Day 12: West Palm Beach

Sunday,  September 15, 2013

We have so much to be grateful for on this trip – new experiences, learning to blend together better as a team, meeting so many interesting people.  So, I was very happy to be going to church service with a childhood friend!  Pastor Ron delivered the message well.  He also made a comment that more churches should encourage their members to do:  “Embrace visitors.  Let family and friends sit elsewhere.  They’ll forgive you.  Visitors won’t forget.”  I also learned that there is a dengue fever outbreak up the coast.  They prayed for that situation and many others.  How comforting!

During the greeting each other part of service, the woman next to me asked if I was a member.  Told her “No,” that we were on a seven week trip.  The moment service concluded, she turned to me, grabbed my hand and exclaimed, “It’s so good to meet fellow travelers!”  That started off a full ten minute discourse on the joys and challenges of travel.  Mary and Warren had recently returned from one of their trips and gave us plenty of advice on Canada.  Mary said one of her favorite places is the Bay of Fundy, located near Nova Scotia.  It is renowned for having the highest tides on the planet, reaching up to 53 feet.  Two times each day, one hundred billion tons of sea water flow in and out of the Bay of Fundy.  Because of that, it forms an exciting and varied marine ecosystem.

Even though we’re touring the West Coast at another time, Mary raved about Alaska.  The first of May is when they leave Florida for Alaska.  In Alaska, Fred Meyer stores are traveler friendly.  Mary says if you have a camper, you can park in their parking lot up to three days.  They have a concierge for the people staying in the parking lot.  That person will greet them and direct them to free morning coffee.  I hope that’s still true by the time we get there.  My husband, at one time, wanted us to travel in an RV.  I nixed that when I reminded him if he ever became sick, I wouldn’t be able to drive as I can’t reach its pedals.  Mary recommended a camper truck because:

There were limited places that they could take their RV and gas usage is very large.

It’s no problem to drive a camper truck.

If you get a camper truck, they recommend you have a shower installed.

Get at least a 2000 watt water generator.

Don’t go to Alaska with a pop-up camper – go for the hard top.

The car ferry price will be the same as an average car.

Fun things to do:

Arkansas has the 911-acre Crater of Diamonds State Park.  Where else can you publicly mine real diamonds?!?  They’re always discovering diamonds in the field, including the world’s only perfect diamond ever discovered, the Strawn-Wagner Diamond.[1].  If you go, there are three stategies: dig, sift, stroll.  Digging in the hard soil is pretty difficult.  Warren prefers just strolling around as the fields are plowed often.

Mary advises talking to locals.  They were at an Amish yard sale in Pennsylvania when they were invited to go down the street for a wine tasting at the local vineyard.  Adventures are all around us!

For lunch, our friend took us to the Singing Bamboo for dim sum.  It was delicious!  I miss Houston’s many choices of Chinese restaurants.  One, Fat Bao, is focused on the bao, a bread bun or folded bread with different fillings.  When we get home, I want to try the (ahi?) tuna tacos.  They’re pricey and I heard baos are half the cost in N.Y.  We’ll be there in a few days!

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