Saturday, September 14, 2013
Ride Day! We are all up early to get the boys started on their way. The car gets packed (miraculously fitting in 3 golf bags, 3 persons baggage, a cooler, various boxes and bags of stuff, and all of the guy’s bicycle paniers AND having one of the backseats available). We’ve done it before so we knew it could be done.
Jack and Rich are purists when it comes to their bike trips. If they say they biked the Florida coast, they want to start at the very top and ride to the very bottom. The very top is at Fort Clinch State Park – about 6 to 8 miles from the condo. Not wanting to add any miles to their 80-mile day (and also not wanting to double back on their route), the decision is made to have me drive them and their bikes to the starting point.
The sun is just beginning to rise when we arrive at the park. There was a bit of a discussion before we entered as to whether there was an entrance fee and if it would be worth it to pay it since we really weren’t going to be staying in the park. Of course, there was a $2 per person fee. Rich explained to the nice ranger that we were simply dropping off and riding out of the park. His reply? “That’s nice – six dollars.” We traveled back into the park and finally found the pier leading out to the tip top of Florida. Bikes were unloaded, paniers were assembled and we made our way to the end of the pier.
Time to say our final goodbyes. We will meet up again mid-week in Jensen Beach. There is a condo waiting for us and the boys will get a 2-day rest.
After the boys get on their way, I go back to the condo for breakfast and last minute packing up. Today I will be driving to Central Florida (about 3 hours away) and I have a 2pm tee time 🙂
I am going to Howey-in-the-Hills, FL to stay and play at the Mission Inn Golf Resort. I found it online and the name “Howey-in-the-Hills” intrigued me. Mission Inn gets good reviews online so I am going to check it out.My trip has been planned out so that I can make a lunch stop in Yalaha (I am not making this up!) at the Yalaha Bakery that I read about online. It is supposedly a “must stop.” I have allowed plenty of time. UNTIL – Lexi (my nav system) tells me there is an accident 20 miles ahead and traffic is slow. I ignore her. Turns out I should have paid attention and found an alternate route.
From 70 miles an hour to a slooow crawl. For about an hour. There is, indeed, an accident. An 18-wheeler has taken out the center guard rail for no apparent reason and is overturned on the highway. Bummer.
I do finally make it to Yalaha and the bakery. It is uber cool. They have live music outside on Saturdays (today) and there are people sitting around picnic tables munching and eating. That is what I wanted to do. However, I must order and take with me.
I order a sandwich of chicken salad with walnuts and cranberries on whole grain bread. I am starving from my long delay and take a few bites before jumping in the car. It is fantastic! I wish I could sit and enjoy it, but the course awaits.
It is a beautiful drive off the highway to the Mission Inn. This place definately has possibilities. I do not check in yet, but go directly to the golf course. They are super nice in the pro shop and tell me I can play either course – the Conquistador or Las Colinas. I will play Conquistador today and Las Colinas tomorrow.
There is absolutely nobody else on the course. Great! I am relaxed and taking my time. I manage to par the first couple of holes and am feeling the “mojo.” After 9 holes I decide not to add up the front because I know I am having a really good round. I don’t want to jinx it by worrying about the numbers. My goal for this summer is to break 80 and I feel like I have a real chance today.
Back 9 goes very smoothly – I love (hate) this game! I add it up after 18 and end up with an 81. I am bummed, but the course is rated really high (69.8/135) and the 81 puts me at a 9.4 differential. I feel pretty good. Finally, my golf game has returned. I thought it might be gone for good.
Time to check in. The resort is very spread out. It is a good thing I have a car. My room is very nice and looks out onto the Conquistador course.
Wandering around the almost empty Mission Inn is interesting. It really is a gorgeous resort in a beautiful setting. This is one place that I feel looks so much better in person than online. I think they do a lot of conferences and weddings here.
Time to think about dinner. There are three restaurants onsite and I am certainly not going to leave! Tonight is the Prime Rib/Seafood Buffet at Nickers. Usually I do not care for buffets, but once again Yelp has informed me that this one is really good. I am down.
There is a bit of confusion when I show up alone. “Are you by yourself?” “Are you meeting someone?” Oh well, I guess I need to get used to the curiosity. I am seated at a prime window table and go to take a peek at the buffet.
It looks fabulous. I start with sushi and sashimi and enjoy them so much that I am wondering if I will have room for crab legs. I don’t waste my appetite on what my Dad would call “roughage.”
The crab legs are very good and I go back for seconds. (don’t worry, Levi – no butter!) I stop while I can still manage to walk back to my room.
I wonder what Rich is up to in St. Augustine…?