In my last post, I told you about meeting Rebecca & Barry at Starbucks, after my inadvertent swim in the Everglades.  After driving 2 hours out of the Everglades, and stopping at Starbucks, there were Rebecca and Barry.  What are the chances?

So today, was another very weird coincidence.  I checked into the KOA at Davie, FL last Friday 1/26.  The very same day I re-uncounted Rebecca and Barry on dry land.  The weather has been cold and windy, by Florida winter standards, for days. 

Today, finally the sun came out and I was feeling a bit lonely.  So, I decided to play golf.  I haven’t played in weeks, and the last time I played I walked off, because I didn’t like the course and was playing alone.

Today, I made a tee time at a golf course 25 minutes away at 1:45 p.m.  I am an afternoon player.  It gave me time to do laundry, wash sheets and make the bed, in preparation for moving north to Port Saint Lucie, FL tomorrow.

I arrived in plenty of time and met a lovely Canadian couple Jeanette and Mark.  Our 3rd player showed up and we did the perfunctory introductions.  Bob, said he was staying in an RV.  Where are you staying, I asked?  “The KOA in Davie”, said Bob.  What a coincidence I said, I am also staying there!  Bob, said he was in site #89.  Funny thing, I am in site #88.  In KOA parks, that means you are parked next to each other.

Bob and I have been neighbors for 5 days, in a suburb of Ft. Lauderdale, hundreds of thousands of people.  But we only met when we showed up to play golf at 1:45 p.m.,  (for non-golfers, tee times are made every 8 minutes, with 4 players.  I am not a mathematician, so I can’t figure the odds).

I only wish I had this kind of lucky when I buy lottery tickets.  Never the less, we had a great round of golf at Bridges at Springtree Golf Club.  

But, it makes me wonder. How is it I keep having these convergences, just when I am feeling the “lonelies” coming on?

It makes me sing a favorite song, Sending me Angels.  Click the link and sing along.

“Standing on the bank of the river, By the shore
Seems like the devil’s always tryin’
To get in my door
Just when I thought I
Couldn’t take it anymore
Here he came again
My friend
He keeps sending me angels,
From up on high
He keeps sending me angels,
To teach me to fly
He keeps sending me angels,
Sweet and true
He keeps sending me angels,
Just… like… you…

Swimming with Alligators

I had not planned on swimming in the Everglades, or losing my phone, car and trailer keys.  Excited to learn the National Park Service offers a FREE guided canoe trip, we gathered at 7:45 a.m. at Nine Mile Pond to meet our Park Ranger guide John Paul.  12 of us, an even number we listened as John Paul gave a brief demonstration of paddling and steering.

Bertram the other single, a young physics student from Israel, had no canoeing experience.  Apparently, Bertram had not learned the physics of canoeing in his studies.  So, why would I suggest he be in the back and steer?  You all know how much I love to be “in control”.

We were doing just fine half-way into the trip, having just stop for a short break to drink water, eat snacks, and enjoy the quiet of nature.  I shared apple slices and granola bars with my canoeing companion.   He hadn’t been great at steering, running us into the low hanging mangroves, but the trip was taking us through very narrow mangrove tunnels.  

The next thing I knew we were tipping over and I was in the water.  Thankfully, we had only seen one alligator earlier, but waist deep in Everglades water was not a comforting feeling.  I had carefully packed a sack with 2 bottles of water, apple slices, granola bars, a bug stick, and $20 bill.  I had put my iPhone in a zip-lock bag, my car keys were also in the sack, (a Christmas gift from Michelle).

Why did I let Bertram steer, in back where I could not see him?  Why didn’t I zip the sack, why didn’t I put my phone back in the zip-lock after taking pictures?

I lost my keys and iPhone, but the bug stick, bottles of water and $20 bill stayed afloat.   No point in kicking myself.  Now I had to get back into the canoe in waist deep water before the alligators discovered us.  I am grateful I still have good upper-body strength, because boarding a canoe isn’t easy.  I did it, with fear of alligators fueling me.

My cheap Timex watch is still ticking, after a rice dry out.

I am most grateful for the kindness of strangers.  The night before I had a conversation with a woman in the next shower stall, we spoke of our pending canoe adventure, and neglected to introduce ourselves.  Lucy and husband Paul would become my new best friends.  They gave me a lift back to the Flamingo Campground and the use Paul’s cell (AT&T) phone to call my insurance company.  Needless to say, locksmiths weren’t jumping at the prospect of driving 40 miles one-way to pop-a-lock.  

Thank you, Katherine.  I bought the Airstream from Katherine and she had the foresight and presence of mind to duck tape a key behind the front panel.  And, best of all it was the door lock, I had locked – not the deadbolt, which I thought I had locked.  I was back in the trailer where my extra set of keys hung on the hook.  No insurance or locksmith needed.  And, Maggie was happy to see me.

Visiting with Lucy and Paul later that evening, they both mentioned how Bertram was not paddling, and leaning over the water.  After we had our swim, I had heard Paul give Bertram a few paddling tips.  Paul told me, “he wasn’t really paddling and you were doing all the work”.  Paul was impressed that I could paddle as fast as I did…no consolation.  I wish my friend Marilyn Park had been with me, we would have been a great paddling team.

I look forward to visiting my new-found friends Lucy and Paul, when I visit Bellingham, WA on my next west coast journey possibly summer of 2020.

Here is the really funny ending to this story.

Waving good-bye to Lucy and Paul as we pulled out of the Flamingo Campground the next morning, I drove east two hours to Florida City and stopped at a Starbucks before entering the Ronald Reagan Turnpike & Toll Road for Ft. Lauderdale.  Waiting for my triple shot latte, I heard a lovely Englishman say, “Glad to see you have recovered from your swim!”  You have got to be kidding!  Barry and his companion Rebecca were sitting at a nearby table.  Karma, Kismet, or just plain luck, what an encounter.  Our National Parks attract visitors from all over the world. In addition to Bertram from Israel, there were four people from the UK on our canoe trip.  Nearly half, five out of 12 people were from aboard.  Our National Parks are a global treasure.

Since my iPhone is swimming with the alligators, I asked Barry and Rebecca if they could share a few photos from our trip, which are posted here.  Rebecca also writes a blog on hiking, Wild Pilgrims.   I hope our paths cross again.  Thanks Rebecca for the snaps.

I hope to see all my new-found friends Lucy and Paul, Rebecca and Barry somewhere again.

Tomorrow, I visit the AT&T store.


My friend Cathy (we go back to college), pointed out that a government shut-down, should mean EVERYTHING SHUTS DOWN.  I TOTALLY AGREE, even when I have a Everglades National Park reservation (on Tuesday 1/23/18).  This is what I found on the National Park Service website:

Our Apologies…

The Recreation.gov website is not available due to a lapse in funding for the federal government.

We will keep all reservations in the system intact until the departure date has passed in the event you would like to use any part of your reservation. If your reservation falls completely within the time frame of the lapse in funding, full refunds will be made. No additional cancellation fees will be charged to the customer for reservation cancellations as a result of facility closures.

We invite you to return to this site as the situation evolves in order to obtain additional information about how services and reservations may be affected.

The vast majority of Americans don’t think about their federal government, until they need or want it.  I  think about government workers local, state and federal, every day.  Weird but true.  I spent my professional life in their service.  I respect them and believe in the service they provide.  Certainly, I have experienced horrible, awful and terrible public service.  I have to bite my lip, when it occurs. 

But this week, proves my point.  Our elected officials: President, Senators and Representatives have failed the American people.  The Federal Government is shut-down, and they are still getting paid.

But the military, federal corrections personnel, police, and the transportation security administration (TSA) to name a few, will report to work and NOT GET PAID.  There is something terribly wrong, when workers don’t get paid for working, and elected officials – their bosses – get paid for failing to do their jobs.

You all know where I stand, I am a Democrat. 

I hold both parties responsible.  The Democrats are a disappointment, the GOP is a disgrace.

Democrats are using the same playbook that lost the 2016 election – identity politics.  They have set-up a Sophie’s choice.  Pitting poor children (CHIP) against undocumented children (DACA).   Both groups lose.

The GOP is so incredibly disciplined they have their talking points and stick to them – no matter what the facts.  I watched them every day for 17 years until 2016, when I could not stand it anymore.  Even before Donald Trump came to town.

So, while I sit outside the gates of Everglades National Park, I think of all the federal government workers who are not getting paid.  Some are reporting to work and some are sitting at home waiting to be told to come back to work.

There are so many problems the political sound bite cannot encompass. 

Why is the Federal Government Shut-down? 

Because Congress has failed to: 1) pass a Budget; 2) pass 13 Appropriation bills, that fund the 13 federal agencies; and, 3) follow regular order.

They spend too much time raising money and not enough time doing their jobs, getting to know their colleagues and working together.

Democrats are using undocumented children.

Republicans are using the military.

Common ground is what they are missing in today’s federal shut-down.

Of course, Trump as President is impossible for both his GOP colleagues and Dems.  It is impossible to shame a man, who has no shame.


I got the step on!  Replacing the step on the Airstream, or replacing anything always is a lesson in process.  What I learned from this repair:

  1. Don’t put the front bolts on first.  Yes, they are easy and closest, but it is the back bolts that are the problem.
  2. Helpful to have someone to hold the 40 lb steps, while you are lying on your back under the trailer struggling to insert bolts.  But, in the absence of a helper, finding plastic bins, and other stuff you can place underneath to support and align the bolts.  
  3. Get all the bolts in, BUT DON’T tighten.  Like replacing a tire on your car, lug nuts should be tightened equally.  
  4. Don’t answer your cell phone when you are under the trailer, because it is your Mother calling on FACE Time.  I hate FACE Time. 

I love you Mom!  But, I am so proud of myself, even if I do say so!

As for Key Largo, it is amazing the recovery underway from hurricane Irma that blew through just 5 months ago.  The costs, damage and trash is staggering.  We watched as workmen repaired a bridge, and you can not help but see the trash piled high along the Overseas Highway.  Apparently, when FEMA left, they weren’t done with trash collection, so it sits waiting to be taken away, but no one seems to know who that someone is.

We are off to the Everglades National Park on Monday, hope it is open with the government shut-down.

The Iconic Airstream

“Eight years ago, architect Matthew Hofmann transformed an old Airstream into a pint-sized home and office for himself. More than 400 renovated Airstreams and other vintage trailers later . . . The Santa Barbara, California-based team knows the ins and outs of renovating Airstreams better than almost anyone . . . and talk about the trailers’ cult appeal, the challenges of restoring their aluminum shells . . .”  The photos are fantastic.

Here is the link to this wonderful story: https://savingplaces.org/stories/a-vintage-airstream-expert-on-the-cult-brands-enduring-appeal#.WmDCkZM-cdV

I love it when friends share Airstream stories.  Debbie shared the above story with me, so thought this was a good time to post this picture, complements of Carol.  Recognize anyone?

Please feel free to forward other items relating to Airstreams.  Happy Trails.