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Rumblings of Travel

June 8, 2013

We’re about to travel again. This time we’ll be going to Florida to see our daughter in Eustis. On the way we’ll stop at Cumberland Island for a day and Okefenokee for a day. We know Cumberland well and I’ve been to the swamp but Franca has never seen it so we’ll take a tour.

I backed into a wire not long ago with the Sprinter and broke the right taillight, not too badly but… gotta fix it. I ordered the replacement online and worried that it wasn’t actually a Mercedes replacement part but it is and it looks fairly easy to fix. We made a “sheet sleeping bag,” a much lighter weight sleeping arrangement. Hard to control the temperature.

Still studying  Broxton Rocks. I got a geology book, “The Rocks of Georgia” by Dan D. Williams. Strange little book but informative and what I needed. I’m not sure how it works but it looks like Amazon prints it on demand. The first copy I got was abysmal, banding in the photographs, color aberrations and I sent it back. Subsequent copies are fine. It’s not a sophisticated production but it works. If you’re interested in the geology of Georgia I would recommend it.

We’re seeing the “usual suspects” here at 712, pairs of Northern Cardinals, House Wrens, Carolina Wrens… haven’t seen the rabbit in a while. Finally had to cut the grass.

Franca’s Sidebar ——————————–

I thought that Costa Rica, with its 7 different ecozones and intense, colorful vegetation, would be a tough act to follow, and that Texas couldn’t possibly measure up, with CR so fresh in our minds. We got home on Monday and flew to Austin four days later, picked up the Sprinter (wow!) and drove late into the night until we reached Del Rio.

The drive from Austin was a single texture of vegetation and 50 shades of beige but became a geological wonderland west of Amistad National Recreation Area. Wow! (again) There is a lot of history here, Judge Roy Bean, the Wild West, the camel project spearheaded by Jefferson Davis (yes, THAT Jefferson Davis) among others, and I have a feeling I am going to learn a lot about Texas as we travel around. And as much as I hate to admit it, it’s beautiful, too.

It’s hard to get Costa Rica out of my mind: it will always have a special place in my heart for so many reasons. My late father-in law talked about it often, and until we met our indefatigable guide Charlie Gomez he was unrivaled in his knowledge of the indigenous plants and animals. His greenhouse on the hill in the tiny town of Vine Grove KY had every kind of tropical plant imaginable, including orchids, and I saw all of them growing in the wild in CR.

It seemed only fitting that our bird guide’s name was Charlie. Three days after our return to Atlanta from Costa Rica we were having lunch up the street at Stone Soup, and sat next to a young woman, a filmmaker, who needed directions to “Five Little Points.” (In case you’re not familiar with Atlanta, Little Five Points is a section of the city where five streets used to meet. One of them is not open to traffic anymore but the name stuck and all us old hippies either live there or go there from time to time.) She was in Atlanta to present her short film ”Not Blue” at 7 Stages, Her name was Nathalie Alvarez and she was from… Costa Rica. In our last conversation with Charlie Gomez, Costa Rican guide extraordinaire, he explained the meaning of “Pura Vida” (the good life, life is good) so, in honor of the three Charlies, the serendipity of Nathalie, we decided to name the Sprinter “Pura Vida.”

A Shoutout to our Taxi Drivers 

Because we needed transportation to and from Atlanta, San Jose and Austin airports, we interacted with wonderful taxi drivers from Cameroon, Nepal, Costa Rica and places unknown in Africa. Our adorable Costa Rican cab driver pointed out landmarks in San Jose, in his pigeon English, as he drove us to the Museo Nacional. The cab driver from Nepal liked his job because it gave him the flexible hours to take his 2 teen-aged kids to soccer practice. All of them were courteous, incredibly interesting and prompt (even at 4 am!)

We missed our flight back to Atlanta (it’s a long story) and we HAD to spend three extra days in CR. No problem, once we found a hotel, courtesy of the free WiFi at the airport, we used our bonus time to explore downtown San Jose. Here’s some photos.

…written from the front porch of the Stillwell General Store in Big Bend, TX, Sunday, March 24, 2013

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