Walking ~ Days 103-107 Summers Past & Vacation

Nine days in Colorado, starting tomorrow. We are counting the minutes. We’ll be in Denver for two, moving my daughter into an off-campus apartment, then in Vail at a timeshare trade. The Band of Gypsies meets again in the Rocky Mountains.

At this point, I would like to give a brief testimonial to timeshare ownership. There was one year in our working life when my husband and I were having some financial success. Nothing huge, just a good steady income. No catastrophes like oil burners blowing up or trees falling on cars. Construction on the ill-fated addition to our house had not yet begun.

Rich was working on Nantucket, so the girls and I got to spend a good part of the summer there. Granted it rained almost every day but that didn’t deter us from exploring every beach on the island. Our favorite was Steps Beach, not far from town.

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The girls would play in the sand and I would bundle up with a beach blanket and a towel, reading Fodor’s Caribbean, planning a vacation to an island where the sun shone everyday. I got the book from the library. The weather was so bad that summer, we got a library card. Story hours were held twice a week. The library is in the Nantucket Atheneum which has a rich history of anti-slavery activity during the abolitionist movement. Frederick Douglass gave one of his first speeches here. It is a beautiful place to spend a rainy day or several rainy days which could turn into weeks. A piece of history to reflect upon on this day, the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

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We also discovered the Maria Mitchell museum. I googled it this morning, and discovered they’ve built a big fancy museum and aquarium. When we were there fifteen years ago, it was just an old rambling house and a couple of observatories. It had wonderful children’s activities and fun things to do on a rainy day. Maria Mitchell was an astronomer, naturalist, and librarian, a good role model for two little girls getting bored on a tiny island out at sea during a foggy, rainy summer.

The following winter, we took that vacation I planned on a foggy beach in July. In snowy February we flew to a sunny Caribbean island, to a small condo on the East End of St. Thomas, nestled in a cove on Secret Harbor. The ferry to St. John was close by. We fell in love with the USVI and condo style vacations. We had a full kitchen. A small Caribbean grocery store was nearby. We saved money on food, making breakfast and lunch in our tiny kitchen. Sometimes dinner too, but let’s not forget Mom was on vacation, too. We could walk right out the door to the beach to snorkel, swim and read books in hammocks. I began to dream of running a B&B in the islands.

A short while after our vacation, my dear friend and cousin, Kathy, got me a free weekend at the Marriott Custom House in Boston. The only cost was an hour and a half of our time to listen to a timeshare sales pitch. It ended up being time well spent. As we told her when we returned home, we basically just laid down and said, where do we sign? All those places to visit, a world to see.

I suppose we could have used the money we spent to save for college, although it was all of one fourth of one year at college for one kid. And yes, I do know about compound interest. We also could have saved it for retirement. But we looked at it as our vacation 401K and it didn’t lose any value when the Lehman Brothers rocked the financial markets and those more traditional 401K’s, ours included.

Our kids have been to Spain, Aruba, California. They’ve skied Tahoe and Stowe where we have stayed at the Trapp Family Lodge, snowshoeing through the woods to a cabin on the mountain where they serve homemade soup and bread by a large stone fireplace. It’s all about personal priorities. These are ours. You only live once.

So we are off to Colorado for family time, which serendipitously coincides with the Vail Food, Wine, Beer and Jazz festival. We have a condo in the village where we can cook chicken Marsala and that egg dish my younger daughter and her boyfriend invented. We get to meet him, he is joining us in our two bedroom condo we traded our week for. No money exchanged, we paid for it long ago. It will be years before I retire on that other 401K, maybe never, but the vacation 401K is working just fine, thank you. I lean towards the Carpe Diem way of life. “Not everyone will understand your journey. That’s fine. It’s not their journey to make sense of. It’s yours.”~ zero dean.com

Oh, right. This blog is about walking. Hubby worked all weekend. The boss is leaving to get married on Nantucket of all places. Everyone is working overtime to get the job done. So, I brought him lunch on Walking Days 103-104, then walked the neighborhood, crossing the George Bush bridge over the intracoastal.

Images of the fires in Yosemite were on the news this morning. This is a place Ansel Adams loved and photographed. I love it too and have visited twice, because we wanted our children to see it too. On Morning Joe, a reporter said this was another case of Congress dropping the ball on prevention and funding. Too much old growth that hadn’t been attended to has fueled the fires. Does Congress do anything? I guess they do cash those paychecks We The People pay them, and they must use that cadillac health insurance we provide them with as they’re getting pretty old.

If there are any of you who are wondering, yes, I am still looking for a place to walk the intracoastal. Here we go, and as Ansel Adams once said:

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

Day 105

I worked in Boca. Sitting in traffic, I noticed the entrance to Knowles Park. Maybe I’ve been wrong about access to the intracoastal, I thought. I decided to check it out after work.

Somehow I missed the park driving home, but saw another sign for Mangrove Park. I pulled in, excited. This is what I found, a parking lot:

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Mangrove Park is a boat launch with parking for your vehicle. You can definitely cruise the intracoastal if you have a boat. If you don’t have a boat, maybe you can borrow this guy’s:

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He lives just across from the park. But be mindful of the manatees.

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A few educational signs were placed around the parking lot. I walked around, reading and learning about the flora and fauna of my new home.

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I circled around, drove south again. Federal Highway splits into two one way roads in this part of Delray, with shopping in the middle, an Office Depot, and some banks. I drove slower this time, finding the sign for Knowles Park just past a large condo development.

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These parks always have restrooms, which is nice.

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This one also had artwork, two picnic tables, and a small playground. Walking across the parking lot to a small pier and a boat launch, I was able to view more new construction on the intracoastal.

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Disappointed and in need of the daily walk, I continued on to Boynton. I knew I had seen a park along Federal Highway, just before Woolbright Avenue. I pulled into the parking lot of Jaycee Recreation area, the most promising stop of the day.

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There was a small nature trail, which I looped around three times, because the purpose of all of this is to take a walk and get some exercise. There were more educational signs. I stumbled upon a map of other parks along the intracoastal. Jupiter! I knew I wanted to live on Jupiter. I have been told to visit MacArthur Park and it is on the top of my list of walks to take when I return from out west.

After three turns around the park, I walked down the small boardwalk.

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A lone Black man was fishing here. He might have been fishing for sailfish, although his rod was definitely not big enough to pull one of those guys in.

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I got another glimpse of the intracoastal.

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Walking back to my car, I passed some rock art.

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And two bocce courts, which I really liked. Too bad I sold those bocce balls at my moving sale.

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It will be hard for me to write from the road. I am still saving for that laptop. I prefer working on a MAC, so it’s taking awhile to save the dinero. I will be able to use my daughter’s laptop so hopefully you’ll hear from me once in awhile. I am looking forward to walking in the Rockies. I definitely plan to revisit Betty Ford’s alpine garden in Vail.

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend and the last of the summer. I will return with tales of my western walks.

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