Poinciana, Florida 1/2/16 – 1/8/16

From Alan –

Population = 53,193 (part of Orlando – Kissimmee – Sanford metro area = 2,134,411), latitude 28º 9’ N, Longitude 81º 28’ W, elevation 60 feet, average January low temperature = 49.4, Average July high temperature = 91, average sunny days = 237, annual snowfall = 0, annual rainfall = 50.7”

Driving around town, I would describe Poinciana as a suburb of a suburb of a huge city.  Unfortunately, that also means that there is only one main highway that runs through the center of town.  That highway is in an almost constant state of clog with harried commuters and bellowing emergency vehicles vying for position.  At one of the shopping centers, we found it better to drive an extra mile to a stop light, rather than try to make a left turn onto the highway.  This affects people’s attitudes about driving too.  Whenever there is the slightest break in traffic, somebody is burning rubber to squeeze into it.

traffic
Caught in traffic again.

On our first night here, we stopped at the Walmart for groceries.  This huge building is joined to a strip mall, located on the edge of a vast expanse of asphalt that has been cut up with roadways, more strip malls, and little islands containing grass and small trees whose leaves start right about eye level so a person can’t see where anything is.  Navigating into this mess after dark was bewildering and dealing with traffic was terrifying.  When I commented to a clerk how everybody in town appears to be out either shopping or drag racing, she agreed and told me that that is all there is to do here.  After a few days here, I have to agree.  There are a few shopping malls with a handful of fast food restaurants, and that is about it.

ariel
Downtown Poinciana

A couple of days later, we decided to find a local brewery.  The closest is in Kissimmee, BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse.  Google maps says it is only about a half hour drive.  The beers are excellent and the happy hour eats are great.  After a little side trip to the Skechers shoe store for some comfy new shoes, we set off homeward.  The frontage road runs into the highway and we squeeze into a slow moving traffic jam.  For most of the next hour we are in a stop and go gridlock, watching each next light change a few times before we can get through it.  Closer to Poinciana, traffic gets a little faster but there is still a lot of it.  There are long stretches of roadway without traffic lights and I pity the poor people who live there who must risk life and limb to execute  a left turn.

BJs
Happy hour at BJs
bjs2
Self portrait, with beer and pitchfork.

The best restaurant we found in Poinciana was the Grille at Stonegate, in the Solivita gated community.  Solivita is pretty amazing.  It is a country club for the 55+ year olds with two 18-hole golf courses, lots of open park land, walking trails, a softball diamond, lakes, and a quaint little downtown with shops, restaurants, a bank, a ballroom, a spa, and a billiard room.  We played golf there twice and found the course interesting, challenging, nicely kept, and laced with lush groves of palms and other tropical trees wearing droopy garlands of Spanish moss.  It is nice to play a golf course that is not completely edged with condos and houses.  We even met some of the resident alligators.

solivita
Downtown Solivita
gator
One of the water hazards on the golf course.

Poinciana was a slow week for us.  Nothing much to do but read, write, play some golf, relax.  Next time we pass through Florida, we’ll try a different route.  Grabbing the last minute deals can land us nice resorts, but it can also land us in dull suburbs.

Next stop: more Florida, but with ocean

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footloosefogeys

We are two recent retirees who decided to sell the house, pull up stakes, and explore North America. We are both being tourists and looking for the right blend of people, place, and geography that makes for the perfect place to retire.

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