Called up Tamara at the Jacaranda and reserved the Celeste Suit for three nights. It's actually called the Catherine P. Cornelius suite but our friend Celeste demands it every time she goes to the Jac for her doses of cable TV and air conditioning in the summertime. I had to get her blessing first before I could use it and I had to be sure and wipe my feet before I came in the room. These are the cheapest suites you'll ever rent in your life at 75 bucks a night. Unless your Bill, then you got one for the price of a standard room.
Beautiful day for a ride, temperatures in the 90s but low humidity for Florida. Deep blue clear skies as I cross the skyway and headed for Zolfo Springs in hopes of a tamale for lunch. They had no tamales so I ordered tacos one pork one chicken. No pork, okay barbecua. Great they said and I went outside to wait. But shortly I was informed no barbacoa. So, what do you have I inquired and settled on beef. These are true Mexican tacos very small very delicious.
Rode on into Avon Park to check in and wait Bill's arrival. Elaine was working on the front desk. I would say she's one of my favorite people here but they're all my favorite people. When Bill and I come it's like coming home, everybody's glad to see us.
I left my helmet and jacket on the scooter thinking we would ride later on. But Bill arrived with beer and Cheetos about 4:00 and I broke out a martini and that was the end of the riding. We're being a little cautious this time because of the rampant covid being spread with the encouragement of our Idiot governor but after a couple of drinks be built up our bravery and marched over to 18 East for dinner. Again, it's always nice to be recognized when we walk. Pam, Dave the chef/owner and his girlfriend Stefanie all greeted us. I totally forget about my gear sitting on the scooter. Halfway through dinner I looked out and it looked like a cow pissing on a flat rock it was raining so hard. Dave the owner nor his girlfriend Stephanie or our favorite waitress Pam would agree to run across the street and save my gear. And I thought they were friends. When it stopped raining we meandered back to the hotel. I pick my water logged helmet and jacket and called it a day. In the room I pull the helmet liner ringing about a quart of water out and then stuck it over a lamp and left it there all night to dry.
Bill, who has a fleet of Vespas, brought his Yamaha. Anyone who's going to buy a scooter and doesn't care about history and doesn't want to work on a scooter should buy Yamaha. Bill bought his because it's big and it's ugly and it's a great highway bike and he does a lot of long distance riding. He decided to name it the Big Ugly and it is a perfect name. He tells me you have to live with them a couple of years until you can come with the right name. I asked what name he came up with for his wife Sarah and he replied he had not lived with her long enough yet. I think they've been married almost 40 years.
There was a Chin Track Day at Sebring. In the past they would let us in to watch but now, we believe because of Covid, they will not. But we have a great spot to watch from on the back part of the track. They run several class's of drivers and cars. One I call the soccer mom class. People driving the car that they drive to their kids soccer practice. There was even a stock Chevy Malibu. These guys take the corners slower than I could walk them which makes the next class that more impressive. The real racers. Porsches, Ferrari's, Cobra's, etc. They rip through the turns.
Started to get hot about 11 so I told Bill it was time for some air-conditioning, i.e. get on the bikes and start moving.
We headed for Wauchula for tamales. Google led us to the "finest" Mexican restaurant. The only problem is it had not been in business for awhile and the one across the street was nowhere to be found. Since Zolfo Springs and the restaurant we knew was open just 4 miles down the road, we decided to go there. But, once there, in a sense of adventure we decided to try one of the two other restaurants on the road. Bill, being scientific minded, decided that since I was left handed we would go to the one on the left.
The temperature was in the mid-nineties and when we finished Bill declared we were going to FrostProof for ice cream. I had been thinking of just same adventure and was glad to follow. I ordered a strawberry milkshake made from strawberry ice cream not syrup. It was great.
When pulled into the parking lot I took a picture of the scooters and the restaurant. Bill said the real picture was of the Ford pickup tire that was shredded. We had not been there long when two gentleman arrived in a SUV. One was the owner of the truck who had obviously suffered a stroke as one side of his body was paralyzed. The began to attempt to change the tire but their jack would not do the job. Pretty soon another patron of the restaurant stepped in with an impact wrench and another jack. The impact wrench did the job getting the old rusted lug nuts off but his jack would not accomplish the task either. Shortly the owner of the restaurant rolled a floor jack out from the back of the restaurant and that got the tire off the ground and the removed it but the new used ones rim would not fit. One of the gentlemen spent about 20 minutes calling around trying to find a tire and rim, but on a Saturday afternoon in rural Florida he had no success. The restaurant owner said to just leave it come back Monday. This is one of those many human interest stories that happen everyday that we never hear about.
There is a new BBQ joint around the corner from the hotel so we ordered just a rack of ribs for takeout. When we went pay, it was Bill's treat, his mother called and used that as an excuse for me to have to pay. The bag of ribs was heavy and on the way back to the hotel we speculated they gave us the whole meal, but once we opened it we were surprised to find that each container had to two layers of ribs. That is the biggest hog I have ever seen.
We weren't leaving on our ride till about 10:00. So I took off early on Big Red and went out and rode around the orange groves and some of the small lakes that dot this part of Florida that aren't phosphate pits. It was a beautiful morning. Had a nice long talk with Elaine the front desk manager of the hotel about up and coming things and her family. Everybody here is so nice. Bill had also gone out for early morning ride and when he returned we rendezvoused in my room to have some coffee and breakfast. I'd precooked some eggs and bacon threw them in the microwave and wrapped him in a tortilla and that was our breakfast. A 10 we saddle up and headed out for Arcadia we're going to meet our good friend Celeste for lunch. This is a pretty good trip with a pretty long stretch on dirt which I sometimes enjoy. Arcadia has downtown that sometimes is thriving during the season. But being in the middle of the summer and not the season and the after effects of covid it was very slow. We found Celeste, whose camera shy, sitting on a bench on the street across from Mary Margaret's tea shop doing a crossword puzzle. Walking in to Mary Margaret's was nice because everybody had a mask on. Orat least all the workers did and we had ours. Very interesting little menu. I had a soup and sandwich the others had a seafood on a salad. Great time catching up with Celeste as she had recently been in the hospital for surgery but is doing fantastic. We got the updates on her cat and her chickens and her neighborhood and the loser brothers that live next door. A great time was had by all but it was getting past 2:00 and Bill and I knew in Central Florida we'd get wet if we didn't hurry and start heading back home.
The ride home got truncated due to afternoon showers' but we were able to avoid the large rain showers that had popped up just as expected. All and all a great day.
Monday we went our separate ways. I had a pleasant ride back through rural FLA and over the skyway and was parked in the garage before lunch.
dinner and martini at 18 East
the Celeste suite
back corner of Sebring
Random acts of kindness
Happy hour at the Jac
more ribs than one man can eat
came to a screeching halt to save.....
...this guy. He was having none of it.
while Bill waited.
sunrise in the groves