Having put the boat to rights, we rented a car in Beaufort and headed for Disney again. On the way down we went through Green Cove Springs, FL the home of St Brendan’s Isle mail forwarding service. They had invited us to visit at the SSCA Gam last year, and we decided to take them up on the offer. We were impressed and pleased with what we saw since we intend to be customers. Just part of their service is a computer interface which allows one to select the mail one wants to see immediately. They scan it and have it back to you post haste in digital format. Very friendly, obviously competent people.
We also like what (little) we saw of the Orange Park — Green Cove Springs area along the west side of the St Johns River. At Lake Buena Vista (Disney) we stayed in a hotel full of High School Band Members. Fortunately, they were too worn out from competing to be a problem. We ate at Bahama Breeze. It’s sort of Chart House meets Cruise Ship Dining Room. The food was B+. The service was excellent-, and the hostess made good on a reservation mistake. The portions are too large, and if you don’t have a reefer and a microwave or a large dog, a lot will go to waste. The Mojitos are very good, but if a waiter suggests trying one with Goslings Black Rum, give it a pass. It doesn’t favor the rum or the Mojito.
We returned to Epcot for a ride we really enjoyed and one we missed the last time. The flower exhibition in progress was stunning. This time we caught a lot of the shows and were particularly taken with “Mo’ Rockin” an arab fusion group and “Off Kilter” a Canadian-celtic combo. Of course I particulary wanted to hear the Japanese Taiko drummers again. But sadly, they don’t roll out the big “Odaiko” with its chest rumbling resonance anymore. Our Japanese Hibachi style lunch was very good and we went back to the Moroccan restaurant for dinner. Here, again, the excellence of the food belies the location. The Harira soup, the lamb, the chicken, the beef, the vegetables, the couscous…no wonder Moroccan cuisine rates up with the French.
The second day we went to Animal Kingdom. It is a more intimate setting than Epcot. It was a warmer, more humid day. I’m not sure it was more crowded, but there were definitely more people per square foot than at Epcot. Still we were amazed to have essentially no lines at the “human feeding spots” and no trouble finding places to sit to eat. Likewise our longest in line wait was 15 minutes (for the “Safari” in the morning when the animals are feeding). The only ride we had to get a Fast Pass for was “Everest” which Janet rode near 1900 hrs. I don’t get in anything that moves like that without having control over stick, throttle and rudder. The Animal Kingdom Parade was charming with many puppets and stilt-walkers and with music from Africa, Asia, and Brazil (we found we have many of the pieces they were playing in our personal library). The “Finding Nemo” stage production (30 mins) was downright charming — it competed very favorably with the “Lion King” we saw at the National Theater last year at a much higher ticket tariff. The set design, acting, and music were grin inducing. Our faces were aching a bit when we left.
We have mixed feelings about places like this, but if they prompt conservation awareness and action then they have done a good thing. The bird behavior demonstration we attended was clever and inspiring. The young lady who conducted it was clearly more than a performer. We plan to go back on a cooler day later this year to fill in the spots we missed. I’m still not riding that @#$%%$^%@ Everest though.
After two 12 hour days on our feet, we hit the road for Titusville to recover the Tahoe and then up 95 we went to get the rented Avalon turned in before the rental agency closed, and from there it was on to Summerville (outside Charleston). The next day we had to cope with several spring maintenance slowdowns on 95 — including one that we crawled through for a half hour to discover seven guys having a conversation at the end of the lane neck-down. These are dangerous because some folks come blasting out of these places at speeds beyond their ability to handle (not to mention beyond the law). At the end of this one, we almost watched a “fatal” as a Kia? went by us at 90-100, almost rear ending the semi in front of us, then whipping left through a narrow notch between another car and the semi. The Kia? narrowly missed tripping on its front left tire and flipping end over end across the divider and into oncoming traffic. We are so much safer on the water in a 50kt squall.
Today we were up early to meet all day commitments here, and we are almost counting the days till we can head back to Beaufort. This stuff gets in your veins. Traveling by boat forces you to slow down and smell the swamp.