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After a hot and sticky night (tonight we are turning on the AC), we started the rainy day with home-made French Toast and then packed up to move on down the road.  We had a rather a short commute planned today, but it took as from the coast to a more inland location.  The rain clouds ocassionally gave way to let rays of sun peak through and the rain stopped (temporarily) but started up again…and again…and again.

Unfortunately, it started again when we reached Jupiter, Fla. where we met my husband’s niece (-in-law) who treated us to a fantastic lunch by an upscale water-inlet.  Sitting amoungst the watercraft and the fish tank and the sushi, it was a welcome point of relaxation.  We appreciate her taking time out of her busy schedule to accomodate “the vagabonds”. Hope to see her and her husband again soon.

About anothr 50 miles was our final destination – Lake Okeechobee.  All along the route there were marshes and bogs and swamps and an occasional animal farm and then a large spanse of sod farm followed by an even larger sugar cane crop.  The water birds were plentiful and beautifully silloueted against the water. When we reached our camp, we were warned to BEWARE of ALLIGATORS – OK…!  I also saw a sign indicating that Manatees frequented the dock waters – I saw plenty of bubbles and shadows, but none ever surfaced for a good photo.  More birds lined the docks and shoreline and a large, circling flock cried in the distance (reminiscent of The Birds).


In that same distance, angry storm clouds were brewing and we did get a downpour, but that seems to have settled down a bit, for now.

Hopefully, the rain will stay at bay long enough for us to walk up to Big Bertha’s Fish House and Tiki Bar (DJ tonight). They gave us free drink tickets and there is fried catfish right out of the Lake.  So today, we got wet, we saw some wildlife, and who knows – tonight we might just get wild!  We have to train for Key West, so what better excuse!

Our words of the day come from a woman who I encountered fishing off the pier.  She appeared to be in her 70’s (or more), wearing a tattered house-dress, slip-on slippers with a floppy hat that covered her corn-rows. Her body was bent and her face was wrinkled, but she had a smile on her face and life in her step as she rolled her fishing gear to her favorite spot.  I thought to take a picture, but I was afraid that she would think it rude – but I did greet her and wished her luck.  “Honey”, she said, “I is already lucky to be a-standin’ here today!”


We start with the words of the day from the Apollo 13 Mission. A testament to the human spirit of survival, ingenuity and success. More about that later.

The day started out with Dad saving a life – literally. His routine trip to the bathroom in the early morning found a man writhing on the floor in a seizure.  He assisted him, while calling for help and the office called 911.  Dad stayed with the man until professional help arrived.  That will get your heart started in the morning!  It appears that the man will be OK – and Dad will too.






We went to Kennedy Space Center/Cape Canaveral – which was about a 20 minute drive.  I was on the lookout for alligators and saw a few in the canals along the road, but none close enough to get a good photo. We crossed over a scenic bridge/causeway that crossed the Atlantic to Merritt Island.  In addition to the Space Center, there is a museum of Astronauts, a Museum for Police and a bird/animal sanctuary.

I must say that I was impressed with the Space Center experience.  The admission price was reasonable, the parking, wheelchairs and strollers were free, and everything was included (except food and the Shuttle Lift-Off thrill experience). The 3D/IMAX movies were excellent and the other attractions were informative and fun.  The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and the whole place was very clean and well maintained.  There is a HUGE amount to area to cover, but they handle that with air-conditioned tour buses that run on schedule and are handicap friendly.






As expected, Dad was consumed with the science and I was bewildered with the concept of infinity and beyond.  Over lunch, we had a deep philosophical discussion about outer and inner space and the fragility of our tiny planet – while others only engaged in idle chitter-chatter. Life-size replicas or original equipment hung above us and were displayed around us.  We touched a moon rock and saw original control-room monitors and space suits and gear of the astronauts. The movie about the Hubble Telescope took us deep into space to view other galaxies, light-years away and spectacular stars in various stages of birth and death emitting gaseous plasmas that could form into new solar systems.  Mind-boggling and beautiful.







In the Apollo 11 Lunar Theatre, my Dad and I sat side by side, just as we had on the couch in our living room when I was twelve years old.  It was way after midnight, but we were up and glued to the set.  All of the lights were off and we watched by the glow of the TV screen as Neil Armstrong took that first historic step while Walter Cronkite narrated the events with the emotion and pride that every American (every WORLD) citizen felt at that moment.  For that brief moment in time, we were united as citizens of the world and marveling at the achievements of man and the belief that there is always more tomorrow than there is today.  Sitting there today, I got a lump in my throat – thankful that I could share that with my Dad again and hopeful that the human race may survive long after I am space dust.

Tomorrow, lunch with my niece-in-law by the ocean and then we head inland to swamp country.  Maybe I will get a pic of an alligator then – before he gets a bite of me!  In the meantime, I will share some buzzard pics in preparation for creepy Halloween…See ya’ tomorrow from the bayou!


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Today, we visited the great city of Savannah, Georgia.  This is one city that lives up to its reputation.  It is quaint, friendly, beautiful and a little naughty.  The architecture, foliage, parks and people provide a colorful and varied palette for any photographer or artist.  It is impossible to see everything in one day, so we concentrated on the highlights.  One of the lesser visited sites we stopped at was the restored Lucas Theatre – a grand lady of the cinema and stage with ornate marble work, plaster castings, golden guild, and luxurious fabrics.  In my hometown, we had the Columbia Theatre which also had lush accoutrements and balconies and theatre boxes – but the Lucas Theatre was even more fantastic and provided a free self-guided tour to take us back to the time when there were no multiplexes or 8-dollar popcorn – it was THE THEATRE.  It is a great stop if you are ever in the city – it would be even better to see a show which is scheduled intermittently throughout the year.

As we strolled along the Greco-Roman military residential squares that were designed by Ogelthorpe (the city’s founder), we found one small park after another. They were little oases of trees and green grass and flowers – sometimes with a fountain or a statue or an object d’art. We could sit and forget that we were in the middle of a thriving, bustling city. People were sitting on the benches or the grass and reading or eating or just taking in the relaxing atmosphere. I suspected that these were mostly local citizens (obvious because they were not clenching their city street map and turning it frantically around and around to try and get their bearings, like we tourists). Surrounding the parks were neighborhood after neighborhood of restored colorful and neatly kept homes, businesses and places of worship built in all kinds of various styles. I am not very fond of the Federalist architecture, but I must say that the ones in Savannah were very impressive.  Then there are Greek and Roman styles with massive columns of imported stones and rounded porticos.

Mostly, I preferred the ornamental ironwork which was prolific throughout all types of window and balcony treatments, gates and fences, even rain gutters that looked like fish!  We also admired that people in Savannah take their yards and gardens seriously. Looking into or over fences, you could see manicured and meticulous gardens, which I am sure would be even more spectacular in the peak of season.

Foodies beware or be in heaven, as the case may be – Savannah is a Mecca of southern delicacies and decadence. You name it – they have got it.  We somewhat behaved but did have a lunch at the Pirate House.  We tried She-crab soup and enjoyed it – much like lobster bisque. We didn’t go to Paula Deen’s, but if you are a fan – she is represented here in a BIG way.  We avoided the many confectioners (no Pralines for us) and ice cream palaces and all manners of dessert – now THAT is will-power.

On the way out, I bought a Johnny Mercer CD (a Savannah native) and a copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (no, I never have read it but after visiting the city, I want to – so I am).  As we left the parking lot of the Visitor
Center, I popped in the CD and let Johnny’s tunes entertain us as we rolled
down the highway to our next KOA. It is only fitting that Johnny’s lyrics
provide our WOTD:

Ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive

E-lim-i-nate the negative

And latch on to the affirmative

Don’t mess with mister inbetween


We woke up to a cold, crisp morning that required some of the oatmeal that we had purchased in a farm store at the head of the Outer Banks.  The squirrels were back to throwing nuts, so we thought it time for these two nuts to break camp and head for Greensboro, which was a rather short journey.

We found our campground in Hagan-Park which is a very nice, affordable and clean recreation area that is managed by the County.  We treated ourselves to hot showers and then were off again to visit with one of Dad’s boyhood friends and his wife.  I titled this “blogette” Visiting Roots not only because Dad was reconnecting with a friend from his past, but also in homage to this amazing couple who have embraced all things natural (avid gardeners, bee-keeper, wood turnings, baskets, baking, re-establishing spent apple orchards, and all around supporting sustainability); all things intellectual (voracious readers, initiators of a book-club, educators, ife-long students and travelers); and all things morally right (local and national campaign advocates and volunteers, letters to the Editor, and truly working at a grassroots level to help turn this country around). Together, throughout their 50 years of marriage, they have planted many seeds of family, of harvest, of education and of patriotism that have taken root and thrived. I admire them – we need more of them.

A delightful day was spent reminiscing and catching up. Our steak and twice-baked potato meal was accompanied by a homegrown salad and dessert
consisted of homegrown home-made blackberry pie (ala mode). A jar of their
harvested honey was a gift that we will enjoy. Gardening tips were shared (with Dad of course because those of you, that know me, know that I have a black thumb…), old photographs emerged, books were borrowed and recipes were compared(now that is something I know about). They opened their home to us and we felt very welcome. The time went quickly and it was time to go back to camp for some shut-eye, as we have a long drive tomorrow to Point South, just NE of Savannah, Ga.

The quote of the day: Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. – Marcel Proust


Today was dedicated to the past as we strolled the streets of Colonial Williamsburg preservation/restoration area.  It was a misty and overcast weekday, so the crowds were at a minimum. The period houses and storefronts were very authentic and augmented by cast members in authentic dress and manner completed the package. Dad enjoyed touring the gardens with its variety of herbs, bulb flowers, vegetables and sun flowers which were not at the peak of their season, but he appreciated them just the same because he understands the changing of the seasons that gardners and farmers endure. We saw real craftsmen and artisans at work fashioning their wares and ate lunch and dinner in reproduction establishments that added to the ambiance (and cost) of the dining experience.

The tour through the extensive museum starts at the Public Hospital (aka insane asylum),

but then turns into a more pleasant journey past pottery, china, silver pieces, furniture, folk art, currency, weather-vanes and signs, portraits and scenic paintings, doll-houses and instruments (to name a few). We spent several hours at this stop.

A courtesy bus travels the perimeter of the park with frequent stops at key locations.  It was on one of these buses that we met a woman and her mother that were traveling together much the same as Dad and I.  The daughter helped her mother with her walker and praised her for walking the full distance of the main street (about a mile – no small feat for a woman with a colostomy, and 2 knee and 1 hip replacement!).  I looked at Dad, with his heavy-duty knee braces and it occurred to me that I admired both of these seniors for pushing themselves to enjoy life experiences despite any handicaps which make that difficult. It is to people like these that I dedicate the words of the day as a quote by Thomas Jefferson in 1763, “The most fortunate of us, in our journey through life, frequently meet with calamities and misfortunes which may greatly afflict us; and, to fortify our minds against the attacks of these calamities and misfortunes, should be one of the principal studies and endeavours of our lives.”

I hope that both of them will have many more years to enjoy many more experiences and that both of us daughters are there to enjoy it with them.