Tuesday, November 16, 2010

West Palm Beach to Cape Coral….

A touch backwards again as this is yesterday stuff as i haven't finished the entry from 2 days ago but i’ll catch up

So i was driving over to stay with my friends Gary and his wife Debbie today, Ralph was leaving for work at 6:30am and Cristina was leaving for school at the same time. I’d asked Lori to knock on the bedroom door before the left so i could say goodbye to them both. I was awake at 6 though so went out to say goodbye to them both and then headed back to bed for a couple more hours sleep before getting up at 9am and taking a shower.

It was about a two hour drive over to “the Cape” from where i was and the usual route was the main highway that goes across from East to West called Alligator Alley. Id driven this several times when id been to Florida and looked on the map for an alternate route just to see something different for a change. I chose Highway 80 which does the same thing and goes from East to West but isn't as busy and isn't as boring of a drive!

I stopped off at Lake Okeechobee on the way over and climbed up the grassy banking to see the view from the top, took the panorama picture below which came out well and sat there for 10 minutes just watching the wildlife and the birds

lake large panorama

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I could have sat there for hours watching the boats and the wildlife but i had  a couple of hours driving left and wanted to get over to Gary's place to see him and Debbie.

The drive over wasn't anything special and unlike Alligator Alley which is one straight road with virtually nothing on it or nothing to see i went through a few towns on the way over and had to drive through a couple of residential type areas which broke up the drive and me just sat there with the car set to 55 MPH on the cruise control.

As i was driving along one point of the road i passed a vehicle parked in the middle of both the highway lanes, it wasn't till i had actually passed it that i realised what it was. It was a cop car! however there were no lights on it, no signs, no marking or anything just a plain  dark blues car parked in the middle. The second i went past it i looked at my tom-tom to check my speed, i knew i was fine as the cruise control was set and i was just driving along. However as i looked at the speed and saw i was doing 70 MPH i also saw the car pull out behind me and hit his red and blue lights! UGGHHH

I pulled into the side as i knew it was me he was stopping, there was nothing else on the road ahead or behind me!

I got my license and my rental car agreement ready and as he walked up to the car i put my window down.

“ The reason i stopped you was you were doing 70 mph in a 55 mph zone can i see you License and registration please” he said I handed him my UK license and after looking at it for five seconds he said “ do you live here in Florida”   No I'm on vacation and heading over to a friends house in Cape Coral i said, he then handed me my license straight back and said have a safe trip and slow down a little.

Whew! That was about the 4th time id been stopped in the twenty years iv been coming to the USA and also the 4th time id got away with it!

So i set back off, set the cruise at 55 and arrived at Gary's place around 1pm.

Driving over to Cape Coral

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I first met Gary in 2000 in Las Vegas at Rogers show, we all used to post on the Roger Waters message board at the time called ATD (Amused To Death) I met his wife Debbie there as well but there were 35 of us all met up and to be real honest i only have a vague memory of meeting him and Debbie. The ATD message board closed a couple of years later in 2002 and Gary and I lost touch. About 6 months ago Gary posted a message on the AFG forum and mentioned the last meet up he was at was at Ricardo's in Las Vegas in 2000!! i knew it had to be the same Gary and sent him a Private message through the forum. It was indeed the same Gary and we kept in touch since. Gary had offered me a place to stay before i had made any plans for the Florida leg of the tour and id taken him up on the offer of staying at his place one night on the way up to Tampa. We had met briefly for a chat a couple of nights ago at the Ft Lauderdale show and confirmed everything that i was still staying over at his place.

The view from the back of Gary and Debbie's house!

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I was speechless when i walked through the house and saw this view, it was absolutely stunning. Debbie was out at work and Gary was preparing the dinner for tonight so i made myself at home and layed down next to the pool with my legs dangling in the water. It was a night off tonight, no show so it was again nice to chill out with nice people and in a nice surrounding.

The Pool                                                   My new friend Sadie, one of Gary's beagles

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Gary then offered to take me out for a drive around the area and over to Sanibel island, a beautiful little island that also has another island called Captiva linked to it. Took us about 30 minutes to drive over there and i am so appreciative that you took me out there Gary, really was great to see it. We walked on the beach and the pier for a while and around the old historic lighthouse. The beach is apparently one of the best there is for collecting shells and the whole area around where the waves lap up onto the sand was just full of shells of all shapes and sizes.

Gary little toy!                                 Hair blowing in the wind                    Sanibel island

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After wandering around for half an hour or so Gary drove me up the main street of Sanibel, the authorities have kept it free from fast food places with the exception of a Dairy Queen that's apparently been there a long time. There looked to be not only some beautiful restaurants abut some amazing homes out on the island as well.

Sanibel main street!                            Looking back to the island                  No i wasn't driving!

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After driving back via a liquor store to pick up a bottle of wine for me we headed back inside and i could smell the dinner cooking as soon as we got in the house! Was nice to sit down and eat some home cooked food! Beef, Mashed potatoes and some real nice corn. It always amazes me the hospitality of some people, here i was sat in someone's house whom id met 10 years ago briefly and couldn't hardly remember meeting them and they had offered me their home like it was my own. I cant thank both Gary and Debbie enough for everything they did yesterday it was an absolute pleasure to sit and chat to you both and your company was fantastic. Debbie finished the night off by making some fresh home made chocolate chip cookies with a glass off milk! If i hadn't had another show to go to I'd still be there now!!

I got an earlyish night and was asleep for 10pm after having a glass of hot lemon to try sooth my throat that's still giving me a bit of a problem after a couple of nights ago, i think its a combination being around people smoking, the smoke from the pyros at the show and the stuff people are smoking in the audience!!


  1. Beautiful! Florida really does have some lovely parts to it, as long as you can dodge the bugs and the gators! And it's nice you're there when the weather is much more temperate.

    Julie :)

  2. You better enjoy that Florida weather! It's supposed to be sunny in Atlanta, but cold at night! Of course, we'll be mostly indoors... ;)

    Soooo looking forward to it!

  3. Nice meeting you last night. I really enjoy the blog. Take care.


  4. Hey Si,

    Your WTF? picture is an Osprey nest. The state has a program where they deliberately put platforms on the pole tops to make up for the trees that developers cut down. Ospreys are like a cross between an eagle and a hawk. Cool birds and definately predators.

    Your Friend,
    Gary in Fla.