Motoring Across America

With James "Alex" Alexander

with James "Alex" Alexander


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Blog 138: Take the Long Way Home

Quick Trip to Boston
I started off the week with a chilly trip to Boston to begin an engagement with a new client. As I walked from my hotel to their office in the biting wind tearing at my coat and through the crunching snow numbing my feet, it reminded me of Florida, only different. Great group, with folks from Germany, France, Spain, Holland, and Sweden.

Take the Long Way Home
We had driven from the island to Apopka (NW of Orlando) so that Jan and the Kids could visit relatives while I was gone. On our drive back, we decide to take the long way home…our wish was granted :’>>>

About 70 miles from home heading southbound on County Road 660 just north of Limestone, I watched with annoyance, then displeasure, then dismay, as the dial on the temperature gauge marched from “C” to “H” faster than Sherman took Atlanta. As the Borg from Star Trek would say, “resistance would be futile,” so I pulled over off the road around 2:40 p.m., looked under the hood, and then turned off the engine. Luckily there was a little shade, as the temperature was around 83 degrees.

Jan pulled up “auto repair, Arcadia FL” on her iPhone, and I talked with Tex, the proprietor of Tex’s Auto Repair. He said he’d do his best to get us up and moving, and he’d send a tow truck right out. Being 14.7 miles away, we hoped the wrecker would arrive in a half hour or so…a couple hours later Bobby Suggs in the Bobby Suggs wrecker pulled up, loaded our car, and the five of us pulled into Tex’s place at 5:07 p.m.

Tex did a quick but thorough analysis and determined the cause of the problem was a stuck thermostat. Since it was after five, his phone calls attempting to locate a thermostat all went to voicemail. Faced with staying another day (or two or three) in Arcadia, Bobby agreed to take us the remaining 55 miles back home. By the way, Tex would not take a penny for his help--always great to deal with people of integrity. Here is a pic of a smiling Bobby unloading our Honda at home (actually, he was a very nice, interesting guy. Plus his charge seemed quite fair for the distance of the haul).

I'm in the Money...

Around the Island
Here are a few random shots from around the Island this week.

Happy Pup



Handsome Couple

A Day at the Office

Watch What Happens...

Old Trucks
Here are two old trucks.

Old Truck #1

Old Truck #2

See you next week.

Blog 137: Chowder Champ and One Big Fish

Chowder Cook Off
This week was the second annual Pine Island Boat Club’s Cook Off. Although we had other plans, the past commodore of the Club demanded that Jan participate, as she was the winner of the Inaugural Chile Cook Off held last year (another proud day in the Alexander family).

Fifteen contestants of varying styles and demeanors had prepared their chowders with glee and gusto. Boat Club members (plus three unrecognized people who walked in from the street), ambled down the chowder table, sampling, scrutinizing, and sizing up the selection. All the while the smells of clams, shrimp, grouper, and other mysteries blended with spices, sauces, creams, and broths floating through the air like a Mozart concerto in an auditorium.

As is always the case with Pine Island contests, very strict rules were in place for the judging. No snooty culinary “experts” were to impose their personal taste standards on this group! Just like in Washington, tasters voted with their pocketbooks…if you liked the chowder, you put dough in the dish, currency in the can, bucks in the bucket. Sneaking in a few extra bucks for a spouse or a friend was not frowned upon, but admired.

Chowder Champ

Tallying the Votes

PIBC Cookoff

Isn't This Fun?

Around the Island
Here are a few random shots from around the Island this week.


Pink Flowers



Seagrape Leaves


What Are You Staring At?

Old Trucks
Here are two old trucks.

Old Truck #1

Old Truck #2

See you next week.

Blog 136: Attack of the Giant Tomatoes

Boat Club Meeting
Here are three “comic-tized” shots from the last Pine Island Boat Club meeting.

The Hills Are Alive...

Oh, My...


Hot Dogs and Potatoes Recipe
Last week’s blog prompted some requests for Jan’s Hot Dogs and Potatoes recipe. Here you go:
  • Oscar Meyer hot dogs, sliced lengthwise
  • Yellow onion, cut in rings
  • Montreal steak seasoning
  • Yukon gold potatoes (with skin) sliced
  • Tomato soup
  • Water (1/2-can for each can of soup you use)

Fry the dogs with onions in olive oil until both are pretty much deeply browned (maybe almost burned). After the dogs are almost burned, add the potatoes and soup. Season with Montreal seasoning, cover, and cook until the potatoes are done. The soup gravy gets thicker the longer it rests.

Around the Island
Here are a few random shots from around the Island this week.

Bird on a Wire

Pine Island Boat

Pine Island Palms

Twin Palms


Two Tomatoes

Old Trucks
Here are two old trucks.

Old Truck #1

Old Truck #2

See you next week.

Blog 135: Hot Dogs and Potatoes

Hot Dogs and Potatoes
A favorite meal of Jan’s when she was a little tyke was hot dogs and potatoes. Over the years she has transformed this simple meal into a culinary experience. It is a dinner I look forward to. Jan does not make this meal for just anyone--only true foodies with a sophisticated tongue, sensitive palate, and a sense of daring. We had six such people over the other night to try this exotic dish.

Hot Dogs and Potatoes

Are You Sure This Was Served at the Whitehouse?

The Great Automobile Race of 1908
Our neighbor and friend’s great grandfather was the captain of the winning crew that first made the trip from New York City to Paris via automobile in 1908. In a solo act, our neighbor brought this phenomenal journey to life as he played his grandfather on stage, recounting this amazing journey. Just remarkable.

The Great Auto Race Presentation

Jeff Mahl

A Captivated Audience

Let Me See...

As a fundraiser, the Calusa Land Trust ( sponsored the auto race act along with an antique car show. Here are a few shots of cool old cars.

Vintage Car #1

Vintage Car #2

Vintage Car #3

Vintage Car #4

Vintage Car #5

Happy Spectators

Around the Island
Here are a few random shots from around the Island this week.

Wine on Post


I  Just Hate It When...

Old Trucks
Here are two old trucks also from the antique car show.

Old Truck #1

Old Truck #2

See you next week.