DAY 13- SUNDAY 13th MARCH 2011

Written by Kev

Participants: Tam and Kev

I sleep very soundly and wake up around 8.45am. Tam has already been up a while and done a load of washing. I’m a bit put out as she hasn’t prepared breakfast in bed for me, that's just lazy if you ask me.

We discuss what to do today and decide that the bike tour may be a good thing. This doesn’t leave until this afternoon, so we have a morning of leisure. Tam wants to go to the pool and I want to watch the 6 Nations rugby match between England and Scotland on the internet. As there is wi-fi access throughout the resort, Tam suggests I take the netbook down to the pool and watch it there. Genius! I’ll give it a go.
The first problem arises when the netbook is low on battery, so I decide to watch the first half in the room until it’s charged up, then join Tam at the pool. The connection in the room is fine and the score is 9-9 at half time.

Things do not run quite so smoothly at the pool and the connection keeps dropping, so I retire to the porch of the main inn building where things are a little better. I manage to see most of the second half and England win by 6 points in a close game.

Time for lunch and Tam and I share a Caesar Salad and then get ready for the bike tour. It starts at 1.15pm from Ebb and Flo’s and costs $10 per person. There are 10 of us altogether, including the guide. Our trip is about 10 miles long and will take a couple of hours. It starts by going through the underpass and along to the intersection where we turn left and proceed along the road for about a mile. Here we turn right onto the Historic Jungle Trail. This is a hard sandy track and leads to Pelican Island Wildlife Refuge. We stop 3 or 4 times along the track and the lady leading the tour gives us some facts about the place.

In the 1800’s the track we are on was actually the A1A road and there were only about 30 families living in the area. The track was partly made from the contents of things called ‘middens’. It appears that prior to the white man turning up in the area, native Americans had a pretty good life living on the shores of the lagoon. Their diet was mostly seafood including lobster, crab and oysters. They discarded the shells neatly into piles called middens. These grew to be 20 to 30 feet tall and also contained other debris, including human bones. When the track was being constructed the middens were used as a hard base, so we are actually cycling along old shells and bones!
She also tells us about the varied vegetation and the Florida Inch. Apparently the land is so low lying that even a one-inch change in elevation can make the difference between a relatively dry area and a swamp.

We ride for 3 miles or so along the track until we come to the entrance to Pelican Island Wildlife Refuge, where we park the bikes and continue on foot along a boardwalk to a viewing area overlooking the lagoon. Here we learn that Pelican Island was the very first wildlife refuge in the United States, opening in 1903. The boardwalk has a plank carrying the name of every wildlife refuge, which state it’s in and the year it was created. I can’t remember exactly how many there are, but I think it’s 465. Tam says one day we should hire a Winnebago and visit them all. The second great idea of the day for Tam, the girl is on a roll.

Back at the bikes we are given some snacks and bottle of water. I enquire whether a Pina Colada is out of the question, but it seems it is.

The ride back takes us along the cycle track beside the modern A1A and, although not quite as interesting as the sandy A1A, is still a very pleasant ride. Tam cycles alongside the lady doing the tour and they chat away the whole way back. I cycle a few yards behind. In some cultures I know that it is normal for the woman to walk a few paces behind the man – this is a little like that. In reverse. On a bike. In Florida. Nothing like it at all then really.

Back at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort we thank the tour guide. I would highly recommend this trip as a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours, although maybe not in the heat of the summer. Ah yes – the weather. It’s been absolutely perfect today, mid 70’s with not a cloud in the sky and a light breeze.
Back to the room where we enjoy a cold beer and I start to write up my trip report. As it’s so lovely we decide to go and sit on the lawn in the sunshine accompanied by Mr Robert Mondavi and his chilled Chardonnay.
We get a couple of plastic cups from the Green Cabin Room and enjoy the lovely warm weather on the lawn with a cup of chilled white wine. I mention that the bottle is warming up a bit, so Tam asks why we didn’t bring down the ice bucket to keep it cold. Doh! That’s the hat trick of bright ideas for the Tamster today.
I return to the room for the aforementioned bucket of ice and return to our relaxation. A couple of classy Brits lying on pool towels on the lawn with our bottle of Chardonnay in an ice bucket and drinking from plastic glasses – and you know what? It’s absolutely lovely. As the sun gets lower in the sky we end up chasing the remaining warm areas across the lawn as the shadows spread. Eventually the sun’s gone, but the wine isn’t yet though, so we walk up to the area in front of the camp fire where there is another grassy stretch and continue our wine drinking in the late afternoon sunshine. It’s a hardship, I know.

Back at the room we shower and get ready for the evening while listening to music as I’ve discovered that Tam’s netbook can be plugged into the alarm clock/Ipod dock at the side of the bed. The effects of the wine are obvious as Tam gyrates around wearing a towel on her head, which housekeeping have created in the shape of a cake to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary – it’s not until April 12th, but that doesn’t stop Tam. Most disconcerting.

At 7.30pm we go to the Green Cabin Room and sit at the bar where I enjoy a couple of glasses of Chardonnay and Tam has a cocktail which has a glow cube in it that changes colour. We are simple folk, easily pleased.
We decide to try the Asian Citrus Soy Chicken Wings with Sesame Seeds. I guess the barman is used to people expecting normal Hooters style wings as he points out that they are citrus and soy flavoured. Who would have thought it, the Asian Citrus Soy Chicken Wings with Sesame Seeds have a citrus and soy flavour! What’s the world coming to? Anyway, he has no need to worry on our behalf as Tam pronounces them the best she has ever had. We also split a tomato, basil and fine cheese (as opposed to course cheese?) flatbread. This is ok, but not as nice as the wings.
A beer for me and we chat to the barman for a while as it’s quite quiet. He’s from Naples (in Italy, not Florida) so we chat to him about Sorrento and Positano.
Total bill for the evening is $80 including tip and worth every penny.

We ask for a couple of plastic cups and return to the room to fill them with beer from the fridge and then take a 10.30pm stroll around the resort to see it lit up and stare at the clear starry sky. It’s quite strange that the resort is full of people, but the only time you see them is around the pool area during the day, which does get quite crowded.

All in all it’s been a wonderful day. The mix of relaxing for a while, then doing a little sightseeing followed by a pleasant evening enjoying good food and drink suits us perfectly.
Bed just after 11.00pm.