Day One: Reprise
Casa Coquina was our inn for the night. It’s a playful bed and breakfast with eclectic decor and an excellent breakfast. Our hostess Ginny even made gluten-free cookies and pancakes for my wife. The four of us shared a suite on the top floor called The Black Pearl. It’s a great space for a honeymoon or an average sized family.
It wasn’t until we spent some time in Titusville that I could see the potential for what the coming trail network can spur. Titusville is a natural jumping-off point for a number of other nature-based opportunities, as well as for aerospace-related tourism. Those who take the trails to Titusville will have more to do than just biking.
Laurilee Thompson, co-owner of 30-year-old institution Dixie Crossroads Restaurant, provided hospitality second to none. After shuttling us to our lodging (more on that later), she came back after a while to pick us up and take first to Dixie Crossroads for dinner (can’t beat having the owner at your table to guide in selections and getting great service!). She regaled us with many stories of her, and her family’s, adventures with fishing, restaurant ownership, eco-tourism and environmental stewardship. After that we piled into her vehicle to head out to the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge for a night-time kayak tour along the Haulover Canal and into Mosquito Lagoon. When conditions are right (clean water with the right salinity levels) these waters produce trillions of micro-organisms that produce bioluminescence. A stoke of the paddle, or your hand splashing the water, sets off millions of creatures with a blue-green glow. Fish and dolphins churning the water also set them off.
What, you want to see a photo? Unfortunately no-one has invented a camera that can photograph it to an extent that can do it justice (at lease not one that could be carried in a kayak). You’ll just have to take my work that it’s beautiful and well worth the trip and a few mosquito bites.
As a bonus, we also happened to be out there as an Atlas V rocket was scheduled to lift off with a GPS satellite. We had front row seats only 12 miles away as, right on time, it lit up the sky and sent a roar across the lagoon. A Day Away Kayak Tours runs a very friendly and professional operation.
Between the drive back and cleaning up, it was around 2:00 a.m. before we went to sleep. We’d been up and running since 5:00 a.m. the previous day. So Saturday’s ride was going to be a challenge, too.
You can also follow our exploits on Facebook at First Florida Rail to Trail Tour.