Richard’s Almanac: Road trip to the Sunshine State

COURTESY PHOTO Seniors columnist Richard Lomuscio “tries on” some waterman boots at a museum in Virgina during his winter roadtrip.
Seniors columnist Richard Lomuscio “tries on” some waterman boots at a museum in Virgina during his winter roadtrip.

I decided to take a road trip.

I hadn’t done one in some time because my night vision wasn’t great. But now that I had my cataract removed, I figured I might as well go for it.

January was so cold here I had forgotten what warm weather felt like.

I packed the Jeep and took off on February 8. I carried two small suitcases — one with cold climate traveling clothes and another with shorts and other light clothing suitable for white sands and palm trees. It was 16 degrees when I boarded the South Ferry at 8 a.m.

My first stop was my sister-in-law’s home in Irvington, Virginia. She and her husband had recently completed a new house on their property. Irvington is in the tidewater section of the state. It’s loaded with creeks and rivers that lead to the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. Waterfront property does not seem to command the premium prices that we see here.

Many individuals — they’re called “watermen” in the tidewater area — earn their livings from the bays, fishing, oystering, clamming and crabbing. I learned during my visit to the Steamboat Era Museum in town that the early watermen were known for wearing rubber boots and working out of dugouts made from carved-out, large diameter trees with outriggers. They had one outside the museum.

The inside of the museum was closed because members were setting up new exhibits, so I was only able to tour the outside. And I had my picture taken in some oversized waterman’s boots.

It’s called the Steamboat Era Museum because many years ago steamboats would bring tourists and vacationers to the area to stay in the large hotels. No more steamboats, but pleasure boats and commercial fishing boats are plentiful.

Duck hunting is popular here; the nearby town of White Stone is renowned for the decoy show held there each year.

I picked up a real estate brochure when I went to buy the local newspaper and noticed the plethora of waterfront homes and acreage that were not priced in the stratosphere.

I also found that restaurant prices were also very reasonable­— $5 cocktails and $15 entrées.

Temperatures were in the 40s when I left Irvington, headed south for Richmond and Interstate 95. It rained heavily until I reached the North Carolina border. Then the sun came out and it became warmer. When I stopped for gas in South Carolina, it was up to 80 degrees. You don’t get to experience the pleasure of these temperature changes when you fly.

I arrived in Savannah at about 4:30 p.m. in time for cocktails and dinner. The weather was perfect. Almost 90 degrees and no wind or rain.

I eased into the state of Florida on a Sunday and it’s been 85 to 90 degrees every day. My only bad time with traffic was crossing the state from east to west through Orlando. Never stop-and-go but very heavy through Disney.

I took the top panels off the Jeep and have been enjoying the sun immensely. I have not seen a drop of rain yet.

I am going to visit a citrus grove to get oranges and grapefruits for my kids and grandkids.

Then I have to think about the return trip. They tell me that this hot weather is even rare for Florida at this time of year.

I’ll take it.