Kapok Tree Blocked

PB Kapok Tree 01-17-2015You know from yesterday’s manatee post that Road Warriorette Anne in in town for a few weeks to escape the cold in Texas. Saturday morning, she walked on the beach with Wife Lila, then in the afternoon she suggested we do one of our favorite bike rides – the Lake Trail in Palm Beach.

It’s about a 19.33 mile round trip from the house to the Palm Beach Inlet, and I haven’t been on a bike in so long I’m embarrassed, so I wasn’t disappointed when she said, “Let’s just go to the Kapok tree by the Flagler Museum and call it a day.” (That made it a 10.35 mile ride.)

The first thing we saw when we rounded the corner by the big tree was a gate over the walkway, some fresh fencing and a sign that said “NO PUBLIC ACCESS.”

Palm Beach doesn’t care much for us

Sarah, Matt and Malcolm Steinhoff with kapok tree in Palm Beach 11-09-2008Palm Beach isn’t fond of outsiders (who don’t have ostentatious wealth). They make it difficult to get access to the beach, and parking is expensive and closely monitored. Forget about parking on side streets. So far as I know, there are no public restrooms in town (although the guys and gals at the fire stations will give you a break if you ask).

Still, restricting access to a landmark like the Kapok tree, which was seen by Henry Morrison Flagler’s guests as they were pulled by it in Afromobiles at the beginning of the 20th Century, is a particular affront. It must have just happened, because everybody who came by, including parents who wanted to let their kids climb on it, was surprised and outraged.

Son Matt played in its huge roots when he was a little boy, and he brought HIS son, Malcolm, and Sarah there for a family portrait in 2008.

Photo gallery of the Kapok tree

It didn’t take long to come up with a representative sample of photographs showing people enjoying the tree. I’ve posed out-of-state bike tourists with it, and photographed scores of kids (and adults) marveling at the living landmark. There was almost always someone there when I’ve ridden by it.

Click on any photo to make it larger, then use your arrow keys to move through the gallery.

Shari Tackles Palm Beach

Shari Stiver on bike ride in Palm Beach 1010-2013Friend Shari and Wife Lila have been touring South Florida while I’ve been trying to wrap up projects before hitting the road. I got a bunch of work done Wednesday, so I had a few hours free Thursday morning to take Shari on a short bike ride along Palm Beach’s Lake Trail.

When I mentioned that because I am folically challenged, I wear a Cool Max headsweat under my helmet to keep salty bodily fluids from splashing onto my glasses, she said she usually wraps a bandana around her forehead. Reaching into my back jersey pocket, I produced this souvenir from the Tour of Southern Rural Vistas. I didn’t notice the “Springtime” on the bandana until I edited the picture.

Where’s my Segway?

Shari Stiver on bike ride in Palm Beach 1010-2013A covey of Segways cruised by buzzing like a batch of angry bees while Shari was vamping next to this sculpture at the Four Arts Museum. “Why are we riding these? Why don’t have one of those?”

Some things don’t deserve an answer.

Feed it a kid first

Shari Stiver on bike ride in Palm Beach 1010-2013

No trip on the Lake Trail is complete without pausing at the huge kapok tree south of the Flagler Museum. We pulled up just about the same time a mother with several children arrived. When Shari started to elbow them aside, I said, “We find it works much better if we feed the tree a couple of kids before the first adult gets close to it.”

From the look on the mother’s face, I’m pretty sure my name has been added to some kind of registry in Palm Beach.