving through. Of course I may be forced to join the Railroad Workers Union now.

We passed back by Blue Springs State Park where smaller boats can pause for a day at the springs. We had driven there yesterday.

The rest of the five hour ride was mostly uneventful. We saw more gators and even slowed to talk to a fellow trying to ride a paddle board from near Vero Beach to Jacksonville. We will see him later tonight.

We made our delayed docking back at William’s Landing in Astor by 1700. We cleaned up and dinghied over to Castaways for a spectacular dinner. This is an example of a place that does not look like gourmet but is. Jan even had escargot for the first time. I would not even touch them. She loved them.

As we were ordering I saw our paddle board guy finally pulling in. I stepped out and told him we were buying beer so come on in. Great evening for all.

Oh a hopeful note, remember the two young men fishing the last time we were here? Their names were Casey and Chris. I said that I spoke to Chris about his smoking and urged him to quit and save his money for a boat. My opinion was that he was not likely to stop. Well tonight Chris was back fishing alone because Casey has school tomorrow. I have a feeling Chris dropped out though I did not embarrass him by asking. I showed him his picture on the computer and gave him a Yoohoo. He was very appreciative and told me he had quit smoking two days ago. Maybe my meddling is going to pay off. One day at a time. Sometimes I think if I could have raised some of these boys how different they might have turned out but that is too liberal an outlook for me.