Sunday, July 05, 2009

Visual Writing Prompt: 7-5-09

Back in March, my husband and I went to Florida, part business, part vacation. The business part took place up in Orlando. Then we drove to Miami. A friend of mine, an author who shall remain nameless - Mark Troy - asked me to take on a quest for him. This unnamed author - Mark Troy - asked me to stop in Fort Lauderdale and visit Bahia Mar, go to Slip F-18 and take a picture.

And so I did.

Driving the road that follows close to the coastline of Florida is a pain in the patootie. First of all, there are so many houses, hotels and condos you only get occasional glances of water. Second of all, the traffic is bumper to bumper for miles and miles. But we drove south. Got into Ft. Lauderdale and couldn’t find Bahia Mar. So we called information and then Bahia Mar and got directions. Got back on the oh-so-fun road of endless traffic and drove past Bahia Mar. Managed to turn around. Got back to the entrance and waited forever until someone took pity on us and let us cut across. Paid to get in and park. Here is the sign at the entrance. I got my husband to stop, let me out, then circle around and come back for me so I could take this.

Let me take a break, while my husband is parking and finding his sunglasses, to tell you why that anonymous friend of mine - Mark Troy - wanted me to find this place. Bahia Mar, Slip F-18, is where Travis McGee docks his boat, the Busted Flush. And you-don’t-know-who - Mark Troy - wanted a picture.

So, we found the F Dock:

Next, we began walking the dock looking for Slip 18. Some boats were empty. On some, people lounged in the aft area (notice how I can speak boat), talking, drinking, and eyeing the strange Texans.

As we walk up and down the dock, avoiding staring at the strange Floridians sitting in boats going nowhere, let me tell you a bit more about Travis McGee. He’s fictional. He’s the protagonist created by John D. MacDonald. In the very first McGee book, MacDonald introduced McGee and the Busted Flush in the opening lines of the book:
"It was to have been a quiet evening at home.
"Home is the Busted Flush, 52-foot barge-type houseboat, Slip F-18, Bahia Mar, Florida.
"Home is where the privacy is. Draw all the opaque curtains, button the hatches, and with the whispering drone of the air conditioning masking all the sounds of the outside world, you are no longer cheek to jowl with the random activities of the neighbor craft. You could be in a rocket beyond Venus, or under the icecap."
I knew that, but he-whose-name-shall-not-be-spoken - Mark Troy - asked for a picture. So here it is:

Which one is it, you ask. None of them. There is no Slip F-18. Not that we found. But that is a picture of the area where it should have been.

So there it is. The pictures I said I would take for you’ll-not-hear-his-name-from-me, author-of-the-Val-Lyon-series (Mark Troy). This is the first time these shots have come to light. Not even he knows I took them. I’ve been waiting to surprise him. So now, your writing assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to link over to his blog and leave him a message letting him know his pictures of Bahia Mar, Slip F-18, that he requested are here for him to see.
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  1. You went to a lot of trouble for a friend and hope he appreciates them!

    L. Diane Wolfe

  2. (Don't tell Mark, but it was an adventure.)

  3. A nice adventure, at that! How wonderful to tour the docks, considering the boats and life there. Sounds very peaceful!

  4. It was peaceful -- and the boats were awesome. I have a pic of one, I think it was called Party Girl, that was beyond a boat - it was a private ship.

  5. Helen,
    I think I'm in love with you. That adventure was awesome and the pictures are delightful. Slip F-18 might not be as famous an address as 22 Baker Street, but I've visited it more often in my mind. You know what? Your pictures are better than my imagination. I owe you and your husband big time for this. Thank you for doing it and a big thank you to your husband for going along with it. The next time we meet, the Plymouth gin's on me.


  6. Ooh, I don't think I've ever had Plymouth gin. It sounds so good, Mark, I may skip the tonic water.

    Thanks for sending us on this great adventure!

  7. Great post, Helen. I hope he-who-shall-not-be-named appreciates it.

  8. Hi Jean. Mark, uh, anonymous author, does indeed.

  9. Helen, Being a Travis McGee fan, I really enjoyed the story and photos. I also want to thank you for the link to Mark's blog. I think he knows what a great friend you are for doing that for him!

    Love your blog, and always appreciate the great advice, even tho I don't tend to post much. Keep up the good work, and thanks again!

    Lynn in Texas

  10. Well, hellloooo, Lynn. So glad you liked the story and photos, esp since you're a Travis McGee fan. Keep stopping by.

  11. Excellent. I've been in love with Travis McGee for a long, long time. Really long time. Thanks for this fun post.

  12. Loved your post, Helen. I've read your comments a couple of other places and enjoyed them, then Conda of Conda's Creative Center sent me to your blog, among others.
    I'm a John MacDonald fan, too.
    You took us on a fun adventure. Now I'm off to the blog of that anonymous writer. Err...what possibly could his name have been?

  13. Hi Patricia. Nice to see other Travis McGee fans!

    Hi Kathy. Glad you stopped by. I'll have to tell Conda thanks for sending you over!

    What writer? ;-)

  14. Thank you so much for doing this as, like Mark, I was hoping he was sitting there. You did a very neat thing and thank you.

  15. Mark also did a neat thing, Kevin. He sent me on the quest.

  16. Confession, I don't know who Travis McGee's is but you put him on locations and made him very real. Now, I wonder what your hubby said about your directional skill...

    Bargain with the Devil

  17. Hey, Enid! Just as we drove past Bahia Mar, I yelled, "There it is!" Doesn't that sound like good navigating?



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