Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

David and the Mermaid Hit the DMV

Tuesday & Wednesday March 1 & 2, 2016                                        Most Recent Posts:
Koreshan State Historic Site                                                           Plans Change Twice in One Day 
Estero, Florida                                                                               The Tour, The Jack, The Carts and the Week-end






Today is the day the phone returned.  Thank goodness they got it back before we have to leave.  I was pretty unimpressed with Samsung’s packaging of the return.  I took a picture of the box damage before I opened it “just in case”. 

Inside, I find the comparatively tiny phone floating (5.59” X 2.85”) around in this huge box.  It is wrapped in a UPS bag and  in one layer of small bubble wrap.  How UPS allowed it to rattle around in there and how  it did not sustain any damage given the condition of the box is a wonder.  Or perhaps time will tell.  

In any case I had to spend a few hours this morning setting it all back up again.  It does make phone calls now and I can see the screen so I guess I’m good to go.   They did beat their deadline.  Still, I’m disappointed that a 3 month old phone had such problems and that it was so much trouble to deal with their customer support.



Moving on…………We’ve been to Koreshan State Historic Site several times and athough I have taken their historic grounds tour multiple times, I have never taken their guided garden tour which is offered on Tuesdays at 1:00 so after lunch I head over and pay my $2.00

There is an historic grounds tour at 2:00 so I was not expecting the volunteer tour leader to do quite so much talk about the history of the Koreshans and especially about the Utopian Communities of the mid and late 1800’s.  Apparently this is a real interest of hers.

She does finally move us on to look at the plants on the grounds.

She talks about both the native palms, bromeliads, azaleas, yucca, ferns and live oaks as well as the exotics.  I know quite a bit about the natives so my main interest was in what the Koreshans had brought in and why.  She doesn’t seem to know the why so I have to settle for the what, or as much of it as I can remember.


My guess about the why is that the Koreshans were people of their time which at the turn of the 20th century was one of interest in all things exotic, furnishings, clothing, botanicals.   The first tree we visit is the Hong Kong Orchid tree just outside of the Art Hall.  It has been in bloom every time we’ve been here although this year I see many fewer blossoms than usual. 








Just down the path is one of two Night Blooming Cereus plants growing on palm trees here on the grounds .  The Cereus is a night blooming cactus that blooms only once a year for one night.  Multiple blooms may come out on successive nights but each blooms only that one night.  It blooms in the summer so it looks pretty peaked right now.   Many cereus are very fragrant.  I’d love to see and smell one in bloom but don’t think I want to be in Florida in July for that privilege. 


Jean shows us that the blooming makes the local papers.  Gotta love small towns even when they are being taken over by the larger towns around them, in this case, Fort Myers and Naples.




There are two pink bombax trees from southeast Asia just coming into bloom.  They are quite striking and an indication of spring here.






Growing near to the lovely bombax is a dangerous looking Palm.  I have never before noticed the frightening thorns on the trunk of this palm tree.  It is the Pejibaye Palm native to Central and South America.  Guess I’d wait for it’s fruits to fall off the tree rather than climb up to get them. 




On our trip around to the back of the Planetary Court someone points out these orange berries on several trees along the edge of the walk way.  Jean doesn’t know what they are but looks in her 3 ring binder and finds what she thinks they are.  I have no clue what she said but thought they were pretty.  There are quite a few of them here so I hope someone will make sure what they are.  Perhaps they have been overlooked when they were not so conspicuously fruiting.  If you recognize them, shout out.









I was so amazed at the size of this seedpod that I neglected to take a picture of the tree. The tree is known as the Royal Poinciana and Jean says it has magnificent red flowers when it blooms in May and June.  It is native to Madagascar, but very commonly found in the Caribbean.  The pod holds a good 40 seeds.  I’ve never seen anything like it before.









On around behind the Planetary Court is the tree that always makes me laugh.  It’s called the sausage tree and you can see why when you see its fruits.  In previous visits there have been many hanging from the strings of the tree but today I can find only one or two high up in the branches.  They are hard like gourds so nothing like sausage other than the shape.   The tree is much funnier when there are dozens of the “fruits” dangling from the strings.









I’ve written several times about the very tall Washingtonian Palms which originally lined the central walk of the grounds on both sides.   Many have fallen victim to time but several still reach high into the sky.  Today I learn that these short palms with the drooping fronds planted among them are young Washingtonians and the walk will one day be lined with them again.  I love it!!  Way to go Florida State Parks.  The Washingtonian is self pruning so they are planted and allowed to look as shaggy as they like while they grow up to meet their fellows.



On around past the gopher tortoise mound and across the Victorian Bridge we come to a ghost gum eucalyptus from Central Australia.  It plays a role in Aboriginal Dreamtime stories and sheds its bark seasonally.  From the side it almost looks like red mangrove as it puts down roots from its limbs to provide strength for them to grow out.






Jean concludes the tour on Monkey Puzzle Tree Island where once there were two Monkey Puzzle Trees, natives of Central and southern Chile and western Argentina.  Its native habitat is the lower slopes of the Andes.  It is the National Tree of Chile and described as a living fossil since trees can live over 1000 years.

Today only one of the trees planted by the Koreshans is still standing a hurricane in the 1990’s took down the other one but the park has planted two in its place.  Not sure what they will do now that they both appear to be doing well since the tree grows to be enormous.  Its leaves are triangular shaped.  It is very very different from anything I’ve ever seen.   I wasn’t able to get a picture of the leaves so I borrowed this one from wiki.


It’s a huge tree and could very well outlast all of us as it has the Koreshans.





These two lilttle trees are to the left of the giant one in the picture above.  they are on the opposite side of the path but you can’t see them very well there.





The tour is over and the path between the Monkey Puzzle Trees leads back to the campground so I take my leave.  If I were here longer, I would take this tour again with another guide as I have the historic tour.  I always learn something different from the various people who lead the tours. 

I’m not sure which of the exotics is my favorite from today.  What about you?  Have you seen any of these before?  Does one catch your fancy?




Days are winding down for us here at Koreshan so since Wednesday is clinic day David has packed his Wednesday full of errands to take care of before we leave.  First off is to make one last trip to Sweet Odins Bakery.  I’ve shown lots of pictures of it previously so if you haven’t seen it check out this post.

Next he has a 9:30am appointment at the Cancer Center to get his major blood labs drawn.  This is a shorter appointment than the 3 he has each month for chemotherapy shots so I just wait in the car and he’s back in 40 minutes or so.

After that it’s time to stop at the post office and mail back the old Solenoid that we might not have needed to replace.  We’ll get a $40 rebate on the $178 price if we do.  So we do.



Then we pick up a new kayak seal for my kayak.  With my hullivators, my kayak rides sitting up so it needs a cockpit cover to seal out the rain.  I’ve had one on it since 2002 and it has lately begun to leak so since we were right here by Estero River Outfitters, I had them order another one and I pick it up today.   Fits perfectly although my old one was blue and matched my boat.  This time they only offer yellow and black.  The yellow is a little too screaming for my sweet blue boat so since my hatch covers are black, black it is.

We have two more stops on errand day.  This next one is a big one.

When we started out full timing in 2010 David did not know he had cancer.  We intended to sell the Farm and move our residency to Florida.  But we couldn’t wait to get on the road so we thought we’d just come back and take care of all that later.  In the meantime, Multiple Myeloma became part of his life and made his future much more uncertain so, since we own the farm, and had no idea how long he’d be able to keep this life style, we kept the farm.  Those of you who have followed us for a long time have seen pictures of it.  It is in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, is lovely and secluded and if we have to leave the road, which is more likely for us now given his illness, we’d never be able to buy it back.



Still, I changed my residency to Florida.  David kept his in Virginia for multiple reasons.  I’ve been lobbying now for all that time for him to change too.  And finally I convinced him that it won’t change his health insurance, it will eliminate a state tax form, it won’t require that he change the truck at the farm to Florida plates.  I mean for heaven’s sakes, most of the presidential candidates have 2 and 3 homes with vehicles in every one.  So finally today, the lack of a tax form I think is what did it and he moved his residency to Florida.   After 39 years, he is no longer a Virginia resident. Of course he can move back any time he wants to but there are lots of tax reasons not to be in Virginia.

We use the Bonita Springs DMV for this and it is just amazing how quickly it is accomplished.  We don’t have everything we need the first time we go in so we have to go back to Winnona for his passport.  Luckiily not a far drive so we return directly with everything we need, passport, social security card, and 2 pieces of mail from our Crestview address.  We walk in, are given a number and it is called before we can even sit down.  The young man taking care of us is friendly and efficient and in about 10 minutes we are walking out the door.  In all the years we lived in Virginia, we have NEVER ever spent less than an hour in a Virginia DMV for anything.  Hats off to Florida David’s new home state.   And they have such interesting people to watch in the DMV too!

I notice that a mermaid has also come in to be assisted today.  She is sporting a lovely sea blue dress and purple hair.



To celebrate this great event so long in the making David shows off his license over lunch at Steak N’ Shake.




The celebratory lunch includes a cherry coke and a black raspberry milkshake.


Everything but the water glass, including my peanut butter cup milkshake, is empty at the end. 



Well fortified, I think it is now safe to take him to Whole Foods for a big grocery shopping trip.  I think he won’t need to snack on everything they have put out for patrons to try since he must be totally full after a burger, fries and a milk shake.  Wrong………….pretty sure he has several bites of everything out for sampling. 

Tomorrow is our last day at Koreshan for this year and it is our intention to head up to Fort Myers and see the Edison/Ford Estates we missed on Monday.  But who knows what may happen between now and then.


  1. Loved learning about some new FL plants today. I think there is a Cerus that bloomed on a tree here in our neighborhood after seeing the photos. Will have to watch for it again.

  2. Tough call between the exotics but I will give the Monkey Puzzle an edge over the Hong Kong orchid for its unique patterned "leaves". I can certainly see why western Europeans would be amazed by the wonders of nature in another place and want to bring them home to get better acquainted. We do like to own things. Apparently a very common practice in those days.

    Any idea how Brian who processed my application for a Florida driver's license can see with one eye behind a lock of hair? That would be so annoying and drive me crazy. He was very cheerful though and very efficient too!

  3. Wonderful exotic plants tour! I know I'm supposed to choose my favorite, but first I have to say that the Monkey Puzzle tree is my least favorite. There are a couple of them in our hometown of Ashland, Oregon (of all places!) and I can't stand them. The cones are extraordinarily painful to touch, as are the leaves (or whatever those things are called). Okay, now for my favorite -- the Night Blooming Cereus, because it's so rare and so fragrant. :-))

  4. Happy to hear you got your phone back before you had to leave, and that it appears to be working.
    I worked in ophthalmology seeing patients with strabismus. Every once in awhile we had a teenager come in with hair like Brian's to cover up an eye that was not straight. Maybe it was just a vanity issue, or it could be a new fad.
    David's endless appetite amazes me!

    1. I have to touch base with you on email on your FL address and mailing service, we're thinking of changing from SD to FL. SD is getting pretty expensive for our RV registration every year.

  5. I hope your phone doesn't give you any more trouble. I think you will be glad you didn't get rid of your farm. It seems that everyone who enjoys the siren of the road eventually comes to the point where they have to hang it all up, at least as a full time way of life.

  6. The bombax tree really stands out to me with those blossoms. The nice thing about bubble wrap... popping the bubbles!

  7. My favorite is the night blooming cereus

  8. I actually owned a Night Blooming Cereus and the one time I was able to stay up late enough to actually see the "One-Night" bloom, it was spectacular and did smell wonderful so that would be my pick;o)

    We like to welcome David to all the wonders of being a Florida Resident...welcome aboard:o)) You two really know how to celebrate these very special occasions!!!

  9. Glad to hear you got your phone back on time. Welcome to Florida David.

  10. Glad to see the phone returned by the deadline - hope that's the end of its issues! So many very different plants in their garden, the palm being the most amazing to me. I can only imagine the critters it is defending against in its native land. Funny for me to see people sitting at the counter in DMV. In CA we all stand, usually looking down at the employee. Don't know how they don't all have neck aches at the end of the day. Nice to know you and David now "live" in the same state :-) Wonder what mermaid's license says is her hair color?? David had the metabolism of a hummingbird!!

  11. I have to admit I really enjoyed the history of the the site. We have visited a number of these alternative religious based communities and always found the history and outcomes very interesting.

  12. It's funny how if one grows up with "exotic" plants (Royal Poinciana and "sausage" trees), they don't seem exotic at all. South Florida (in the "old" days) had them on seemingly every corner. Main Highway, going through Coconut Grove and point south, had overhanging banyan trees, and many, many of the sausage trees with the huge fruits. I haven't been to the area for thirty years, so have no clue what it is like now, but when I was a kid and rode my bicycle along that road, it was like riding through a giant, long cave because of all of the overhanging branches that provided welcome shade from the hot, unrelenting sun of summer.

    Virtual hugs,


  13. Both of you are Floridians??? I'm a little bit jealous and a little bit sad. :-)

    Loved the pictures.

  14. Although they're all beautiful I hope these exotics aren't spreading too much. I did see sausage trees in South Africa, where they belong. Glad you got your phone back, and welcome to FL David. Where do you put all that food?

  15. Neat plant tour - the night blooming one sounds really neat and the thorny palms look a bit horrifying. So, none of us are VA residents anymore. You've joined many of your generation down there in the Sunshine State! :) That post-DMV meal looked delicious and I laughed aloud at Dad sampling everything at Whole Foods (so did Matthew) - that sounds so like Dad :) As for the kayak color choice - maybe the yellow would have kept your daughter from hitting her head every time she gets in the the car - LOL. :)


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