Travel Diary
January 2, 2003
Nokomis, FL

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Happy New Year!

As we wrap up our stay in Nokomis, we have taken a couple of road trips. It's pretty fun to park the house, and still take road trips like people with a permanent house.

Our first road trip was from Nokomis to Orlando. We drove up to Orlando for the day to visit our friends from Seattle, Dean and Shari.

Dean and Shari

They were in Florida visiting Shari's family and we discovered that Orlando was about half way from where each of us was staying. We met at a very nice mall that had opened last October. We had a lunch at a good Italian restaurant and had a great visit with them.

We also took a road trip to Fort Myers, FL. It's about 60 miles south of Nokomis, where our house is parked. The purpose for this trip was to go to see the winter estates of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Edison bought a parcel of land on the Caloosahatchee River in Ft. Myers in the late 1800s. Today the property has buildings including Edison's laboratory, house and guest house. Henry Ford was Edison's friend and business partner and he ended up buying a house right next to Edison's. The grounds also have an incredible collection of rare and unusual plants that Edison collected for use in his experiments. Edison, Ford, and Harvey Firestone worked together in the lab experimenting with new types of rubber.

The largest plant in the garden is a banyan tree planted in 1925. When it was planted it was only 4 feet tall. Today, it is the largest banyan tree in the continental United States at approximately 400 feet in diameter. As we were told, this banyan tree is from India and is a direct descendent of the largest banyan in the world which covers 14 acres of land. Banyan trees grow and spread by dropping roots from their limbs which become new supplemental trunks when those roots reach the ground. Here's a picture of the middle section of the tree.

Banyan tree

There is also a museum with examples of many of Edison's inventions including the electric light bulb, the phonograph, and the battery, which is said to be his most profitable invention. Our favorite part of the museum was a 1918 Model T Ford that was called the "Chuck Wagon."

Chuck wagon

It was built as a vehicle which could carry food and supplies on camping trips that Ford and Edison took together. It includes a pull out dining table and a water tank. In this photo, you can see the water tank's faucet on the right side of the wagon.

Finally, another food highlight. In Nokomis, there's a wonderful seafood restaurant called Captain Eddie's. Apparently there really is a Captain Eddie and we're told that his seafood is either local, or flown in from other parts of Florida so it's always fresh. We discovered the rock shrimp which have a flavor more like lobster than like normal shrimp. They're delicious!

Rock shrimp at Captain Eddie's

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