Friday, April 18, 2014

Back To the Coast

Friday April 18

Woke up to another mellow, soft morning … a bit overcast and a bit cool … after another great sleep.  We had chicken piccata for breakfast of course, and then hung around in the back yard, re-packed, read, and had all morning.  John made us tuna burritos for lunch, but then it was finally time to load the Mustang and hit the road.  We loved Indian Lake Estates and hope to go back there some time.

One problem with being in the middle of nowhere is that it can be complicated to get out of there.  But we had maps and Google directions, had the top down, and had plenty of time to drive from the Lake Wales ridge out to the Gulf Coast.  We exited the Estates to the South onto County Road 630 and cruised at a leisurely 55MPH the 15 miles into Frostproof, where we turned left on County 17, which became 27.  Right on 64 in Avon Park, then left on State 17 in Zolfo Springs.  We finally made it to Arcadia, where we turned right on 70 and then branched left onto 72 for the last stretch of @35 miles to the Interstate near Sarasota.

The forecast was for rain on the Gulf Coast that day, and as we approached we could see a line of black rainclouds on the horizon.  We pulled over just in time to put the top up, and then had some heavy rain for the rest of the way.  We’d thought that we might have time to stop at Myakka River State Park, but the afternoon was slipping by quickly and besides that we would have gotten soaked in an instant if we’d exited the car.

The rain stopped and the sun threatened to poke out by the time we headed South on Interstate 75 and exited after 10 miles or so towards Nokomis.  Another few turns to Mark and Debbie’s and there they were in the doorway waiting for us!  It was so good to see them again, our long-time friends from Massachusetts who’d married just before we did back when we were all young, and then had a kid just before we did (when we were a little bit older), and then re-located to Florida.

Mark and I made a liquor/beer run through the suddenly sunny afternoon, and then we all settled on their lanai and had plenty to talk about.  They have a very nice house, which we’d visited about 15 years ago soon after they moved in.  15 years later of course it was filled with stuff … that’s what happens but it was strange to see.  The stuff includes a 3-seater sit-on-top kayak in their garage that I’d love to take out for a spin.

We got hungry soon and headed for Bonefish Grill, a nice restaurant down the route 41 bypass towards Venice.  We were just in time to grab four of the last open spots, at a high table with stools.  The crowd was right behind us and soon there was a line out the door.  They were very busy on a Friday night, but we managed to talk them into giving us some American lagers, some appetizers, and eventually some fish.  I had grilled Dorado.

Drove back to their house just in time to set up for the evening’s entertainment.  The Bruins were opening their playoff season against the Red Wings and the Red Sox were playing the Orioles.  We got both on TV eventually and switched back and forth.  The Bruins (President Trophy recipients) played a good but perhaps overly cautious first game to a hopefully long playoff run, but the Red Wings looked good too and managed to pull out a 1-0 victory with a few minutes left (the Bruins went on to win the series 4-1).  The Red Sox have had a painful start to their season with a rash of injuries, and played another poor game, losing 8-4.

Oh well, we never stopped talking and then finally went to bed for another sound sleep.

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