Well, our 2 months in Jacksonville have come and gone. It has been crazy busy. In addition to lots of work on the boat (mostly me), there were lots of visits with Rhonda's family (mostly Rhonda, but I did get a few in with her). We had one last get-together at "Time Out" on Thursday with the family. Here's the crew including left to right - Deanna, Jessica, "G" and Poppa, Kelly, Keith, and Tony.
On top of all of that, we managed to get in a car trip back to our land-home in AL. Got taxes done and visited with Scott and Rachel. We sold the car yesterday since we won't need a car again now for at least 6 or 7 months, so we're back to moving by boat, walking, and bicycles again. Never liked that car anyway. Scott and Rachel moved our truck back to AL from Gulf Shores a few weeks ago, so we'll have a vehicle when we get back to Alabama.
We had a nice visit also a couple of weeks ago with some email "pen pals" that we had actually never met, Don and Teresa Bolls. Here's how we "sort of met." We were at a New Year's Eve party with a bunch of our church friends in Muskogee, OK about 5 years ago and our associate pastor, Don Jones, mentioned to me that he had some friends that were getting close to retirement and were considering living on a boat and he asked if he could share our email with them. Well of course I did not mind! Don and I communicated a good bit initially and then we lost touch for a while during our stay in Galveston. Then I got a new email from Don a few weeks ago - they had retired and were in FL visiting some friends, so we made plans to get together here in JAX. We had a wonderful visit for an afternoon and then went to dinner at a local seafood restaurant. Don and Teresa have opted for travel by RV rather than boat but I guess we'll still be friends!!!!
The really special story about Don and Teresa is that they are retiring from being missionaries in Niger for 30 years. It is always interesting and fascinating to hear the stories of missionary experiences. Theirs is particularly interesting as they approached the departure time from Niger which was during the uprisings and fall of Libya, next-door neighbor to Niger. But certainly more important was the impact they were able to have on the people in Niger through Don's work with irrigation/farming/installing latrines and Teresa's work with women/midwives and developing a "storybook" of their own for sharing the gospel to so many. We look forward to continuing our communication with Don and Teresa and wish them the best in their RV retirement.
And Rhonda finally decided to get a new bike - her old one was 25 years old. Yes, we realized that it was yellow, pink, and white before we bought it. Should not be hard to spot this one in a crowd, huh?
Rhonda's Dad came by this morning to drive her to the bank to deposit the proceeds from selling the car.
And lastly, we have a special treat in store for us this next leg of our trip. Our boating/church/dominoes friends from AL, Bob and Barbara Hopson, are en route as I type to join us for our trip down the St. Johns River before we continue up the Atlantic Coast. They are long-time sailboaters and recently sold their Westerly, so it will be good for them to be on the water again and good for us to get to spend some time with them. Here's a pic of "Discoverer" from a fall TN River trip we made with them to Chattanooga a few years ago.
And a group shot at the carousel across the river from where we were docked.
So, it's been fun but time to move on. The boat is pointed out of the slip and ready to go. We'll be in touch!