Tuesday night we went out for sushi in Sumter Landing with our friends from Montreal, Canada, Henry and Catherine Cote. (Well, three of us enjoyed sushi, but Henry has an aversion to raw fish… but he did like the Kirin Ichiban beer.) It was also Oktoberfest evening, but we had missed the earlier festivities and parade. We were able to get a photo with these stilt walkers… how do they do that for hours on end, especially after a few mugs of pilsner?
We went mountain biking on Wednesday morning at Santos Trailhead, near Ocala, Florida, in Marion County. Unknown even to many locals who are not cyclists or hikers, there are about 75 miles of trails here. In an hour of riding, we only passed one other rider and one walker. Here is My Lovely Bride making a graceful sweeping turn through sand, not the easiest surface for pedaling. This was one of the few wide spots on the trail. There are also roots, rocks, overhanging branches, and some pairs of trees that are little more than a handlebar’s width apart. You have to keep alert every second, but it’s a magical place to ride.
Marion County is also horse farm country, and we passed this cozy little place named Padua (370 acres) which is for sale. It has 11 stables, 15 houses, a 22-room dormitory, and an eight bedroom, 5 ½ bath main house (read “palace”). It was listed for $35 Million, but recently went up for auction, and did not sell for the estimated $25 million minimum; for those readers with deeper pockets than ours, we’d love to tag along with you when you go to look at the property.
Have you ever pulled into a parking lot and seen a truly horrible parking job? How about this one at a nearby post office? I had to get a picture, and when I went inside, the postal clerk asked, “Oh, you’re taking a picture of the post office?” “No, I’m documenting the dreadful attempt at parking that someone made out front.” There were two ladies at the desk with another clerk, and neither spoke up, but one of them must have been the culprit… she must have flunked driver’s ed in high school 40 years ago. (This is neither touched up nor staged, and no one is in the car.)
While Suzanne was doing a reading for a woman from Tampa and her mother (yes, she continues to whittle down her waiting list), I took a walk down to Panera for a cup of coffee. While looking out at Lake Sumter, there was a blood-curdling “Arrrrggggghhhhh!!!!” from one of the tour boats… “Shiver me timbers!” The tour boat had been taken over by pirates, Captains Roy and Jacky! They may not look menacing, but they have a fierce reputation for cruelty.
In fact, one of the ships they plundered is resting nearby where she was scuttled. There were reports that the crew was held hostage until Roy and Jacky’s bar bill (estimated in the tens of thousands of dollars) at City Fire Restaurant was paid off.
Recently Gloria Quigley won the “Rain Drain” award for most imaginative description of that device. The Prize Patrol (Your Correspondent and His Lovely Bride) picked up Gloria and her husband Bob for what would have been PeachWave frozen yogurt, but Suzanne and Gloria agreed that a trip to the movies might be a better choice. So we drove to Brownwood, the new town center about 8 miles away, to see “Argo”, which is based on the 1979 Iranian hostage episode. (Good flick!) (I think we got off easier taking Gloria to the movies; I’ve heard she has a serious sweet tooth, and I might have run out of money before PeachWave ran out of frozen yogurt and toppings!)