Easter Sunday was spent sipping coffee on the porch followed by a quick dinner out at Sams, a restaurant with a good view of the gulf. The plan had been to photograph sunset there, but apparently my brain was still back at Pam’s sipping coffee on the porch because I’d headed out without any memory cards for my camera. Silly.
We still enjoyed walking along the water and watching for dolphins. We saw two close to the shore but they moved on after only a few appearances. The three of us were just as happy to head home rather than staying out. Pam and I stayed up long enough to make some dinner and watch Sister Act (I’m sure both of us have that movie memorized) then headed to bed early.
Sunday I had made plans to visit with my friend Amanda of Hungry Vegan Traveler (where I’d written a guest blog back in August) in Tampa. My GPS told me it would take about an hour for me to reach Eureka Springs Park where we were meeting. I didnt hit any traffic, but my GPS took me to a toll highway that did NOT accept my EZPass. When I hit the toll booth I breathed a sigh of relief because I had the $1 needed. I paid and figured I was golden. Only, a ways down the highway, without exiting the highway, was another toll booth. This one called for $0.75. I dug around and came up with $0.53. I explained the situation to the toll booth operator who smiled, told me he had an extra quarter to cover the rest of my toll and sent me on my way. That should be it, right? Nope. I hit a third toll. This time when I explained the situation, the cheerful toll booth operator said it wasnt a problem, she could take my driver’s license info and give me a receipt which would tell me how to pay the $1 toll by mail. So, we did that, with impatient drivers waiting behind me. I asked her if the next exit would have some place with an ATM and she said I didnt need it, I’d hit the last of the tolls. After continuing on my way, I decided better safe than sorry and took the next exit and got cash out of an ATM at a gas station. Of course,when I went to get back on the highway, there was an automated toll for $0.50 where it called for exact change only. It had an envelope for people to pay by mail when they didnt have the change on hand. Good grief.
The rest of the drive was uneventful and I reached the park where Amanda was waiting more or less on time. I’ve known Amanda for several years now, but our only interaction has been online. I loved getting to meet her in person. We walked around the park for a while chatting, looking at flowers, butterflies, lizards and snakes. After that we headed to The Taco Bus for lunch. I’m an instant fan of the Taco Bus. The restaurant is part building, part refurbished school bus. You actually order your food outside at the bus’ window. They have your usual Mexican food fare, but also has a vegetarian/vegan menu. I ordered a Seitan Taco and a Tofu Taco. Both were excellent. As good as the food though, was the people watching. It looked as if people of every race, age, income and occupation ate there. Its open 24/7 and Amanda informs me that there are people in line at all hours of the night. I’m hoping I get a chance to return later in the week.
Amanda and I hung out at the Taco Bus until the last moment when she had to head to work. Before leaving, she pointed me in the direction of the Whole Foods so I could pick up some vegan food staples for Pam’s fridge. I found everything I was looking for, but when I went to check out, my card was declined. I paid with my backup card, got change for the return drive, then went out to call my bank.
It turns out my card got flagged because the ATM at the gas station where I got cash had been compromised at some point. I hate to think how many people stop to get gas there only to have their cards immediately frozen. My card was reactivated, but the bank is documenting its use and I have to call in regularly to explain that I’m still traveling so they don’t lock it again. I’m going to need to have them replace it sooner rather than later. What a pain.
I didn’t do much for the rest of the day, just hung out with Pam and noticed how unhappy my lower back was feeling. I’d injured/thrown out my back a couple of weeks before leaving for my road trip, but I’d thought it recovered. Unfortunately, this is not the case- when I got up this morning at 6:30, planning on photographing the sunrise, I couldn’t get out of bed. When I finally got out of bed, I couldn’t walk. I’m laid up, mostly immobile, icing my back, taking painkillers and keeping my fingers crossed that a day’s rest will set it to rights. Either way I’m going to find a doctor in the next couple of days to have the situation evaluated. Can’t very well continue on this road trip if I’m incapacitated for no apparent reason from time to time. I’m just lucky to have it happen here where I have people to look out for me. Pam and her sister Colleen have been great and are taking really good care of me (I’m trying to not be too much of a pain).
That about covers it. I’ll hang out and watch tv and get waited on for the day and try to be less high maintenance tomorrow.
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