My new postcards were here when I arrived. They are terrific. Between Sunday night and this morning, I hand-addressed 125 of them – the entirety of my list – and they are all in the mail.
On Monday, Kim, Kate, and I went on an airboat ride in the Everglades. Before the ride, we drove a short distance to see an alligator exhibit. We entered a small building, and exited it through the back to walk a maze of boardwalks ensnared with spider webs. Yuck. We passed a pen of alligators, and turned the corner to find a tall, thin man holding a young alligator. He was talking to a crowd which quickly dispersed, so we became his only audience. The man was holding Cooter, a three year old alligator who was about three feet long. I asked him if I could touch Cooter, and he said I could hold him. Yes! He put a band around his jaw, and he handed Cooter to me. I love Cooter: his looks, his lines, his smile, his feel, his relaxed attitude, etc. I held him for about five minutes then I put him down on the railing so I could look at his feet and feel his back and tail. Alligators have five toes on their front feet, four toes on their rear feet, and have nails only on the three innermost of each foot. Their nails are used for gripping, rather than as weapons – which would be insignificant compared to their teeth and jaws.
There was an eleven feet long alligator hanging out under the deck of the tour company when we departed. It had been there all day. Only males grow above eight feet. We saw only one other alligator on our airboat ride: the guide took us to where it had been sunning itself all day. Other than that, our ride was a cruise through the disorienting mangroves, a few obligatory airboat spin-outs, and the siting of a smattering of herons, snowy egrets, and model ducks. I missed Cooter the whole time.
Yesterday, three weeks after I sent a job-solicitation letter to Patagonia, someone responded to it via email. The respondent wasn't the recipient, but it is the first time someone has extended to me the courtesy of an acknowledgment. Bravo, Patagonia! I have loved their gear since I was in high school, and I have wanted to work Patagonia since I graduated from business school. I do think that Patagonia’s women's gear needs some work from a color perspective, but I feel that way about all active sport purveyors who make garments in pink or purple princess colors. I want colors that can handle grass, dirt, and blood – like black and grey.
Walking dogs is a great way to meet people, and to learn about any given RV park. A woman
whom I met on Monday told me about the aqua fitness classes and ping pong sessions at the park. I said I would attend both after my guests left on Wednesday.
Kim and Kate left just before one this afternoon. They helped me do the bedding laundry this morning which was great. I then spent two hours cleaning BOB, making my bed, and moving back into my bedroom. I bombed the sinks and shower with baking soda and vinegar. I ate lunch in between tasks. At a little after three, I interrupted my cleaning fest and took a shower so I could show up for the last half hour of ping pong.
People meet to play doubles ping pong between two and four on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. As a newcomer, I expected that I would only watch others play, so I wore khakis, a poplin shirt, and sandals. There were only four players when I arrived, and they insisted that I play. So, I did. Barefoot. I told them I hadn't played since I was a kid, and I didn't know how to play doubles. It didn't matter to them. I played four games with four different partners, and I lost all them. I had expected their play to be at the novice level: instead, my partners were all Will Shortz wannabees and I was the novice! They were very kind to me and invited me back. So, I'm playing singles for an hour on Friday at one, then joining the doubles rounds for two hours at two. I'm going to wear spandex and sneakers. And, they will still kick my ass!
Kim, Kate and I all like Naples a lot, and we prefer the older part of town near the pier to Pelican Bay. We also prefer Naples to the Fort Lauderdale-Miami urban sprawl. Between Naples and Melbourne Beach, I am starting to like Florida in a way I never have. Naples is one of the wealthiest cities per capita, so that probably contributes to its appeal, but other than the cost of real estate it feels accessible.
My kitchen sink still doesn't leak!
Siobhan M. Knox
In May 2016, I bought a five ton, 25’ long Class C motorhome because I like to drive, I like to travel, and it’s more fun and less expensive than living in a hotel. No prior RV experience was required, and I had none: perfect. I’m writing a book about my adventures which will come to an end when I get a job. The dogs will be sad.