Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Journey so far.....(Part 2)

Clearwater Florida is a interesting mix of people and environments. On the gulf of Mexico with beautiful sugar sand beaches it is a vacation destination not only for Floridians but for the world. Clearwater is also the home of the Church of Scientology. Locals claim this effects the community, some say for good some for bad. We have family in the Church and I do not really have a lot of good to say about it but not much bad either.
     But I will get back Clearwater later as at this point in the Journey our stay was short before we moved farther south to Hollywood Fl.
   The trip south included some of our tightest times when it came to fueling Wayne with propane. We found ourselves stopping for fuel at Feed and Seed stores, local propane suppliers, and we even had a drop tank delivered. We found our way through the Everglades and exited on fumes. 50 miles past where I thought we would run out of fuel and our only fuel option telling me over the phone they had no one who knew how to pump it so I would have to wait though the night, made it to our cousins home in Hollywood.
     Our cousin offered we stay in his home so we started spending time inside of a house, something we had not done as a family in quite some time, and eventually is was an adjustment that simply became too great to bear. It was actually an odd realization that we missed our bus when it came.
    Hollywood Florida is not bicycle friendly. Not in its layout, bicycle friendly features (bike lanes/paths etc) or people. Everyone, would stop and stare at our family of Mom and Dad on bikes pulling trailers filled with kids and or groceries. Some shouted and Amber even had a pen thrown at her once. People who do ride bikes in the area drive them to parks with paved paths for the "event." Some road that show on maps to have bike lanes abruptly end at freeways. We had ridden many miles through city and were taking a different route home. Many hours later lost and exhausted we had to call for a pick-up from our local family after one wrong turn too many. Hollywood is very much like Miami with the speed at which everyone there seems to live, rushing in their cars no time to talk to anyone because of all the time spent on their cellphones. Drive through everything including liquor stores. With everyone so worried about their image and our family so obviously not we tended to stand out in almost every situation. We met kind locals, fellow homeschoolers, and people near the start of their own road journey. The kids spent a subtropical Christmas that year enjoying their first thunderstorm in bathing suits, swam in the Atlantic for the new year and enjoyed some great close encounters with wildlife.
     Hollywood believe it or not has a large local population of wild Iguanas that living and around the canals with the other exotic flora and fauna. On one occasion when out for a trip to WalMart on the bikes we came along a 2.5 foot long bright green Iguana next to a canal, it did not run right away as many of the others had in our experience. We cautiously approached and it still did not run. I touched it and it only hissed lightly at me. So I carried it closer to the kids and each had a chance to pet it before we left it go go on its way. The kids have not looked at wild animals the same since, and while cautious they still want to investigate any wild animal sighting that catches their interest.
     At came to a point when we felt we needed to be back in our bus and to a place that would be more friendly to our bicycle needs as a family. It was mostly these needs that caused us to pack our bus and start the journey to Clearwater florida. We stayed in Clearwater for several months riding bicycles on the Pinellas trail and selling art at the pier 60 sunset festival. We loved our ocean and beach explorations and the pinellas trail is great for safe fun family riding. This is a place we are returning to for business and pleasure. For many reasons I will go into later we sold our schoolie Wayne and got a B250 conversion van and a 26ft Travel trailer that our children right away named "Vanny and Buster." After repairs to tierods and a leaky rv roof we embarked on another US crossing. Thos trip we planned to take I10 a choice we still have mixed feelings about. While the new mode of travel took a little happened on our trip untill we got to New Orleans. We there discovered the was weather we would rather miss and so shortened our stay by a night and missed the tornados by less than 48 hours. For those of you have crossed Texas you know it takes forever. Execpt this time we felt like we were racing fires that were burning across the I10 from the south. As we checked our progress on the internet we found the fires burned across our path no more than 24 hours behind us. After puting the fires behind us in the west Texas hills. We camped at a beautiful spot called South Llano state park. Great bird watching with a nice mix of other wildlife and really nice regulars. We made a quick trip across NM and after a couple uneventful dry stops we were leaving Phoenix looking forward to seeing friends in California. The Semi-truck hit us doing close to 70mph. We had the fortune to be both heading in the same direction, I just happened to be going 20mph slower than he was. I will go into more details in a later post. We walked away with mostly soft tissue damage as our TT and conversion van absorbed the impact and were both totalled. As you may want details I will get to them in time but to some bigger points, this did not end our Journey. We have been in Santa Cruz and Watsonville for many months with family and now have a 1973 MCI MC8 Challenger conversion bus . We love our new bus! Stay tuned!!

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