Monday, February 22, 2016

Week one John Prince

Monday morning the “train” was hooked up and the blue truck
headed east into the wind, towards the Atlantic side of the state across forty miles of sugarcane fields.  At times there was not even a palm tree in sight.  We pulled into John Prince County Park and Campground in Lake Worth and H backed into our site on the edge of Lake Osborne.   For the next two weeks, the big back window will be about 10 feet from the waters edge.  The resident neighbors are Muscovy ducks, long legged, spotted brown Limpkins and even a big green Iguana!! Check out the tree trunk!  John Prince Park is named after a well-liked county commissioner who served for 18 years back in the 1940’s.  There are almost 300 campsites and over 700 acres that include miles of paved bike trails, mulched exercise/running paths, space for soccer games and a golf course.  Lake Osborne has a parade of pleasure boats and small fishing boats that cruise by each day.  The lake connects with a myriad of channels, where lots of kayaks and canoes hang out.
Lake Osborne
 H was restless to see the ocean and inspite of the impending heavy clouds we traversed the arched bridge that crossed the Intercoastal waterway and found the Lake Worth beaches. The sandy shore was sparsely dotted with tourists and the sidewalks and benches were empty because the storm was coming across the aqua water at an increasing speed.  Even the seagulls were struggling to fly.  We made it back to the truck just as the deluge began!
Palm Beach

Early Tuesday morning the real storm hit with a vengeance – thunder, lightening and strong winds that rocked the trailer.  By 9ish it was beginning to settle and H did not want to sit around and watch it rain, so we headed south to Fort Lauderdale and an indoor flea market that H and another friend used to go to before my days in Florida began.  It is called Swap Shop and looks like a large yellow warehouse sitting in the midst of a half dozen drive in theaters!  The interior of this multi level “warehouse” has an arcade, a restaurant, a car show, and of course rows and rows of cheap jewelry, clothing and shoes.  H says it even used to have a circus!  Surrounding the main building are canopies covering long rows of produce, clothing  - - - and shoes!  The shopkeepers were struggling to keep the puddles of water in the walkways from damaging their wares.  Other small shops surrounded the outer edge of the buildings and in the parking lot were even more venders with piles of their “wares” laying on tarps or just on the wet ground.

We had noticed several areas on Fort Lauderdale and Pompano that had tree damage and palm fronds down.  It was then we heard on the news that more tornadoes had touched down in the area!   Several buildings had roofs torn off and a stable had damage and horses injured.  Are we following the tornadoes or are they following us? 

Down A1A we found the Boynton Beach Inlet parking lot.   The tide was rushing to get thru the narrow cement lined “inlet” canal as we walked up and over the bridge to the other side.  The long jetty was lined with fishermen – and hungry pelicans!   Fancy big white boats seemed in a big hurry to get thru the narrow gauntlet of cement so their wide crashing wakes threw pounding waves against the walls of the canal.   On the way back to John Prince we bent our necks and tried to peer into the fancy gates that protected the homes and castles on the other side of the tall concealing walls.  Did one of them belong to Rush?  Or Trump? – His big jet was sitting at the airport when we passed by on our trip to John Prince last Monday!
Day at the Zoo

We read online about a “Dual Discovery Pass” for BOTH the Dreher Park Zoo AND the South Florida Science Museum and Aquarium which seemed like a good deal.  Thursday we went to the zoo!  Also called the Palm Beach Zoo, this zoo is 32 acres of trees, jungle, winding streams of water and board walks lined with what looks like thick bamboo lashed together with heavy twine ropes. The animal groups are divided into continents and are set around a big circle of dancing fountains like thick spoke sections on a wheel. We sat in on a “Wild Things Show” which included an introduction and a small talk about each animal.  An Australian Dingo and an African Porcupine were just 2 of the animals. A Two Toed Sloth was hung on a horizontal pole – like a hanger in a coat rack and we all watched her creep hand over hand – ever so     s  l   o  w  l  y   to the post at the other end!  A “Wings Over Water” Show included a Macaw, a massive black and white vulture and a Harris Hawk which landed on a post about 5 feet from me!  Even tho there are no lions, no elephants and not even a giraffe – the highlight of our visit was 2 half grown grizzly bear cubs!  Remember the news report last spring or summer about a momma Grizzly out in Yellowstone that was killed?  She had 2 cubs that were rescued.  These preteen bear cubs played and splashed in the water and scraped with each other like any pair of sisters would!  I must have taken a hundred pictures in order to get a few good shots!

Friday was not going to be a good day for the beach (again) so we chose to go find the Museum/Aquarium.  Standing guard in front of the museum was a huge animated dinosaur that roared as it’s huge mouth opened and shut.  The visiting display, called “Dinosaurs Around the World” promised to turn us into globetrotting explorers, along side 13 life-size roaring, breathing, animatronic dinosaurs as we learned about the creatures that roamed the fierce plains of Africa to the once tropical beaches of Antarctica.  The aquarium was interesting but not as magnificent as the new aquarium at our own Toledo Zoo.  From the museum we ventured to downtown West Palm Beach and found an antique boat show being set up. So far there were two long docks lined with some of the most gloriously restored wooden grand ladies as you could ever find.  The vessel at the end of one dock was the

 “Honey Fitz”.  She was the presidential yacht for 5 US Presidents from Truman to Nixon.   Although each president changed her name, JFK named her “Honey Fitz” after his maternal grandfather – John Frances Fitzgerald and that name has been given back to her.

It’s been a busy week here in John Prince.  I’ll tell you about all the rest next time.  More storms are predicted but maybe we’ll make it to the beach again before we head north.