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Richard’s Almanac: On the road again

Mr. Lomuscio share’s his tales from Florida (Credit: Reporter file photo).

I went on a guided tour of the various forms of vegetation in the Rookery Bay Research Reserve here (Naples, Fla.) and learned quite a bit. I must admit that it was difficult to keep up with our nonagenarian guide who used her metal pointed walking stick to show the various species present and to emphasize her talks. Her thick German accent gave her a definite air of authority.

I learned that a cistern out in the middle of nowhere was built by settlers in the mid-19th century and was still fully functional today. They made the concrete-like walls by mixing the powdery sand with shells and ashes. I’d like to try that some time.

Before I started my road trip I went to the library for some audio CDs. I chose some good mysteries by John Grisham, James Patterson and Robert Parker. Good distractions that help the long stretches of Route 95 pass more quickly. I have always enjoyed this element of a road trip.

So I had just gotten on the Jersey Turnpike and was going to put the Grisham CD in when I noticed that there was not a slot in my new Jeep. This vehicle seemed to be loaded with everything else — but why no CD player? So I called my salesman at Mullen Motors in Southold and was told that manufacturers have done away with CD players in the 2020 models. 

“You are supposed to get the books from your phone,” I was told. What a pain. 

So my drive time was occupied with available programs on Sirius radio. I listened to many Johnny Carson shows from the ’70s and plenty of call-in medical shows. I punctuated these with stretches of channel 19 — the Elvis station.

My traveling weather has been great. I just hope that the trip up north is also devoid of any bad weather. 

Because much of the state of Florida is home to lots of senior citizens, there is no shortage of gag items available. While in a department store looking for shoes I noticed some T-shirts with lettering called “Texting Codes.” I thought I’d pass a few along.

Here you go: ATD… at the doctor’s. BFF… best friend fell. BTW… bring the wheelchair… GAD… gray and disorderly… FWIW… forgot where I was… and the list went on.

It’s impossible to read a paper or turn on the TV down here without hearing talk about the coronavirus. It seems to be agreed that the group that’s the most vulnerable is the seniors. We have to do our best to stay healthy.

I gave Senior Center Director Laurie Fanelli a call and she said she has a sign on the door that says, “If you have a cold or a respiratory infection, stay out.” 

And that seems to be what it’s about. Be very conscious of infection control, avoid panic and use a lot of common sense.

I am nearing the end of my road trip through the South. Am in southwest Florida now and will go to the east coast on Friday and then up north back to beautiful Shelter Island. 

The weather has not been as hot as I wanted it to be. Lots of temps in the 70s which the people down here seem to love. When it gets in the big 80’s they start to complain. But I came down south for the heat. I was lucky in the sense that my first day on a Gulf beach was in the 80s with lots of sun. And I soaked it up and got quite a cleansing burn. 

The coolish weather does make hiking through the Everglades more comfortable, however.