Another day in paradise greeted us despite a looming stormy forecast.
We set off at 9.40am and drove to Poinciana Sun Rail station about 10 miles away where we planned to catch the 10.45am train to Winter Park. The drive was easy and we quickly found the large free car park. We located the ticket machine and bought the return tickets for the princely sum of $2.75 each which was excellent value for the 45-minute journey.
There were several other people waiting and most seemed like us to be tourists. The train arrived early as we were at the end of the line. It was a double decker train so naturally we went upstairs and got some good window seats. Karen called me a big kid for doing so. Even now on buses I always go upstairs wherever possible. You get a much better view from a different angle.
The journey was smooth and the gentle rocking of the train soon had Karen dozing. The second station we called at was Tupperware. I was naturally disappointed that it was not made of plastic with sealable doors. It was built for the HQ workers of the company founded by Earl Tupper in the 1940’s. Sadly as I write this the company is now on its knees and its total demise is expected any day. Its share price is down more than 95% in the past weeks. I guess its products are no longer unique and I cannot remember the last time I was invited to a Tupperware party.
After a nice ride we alighted at Winter Park at 11.35am which gave us 25 minutes to walk to the Scenic Boat Ride that ran on the hour and that Karen was keen to do again after a 7-year break in doing so. We made it easily but were amazed by the number of people waiting. However, we just managed to squeeze onto the second boat departing at 12pm.
The price was a steep $16 each and must be a real money-spinner. They would have taken $500 for the two boats at noon and there seemed to be almost as many people waiting for the 1pm boats when we got back.
The tour is of Lake Osceola and then through a small canal of Lake Virginia. There is a running commentary mainly about some of the large interesting Lake side homes. Some of the commentary was good, some was drab. It didn’t hold my attention for instance when I learnt that one house was where the 2018 U18 World Whistling Champion lived with his parents.
Some of the houses were very impressive. It was a lovely hour as we sat at the front of the boat with the sun and gentle breeze on our faces. We enjoyed it but I did moan again about the cost when we were walking back to the Winter Park main street.
For lunch we headed to Panera Bread where I had a small Caesar Salad and Karen had a Turkey Sandwich. We then went for a slow walk along the main street browsing in some of the small independent shops. Naturally Karen wanted to try out the Starbucks where we sat outside for a while before heading back to the station to catch the 3.36pm return to Poinciana. This return journey seemed to consist of commuters returning from whatever early starts they had had.
On the way back to the villa we went into a Publix to get the last of the fresh food we needed for the rest of our stay. Whilst in there we heard a rumble of thunder and then rain on the roof. We knew it was bad outside when most of the staff went to look out the doors at the rain on the car park. In fact, we couldn’t see the car park as it looked like we were in a cloud and someone had turned a pressure washer on. Later we learnt that there were hailstones the size of baseballs coming down. We waited about 5 minutes at the entrance until it subsidised somewhat to the level of just torrential. I ran and got the car and drove to pick up Karen who waited with the shopping.
The drive home proved challenging as some of the roads had quite deep flooding in places where even the US drainage system which is used to this type of thing was struggling to cope in the immediate aftermath.
By the time we got back though it had all cleared up. Getting in the villa was again challenging as the alarm again did not want to switch off. Karen complained about the piercing screech but she should have been standing where I was trying to get the darn thing to switch off. On the 3rd time of asking it finally accepted the number I was inputting.
After a short spell sitting outside, we went out for dinner. I had persuaded Karen that we should try ‘Cracker Barrel’ as we hadn’t been for years. She had her doubts and was proven correct. It appeared they were trying to close early when we arrived. The staff didn’t have many customers to look after but made hard work of it. The theming of an old country store Karen still found creepy, whilst the floors even to my eyes all needed a good sweeping.
Whilst waiting for the meal we played the infamous Tee Peg game that they have on every table in Cracker Barrel. It took a while for Karen to grasp what she was supposed to do. After a while we googled the solution but even though we followed it closely it still didn’t leave us with just one Peg.
Karen enjoyed her enormous Chicken Pot Pie; I didn’t enjoy my ‘Roast Beef’ that had apparently been slow cooked for 14 hours. It tasted like an old boot and even if had been cooked for another 14 days would not have been tender. It was nothing like the ‘Awesome Pot Roast’ available from Golden Corral that I thought it would be. We also never got the Butter Biscuits that should have accompanied our meals.
It was deemed that I was not allowed to be the responsible adult for choosing restaurants for our last couple of nights.
On our way home we called in Dollar Tree to get a couple of things we needed before having a glass of wine at the villa watching this week’s episode of Succession.
It had been another good day in paradise.