Bill and Cathy McArthur on the Road 2009: 8

  Monday, March 9, was a beautiful day to be outdoors. Cathy went to her morning exercise class. Afterward, she called Dr. Maroldo's office to straighten out a mistake on refills for her blood pressure medicine. We took a walk/run where Bill ran for 5 miles. We enjoyed lunch on our patio. Then, Bill went out for a 10.4 mile kayak paddle down the west side of Naples Bay. We had an early dinner and then went to Country Line Dancing at the clubhouse. We watched two episodes of "House" and one of "24."

  Tuesday was a magnificent day. We put the bikes on the back of the XTerra. Then, we went to Starbucks and Publix for coffee and a bit of shopping. Next, we drove to Everglades City and visited the Museum of the Everglades. After our visit, we stopped at the Depot Restaurant for a mediocre lunch on the water. After lunch we drove to Shark Valley in the Everglades National Park. We rode our bikes on the 15 mile loop road. There is an observation tower about halfway through the loop where the Everglades views are fantastic. We saw lots of gators, turtles, and birds along the Shark River. Bicycles and hikers are supposed to travel counterclockwise around the loop so that it is easy to spot the trams running clockwise. The paved path is only as wide as a tram, so all others must get out of the way. We climbed the tower and met a couple from Avalon, NJ. We discovered that all of the other cyclists seemed to return up the same leg of the loop, but we went the proper way. We passed very close to many gators on this part of the loop. At one point, we saw a gator cross the road up ahead of us. Bill got up in front to try to "scare" the gator if it decided to re-cross the path, but it was gone when we got there. Cathy had to ride harder than normal because of a soft rear tire, but Bill finally got it pumped up when he figured out how to use the valve on his pump. The temperature was 85 degrees during our ride. On the ride back to Naples, we stopped for a brochure at the Big Cypress Visitors Center. We got back at about 5:30 PM. We ate a hurried dinner and Cathy left Bill with the dishes while she played bridge in the clubhouse.

  Wednesday started with Cathy going to exercise class while Bill struggled with a difficult Times crossword puzzle. Afterward, we went for a walk/run where Bill ran for 5K. After lunch we drove to Sue and Jack's condo and then to Tin City to ride on the 2:00 PM tour on the Double Sunshine. It was a beautiful day. After the cruise, we drove down Gulf Shore/Gordon Drive to look at mansions. We parked at 33rd Avenue South and walked on the beach for almost an hour. We stopped at a CVS on the way back to the Beatty's condo. After a short time we drove to Fifth Avenue and ate dinner at the tapas restaurant where we enjoyed the Christmas parade back in December. The same flaky crew operated. The food was OK, but the location was great. Jack and Bill had dishes of ice cream and yogurt as we walked around for a bit after dinner. We dropped Jack and Sue at their condo and hurried to the RV so that we could watch the shuttle launch scheduled for 9:32 PM. Bill checked on his iPhone as we stood by the airport and found that the mission was scrubbed.

  Thursday was laundry day. Bill drove to Starbucks and Publix as Cathy was finishing up the laundry operation. Then, Bill headed out for a 4 hour 45 minute paddle covering 13.4 miles. It was mainly a fishing trip, so Bill headed down to Dollar Bay on the ICW. After a PowerBar lunch, Bill cut across the ICW at channel marker 68 and fished on the other side. He caught 4 ladyfish, which performed great acrobatic feats of leaping. Later, Bill was over a school of Sheepshead, which had no interest in his jig head with gulp shad. Bill intended to bring some fresh bait next time. He paddled down to a large bay which had no boats in it, but also no interested fish. The weather and water conditions were beautiful for the entire trip. Meanwhile, Cathy and Sue were lunching and shopping in various locations in Naples. When we came back to the RV, we discovered that our street had been re-paved without any warning. Half of our neighbors were caught with their cars in their driveways and half were caught out and had to find somewhere to park. We had a fairly early dinner and then picked up Jack and Sue. We went see "Jekyll and Hyde" at the Performing Arts Center at the Naples Community School. Jack and Sue had seen the production in New York and Boston and thought that this one stacked up very well.

  Friday was a nice warm day. Cathy went to her exercise class. Afterward, we went for a walk/run where Bill ran for 5 miles. After lunch, we walked to the beach via Starbucks. We lay on the crowded beach for an hour and a half before heading back. After cleaning up, we drove to Bonefish Grill and ate dinner at the bar.

  Saturday started warm and got almost hot. After breakfast, Bill headed out on his bicycle to drop Cathy's library book at the branch library on Central Avenue at 6th Street. Bill found that Central Avenue was not a bike-friendly road. After dropping off the book, Bill headed toward Bad Ass Coffee. Unfortunately, the city was gearing up for the St. Patrick's Day parade to begin at 11:00 AM. Along Bill's route were crowds with their NASCAR chairs and staging areas with floats and other participants milling around. Bill rode down 3rd Street amidst the hubbub and finally arrived at Bad Ass Coffee for a cappuccino. Bill thought he was going to have an easy time getting back until he ran into crowds at the Town Dock and Tin City. Bill noted that US 41 was jammed with crawling cars trying to get to the parade. Bill got back to the RV at about 10:40 AM. Cathy had taken a walk. We left at 11:00 AM, heading toward Ft. Myers. We had an easy drive with a stop at the Marathon Gas station on Colonial Parkway. We gassed the XTerra and picked up snacks for lunch. We arrived at sister-in-law Shannon's townhouse shortly after noon. We ate a quick snack and then drove to the Echo Farm in North Naples.We spent a couple of hours touring the facility which is best described on its website. We talked with some of the interns and were impressed with their expertise and dedication to helping out in the poorer regions of the world. After leaving the demonstration farm, we drove to the Caloosahatchee Regional Park and walked along the river. We finished the afternoon with a deep fried meal at Joe's Crab Shack in Fort Myers. At least the water view from our table was good. We stopped at Publix on the way back to the RV. We viewed "Angels and Insects" on demand - a strange, but good story with fine acting.

  Sunday was warm and more humid. We went for a walk/run where Bill ran for 5K. After the exercise and after lunch, we packed up the supplies we would need for the next week and packed the XTerra. At around 2:00 PM, we drove to Starbucks/Publix for some shopping. Then, we drove to the Lely Resort and entered the Mustang gated community of single family homes. We found 8864 Mustang Circle and entered via the garage door. We carried some things inside and organized things for about a half hour until Son Bill and Stacey and family arrived on their drive down from Georgia. We all carried things in and got organized. Cathy and Stacey headed out for a big shopping trip to Publix while the rest of us swam in the private pool in the lanai out back. After showers and changing clothes, we grilled chicken and veggie burgers for dinner. Son Bill found the DSL box and we used our wireless router to set up a network for our 3 laptops and 2 iPhones to use. We watched a bit of TV after the kids went to bed and then the rest of us turned in too.

        Bill and Cathy