Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Personalities At Bay Bayou RV Resort

Bert Gildart: Mayra Volk’s parents fled Cuba when she was nine years old, and she is just one of the many people whose stories here in this small RV community are of interest. We met Mayra about Christmas time, and met her initially because she was selling jewelry, which she had created herself.

Soon we’ll be leaving Bay Bayou RV Resort, located in Florida along the Double Branch Creek, and her story along with those of many others here in this park are just a few that we’ll take with us. In a way, the vignettes represent a slice of life from most any small community.

Mayra’s parents fled Cuba when she was young, and the family’s story as emigrants is particularly intriguing. Because her family had no males between 15 and 27 years of age, they qualified to leave. But it took time. But after waiting four years for permission, the family left Cuba in 1965. When they left, they had but a three-day notice.

“A man in full military uniform knocked on our door and told us we had three days to get ready, and that we could take nothing but the clothes on our backs. They told Mom and Dad they had to leave everything behind, including all jewelry. But my mother sewed jewelry into the hem of her dress and I took a doll. We flew from Cuba to America, and during the flight she was so afraid she’d be caught.”

Before leaving, the American government provided Mayra’s parents with a choice of four different American cities to which they could move. Florida wasn’t one of them, but she remembers that New York and Louisiana were.

“My dad didn’t want to go to New York because it was too cold.”

Instead her parents selected a small town south of New Orleans, and that’s where Mayra began school. Chronologically, Mayra should have been in third grade but because she spoke only Spanish she was placed in kindergarten. The next year, however, she was moved up to a grade that was one year behind her age group. Though Mayra speaks excellent English today, she remembers that the school kids often teased her about the way she spoke.

Mayra said that her parents wanted to leave Cuba because they could see the writing on the wall.

“They wanted a better life for us,” recalls Mayra, “and in Cuba we didn’t always have it. When we were young, we were forced to watch an execution. The man was being executed because he’d spoken out against the government. To make an impression, we children had to watch along with our parents. I was probably eight years old, and remember that they shot the man in the head.”

Mayra also recalls that she and her parents had experienced the Bay of Pigs, and Mayra remembers that her parents dug a square hole about eight-feet deep. Then they used panels of tin for cover.

“What good that would have done against a nuclear attack?”

After arriving in America, Mayra’s parents taught one another to drive a car. They bought an old Mercury Comet and then practiced on a dead-end street.

Today, Mayra and her husband, Jim, make Bay Bayou Resort their home. They’ve been married 22 years, but Mayra didn’t’ obtain American citizenship until 2001.

“The examination contains 150 questions,” says Mayra, “and I was mortified.”

“How many American citizens,” asks Jim, “can name all 13 original colonies?”

Mayra passed, and for awhile they traveled fulltime in their motorhome. But Mayra says their hard-core traveling is behind them—for a while. Right now they want to help their daughter and be with their 3-year-old grandson, Aidan, whom they “adore” and take care of four days a week.

Two other people that have been part of our lives are Nancy Zatkoff and Kathy Wood, both of whom deserve much credit in their own right. Somewhat unexpectantly, both found themselves single. At midlife Kathy returned to college and completed her degree in accounting. She’s now a fixture at the front office helping with some of the book keeping. For several days, Janie was under the weather while we’ve been here, and we’ll remember her concern—and the flowers she brought and the many other kindnesses she exhibited.

Nancy, with whom we have kayaked, remains an independent traveler, and has no qualms what-so-ever about hitching up her travel trailer and heading down the road. Her travels have taken her all over the United States to places as diverse as Acadia in Maine and Quartzite in Arizona.

Once married to a federal judge, she taught school for awhile, but rather than return to the classroom at this stage of her life she found a satisfying position with Hospice. The job provides some time off and she’ll use it for summer traveling. She says she could teach a course in RVing, and we suspect she’s right. Over the years, this 5’1” lady has pulled 5th wheelers but now pulls a simple tow-behind trailer.

Bob Feely is another of our close friends, we’ll miss him too. Bob worked with Ford Motor Company for 40 years, and today he drives a motorhome and lives at Bay Bayou about four months each year. Last summer he was in an accident that almost killed him though you wouldn’t know it by looking at him. Athletic and well spoken, when employed by Ford, he performed the highly specialized job of keeping the machinery in proper working order, something that is about to be taken over by computers.

There are others we’ve met, too, whom we call friends, and they include a retired army sergeant who made over 800 jumps as a paratrooper and sky diver. His stories have kept us intrigued and we won’t soon forget him.

We’ve enjoyed brief conversations with Ernie, a man who worked as a photographer for the Stars and Stripes in Europe. The job took him throughout many countries that had military bases. I consider that a dream job.

We’ll miss Earl, the security guard. Though we haven’t gotten a chance to really know him, he once cowboyed in Montana, our home state, and I’d like to learn more about that.

We call Rose and Gordy friends, and we’ve described this couple previously in an entire blog entry.

Jo and Ken hail from Tennessee—are quintessentially Southern—and speak with a delightful accent typical of the Deep South. Ken loves football, and you know which team he was rooting for last week when Tennessee played Penn state.

We’re quite sure we’ll return one day to Bay Bayou, and when we do, certainly it will be because of the wonderful accommodations, but as well, it will be because of the delightful people we’ve met, and with whom we hope to maintain contact. Two months is not nearly enough time to delve into people’s lives and learn about the fascinating life histories that so many have acquired.

2 Responses to “Personalities At Bay Bayou RV Resort”

  1. Nancy Zatkoff Says:

    Thanks for the complimentary coverage and pictures. My kids love seeing their mom having such a great time. I bought a bike so I’ll be ready for an adventure when you two come baxck to the area.

  2. Sharika Dyal Says:

    Does anybody have experience with vintage airstreams? or know where I can look?