Leaving America: Beauty and Political Beast

Sunset at the Cape

We thought we were staying in America when we canceled the trip to South America. Then, at the Tennessee Welcome Center we met a man who wanted to make sure we saw a certain battlefield in Chattanooga, “…in the Northern War of Aggression.” I guess we really are two countries.

Other things heard in the South: “I think we ought to nuke the entire Middle East.” “Only people who own property and pay taxes should be allowed to vote.” and most amazing, “Barrak Obama will impose Islamic Law if elected president.” We’d all be living the law of President Bush’s church if that were possible under the Constitution. It isn’t.

I am confused. It appears that the South Shall Rise Again is no longer a aphorism, but an accomplished fact. Some of them (lots of them?) have separated from the rest of the country. We await a formal declaration of war. Given the success they had (in what I thought was called the Civil War) at picking their battles, they might want to think twice.

We drove longer and faster than usual to get to the Kennedy Space Center to see the Shuttle launch. Luckily we found a wonderful boondock spot at the edge of a wildlife refuge and had four each glourious sunsets and sunrises, surrounded by friendly RVers, wildlife and local fishers. The mozzies left welts that linger a week later, but they are not bad during the day. It’s a good thing we found the boondock, the RV parks are outrageously expensive. (Go to Arizona!) After three cancellations due to some sensors, (they probably work as well as our black-water sensors) we gave up and drove south.

Our first bike ride in Florida we were treated to two young men in a pickup suggesting that it would be common courtesy for us to ride on the sidewalk. We were not blocking traffic and the lanes were wide. I suspect it was our bright clothing that offended him. I wonder if bicyclists here learn to wear camo.

The next day we took mountain bikes, rode sidewalks and grass verges and had a wonderful day, including the best hot dog I’ve had since West Virginia: steamed bun, chilli and coleslaw. Yum. Most of the people we meet are from somewhere else, here for the winter. There seem to be lots of people living in old cars and trucks, sleeping with the mozzies in the managroves I suspect. The homeless don’t always show up at shelters to be counted.

After we left the Space Coast, we drove down A1A along the barrier islands, filled with beautiful large and expensive houses, and some very nice county parks and beaches. Each time we stopped at a beach, we began coughing and or sneezing. We thought it was an unusual reaction to salt air, but later learned it is an alergic reaction to a kind of red tide that is driving people from the coast. We both got stung by a blue jellyfish I was trying to get closeup photos of, when a larger wave washed it around our ankles and toes. Vinegar (we learned in Australia) helped, and the sting lasted only a few hours. Now we know why we had the beaches to ourselves, red tide and stinging jellyfish. Lovely still.

We did wonder how many of those beautiful houses will be gone next hurricane. I somehow don’t think those people will be living in FEMA trailers. I just hope we don’t end up having to pay to rebuild the beach they should not have built on. The barrier islands should be kept as just that, barrier islands, used as parks and wildlife refuges, to protect the inner coast, not covered by houses that distroy the vegetative matte that holds the sand. Money talks, and money buys politicians, and insurance.

Florida will be interesting, already is…


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