|Two members of the club traveled down south to Florida for a
vacation during the break between Christmas and new years. Bob and his
family invited me and my family to spend a few days with his
in-laws, the Clark's. Jan and Bud Clark have a beautiful winter home
in Stuart Fla on the
east coast just a bit North of West Palm Beach. Melissa decided to
stay home with a friend of hers so Diane and I took the boys and dropped
in for a visit which lasted five days. Many thanks to the Clark's
who allowed us to carpet bag for a few days, they are the best of
hosts. They also have two bicycles that Bob and I took advantage of
for three enjoyable rides, even though the last ride ended with the bikes
in the back of my van due to a flat tire. Bob actually went on a
couple more rides than me since he arrived before us and stayed a day and
a half longer, lucky guy.
In addition to Jan and Bud, Kathy also had her brothers Tommy and Bobby visiting and staying as well. Tommy now lives in Chicago and in the past has been our knowledgeable host when we visited the windy city. Tommy is good company and fun to be around. Tommy unveiled a hidden talent for the game of tennis and he and Diane played a match that went down to the final game. Bobby is also a fun person to be around, he was struggling with the idea of actually acting "like a grownup" for a few minutes. Bobby has a good sense of humor and he was trying to follow Tommy's recommendation of a low carb diet during the week, but staying away from the carbs was not as easy for Bobby as Tommy. Bobby was becoming a regular at the local Applebee's having tried most of the offerings on the desert menu. We had a really good time going out to dinner with Tommy and Bobby on Tuesday evening at T.A. Verns in downtown Stuart. I highly recommend the crab cakes at T.A. Verns. Even though Bobby didn't order food, I think he ate as much as anyone else. We had a new waiter that was working his first day, and when Tommy order a cup of coffee he wasn't sure if they had any, he had to go check. Tommy actually bussed our table and went in and got paper towels to wipe it down. I think they might have hired him on the spot if he wanted the job.
Stuart is a very cool city. The downtown has a lot of interesting and quaint places to shop and eat. They have what the locals call "confusion corner" at one of the main intersections. I have to admit it was not a normal rotary with all the stop signs and yield signs, it was a bit confusing. In addition to being confusing it was very beautiful with an artistic water fountain in the center. For years we have heard the Mielkes talk about the fresh fruit and frozen yogurt lunch at a popular local restaurant called Natures Way, we finally got a chance to experience it first hand and it was very good.
Bob and I biked all over the area. The first ride we did was about 16 miles total, the second about 20 miles and we were half way into what was going to be a 24 or 25 mile ride when one of the bikes got a flat tire and we had to abandon the ride. Luckily Diane and Kathy had just finished their shopping trip and were home when we called to be picked up. We were stranded right in front of one of the local libraries and we checked out the library while we waited for our ride back. We had already eaten lunch at Grumpy's Grille in Hobe Sound where we both enjoyed excellent burgers and above average diet coke. On our first ride late afternoon on Sunday December 28,2003 we rode through the B&A Flea Market that was closing up for the weekend. On our second ride we stumbled across another PCT, this one being Pollution Creek Trail. It was a water treatment facility tucked in behind some neighbor hoods and it was a water pollution control facility. It had a small lake with a fountain in the middle and a trail around the whole thing. It also had nice wooden bridges connecting one side to the other. It was an attractive area, but the pollution signs and the warnings not to keep any fish you might catch made us think the water might not be as safe as it appeared. On this second ride we stared out early and stopped at a place called "That Place Cafe" for a late breakfast. I had a breakfast sandwich which I like to do when I am on vacation. Bob had the $2.50 breakfast special that cost $2.99. Bob asked the waitress to explain why the sign at the cash register said $2.50 but it actually cost more. It must be a local thing because I never got the concept either and the waitress certainly couldn't figure it out. The diet coke there was only average. We sat outside while we ate our breakfast. We traveled to Hutchison Island which required us to go over a couple bridges. The first bridge was decent size and it was a good workout going up the grade. The second bridge was much smaller and easier to travel. We went past the fire station and Elliot Museum on the way to the beach which was very nice.
mentioned the weather while in Stuart. It started out in the low
70's and each day it got a little nicer. The sun was out for the
majority of the daylight hours and we never did see any rain, so overall great
weather for this time of year. Diane and I went to Bare Bones for an
early dinner on new years eve. Kathy and Bob went too and Tommy
joined us as well. Bobby had left that morning for home so he wasn't
there. At a table to one side of us sat a couple of older
ladies. One of the ladies coughed the entire time she was there, I
don't know how one person could cough so much. My throat was
starting to hurt out of sympathy just listening to her. Below are a few pictures of the
places we visited while in Stuart and specifically on our bike
rides. Overall this was a great trip and the bike rides were quite
Bare Bones Bare Bones back Bob at beach David at beach Bike sign on bridge
David and bridge Bob and bridge Bikers on bridge Confusion corner David at That Place Cafe
Elliot Museum Pollution Creek T. A. Verns 2nd bridge to Island