Bill and Cathy McArthur on the Road 2009: 12

  Monday, April 6, found Bill feeling much better. Cathy went to her morning exercise class. After completing the Times crossword, Bill finally gave up on getting SmartFTP to work with Windows Vista SP1 and downloaded FileZilla. He successfully transferred a file with the new FTP client. Bill had a letter to the editor appear in the Naples Daily News concerning the National Tea Parties. We walked along the airport path in the heat and humidity of the late morning. Cathy developed the same symptoms that I had on Sunday and I had some faint residual symptoms. We decided it must either be food poisoning or an intestinal virus. As the day wore on, Cathy felt worse and worse. After lunch, Bill rode his bike to the Naples post office to mail the two NJ tax returns. The line was huge, and the air conditioning wasn't working. Everyone was fanning themselves like in an old movie. After getting the mailing done, Bill rode his bike to 3rd Street and then back toward Tin City. He stopped at a beach store to buy a snorkeling outfit for the cruise. When Bill returned, he found our cruise eTickets had arrived. We discovered that our cabin had been upgraded from Category 6 to 10. Bill found two photos (pics: 1,2) of a similar cabin on the ship. Cathy had a few crackers for dinner. Bill had a couple of sandwiches. Cathy slept on and off as Bill viewed "Spaceballs" and then the first half of the rout of UNC over MSU in the NCAA final game. No more sports of interest until college football season starts in August.

  Tuesday, Cathy was still feeling bad. Bill went out for a 5K run after a slow start to the morning. It was refreshingly cool, but very breezy. Cathy rallied a bit to attend a women's luncheon. After Cathy returned, we went to Office Max again and had our eTickets printed. Then, we drove to Wal-Mart, where Bill had a haircut. We bought a couple of items. Bill had to call Citi again because of a credit card problem. For dinner, we drove to the Waterside Shops and ate at the bar in Bricktops, where we enjoyed two free appetizers with coupons from the AIDS Walk and a flatbread pizza and tunaburger. When we got home, we viewed "24" on DVR.

  Wednesday stayed cool and windy all day. Cathy felt worse. Bill whipped through the Times crossword without a problem. We went for a walk on the airport path. Bill signed up for parking for the cruise at United Airport Parking and drove to Office Max to print the receipt. Then, Bill went to Starbucks and Publix for a few items. After lunch, Bill didn't feel energetic enough to do any more physical activities in the chilly wind. We had a good pasta dinner and watched "Frontline." Later, we watched "Lost."

  Thursday morning began at 51 degrees with a promise of 81 degrees later in the day. Cathy did some laundry after breakfast and then we went for a walk/run where Bill ran for 5K. We had an early lunch. Bill headed out for a 13 mile kayak paddle. He went to Dollar Bay and fished the mangrove edges. No fish. He got back around 5:00 PM. We went to dinner at Bonefish Grill, where we sat at a high table. When we returned, we bought "Religulous", which we mostly agreed with.

  Friday morning, we packed up and headed north on I75. We arrived at Bob and Marianne's after 2:45 of easy driving. Erin and Matt were there, and we all sat down to lunch with a water view. Erin's friend Lauren came over with her two young daughters. Later in the afternoon, the six of us drove to the beach and walked in the strong south wind. When we left the beach, we went to PJ's for good fresh seafood with a studied lack of atmosphere. We returned back to the house to play "Hand and Foot" and eat strawberry pie. We followed up with a game of Euchre before heading for bed.

  Saturday was an active day. Bill, Erin, and Matt took a 4.9 mile kayak paddle south on the intracoastal waterway to the Bialas' friends the Whites' house. Afterward, the trio rode 6 miles to Frenchie's Grill, where they met Cathy and Marianne for a great lunch of grouper sandwiches. After lunch, the bike riders rode 6 miles back. Then, Bill and Cathy walked 2.4 miles to get Bill a cappuccino. Bob's sister Joan joined the group and we all enjoyed a wonderful Polish Easter dinner. After dinner we played "Hand and Foot."

  Sunday was another active day. While the others went to church, Bill went for a 5 mile run and 2 mile walk, partly on the Pinellas Trail. After everyone returned, except for Erin and Matt who flew home, Bill finished the Sunday Times crossword puzzle with some help from various others. We enjoyed an Easter brunch. Jim and Linda called around noon to say that they were heading down to Naples, but we were committed for another overnight stay. Afterward, Bob and Joan in the double and Bill in the single paddled down the ICW to the White's house. There were lots of boats out, churning up the water. Bill fell into the water while docking and got a chance for a bit of swimming. We rested by the pool for a while and then drove to Indian Rocks Beach for an hour's walk along the water. We stopped at Starbucks on the way back. We had cocktails on the deck and then a good dinner. We played "Hand and Foot" until 11:00 PM.

  Monday, April 13, we got on the road about 8:30 AM and arrived back at Rock Creek by 11:30 AM. We drove right to the cabin where Jim and Linda were staying. We made arrangements to meet them on the beach later in the day and went back to our RV to unpack. We walked to Starbucks for a light lunch. Then we continued to the fishing pier at 12th Avenue South and located Jim and Linda on a very crowded beach at 13th Avenue. We hung out with them for a couple of hours and then joined them for a ride back to Rock Creek. Bill took Jim and Linda on a bike tour of the downtown and the Gordon Drive mansions. When we returned and got cleaned up, we drove into downtown and ate a good dinner outside at the Mangrove Cafe.

  Tuesday was another hot and humid day with the threat of a late day front to come through. We did an early walk/run where Bill ran for a sweaty 5K. We followed up with a quick shopping trip to Starbucks and Publix. Then, the four of us drove to the Isle of Capri Fish House to rent a pair of double kayaks for a three hour paddle. We enjoyed the hot weather and had a good 5.2 mile ride around the area, including a stop at a beach on Keewaydin Island. Afterward, we drove through Marco Island and headed to Turner River Road to view the gators, turtles, and fish. On the way back, it started to rain. We stopped at Captain Kirk's, near Cambier Park, for some Pompano filets for dinner. When we returned to Rock Creek and cleaned up, we went over to Jim and Linda's cabin at 7:00 PM for a great fish dinner. The rain continued as we headed back to the RV around 10:30 PM.

  Wednesday morning, Jim and Linda packed and headed north. The weather had cleared, but it was still a hot and muggy day. We went shopping at Starbucks and Publix. After lunch, Bill went out for a 4 hour, 11 mile kayak fishing trip. No fish were caught, but the weather was great and the paddling was fun. We enjoyed a great seafood dinner at Bonefish Grill. We viewed "24" and "Lost" when we returned.

  Thursday started cooler and less humid. The humidity stayed low, but the temperature got up into the upper 80s. Cathy did a load of laundry in the morning. Bill worked on packing for the cruise. Bill drove to Starbucks and Publix for a few items and to get some cash for the cruise. After lunch, Bill rode his bike to 3rd Street in Naples and then to Office Max to get some self-sealing luggage tags. He checked around the Internet to see what information should be on the tags and finally went with the information on our eTickets. We grilled burgers for dinner.

  Friday morning, Cathy went to her exercise class. Bill did some graphic work and made a sheet of 6 luggage tags for the cruise. When Cathy returned, we drove to Office Max and got our tags printed for $0.11 and cut for free. We went on to Starbucks and Publix. Bill started dreaming about the cappuccinos on the Italian ship we're going to be cruising on. When we got back, we packed in earnest. Bill laminated and tied on the luggage tags. After lunch, Bill went out on a 13.9 mile, 4 hour 20 minute kayak paddle. On the way back, the NE wind was strong and Bill had to hug the shore. We had a good quiche for dinner and viewed part 2 of "Little Dorritt" from PBS and "House." Bill finished up the TV viewing with an hour's worth of "Animal House."

  Saturday, April 18, started at 6:05 AM. It was a beautiful, sunny day. We took our time with breakfast, got ready, and left at 10:00 AM for Fort Lauderdale for our cruise.

Note: We lapsed into Internet silence until Saturday, April 25. The report from our cruise appears here.

  Saturday, April 25, we departed our cruise ship and drove toward the Keys. We ate lunch in Hobo's in Key Largo. After lunch, we drove to Marathon and stopped at the old Seven Mile Bridge for a 5 mile walk. The east wind was blowing hard. We continued to drive to Key West and arrived at the Wicker House at around 5:00 PM. We checked in to Room 17. We had a wireless router in our room and took advantage by uploading our cruise report and all cruise photos to Snapfish. We walked up Duval Street to Bad Ass Coffee. We walked to Mallory Square and sat by the water for a while. We decided to head for dinner "as is" and walked to Blue Heaven, where we enjoyed a great meal. We headed back to our room where Bill processed 600 emails. We turned in early.

  Sunday, Bill awoke shortly after 6:00 AM and headed out for his standard "run to the sunrise." He ran for 5 miles and walked for 2 miles, finishing up by joining Cathy for a walk back to the Wicker House for breakfast. After eating, we headed out for another standard, our circumambulation of Key West. It was a beautiful day in the mid-80s, but the east wind continued to blow very hard. We stopped for lunch at the Schooner Wharf bar. We returned to our room after a 10.9 mile walk. We rested for a while and then walked to Mangoes to meet with Cathy's cousin Ruth Ann and her husband Harry. We had a good meal and conversation. We were tired and got to bed fairly early.

  Monday, April 27, we slept in a bit. Bill worked on the computer until we went down for breakfast at 8:00 AM. Afterward, we walked over to the Navy pier to see the old ship that will be sunk for a new artificial reef.. When we came back, we packed and drove to Harry and Ruth Ann's house on Sugarloaf Key. They gave us a big bag of frozen jumbo Stone Crab claws to bring with us. We lingered to talk for a while and then headed north on US 1. We stopped for lunch at the Islamarada Fish Company, a great waterside location with excellent food. We continued to drive out of the Keys. As we were nearing US 41 on Route 997, we had an unexplained detour into West Miami. There were no signs, just a couple of police cars and yellow tape, blocking 997. The heavy volume of traffic on US 41 was a clue that Alligator Alley, I 75, was closed due to smoke from wildfires. We arrived at Starbucks and Publix in Naples at around 5:00 PM. When we returned to Rock Creek, we unpacked in record time. After Bill got a shower, we went to Carrabbas for dinner at the counter. When we got home to the RV, we watched "House" and downloaded last week's "24" from iTunes for later viewing.

  Tuesday was another hot, humid day where we ran the AC for most of the day. Bill's Achilles' tendon hurt all day. Cathy did some laundry while Bill paid bills online. Afterward, we packed our personal bags for the trip to Atlanta. We drove to Target to pick up a present for Garrett and for a cappuccino for Bill. After lunch, Bill took a 11.8 mile kayak paddle to Dollar Bay. The wind was lighter than predicted and the breeze was a welcome relief from the heat. After the paddle, Bill stowed the grill in the storage area of the RV and put the bikes on back. We tried Bonefish Grill for dinner, but it was too crowded. We drove to Sushi Thai on 5th Avenue and had a very good meal. When we returned, we viewed "24" on iTunes and then the latest episode from our DVR.

  Wednesday was packing day. We spent the day running errands and getting the RV and the XTerra ready. We began with two trips to Comcast to turn in all of the equipment. We went to the office on Route 951 at the Rookery Bay turnoff. We went to Starbucks and Publix on the way back to Rock Creek. We had lots of tasks to complete and only took out time for a walk along the airport path during the afternoon. We got everything done by late afternoon. We drove downtown and walked 5th Avenue. We went to Bice Restaurante for an excellent, upscale, Northern Italian meal. We felt like we were in Venice again with a Tuna Tartar appetizer, risotto for 1st plate, and sea bass for 2nd plate. We finished up with tiramisu and profitaroles with cappuccino for dessert. We sat outside under an awning. There was a light rain for a few minutes, but it was mostly a clear, warm evening. When we got back, we read until bedtime.

  Thursday, we got up at about 6:30 AM. We cleared Rock Creek at 7:14 AM and stopped at Starbucks for breakfast. The traffic on I75 was moderate, but we were able to average 75 mph until we stopped at 4:00 PM. We had stopped for lunch at Macaroni Grill for lunch, where we had pizza and tomato, cheese, and toast trio of small sandwiches. We stayed in a Hampton Inn in Cordele, GA. When we checked in, we walked for a couple of miles down the successive shopping strips leading away from I75. We stopped in Wal-Mart for haircuts and at Beale's Outlet for a new calendar for our refrigerator at home. We ordered pizza from Pizza Hut to be delivered to our room. We talked with Son Bill and arranged to meet him at his office at noon on Friday.

  Friday morning, we took our time over breakfast and got on the road a bit before 9:00 AM. We had an easy ride into the Atlanta area and decided to go to a Target to pick up a present for Billy. The GPS took us to a store about 7 miles east of Route 400. The GPS took us on back roads to Scientific Games, where we met Son Bill and Stacey. We piled in the minivan and drove to Vinny's for lunch. We had a good meal with good service and ambiance. We dropped Stacey back at work and went to Penney's to pick up a new bed for Sarah. Son Bill dropped us at the XTerra and we headed to Son Bill and Stacey's house in separate cars. When we arrived, we unpacked and then helped to carry the new bed inside. Bill and Cathy walked a loop around the neighborhood. Then, the three of us headed to Ichiban Hibachi Grill to meet with Stacey and the kids for dinnner. Our chef put on an exciting show as he prepared our meals. Afterward, we all headed back. We presented Sarah with her birthday present and Billy with the Elmo block set that we had picked up at Target. Everyone went to bed at a fairly early hour, as thunder rumbled.

  Saturday was off and on rainy with thunder. Everybody but Bill went to the gym for the kids' gymnastics. Bill drove to Home Depot to buy batteries for Sarah's exercycle, glue for a kitchen drawer front, and a screw which was missing for the exercycle. When Bill returned, he finished setting up the exercycle and fixed the kitchen drawer front. Then Bill did some computer work until everyone came home. After a lunch of sandwiches from Publix and Stacey's homemade smoothies, we dismantled Sarah's old bed and assembled her new one. Later, we played with the kids until the babysitter, an aid at daycare, arrived. The four adults went to the North Point Mall for some shopping for the women and Starbucks for the men. Then we all went to Atlantic Seafood. Dinner was good, but was marred by servers delivering the two tuna orders to the wrong people, hence cooked incorrectly. After one of the dishes was sent back, we ended up with two cooked medium. We went to Barnes and Noble after dinner. Bill bought Fodor's Caribbean 2009. We returned around 10:00 PM and retired shortly thereafter.

  Sunday was a cloudy day that threatened rain often. Son Bill headed to the gym for a workout. Bill did a 5K run in the hilly neighborhood. He ran slowly, but was happy in being able to keep running the whole way. The kids played and performed a costumed dance. We all met at Ted's Montana Grill for lunch. We ate outside under threatening skies, but no rain came during our meal. Our waiter entertained the kids by making balloon animals. Son Bill and Billy headed home in one car, while the rest of us went to Target for some shopping and a cappuccino for Bill. When we got back to the house, Bill installed new air filters in the three zones. We grilled chicken and veggies for dinner. Sarah took a while to get to bed, but the rest of us retired at normal times.

  Monday morning, Son Bill was off very early for a workout. All of the rest of us were up, fed, and out of the house by 8:15 AM. Cathy and Bill spent the day driving near rain, but didn't have to drive directly in rain for much of the way. We ate lunch at a Subway near Charlotte, NC. We quit for the day at Staunton, VA and stayed in a Hampton Inn there. We walked to dinner at Applebee's. There wasn't much on the menu for Bill to eat, so we each had a bowl of tomato soup and split a trio of appetizers: shrimp, fried mozzarella, and spinach and artichoke dip. Bill ate a humongous dessert. It was a very bad meal nutritionally, but oddly satisfying. We walked back to our room and watched "House" and "24" without the aid of a DVR to filter commercials. Bill did a crossword puzzle during the ads. We turned in around 10:30 PM.

  Tuesday morning started at 50 degrees in Staunton as we awoke at 5:45 AM. Bill did some computer work and then we went to breakfast. We were on the road by 7:00 AM. We had very little rain, but almost no sun on the easy drive. We ate lunch at Vesuvio's Pizza in Swedesford, NJ. We were home by 2:30 PM. We were off the road and back home!

        Bill and Cathy