October 3-4, 1992: Tony Hirsch Visits Dallas
July 21-26, 1992: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale
Return to the Index for 1992



September 15-27, 1992
A Trip to North Carolina and Fort Lauderdale

 

This year is one of transition- at least in my work life. Over a year ago, EDS Corporation had acquired the McDonnell-Douglas Automation Company, the unit that had purchased the STRADIS Methodology from IST Inc. (the company I joined with Greg, Chris Gane, Trish Sarson and others). Up to that time, I'd spent nine years with IST and then McAuto. The Methodology business was not one EDS wanted to be in, so they were looking around to unload it. This summer, they reached an agreement to sell it to Structured Solutions, Inc.- a company started by a former IST consultant, Bob Connolly. I had talked with Bob on the telephone a number of times about the sale, and he assured me that he intended to try to continue to sell the Methodology and do classes for STRADIS. We both thought that it would be a good idea to meet in Atlanta, where Structured Solutions is headquartered, since we had not met in years. So I planned a trip that would take me through Atlanta to Charlotte for a visit with my Mom, then to Fort Lauderdale, with a stop in Savannah to see an old friend of mine.

 

My Visit Home to Charlotte

I was going to use this trip to take some stuff that I didn't need here in Dallas down to Florida, so on the morning of the 15th of September, I took a car full of stuff, including my bicycle, and headed off for Florida by way of Atlanta, Charlotte and Savannah.

The route to Atlanta and from there to Charlotte is an easy one, and I have driven it a couple of times before. This time, I'll be staying in Atlanta tonight so that I can meet with Bob tomorrow, and then I'll be on to Charlotte the day after that.


Along the way, I took the opportunity to find a number of Baskin-Robbins stores, including two of them in Monroe, Louisiana.

Near one of them I saw this odd establishment, and just had to get a picture of it. On Saturday nights when Fred comes down and Ron and Chris come over to play cards, we are always making frozen drinks, and I thought this would be appropriate.

I drove on to Atlanta, and stayed in a motel just west of town right off I-20. On Wednesday the 16th, I drove on into Atlanta, following Bob's directions to the Structured Solutions offices, which were in an office park in northwest Atlanta. I'd grab an aerial view and show you where they were but (1) you probably wouldn't care, (2) I certainly don't, and (3) they aren't there anymore anyway.

We had a good meeting, and I spent most of the day getting to know the other folks in the office and laying out what I would be doing for them and for the Methodology. Bob wanted me to work on some of the course materials to improve them, so I left with a carton of material to work on at home. We set up the mechanics of our relationship so that when the sale of STRADIS is finalized, I can go seamlessly to work for Bob instead of EDS.

I got away from Atlanta early enough to get to my Mom's house Wednesday night. I was glad to see here, as always. On Thursday, my Mom and I of course had to play some bridge, which we did twice that day.


On Friday, my Mom and I drove over to Cotswold Shopping Center to visit my niece, Jeffie and her coworker in the health food store where my niece is a clerk. Before we took her to lunch, I tried to take a good picture of her and her grandmother, but the light behind them fooled either me or my camera or both, and the picture turned out very out of focus. But since it is the only one I have, I decided to keep it and include it in my album.

My Mom and I played bridge again on Friday night, and then twice on Saturday. I like playing duplicate bridge, but it seems as if the only time I get to do so is when I am home with my Mother; none of my friends in Dallas know how to play. On Sunday, my sister and her husband came down from Elon, and we all had lunch together and spent the afternoon visiting. We took a series of six pictures outside my Mom's condo:


My Sister and Her Husband

My brother-in-law is a pharmacist at Barbour Drug Co., the family drugstore chain his father founded, and my sister manages Greyfield Farms.


The Barbour Family

Ted has a degree in law enforcement, and is applying to the Charlotte Police Department. Jeffie is clerking at the moment, but wants a career in music distribution.


My Niece and Nephew

Jeffie and Ted can be a pain sometimes, but today they seemed to be amenable to having their pictures taken.


Judy, Our Mom, and Bob

This is a really nice picture, I think, with the Barbours and Our Mom.

My mother, now in her early 80's, is as stylish as ever, although she doesn't move as fast as she used to. She is in pretty good health, although she complains that her eyesight is getting worse, I think that is natural for her age. She can still play bridge and read the newspaper, so how bad can it be? I need glasses now to read myself!


Judy and I and Our Mom

I seem to recall that my sister, Mother, and I used to be the same height, but either my memory is faulty, or they are both getting shorter! I think this is a nice picture of the three of us.


My Mom and Her Grandchildren

Again, a really nice picture of two generations- with a missing one in between. My Mom is very proud of her daughter and her grandchildren.

I spent two more days with my Mother, and then drove down to Ft. Lauderdale by way of Savannah.

 

A Stop in Savannah, Georgia

In the early 1980s, when I was living in Chicago, I met and began dating a young man who actually lived in Springfield, but worked for the state government and spent most of his time in Chicago- Dennis Haggard. In 1984, he moved to Savannah, and since I had not seen him for some time, I wanted to stop in and visit.

The 250-mile trip down to Savannah took a little over four hours, although it would be a bit less today since the Interstate between Charlotte and Columbia, and the bypass around that city, are complete. At this time, there was still some construction, and there were also improvements being made to I-26 from Columbia to Charleston.


So I arrived in Savannah in the early afternoon, and followed Dennis's directions to the place where he is now living.


If you have been going through this photo album chronologically, then you have already encountered a few pages having to do with my good friend Dennis. But in case you haven't, perhaps a bit of backstory would be helpful.

I first met Dennis back in 1980, I believe, when my friend Steve and I were out one Friday night. Dennis and I began conversing, and I learned that he worked for the State of Illinois, lived in Springfield, but had a job that had him mostly in Chicago- where he had a good friend that he stayed with. He seemed pretty grounded to me, we had some similar interests, and we started seeing each other fairly frequently when he was in the city.

Over the next year or two, we saw each other pretty often, and I visited him down in Springfield once or twice; we went to Lincoln's birthplace together and he actually came down to St. Louis once when I was there working and he had a business trip to the city himself. He was a very nice guy. From this distance, I can't pinpoint what it was that kept our relationship from going much further than a close friendship, but eventually Dennis moved to Savannah, Georgia, where his family had been from.

There, he lived with a guy named David, and I had occasion to visit the two of them in Savannah twice. They split up after a few years, and a new fellow, Hal, entered Dennis's life, and they were a couple until early 1991 when Hal died. Dennis has also become ill, and one of the reasons that I have stopped here in Savannah to see him is that he has recently he has moved from his apartment to a hospice where he could receive constant care when needed. It was heart-breaking to see him feeling so badly; like Grant, he has lost a lot of weight and looks much different than when I last saw him. But in talking with him at the hospice, I found him to still be the same person I was so attracted to ten years ago.

I stayed overnight here in Savannah; I took Dennis to a gathering of guys in his situation at the home of one of the members of the local support chapter, and we had a wonderful evening in the rural setting north of the city. The next day Dennis and I spent the morning together shopping. We had lunch, and I took him back to the hospice where I said good-bye and headed on to Ft. Lauderdale. The prognosis for Dennis is not good, and I am prepared for this to have been the last time I will see him.

 

Five Days in Fort Lauderdale

The drive from Savannah to Fort Lauderdale took me the rest of the day.


After I dropped Dennis off back at his hospice, I took one of the main streets of Savannah west out of town and to its intersection with Interstate 95 south. That was the last turn I had to make before I got off in Fort Lauderdale on Broward Boulevard, which takes me east to the condo. While Interstates have made auto travel simpler and quicker, they have also made it more boring.

I spent the remainder of this week at the condo in Fort Lauderdale; I would fly to my next work assignment in Kansas City this coming Sunday.

I did fairly little of note on this trip, other than do some work on the course materials I'd picked up in Atlanta. Ty and Scott and I did take the boat out a few times, and all the pictures from this trip were taken on one of those trips. We decided that it was about time to take a longer trip with the boat that just up and down the New River or the Intracoastal. I knew that Grant and Ty and Scott had taken their boat to Miami before when I was unable to be in Florida, and I had always wanted to do that, so on Saturday we decided to make a day trip of it and take the boat down the Intracoastal to Miami.


Me Relaxing in the Bow of the Boat

As you go down the Intracoastal, there are areas where no wake is allowed, areas where you can move along with minimal wake, and a few areas where you can open it up. If you could go flat out all the way, the trip would only take thirty minutes or so, but as it is it takes about an hour and a half.


Scott Takes a Turn at the Captaincy

This picture was taken in Hollywood, about five miles South of Port Everglades. The weather was perfect, and we were all getting some sun. The boat handled quite well.

The trip down to Miami in the little boat was really amazing. This was the second time I have made this trip, but the first time I have helped pilot my own boat.


For those of you who have not had an opportunity to travel along the Intracoastal Waterway, particularly in south Florida, it is an amazing experience. It also makes it tough to try to describe the Intracoastal Waterway to you.

The Intracoastal Waterway is a 3,000-mile inland waterway along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts of the United States, running from Boston, Massachusetts southward along the Atlantic Seaboard and around the southern tip of Florida, then following the Gulf Coast to Brownsville, Texas. Some sections of the waterway consist of natural inlets, saltwater rivers, bays, and sounds, while others are artificial canals. It provides a navigable route along its length without many of the hazards of travel on the open sea.

Sections of the Waterway have been under development since the nineteenth century, but those were almost exclusively either in the northeast or along the Gulf Coast from Brownsville to New Orleans. It wasn't until the development of the East Coast of Florida began in earnest in the early twentieth century that the development of the Florida and Georgia sections accelerated.

We have made the best use I can imagine of the naturally-occurring barrier islands, building them up when necessary and providing roads and bridges to get to them, to created this sheltered inland water route. The pictures you'll see here will show you some of that development, which, of course, spurred an incredible amount of private commercial development- all in about 75 years.

At left, in a scrollable window, I've extracted a map of the portion of the Waterway that we covered in our trip- a segment perhaps 25 miles long from north to south. As you scroll down, you'll get an appreciation for all the natural and man-made water features the Intracoastal makes use of, all the bridges and roads that have been built, and all the development that has occurred both on the barrier islands and on the mainland side within sight of the Waterway. When we get to the pictures from the trip, I'll mention some of the places you'll see on the map (and I will mark some of them as well).


The the far right is another picture I had Ty take of me in the bow of the boat on the way to Miami. By adding some cushions, the bow of the boat makes a great place to get some sun. The day looks a bit overcast in the picture, and indeed there was a lot of cloud cover as we set out from the condo, but as the day progressed it got nicer and nicer, and the afternoon turned into one of the best of my stay here this week.


The view at right looks back the way we have come, through Hollywood. The high-rises have been built on the barrier island, and Route A1A runs on that barrier island as well.

We are actually between Hollywood and North Miami Beach now, and there is a lot of construction that has gone on in this area in the last few years. Many of these buildings have a lot of vacant space, but with all the people moving into the state each year, that situation will probably not last too long.


We Zoom Through North Bay

Here is one of the areas where you can take your boat up to speed, and the wake indicates that we are doing just that. This is actually the North end of the large harbor at Miami and Miami Beach.


The City of Miami, Florida

As we move through this large harbor, we are approaching the center of Miami.

There are lots of places where you can take a boat right into the downtown area, or at least right next to it, and Ty knows of a place where we can dock the boat and then get out and walk around. We are moving closer to the downtown area now, still in a zone where we can travel rapidly. The no wake zones are usually in places where the waterway is narrow, and where the wake could cause waves that would cause the breakwaters to be damaged, or where there are boats parked along the Intracoastal that could be harmed by the waves set up.


Miami, Florida, Seen from North Bay

Miami has grown tremendously in the last twenty years, and almost everything looks new. The place we are headed is that low series of buildings at the right of the picture.


Ty, Scott and Myself at the Bayside Shopping Plaza

An obliging tourist from Germany took this picture of the three of us. The shopping plaza has lots of stores and restaurants, and we spent the better part of three hours having lunch and wandering around.

The Bayside Plaza was a neat development, and, as Ty promised, there were slips where we could park the boat- paying a fee just like at a parking meter (although more like $2/hour). These docks are run by the city, and there is an attendant, and after you find a spot and tie your boat up, you pay the attendant $5, and he or one of the other employees of the city will guard your boat for as long as three hours (at which time you have to return to "pay the meter again".


The Bayside Shopping Plaza

The plaza extends in a dogleg shape around the edge of the bay at this point. Over there, a number of day cruise boats are tied up. These boats go out for an hour or so and cruise around the bay for tourists. The shopping plaza is three levels high, and is just like having an open-air Galleria right by the bay.


A Sailing Vessel (replica) Docked at Miami

The sailing vessel is tied up at the bayside plaza, and offers tours. It also goes out for chartered sails.

We enjoyed the plaza and our lunch, and the couple of hours of walking around that we did, but a little after mid-afternoon we decided to head on back to Fort Lauderdale.


We pulled the boat out of its dock and turned to retrace our route back north. This view looks North from the harbor at Miami. We are approaching a sign that tells us we may accelerate to cruising speed. When the waterway narrows again, we'll encounter either a "Slow" marker, which indicates that we (and any other boat) must go slow enough to produce a "minimum" wake. As you probably know, the "wake" of any boat or ship is the turbulence that it leaves as it passes.

Not all boats of the same size leave the same wake at the same speed, and that's why the sign is a little vague. It all has to do with the actual shape of the hull. If you have two boats with the same length and the same draw (depth to which the hull extends) traveling at the same speed, in general the one with a hull that is either wider or flatter will leave less wake. You might expect a 1000-foot cruise ship to leave a huge wake, and it does, but if my boat were traveling at the same speed, and you simply scaled it up to the size of such a ship, the wake it would leave would be much greater.

The trip back was very pleasant, and the weather continued to be good. That evening we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Acapulco Lindo, for Mexican food, and then the three of us went out for drinks. Ty and Scott don't like to stay out late, so I went out to the Eagle later and played pool. On Sunday the 27th, I gathered up my business stuff and flew off to Kansas City for my next class assignment.

NOTE:
You may wonder why I didn't start out on Saturday and drive home, as I have usually done, but instead have left my car here. The reason is that my friend Greg, who is living in Boston at the moment on a long-term assignment with Bachman Systems, recently bought not one but two cars up there. One he will drive there instead of an expensive rental car. The other, a Mazda Miata convertible, was an impulse purchase; he apparently got some insanely great deal buying both at the same time. But he doesn't need the Miata in Boston; it is a car for a city in the south- like Dallas. So he asked me if he could ship the car to Dallas and have me keep it for him in my garage until he returns to Dallas next year sometime. He sweetened the deal by telling me I could drive it as much as I liked.

So that's why I've left the Honda here. Now when I come to Florida, there will already be a car here for me to drive, and I will save a boatload of money on rental cars. This seemed like a win-win arrangement, and it worked fine for quite a while, although a problem would arise next June that I hadn't anticipated. But that's a story for another album page.

You can use the links below to continue to another photo album page.



October 3-4, 1992: Tony Hirsch Visits Dallas
July 21-26, 1992: A Trip to Fort Lauderdale
Return to the Index for 1992