Sunday, April 12, 2015

Punta Gorda Florida– March 12, 2015

We head out from Hollywood early and make our way to route 27. Route 27 heads diagonally across the interior of Florida, parts of which pass through the Everglades Preserve. If I had more time, I would LOVE to visit Everglades National Park. It would also add another stamp to my National Parks Passport book. But alas, there are only so many hours in the day.

Once on 27 Andy soon reaches down and flips the petcock to reserve. I know from habit that he will ride until there are fumes in the tank. I’m sure he’s not thinking of the words “Everglades preserve” as I am, so I set the GPS to “nearby gas stations.” All are pointing behind me. At the 5 mile mark I tell him that the stations are behind. He insists there must be one ahead and we continue. I know better than to argue. It’s a fight I never win. At the 10 mile mark I mention that they are all now 10 miles behind us and nothing ahead. Again at the 15 mile mark I mention “no stations ahead.” Thankfully he turns around and we head 15 miles back to our start. We roll into the station and he fills up; 4.5 gallons, which is his tank size. Don’t ask me to explain this need to wait until fumes. I’ve never understood it.

Yet there is something to be said for heading back from whence we came. This time we are ready for a few scenic spots we slipped by the first time. Here we met a tour heading off on an Air Boat. Having only seen these on television, I found it fun to watch live. I’d tell you the name of this great bunch but I lost their business card. Great reporter I’d make right?

Route 27 also takes us past Lake Okeechobee and we pull off to check things out. This area also boasts of great bass fishing. We have trouble seeing the “lake” for the tall grass, and I incorporate a pair of binoculars I remembered to pack.  I’m anxious to move on though as I have another Whispering Giant waiting for me in Punta Gorda.

The ride along 27 is very pleasant, with little traffic and lots of bird life to see.  The area is relatively flat, so you have long distance vistas as well. We break off of 27 and head West toward Fort Meyers.  We will stop 10 miles short of North Fort Meyers in Punta Gorda. As we approach the GPS is again telling me we are close.  We play the one way street game until we spot it on the corner of a busy intersection.  Calostimucu, as this one is called is sitting in the yard of an historic home, so there is parking in the front and a sidewalk that leads in front of the Giant. We meet a retired man from New Hampshire, and he seems happy to be talking to “kinfolk”. We discuss riding up on the sidewalk, and with a flourishing wave of the hand, give us authority to do so. Not that anyone of us has authority, but I go ahead and ride up onto the sidewalk. No one pays us any mind, and a few who do, don’t say a word.

Calostimucu is the only Whispering Giant with two faces. When you stand by these sentinels you feel small and insignificant. At the same time you understand that what has happened to the Indian Nations is very big indeed.  We spend some time with the Giant to honor the people he represents then take a tour of the historic home.  This is not its original spot nor is it as old as some you find in New England, but the Victorian home has charm and it’s cool (as in temperature).

The afternoon is making its way to the supper hour, and I still have one more stop; North Fort Meyers. Here is where my former Director has moved in her retirement. While she spent her time in Detroit, and I in New Hampshire and then Massachusetts when we worked for the same company, still we developed a respect and appreciation for each other.  When we pull up to her home, it’s like seeing an old friend who shares some history with you. We enjoy an hour or so and then we must be on the road again. It will be one more night out before we return to Kidani, load the bikes on the trailer and head for South Carolina where Landing Brave waits for his photograph.

Pat and D'Arcie

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