2021 08/31-9/3: Larry and Penny Thompson Park – Railroad Museum, Ichels, Zoo

Larry and Penny were conservation activists who established a number of parks including this one near Miami. Our site was quiet, a little wet when it flooded but quite large.

Stu bicycled around the park including a moderate lake that offers swimming,, and water sports surrounded by trails and picnic areas.

The second day began with a must-see visit to the Miami Railroad Museum and a train ride around the grounds on a mini-passenger train powered by clean compressed air that replaced steam and coal starting fires on the ground.

Leaving the mini-train, we enjoyed climbing around the restored passenger cars and imagining how the United States 1 armored pullman car was greeted as it traveled around the country with four different Presidents between Roosevelt and Reagan.

After lunch we visited the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and the Florida Light, restored and relocated from the days where the nightly light was the beacon guiding sailors into what is now the Miami Harbor. There is a lovely beach, a nice picnic area by the ocean and views of the lighthouse that raise admiration for the people who designed and built it.

Later in the day we visited David and Jan Ichel, Joan’s cousins, in their temporary home on the 8th floor overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Joan and David reminisced about their years growing up together, and how their parents bonded over the years as Joan’s father grew his medical practice and David’s father began to practice law, a field David continued until he retired into mediation.

Photo courtesy of the 10-second delay on Joan’s camera resting on the kitchen counter.

Joan has 41 cousins that she keeps straight in her mind, remembers many of their family details and tries to visit during our travel. So far, Stu has met about half and finds them universally nice people with interesting stories.

David had an exciting and busy career as a litigator, working to help people and businesses win legal proceedings. He is amazingly relaxed after years of stress in a job that demanded extensive time and travel. Jan and David have been married over 30 years and really enjoy their life in Florida and New York City.

We visited for hours over a delicious quinoa salad, grilled flavorful salad and salmon. Their temporary apartment, while their home in Coconut Grove is being remodeled, is a techie’s dream. For example, the lights in the guest bathroom come on when you enter – and the toilet seat goes up, getting ready for whatever you might wish to do.

The full length mirrors reflect movement around the room and make the floor-to-ceiling window walls to the bay look even larger.

We were drawn to view the power of an afternoon storm as it moved in off the ocean and moved our patio dinner inside to enjoy our delicious dinner. Fortunately, the storm cleared and the chairs dried in time for fresh fruit for dessert outside. It was a relaxing and enjoyable evening.

Our weekend wrapped up with a visit to the Miami Zoo.  Click here while we visit the animals in their Miami home.

The good news is that Joan experienced no discomfort in her knees. If fact, the knees have been pain-free since a Gait Analysis recommended a change of shoes to better support her knees. Better than knee surgery and more effective than the various previous treatments!

What was planned as a test drive after replacing both axles, 4 hubs, and all the trailer brakes turned out to be a lovely weekend visiting with relatives, touring the Railroad Museum, and visiting more distant relatives in the Zoo.