Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Friday, February 26, 2010

Edison/Ford part II

I have some pictures that I wanted to post from the visit to the Edison/Ford Estates that did not fit in the last post. There are some from Edison’s botanical laboratory and some from the museum. These two men have had a significant impact on not only this country but the world. Edison still holds several records on US patents issued and, of course, Henry Ford put an automobile in every garage.

Edison was involved in study of all kinds of things throughout his life. Even in his last years, he continued his botanical studies at his winter home lab. The museum covers many of his projects that made him famous including his moving picture projects. He was a friend and adviser to George Eastman of Eastman Kodak fame. There is a picture of his wife Mina on her wedding day that particularly interested me.

Anneke could not resist posing with Mina and Henry Ford.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Edison/Ford winter homes

One of the must see sights of the area are the winter homes of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford located in Fort Myers, FL. Thomas Edison visited in 1885 and purchased property to build a home, which was completed by 1887. It was certainly one of his favorite places and he returned there regularly. He spent enough time here that he built a laboratory and conducted many experiments here. He particularly was interested in finding a source for rubber that could be grown in the USA, as was suggested to him by Mr. Firestone. Mr. Firestone was a close friend and regular visitor.

Henry Ford, a former Edison employee and close friend was a frequent visitor and in 1916 purchased the property next door. These winter retreats were the site of many gatherings in subsequent year’s right up to Edison’s death in 1931.

The grounds reflect the interest in things botanical by both Thomas and his wife Mina. Since I am not an avid follower of such things, I can only say that I enjoyed the landscape, especially the various types of trees. For the true garden lover, it would be a place to spend many hours walking the grounds.

There is a self guided walking tour with audio and access to view the first floors of both homes and associated buildings. There is also a small museum covering highlights from Edison’s and Ford’s careers.

Finally, you can visit the laboratory that Edison built on site.

A visit can be a quick overview of the homes and lives of these famous individuals or a more detailed study based on your interests.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bonita Lake RV Resort

We are completing our first month of what I have come to think of as our winter lay over period. We are about to embark on the second month, which will be the longest period we have ever stayed in one place. Itchy feet are setting in and the urge to hit the road is growing. It seems unlikely at this point that we would willingly plan on spending months on end in the same place.

One of the great things about the RV lifestyle is that you can choose your own patterns and there are many folks we run across that love to stay extended periods in one location. There are others, like ourselves that like to spend shorter times in more places. One is not better than the other-just different.

This park is a snowbird haven and I would say the vast majority of RV’s are here for the duration. Also, many have been coming to this park for many years. I talked with one gentleman who is in his 15th winter here. Needless to say, with so many people returning year after year that groups form and it can be difficult to just drop in for a month or two and easily fit into the groups.

It does not help that we are not obsessed with bean bag contests, which go on here day after day.

Let me quickly say that we are enjoying ourselves here and our visiting with friends old and new. We will be shortly making a road trip with the toad and that will hopefully slake our wanderlust for a while.

We did get to witness someone else in one of my nightmares. I am always concerned about entering a new campground in the dark and especially those with grass spaces. Diesel coaches are heavy and do not handle soft ground well. It turns out that if you are pulling a heavy trailer that is almost as long as the coach and you back into a grass spot in the dark you amplify the problem. Then if you get stuck and try to muscle your way out, drive train issues quickly follow. Then there is only one way to move.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Fort Myers Beach

Fort Myers Beach is just a short distance from us, as the crow flies, and sometimes hours by car depending on the level of heavy traffic you encounter. As far as I can tell, the traffic is never light and sometimes virtually impossible. I think the reason is quite simple. There is nothing but vacation rentals from one end of the island to the other with only one road to travel on. Add in a state park and Bonita Springs at the south end and its heavy load of rental places and snowbirds-you get instance gridlock on most sunny warm days.

Since we have not had many of those days yet during our stay, we did venture into the Fort Myers Beach area to look around. It is a resort area of long standing and has that 1970’s or earlier feeling about it. Not exactly what you would call up scale by current standards, but we found it amusing to walk around the small downtown area and check out the nearly deserted beach on a cool and windy day.

Unless you are staying there, I doubt downtown is worth a second trip.