As recounted in the previous post, we rode out a big storm in Pensacola. The day after the nasty weather, we enjoyed pleasant temps and sunshine, so we launched our kayaks on the Styx River near Pensacola.
Classics scholars may recall that the river Styx in Greek mythology was the boundary between this world and the underworld (Hades), and that when souls passed from this life, they crossed the river in a boat rowed by the ferryman Charon. Relatives of the dead often placed a coin in the the mouth of the deceased to pay Charon, and failure to pay the toll might result in the deceased not being able to cross the river. The Styx also supposedly had supernatural powers, and the mother of the Greek warrior Achilles was said to have dipped him in the river to make him invulnerable; but because she held him by his heel, it was his only weak point, and there he was struck by Paris’ arrow during the Trojan wars, hence the term Achilles’ heel. Fortunately, we encountered only birds, and no arrows, on our pleasant paddle on the river Styx. Here are our kayaks pulled up on a convenient sandbar, allowing us to stretch our legs at the midpoint of our paddle. Note: this river does not have the “stygian” darkness of its namesake, although it is indeed somewhat murky.
We departed Pensacola and spent a night in Slidell, LA, at Fontainbleau State Park, and enjoyed a nice dinner with my sister Karen and her partner Debbie. They took us out to a great Italian restaurant, and before we departed the next day, we got out for a hike among the oaks. Here we see My Lovely Bride trying to imitate a giant oak’s limbs…
She also decided to take a break lounging like Cleopatra on the lower branch of this stately live oak (Quercus virgiana) hung with Spanish moss- you can barely make out her form at lower right. (She almost fell on her derriere dismounting, but I would never laugh at such misfortune… Smack! “Hey, I was only kidding…”)
One trail took us to a marshy area where purple flowers were displaying their beauty… okay, can a botanically-challenged sailor have some help identifying this specimen?
While Suzanne was giving a reading, I went for a mountain bike ride in a nearby pine forest, reminiscent of Ocala National Forest near our home in The Villages. The trail and occasional jeep doubletrack didn’t have the elevation gains found in Colorado, but frequent soft sand made the ride challenging enough for an old guy…
Before continuing on our tour progress, I’d like to mention three interesting people from our time back in The Villages. The first is our neighbor, Diane, who is a radio controlled airplane enthusiast. She has seven or eight RC aircraft hanging from the ceiling in her garage. But she is seen here with her newest acquisition, a drone with attachable video camera… I don’t think Diane works with the CIA, but she has a small air force in her garage with capabilities of which the Wright Brothers would be very jealous!
The other Villager that I would like to highlight is Ron Kock, from Cincinnati, Ohio, who is a Senior Games discus champion. He only started throwing the discus at age 68 when he moved to America’s Friendliest Hometown. We encountered Ron while walking our puppies Rudy and Gretchen at Miona Rec Center, and he was kind enough to show off his technique. (You can just see the discus at the top of the photo.)
The third person is Joe Pistell, a marketing guru, who is new to the spiritual path but who is enthusiastically using his expertise and enthusiasm to help Suzanne’s guides Sanaya’s messages reach more hearts. Joe and his lovely wife Cindy visited us just before our departure, and we had a delightful lunch with them before we got on the road. Joe is seen here perusing our Recreation News, and we are hoping to convince him and Cindy to move down from Vermont… there isn’t nearly as much snow here as in Stowe!
I love dawn pictures, even if it means getting up early. There is no better time to find some peace and tranquility than before the mass of humanity gets out and about. This shot was taken from our patio on the day we left The Villages…
Now, back to our travels … After departing Pensacola, we headed west for Suzanne’s first event of our Summer 2017 Tour -at Red Shoes Spiritual Center in Baton Rouge, capital of Louisiana, my home state. Suzanne presented her Your Emerging Soul (YES) course here, and the reception from attendees couldn’t have been better.
Roberta Guillory, founder of Red Shoes, was our hostess for this event, and also had us over for dinner at her beautiful Victorian home on a lake across from LSU’s Tiger Stadium. We met her lovely family, including her two daughters, Laura and Virginia, and her grandchildren, Georgia, Phoebe and Oliver, the most charming and well-behaved young people we have met in ages.
After Suzanne’s workshop, we were invited to a birthday party in Roberta’s honor at the beautiful Baton Rouge home of Boo Thomas. It was a quintessential Southern party, with fabulous food, drink and warm hospitality.
While on a run in Denham Springs’ South Park, near our campground, I noticed this sign… as a Volunteer member of the National Apostrophe Police, I was suitably appalled by this misuse of punctuation, and issued a citation on the spot.
We departed Baton Rouge and spent two days in New Orleans with my family. Here we see sisters Lynn and Karen (on the right), and Karen’s partner Debbie, in a gondola in City Park – thank you, Debbie and Karen, for a wonderful experience with Roberto the Gondolier Extraordinaire.
As we were departing our campground in Baton Rouge, I noticed this unusual RV – was it a Hippie camping trailer, or an artist’s canvas??? We’ll never know…
Finally, I would like to relate one interesting interaction between Your Humble Correspondent and His Lovely Bride. We were walking past Toojay’s Deli, when I mentioned to her that in order to continue on my spiritual path, I was thinking about making reservations to spend a week in an ashram. She replied, “And where is this ashram you are thinking about attending?” “Uh, well, let’s see – maybe Delhi?” “Oh – Toojays?”