We went to Orlando for a convention. After too many amusement in the parks and too much winking at the school counselors to get them to come to our booth (shameless plug: EdITS does have the best career guidance materials), I needed a break.
Too cheap to pay the irritating tolls on every Florida freeway (is there a toll booth every mile?) (what do they do with their gas taxes?) (trolls at Disney, tolls everywhere else) (enough!), I headed northeast on the back roads. Ran into a sweet waterski haven (Travers ski school). Took a ride with them (first serious ride of the season). Got to ride in the boat with one of France's top female trickers – what a treat! The place was full of awesome talent. It has my passion for waterskiing restarted.
A little further up the road is the town of Tavares. It has branded itself as “Seaplane City”. Passed the SeaRey factory on the shore of a pretty lake. Weaved around downtown and easily found a parking spot near the lakeside park. Of course, there was a floatplane tied up at the dock and another taxiing out. With the ink still fresh from my seaplane rating (OK I got rating 25 years ago and have flown a seaplane maybe twice since then), I had to go up. Jones Seaplanes took me for a flight. A couple of landings in the surrounding lakes and the cool bird's eye view of central Florida were a real treat.
Why rave about a community on a ski site? Skiing is a niche sport facing ever more scrutiny and restriction. Just like flying and seaplane flying even more so. For a town to go out on a limb and cater to a niche group is very encouraging. Especially one that may be less than politically correct (airplanes are perceived as dangerous, noisy and polluting). That attitude is refreshing.
It spreads that acceptance away from the mainstream. Evidenced by the support the local government is giving with support of Traver's bid to host the Senior World Water Ski Championships in October. Kudos to the tolerant attitude and support from these people. I had a day far more entertaining than what I could get at an amusement park thanks to the open attitude.