Practical Theory - The Origin
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ToDaY's MeNu - Ted

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Home Sweet Home


I left my daughter and grandson at 11 AM. I got through the initial traffic around Atlanta and found empty roads. The drive was easy. I stopped at rest stops to walk, to cook and eat, and to take a short nap. I decided to drive through. Instead of going to my house, I decided to go to the Fed Park at Assateague. At 2 AM I arrived at the park and found number 4 available. I set my get out quick tomorrow camp. I grabbed a beer and walked to the beach and felt the cold of the ocean. I sat and drank the beer. I went to bed in the wind and cold. I decided to stay here since all my stuff was in the Scamp. To have gone home would have had be going in and out to get this and that. I hope this is a tradition for the future. I woke with the sun coming through the window. This was fabulous. It took me twenty minutes to break camp. I got home by 8 AM and spent the day deconstructing. Burley had a great event going on all day and into the night. I saw lots of friends.
The next day a neighbor came over to tell me my landlord was in the hospital, his liver is failing and he is going to University of MD for a bed and hopefully a transplant. He is a good man.  She also offered to mow the grass for the first time as she was getting the big mower out and figured I had my hands full with unpacking and such. It was right neighborly of her and helped me out lots. It is cold here and I have indoor fires. I have to figure out how to stay south longer next year. I’m already booked from Feb 6 to Mar 6 and have to wait until Apr 6 to continue booking for next year. Still hoping to get a fortnight in the Keys. It rained all weekend and was very windy.
On Monday I went to the library, took the car in to Jiffy Lube, and did a big shopping at two stores. It cleared by the afternoon and I had a fire outside and read. The back neighbor’s dog, Betty, a small black terrier, came over and jumped in my lap while I sat in front of the fire, she is a cutey. Tuesday was windy and cool and I did some yard work in between reading and catching up with some TV programs. I caught a pinecone needle in my left thumb, which I had to soak out and got stung by a wasp on my right foot. Yikes, what a day already.
I bought my seven tickets for Jazz Fest and then took some time to look at the lineup for each day. Of course, there are times when 2 artists I want to see are playing at the same time. Decisions and choices are to be made. One of the owners of a local restaurant I like and who knows NOLA well is going to give me some restaurants to visit when I’m there this time, Apr 21 to May 5. I’ll be seeing my son at ISU for his parent’s weekend at the frat, ATO, the weekend from Apr 14 to Apr 18. I plan on visiting Hot Springs on my way to St Bernard SP. Then we’ll celebrate my daughter’s first Mother’s Day, when my son will meet his new nephew.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016

Going to meet Hudson


Hudson was born at 10:28 on March 15, 2016. I returned from my first bike ride in about a week to learn I was a grandfather for the third time.  I will go there on March 21 to give them some time and to allow all the other guests to come and go.
I had a wonderful first night back in Big Lagoon (paradise) with a great fire, good weather and a moon that just lingered in the sky. After waking to learn that my daughter was in the hospital and a bike ride, I called the new parents. I spoke to the new father as the new mother was nursing their new baby.
I went to the beach with a lunch and celebrated in the sun. I took a lovely long walk and felt so good to be back but to be a grandpa again. I found great postcards and sent one to Hudson, welcoming him and telling him I couldn’t wait to meet him. I told others about Hudson. I got home and got a call from Tom about my visit. I made some brownie mix to cook in their oven for them. I had dinner and drove down to him and got there about 7. I brought a Delirium brew I a growler, too. We had a toast and sent the pic to his sister and husband as we toasted Hudson. It was fun meeting his ATO brothers and we look forward to seeing each other at Patent’s weekend in mid April.  I got home and listened to the election results and had a fire. Hillary did very well, and Trump lost Ohio.
I woke and after breakfast took an excellent twenty-mile ride and then went to the beach with lunch. I saw lots of dolphins today and lots more pelicans. I spoke to my daughter and I asked her how it felt to hold Hudson and she giggled and said how beautiful it was. I love that giggle of hers. I know it so well as an indicator of her joy and happiness. George stayed the night so the family was together the first night. I never had that luxury. I like the new way. She sounded so calm, so happy, and so hopeful. I can’t wait to meet Hudson. He has big cheeks I saw in new pictures, great for nibbling on. I left the beach, did some shopping and returned to camp to new neighbors.
I got lots of folks complimenting Hillary’s speech and win since they saw my “I’m Ready for Hillary” bumper sticker on my car. I put that sticker on a prominent place on my car.  A fellow I know back in Berlin. When he saw it he asked if I needed it to cover some rust.  A former teaching colleague who is a Bernie supporter and I have been having a good back and forth, but last night was not good and even with the next states being supposedly Bernie country makes the process work in Hillary’s favor as she has learned and adjusted. I wonder if we won’t go back to the way we did it when we just starting. The candidate who got the most number of votes was Prez and the one with second most number of votes was VP.
The day started with a thunderstorm. After breakfast and the rain stopped, I went to the library to do some Internet work and then I headed to Pensacola to visit three breweries.  The St Patrick Day’s Brew tour started at Redneck Riviera Brewing Company and Goat Lips restaurant. No growlers. So I got a flight of Shovelbum, a Cream Ale; MacArgo Amber, Scotch Ale; Big Easy, Breakfast stout; Raiders of the Last Hops, Imperial Red. I took 3 Innis and Gunn and 3 Einstok White Ale with me. I’m hoping to come back here Sunday for open mike and good music. The couple who run this place are my people. I set out for McGuire Irish Pub and wasn’t disappointed, as it was St Pat’s day. Parking was a challenge. I walked in and found a pipe band, but getting to the bar and getting a flight was impossible. Wrong vibe. I left for Pensacola Bay Brewery. I’ve been there many times and was happy to find a parking spot right in front as it was raining. I got a flight: Napoleon IPA, Greybeard stout, an ESB, an their pale ale. I will take a growler of the first three while I drink their Imperial stout, not available in growler, there as I listen to an Irish band. The band is great and so Irish. I feel as if I were in an Irish Pub. It rained like hell while I was there, so like Ireland. I got home about 4:30 and the place was well drenched, and my camp was fine. The sky is clearing and it looks like a good evening. I do love the panhandle and this area to Apalachicola. I met a good young man, Josh, a civil engineer at PBB. He has traveled as much of me and knew so many areas I have been. He is married to a local and spoke about the area with great knowledge and love. I got pictures of Hudson dressed in green; Oh has he joined a great family, I can’t wait until he is 21, I’ll be 87, no problem. The weather has calmed and I look forward to a bike ride.
Soon it started to rain and I took a nap. I woke at 11 and the rain had stopped and it was very heavy as I found the picnic table, which was under the awning, was soaked. I had put everything away so nothing that shouldn’t get wet, didn’t get wet. I made dinner and a fire and enjoyed the ESB and the cleared evening. I woke at 11 AM to find we had another rain event. It is the greyest of days like Nantucket. Thunder rumbles all day long threatening more rain. I emptied a bag of peanuts, that were stale, have been collected by squirrels and birds. Then at 2PM it started to rain and it didn’t stop until midnight. When it stopped, I went out and so did everyone else. Mad rushes to the bathrooms, dumping garbage, and just gawking at the puddles. I took a shower. Some people started fires and then just an hour later, it started to rain again and it rained until 6 AM. The sun rose majestically and those leaving left, those others leaving made decisions to leave, and one poor couple who were in a tent were soaked. Everything was soaked as they piled everything, all wet, on the picnic table and hung some stuff. I had to move to another site and was glad for the sun, since I expected rain. I took the garbage and walked passed my next site and it was empty. I went back had tea and broke camp, drove to septic dump, to ranger station for new tag, and to new site. I did the whole process in less than an hour. I showered and had my oatmeal while my wet and damp clothes and towels hung on the line. It is supposed to start raini0ng again in the afternoon. I decided to take a bike ride. Lots of others had the same idea. Lots of runners and bikers. I took another shower. It is very humid. I grabbed some food and headed to Perdido Key at National Gulf Island Seashore. I took a walk and then just sat for a while eating my apple and watching the perfect post storm waves assaulted the shore in a controlled wave after wave each one just as perfect as the next. It was hypnotic. There was a wedding on the beach. Lucky couple, getting this done in between the rainstorms. The clouds started coming in and blocking the sun. Slowly those assembled in there groups started to gather their stuff. I headed home; I was tired and thinking of a nap. When I got home at 2:30, I cleared the clothesline and secured everything as the first drops began to pound off the roof of the Scamp and awning.  After a couple of hours later it stopped as the sky cleared and the moon and sun were visible. It was over.  I set a fire and had dinner as I listened to the Saturday night fare on the local NPR station, WUWF. They do some interesting and good evening programs. The winds were coming from the NW and getting harder as the evening progressed. When I retired at midnight, I put the awning away, secured the outside, closed all windows and ceiling openings and pulled on a extra blanket for the evening. The front that drove the rain weather north to give the NE some snow for Spring’s first day was coming in strongly with lower temperatures and stronger forces. I woke about six and was tempted to turn the heater on, but didn’t, I just snuggle in the blankets. I finally crawled out of bed at nine and made tea, which also heated the place up. The sun was shining brightly and not a cloud in the sky. The wind was too strong for a bike ride and it was chilly, so I put on long sweats and socks to greet the day. Tonight will be my last night on this road trip. I left home on Feb 2 and arrived in Big Lagoon on Feb 7, Super Bowl Sunday. I will follow the trip I made here with the exception of Asheville. Funny that the weather today is similar to my first days here seven weeks ago, but a tad warmer, maybe by 10 -15 degrees. I hung out some damp towels on the line to take advantage of the sunny windy day, which is perfect for drying clothes. The Spurs won their game and are keeping pace with LC. Kane scored a brace to take the lead in the scoring for BPL. I took a drive to Orange Beach passed the place Tom and his brothers stayed, for cheap gas and oysters. Gas prices have been rising to over $2 for the first time in a while. In FLA gas is $2.09 and just ten miles down the road in ALA it is $1.87. So I went down to get gas and on the way back I stop at The Gulf, a raw bar on the border. It was a funky place on the gulf with outside dining like the Islands. I got home and started packing things up like the bikes, the rug, and other outside inessentials at this time. Obama is in Cuba. I’ll have my last dinner, leftovers mostly; last fire with the Big Broadcast.
It seems as if the same male cardinal that was banging up against my passenger side rear mirror has returned. When I was here seven weeks ago, a male cardinal was obsessed with the passenger side mirror. He would land on the window, look in the mirror, and then attack it. While lying in the hammock, I heard a noise and looked around to see a male cardinal attacking the passenger side mirror.  He wasn’t around when I was at the other site. His territory must be at this end of the camp. Putting out birdseed certainly has its advantages.

Today, Monday, Apr 21, I’ll meet my new grandson, Hudson.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

From Hell to Paradise


I didn’t get a campsite in the Keys for next winter. I finished up some business and went home and prepared for the bike ride. Before I left on the ride, I packed up everything, hooked up the car and Scamp and left the clothesline and electric plug. I did the sewage there since they had the sewage receptor. I was well warmed up and only wore my ISU jersey. I showered and finished what was needed to be done and left. I stopped at the Manatee Springs shop and picked up three baby manatee cuddly toys for my three grandchildren. I drove to Cedar Key for oysters and a beer before heading down the coast to Crystal City where Dodd Brewery was located. On the way, I passed a gas station for sale. It must have been closed for a long time because the price of Regular gas was posted at $3.80. The price of gas when I bought it the other day was $1.77, today it is posted at $1.79. The place was in need of attention. Further down the road one abandoned business after the next, sort of like what 10th Ave in Hells Kitchen looked like a number of years ago. I was on long straight roads for miles and miles. At times it reminded me of Montana, then Michigan, then primeval forests. I was just cruising down the highway when I see an oversized wide vehicle appear in my rear view mirror. I am going 65, the speed limit is 60, and he is catching up on me. We are on a four-lane highway, but still he is going to have trouble getting by me. I switch to the left lane and indicate I am making a left at the next interchange. While I’m in the left turning lane, he blows by me going 75 easy with that wide load and then the trailing wide load support truck. I get back on the highway and watch them disappear in the future. All of a sudden I’m in the middle of civilization with my brewery just down the road. The parking lot is dicey and I have to exit to renter so I can park the Scamp in a place I can leave from and not block all the parking spaces. It is hot and bright outside. When I walk into the winery/brewery, my sunglasses make me blind; it is dark and cool inside. Once my eyes adjust, I find an absolutely delightful and cute establishment with wine lining the walls and hitops and low tables deliberately placed in all the nooks and crannies. I sit at the bar and order a flight of their eight beers. The brewer Fran Copp has just returned the Tampa beer fest and we speak about the experience. He has won a gold medal for his 1821 English ESB, which is very good, and I have already decided to take a growler of it with me. His Centerfield Brown, which is another growler I will take, is delicious and not as sweet as his other brown ale. His Dirty Joe is the best of the three stouts, IMHO. His other beers are sweet and reflect on his winemaking skills. As I leave Crystal River heading east to Lake Griffin, once again I’m on long straight roads through agriculture.  Then out of nowhere, I hit The Villages. This is not to be believed. I’m on a two-lane road with golf cart roads on either side filled with old folks in golf carts. Some have clubs others do not. On either side of the road are golf courses and thousands of golfers and houses and condos. It is golfers heaven. There are hundreds of courses stretching as far as I can see and houses and condos all around. I’ve never quite seen anything like this in my life. It is scary. Retire; play golf until you die must be The Villages motto. I arrive at Lake Griffin SP at 4:30 and set camp on a very nice spot surrounded by Florida vegetation and on a cement pad, which isn’t half bad. I set camp and then take a walk around to see the rest of the camp. I discover I have one of the better sites, with privacy, level, and I’m facing a good direction, southeast. The bathhouses are first rate and there is a laundry, which I will use first thing in the morning. It is getting dark as I lay down for a bit of rest and to get some relief from the heat as I have the ceiling fan on and all of the windows open. I decide to forgo making dinner, steak, potatoes and my mushroom concoction for a yogurt with blueberry jam and wheat germ. I’m in bed by 8 and my neighbor makes a fire which dances on the ceiling of the Scamp. This is nice as I lounge and fall in and out of sleep. I have left the door open with the screen closed and it is very delightful inside as I just have a sheet and light blanket covering me. I have not used the AC yet, but sense I may while I’m here. I should, just to see how it works and how good it is. The sun comes through the window by my feet and the birds are doing their thing as I get up and gather the laundry and head to the bathhouse. Someone has already started and has all three washers going with 10 minutes left, so I leave my laundry as in a queue and go back and start breakfast. I let the oatmeal sit until I return, but I make the tea and let it steep. I only need two machines and go back for breakfast. After breakfast I transfer the laundry to the dryer and bring back my bike clothes to hang on the line. Rather than dry the heck out of everything, I bring back the damp stuff and hang them on the line to finish the drying, while the lighter dry stuff is folded and put away.  I decided to take a ride into Ocala National Forest. I can’t take a bike ride around here since just outside the park is a six-lane road. In fact as I drive around I don’t see any safe or suitable biking roads since everyone drives so darn fast and there are few bike lanes. Just half a mile down the road is a Camper/RV store so I pull in to get more chocks for the wheels to stop the rocking when I’m in the Scamp, so that I’ll have a chock on each side of each tire. I get a wire basket to put over the exhaust vents of the heater because mud wasps are known to nest in them because they are warm and eventually foul the heater system. I also need to replace the sewage hose since it has sprung a couple of leaks and that isn’t good. With that chore taken care of I set out for the Forest hoping to find relief from all this chaos and traffic. The road I’m on heads to Orlando, but before that, I turn left and head north on Rt 19 into the heart of the forest. I stop at Lake Dora to view the camping there, which looks very nice and on a lake. Further up the road is Alexander Springs, which has manatees. As it turns out there are Springs throughout the Forest with manatees. How did they get here, I wonder. The Forest is not empty. People live here; there are little towns and lots of horse farms, and logging. At Salt Springs I head west on 314 and find a Winn Dixie so I stop to shop and pick up some wood at a produce store across the street. I follow 314 to Silver Springs near Ocala and head south for home. It wasn’t a very relaxing drive since I couldn’t really relax with the amount of traffic and constantly being passed. When I got home it was very hot, so I put on the AC. It was delightful and worked very well. I planned on going to Infinite Ale Works in the evening since they opened at 4. I had a dinner as it cooled outside. While eating I heard water running and went to check out my water source to discover the hose had sprung a leak. I grabbed the magical duct tape and wrapped the hose frantically at the leak to stem the flow. On my way to Infinite, I stopped at a Home Depot to get a new hose and look for a new SportBrella. Got the home but not the umbrella. In no time I was at Infinite. It was a lovely place with outside seating as well as an ample interior decorated with Belgium beer posters. This was a Belgium house. I sampled eight of their beers, which numbers 14. In addition, they had about twenty-five other Belgium beers including Delirium on tap. I took a growler of that as well as their flagship and medal winner Westfloridian; a saison; and the Monk’s Cellar. I had a pleasant drive home as it was late and the roads were relatively clear. I cracked open the saison and made a fire. It was a delightfully cool night with a gentle breeze. I slept with the door open and all the windows and ceiling fans open. The breeze came through and made for a good evening to sleep, which I did until 8:30. I stayed in bed reading for more than an hour. I got out of bed at 10, made tea and then right back to bed and fell asleep until noon. I guess I was exhausted. Rather than go anywhere, I stayed at camp all day. I had a good brunch of bacon, French toast, and an egg with my tea. I took a walk about camp to view the other setups and to just get some exercise. This is a lovely campsite in an otherwise chaotic area of Florida, but then most parts of Florida are chaotic. The folks in this area are also more from the East coast then the Midwest as the license plates reveal. I like the Forgotten Coast and its calm. I’ll be back in that neighborhood next week when I return to Big Lagoon. My son will be a few miles down the road in Orange Beach in a rented house with fifteen of his ATO brothers for the week.  We’ll get together when I’m there.
I did leave for as few moments as I went up to the library for the Internet. Upon leaving the Park, I had to go straight across the six lanes to access the road to the library, It was a awhile until I could get across this massive road filled with cars in all lanes going in both directions. I crossed and ascended the hill and drove two blocks to find the library. I did my business and returned. Instead of attempting to cross the six lanes again and because I had two cars come up from behind, I turned right and immediately moved into the left lane to make a U-Turn to return to camp. I had been discouraged by my ride through the Forest. There were no access points to the lakes in the area. The lakes seemed to be surrounded by private gated homes or private clubs. The state parks provided little good access as they occupied land not desired by those who bought around the lakes before they went to the national Forest. Driving slowly as tourists do was not good since everyone seemed in a  rush and knew where they were going and there really wasn’t much to look at as a tourist.  I was not impress with the area and was just marking time before I would be leaving here Monday morning for Big Lagoon and the beach. Quite obviously, the north central part of Florida is not my cup of tea. I remember that from those days we brought the kids to Orlando to visit grandparents and not being impressed with the various parks and places other than Disney et al. As I have said before this park is fabulous, it is an oasis in an otherwise unremarkable place with the roads and golf courses, and infinite number of cars. In addition to the constant beauty of birds, there is a constant, in that I hear them all day long and all night long, the sound of ambulances, not police, not fire trucks, but ambulances. As I said before, people come here to die and die they do as the number of ambulance sirens I hear in a twenty-four hour period. I like my little spot. Vegetation surrounds me and protects me from the passing cars on the dirt road, so I don’t get the dust. I have a clear path to the bathhouse and laundry, but can’t see them or the lights that are always on. The big activity here is walking the dog or taking garbage to the bin or just walking the loop. The nature trails are limited since the rest of the land is left to nature and not to the people. Boating is big as many campers have powerboats they take to launch on a lake. I can only imagine this is what it must be like in the Midwest. I need my ocean, not lakes, not rivers, the ocean, the salt water and a sandy beach. Water and dirt make mud. And there is never a refreshing breeze. It is Saturday and I have finished To The Lighthouse a second time and found a PD James early novel, An Unsuitable Job for a Woman. I will spend the day reading and tonight will go to Mount Dora Brewing Company because they will have live music at 8.
Last night was rather interesting as I was scanning the radio for some talk radio and fell upon FOX radio at about 7 in the evening. They were discussing the Trump rally in Chicago that we were going to switch to when it would begin and I found this intriguing. At about half past, it was announced the rally was postponed or cancelled; they couldn’t quite get that one right. Before the announcement, the commentators were speaking about the violence that has been occurring at Trump rallies and about how it was the Trump supporters and not the protesters who began these altercations. They of course got their marching orders from the Donald himself. He has made too many remarks about how protesters should be treated, using violence as a main weapon. We joined the fray in mid debacle. We were hearing reports from the floor of fistfights, of little order and lots of chaos. Inside a convention center at the University of IL at Chicago, that holds 10,000 people the place was packed with supporters and a couple hundred protesters.  Outside there were thousands of protesters. The Trump people cancelled the event to the glee of the protesters. They had done what they set out to do and were peacefully dispersing. Supporters, from reports were going to have none of that. Finally the Donald came on to speak to Don Lemon of CNN of all people. Surprisingly, Lemon did hold Trump’s feet to the fire about his own rhetoric about using violence and does he feel responsible. He asked a number of times and the Donald said No. The Donald went on to explain how he sees that the protesters were to blame because they started the fights, yet, no one had seen that. Reporters are all over the floor in these rallies and they continually speak about how it is the supporters throwing sucker punches.  The guy makes shit up all the time and backs down only when confronted or refers to a third party account. He is delusional. One very telling point came out as the Donald was speaking with Lemon, the Donald said he had consulted with the local police before they cancelled the event. Soon after that the police were surprised the event was cancelled and had never spoken to Trump or his campaign about the dangers. They had it covered in their eyes. He was caught in a huge lie and no one seemed to really cash in on it. We’ll see how this unfolds in the coming days and especially on Tuesday. I am constantly reminded of how what we are witnessing now is what I remember seeing in film footage and accounts of how Hitler’s brown Shirts behaved when Hitler had rallies. Lies, nationalism overload, and fear of immigrants; blaming everyone else but self for the misery of the state. For me our hurting times are because people don’t have enough education, Jefferson was adamant that we should have an educated populace and there is a general lack of work ethic in this country and they blame the loss of their jobs on foreign markets, yet they don’t get the fact that we lost that work ethic and now the Trump supporters believe what he says. No one seems to be challenging him on his facts that are bogus and wrong. When I speak to or listen to people speak about Trump, there voices go up, they spew the same wrong facts he is spreading and don’t seem to be smart enough to check out the facts. It is the protesters, many were Mexican, have finally stood up this bully and hopefully the people will finally see the Emperor has no clothes. Listening to the broadcast into the evening was entertaining and informative as I sat by the fire and had a beer. I was reflecting on how this reminded me of 1968 when I was visiting a lady in Lewiston, ME, and we were watching the Democratic convention on TV and how badly that went. 1968 was eventually mentioned as commentators and call ins went back and forth on whether this was Trump’s fault or not. Of course it was Trump’s fault; he orchestrates everything.
I finished the PD James book, had dinner, took a shower, and headed out to Mount Dora Brewing Company. It was a pleasant enough drive at 7. I wanted to get there a little early to get a sample of their beer and a seat for the show.  I found it easily and found a set at the end of the bar nearest the band, a trio that was just setting up and doing a sound check as I ordered my flight of their six and took a walk around to view the beer garden and the private rooms and to used the head. By the time I returned to my seat, my flight and a glass of water were waiting for me. The owner, Peg, a very gregarious woman of my age greeted me and we spoke for awhile as her husband the brewer introduced the band. The young man on guitar, Andrew, has just returned to his home after being a year playing at BB King in Orlando. The bass and the drummer were introduced. This was their first gig together. Andrew is nineteen years old and plays a guitar beautifully. He did Hendrix fabulously, Withers even better, and Otis and Eric and the usual suspects of my generation. I am always amazed when I hear young pups in a band, play our music so beautifully, I feel it is an honor, homage to us, to our musical generation. As Peg delivers food to tables, she dances across the floor. Old couples get up and dance or sway together to the music; Peg and her husband dance. Their son is there on spring break from FSU. His high school French teacher siting next to me asks him where his fiancé is. She broke up with me he replies and the teacher gets up and goes over and hugs him and speaks to him in French, perhaps soothing his broken heart as Piaf might do. When she returns I speak to her about how I thought is was so much like Edith Piaf when I heard her speak to him. She laughed and replied that maybe it was, thank you. I suggested to the broken hearted lad he consider a trip to France. The French teacher concurred. She and I shared stories of our own French visits and especially about the cemetery where Edith and Jim and Balzac, and so many others are buried. The band played three hour-long sets with two breaks. During the second break I chatted them up. The atmosphere of the place reminded me of Burley. I loved it and glad I chose this night instead of last night to come down, because I heard the band last night was missing their fabulous female singer. The drive home was perfect, no traffic and I made every light and there were lots of lights, I’d have to take my shoes off to count them all. I was on six-lane highways all the way. Mall after mall with side roads taking us in the suburbs. The place reminded me of the Fort Lauderdale area, especially west of 95. The next town over is Sanford, the town where I have gone to take the Auto Train. Maybe the only spot in Florida I haven’t really been is the NE part, Jacksonville down to West Palm. That’s sort of like the section from Chicago up the Mackinac Bridge along Lake Michigan. Lots of little sections of the US border I still have to drive.
I remembered to spring ahead. I lounged in the sultriness of the day, had breakfast, read, and then followed the Spurs Villa match on text feed. Kane got two and Spurs won two nil. Kane tied Varney for top scorer and Spurs are two points back of LC. LC plays Newcastle tomorrow and they are just one place above Villa. A draw would be nice a loss by LC would be fabulous and outrageous. Let’s hope the pressure gets to this young club. They are home, so not too good for the Magpies. Let’s hope the Foxes have counted their chickens too soon. After the game, I took a shower and started Waves by Virginia Woolf. All of that work I did at Skidmore is coming back. I took a Virginia Woolf class during a January. We read everything she wrote including the biography of her by Quentin Bell, which had just come out. We got into the Bloomsbury Group and the members interactions with her. It was very intense. I loved the January class because we met every day; we spent hours on the subject, and owned what we did. I did a Ingmar Bergman film festival my first year and a book binding class my senior year. The book binding class is what really started me for what would become CyberEnglish. Reading them twice now on this trip has been fun and so revealing. It is of course like reading Shakespeare at different ages of your life. When 22 they do one thing, when 66 they do another. The Ages of Man is an obvious reference point. It rained at 3 PM, as it was predicted it would. The rain and humidity drove me inside after dinner to listen to the Big Broadcast.
I woke at sunrise and packed up after breakfast. I drove out the SP a sweaty mess; the humidity was horrible. I had to drive through the Villages to get to 75 and leave this hell. What an absolutely disgusting place, The Villages. We should send the prisoners of Gitmo to The Villages and they will talk and reveal everything. What a nightmare someone must have had when they created this monstrosity. It could be the subject of any Hieronymus Bosch painting. The Villages is where one goes to die horribly.
It was a long drive as I went back into Central Time when I passed Appalachia River. I arrived at 420 and the first thing I noticed was the absence of the humidity and a lovely breeze and then water, the Gulf. After setting up and a shower, I settled in to enjoy this most magnificent environment. After a time I realized the absence of incessant and continual sirens of ambulances. Also there are no six-lane highways here. And I will be able to ride my bike as well as get to a very beautiful beach. I have resolved not to go past St George SP in the future. I had ill feeling of Panama City, but that has changed since being in the Central Lake area, which sucks; no lake access, humidity, six-lane highways, too many ambulances, and too many OLD people. I’m glad to have escaped Hell and arrived in Paradise.
I wake to learn my daughter, who went into labor at 4:30 AM has gone to the hospital.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Manatees Springs


After posting the last travel post, I headed out of St Joe and as I drove down the road, the gulf was angry. The gas here, a more remote place was cheaper than on 98. So I got gas. At one point in the road, the surf was coming over the seawall and that spray covered all cars on the road. We got a salt-water bath and it was yucky. I knew then, that I would have to wash the car and travel as well as the bikes when I got to St George SP. I stopped at Indian Pass Café for oysters. The best I’ve had since being here. They had a good amount of saline. I then moved on to the Piggly Wiggly for groceries and glad I did since nothing of same value was seen on the rest of trip. I stopped at Oyster City Brewing Company to better understand the price of yesterday’s consumption. Fifteen dollars was returned. I drove around Apalachicola to learn more about this quaint little town that reminds me of Berlin, MD. The wind is still very strong and as I head east out of town over the long bridge the wind is blowing hard and the seas are high. After a short time of respite I turn into the wind, as I have to cross another bridge to access St Georges Island. At the end of the bridge I hand a left and proceed through a very stylized beach community with lots of swimming pools. My camp is at the end of this long and winding road, which looks good for a bike ride. It is a beautiful road between the Gulf and Apalachicola Bay, with good dunes. The campground is more suited for big rigs. After finding my spot, 45, I wash everything and get the salt off and then I repositioned the Scamp away from where I washed everything. After setting up, I walked around the camp to find sites suitable for the next visit, if there is another visit. I found some good sites and wanted to see what they were like in the morning. I then go and take a shower before I walk to the beach. It is a pleasant walk between two ponds that contain many cranes, an alligator, and other waterfowl with so many tourists around with binoculars. The walk to the beach is pleasant and very doable, provided the weather cooperates. It is getting late and I make dinner and retire early to avoid the chill and wind. I read and fall asleep early and sleep through the night. The heater goes on a couple of times. A bright sun wakes me and it is chilly outside. After breakfast I walk to the beach again to assess the wind for my bike ride. It is softer and cutting across the road. I walk back on the perpendicular road to camp into the wind, which is strong. I review the campsites I selected yesterday as I walk down to the path that leads to the bay side. It is very windy. I get back to my camp, get the bikes off the car, and prepare for a ride.  The wind isn’t as hard as it was yesterday, but it is still a factor. I ride into the wind to the entrance, which is six miles and that makes it a simple twelve-mile ride. After my shower, I prepare for the beach and make lunch, an egg salad and a peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I drive to the beach, since my chair, umbrella, and rest is in it and makes an easier walk to the beach. When I get to the beach, I went to open the umbrella and it falls apart. The wiring has salted out and broken. I pack up and go back to camp to fix it. It is hopeless and can’t be fixed. I prepare it for the garbage bin and stay at camp and sit in the warm sun there for the afternoon. In works out, there is no wind and the sun fills my campsite. I’m able to sit in my bathing suit and eat my lunch, while I take in the sun. Since I had planned on going into Apalachicola for the night to hear some music, I ate dinner early because The Oyster City Brewery closes at 7 every evening and the music at the Bowery Station begins at six and ends at 8:30 every night. I picked up a couple of growlers at Oyster City and moved on to Bowery Station. Riley and Molly from South Bend, IN were playing. They were on their southern tour. I bought one of their CDs. When I got home, I had a fire, had a beer, and listened to the CD. The moon wasn’t up when I went to sleep, but it was up throughout the night. I woke to a much better day and took a twenty-mile ride back to the bridge that takes us back to the mainland. After my shower, I break camp and get out at the deadline of 1PM. I follow the same road I earlier rode on the bike and take a left to go to Paddy’s Raw Bar to enjoy a dozen raw oysters and a Smithwick. I’m so used to this southern slow, I expect it and enjoy it. Many of the patrons are bemoaning that this is their last day here before they have to return to some northern locale in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and such. Also, there seem to be more Georgia plates than Florida plates mixed with the usual suspects from the north. I feel different with an eastern plate, MD. As I drive east much becomes familiar as I get nearer Ochlockonee River State Park. I drive past the park entrance to go to the Post Office to verify address so my daughter can send me my mail. I then checked in and set camp at Ochlockonee SP. I like my spot. The door is facing south. I have a good size yard and relative privacy considering the camp is full and with kids, since it is a weekend and perhaps vacation for some. In addition, the park is hosting a weekend long Primitive Arts Festival which included primitive fishing lectures and demonstrations, Atlatl competition, primitive knapping contests, and primitive archery competition. Also there were about two dozen booths selling everything from flints to the stones to make the flints, the arrows used with Atlatl and bow, jewelry and much more. I had dinner and a fire as I enjoyed the star filled sky.
The birds woke me Saturday. I had spread some seed and peanuts the night before and the ground was filled with a variety of birds and some squirrels. To my surprise there was a rare white squirrel gnawing on a peanut. After breakfast I went into town to do some chores and upon return to camp, I took a twenty-mile ride up a road just outside the park and into the National Forest. After a shower and lunch, I walked down to the festival. I first watched the Atlatl competitors practicing. I then walked around all the vendor booths and ended up a the fire making demonstration given by two survivalists who work full time with the Army and Air Force teaching these special skills to the special forces personnel in these military units. I learned so much about starting a fire. After that, I walked out to the river and just sat there taking it all in when I heard a woodpecker. Upon further exploration, I found it and discovered it was a Red Cockaded Woodpecker, which is rare. A Ranger came by to verify it was a RCW and slowly a crowd gathered. There is only two pair right now in the park, so this was a good find. What a great day with the festival and seeing two rare wildlife. I closed the day traditionally with dinner and a fire and went to bed after hearing a very good victory speech by Hillary after SC.
Again the birds woke me, as did the bright sun. I followed a text version of the first half of the Spurs vs Swansea game. Spurs were down by one when I left on my bike ride. When I came home I saw Spurs won by one and Arsenal lost, GREAT!!! Leicester City won yesterday so Spurs were still 2 points behind LC and now 3 ahead of the Gunners. Spurs owned second place with best Goal Difference for any possible ties. I spent the rest of the day at the festival watching flints being made and primitive archery. I had cocktails in the afternoon watching the birds while sitting in a very warm sun before preparing dinner and then a fire in preparation for the Big Broadcast.
The birds and rising sun woke me and it was an even better day today, the leap day of the year. I followed my normal routine and after my bike ride and shower, I headed back to Apalachicola and to the Oyster City Brewery. I met the brewer, Clayton and shared a can of Burley’s Pale Ryeder. They had added the snapper IPA, which I was told came back from the distributor who had six kegs. I took a growler of it as well as the Mica Pale Ale and Honey Ale made with Tupelo Honey. I spent some time in town before heading back to camp. I’m amazed at the amount and variety of birds at this camp. That I spread seed helps attract them. I made some popcorn and distributed lots of it around and loved watching them fly away with a big white kernel in their tiny beaks. They looked hilariously ridiculous. When they would light on a branch to eat the kernel, many times it would fall back to the ground. Of course they figured it out, but they did provide me much amusement. The lovely evening was the same dinner, a fire, and the beautiful sky filled with stars. It was a glorious extra day.
The birds and sun woke me again and after my bike ride I went and did my laundry. Mail has always been an issue for me when I travel. I’ve had it held and that is fine except in times when I need access to some mail as I’ve discovered. Forwarding mail works only if I’m in one place, which I’m not. I have now had the mail forwarded to my daughter in Marietta because I will be there at the end of March. She has sent me the mail thus far accumulated, but now I have to wait for it here in Sopchoppy. I have to fine-tune this process. I’ll cross that bridge as it materializes. I stopped at the library and paid some bills online. I put the clean clothes away, made lunch and headed to Tallahassee in search of a couple of breweries and to go shopping at a Publix. When I arrived at the first brewery, Proof, the place was obviously closed and not a brewery anymore. A sign on the door informed me they had moved. I put the new address in GPS and saw I had to go back the way I had come, which was on Stadium Drive through the FSU campus and right by all the sport fields and Football stadium. The campus was very active and all were in shorts and t-shirts as they moved from here to there. When I arrived at the new location I found a playground for the students who drink beer. A lady was using a long pole to retrieve beanbags from the trees, which had been misthrows by students playing a beanbag game. The place was modern and shiny, almost like Funky Buddha in Ft Lauderdale area. I had a flight of La La Land IPA, Liberty brown ale, Ghost Totem, a porter, and Hello Dolly a further derivative of Ghost Totem. They made crowlers, 32 oz. cans, so I took a can of La La and Ghost Totem. I discovered that Grasslands was back on a road I had traveled. When I got there, I found I had passed by it and hadn’t paid attention since a couple was sitting outside drinking PBRs and the sign said Coffee. Hidden around a corner was the Grasslands sign and entrance. I went in and the place was very dark and my sunglasses made it worse. I ordered a flight and went to get my other glasses. I liked the selections: Horizon Line, a Farmhouse Saison; Groundation, Amber Ale; Roller Derby Red Ginger; and Tropical IPA. I was informed that I couldn’t take a growler. They didn’t have the capacity yet. As it happened, the brewer was sitting next to me and we started chatting. I told him how much I liked his brew, but was disappointed I couldn’t take any away with me. He looked at me cross-eyed and went back to talk to the boss. He came back and told me to get my growlers and he’d fill them. I brought in three growlers and a can of my own Burley Oak Pale Ryeder for them. I took a growler each of my flight home happy. Directions home was so simple, a right a half a mile and another right in a half a mile and stay on this road all the way home. I stopped at a Publix for a big shopping. I chose to get a coked chicken and some potato salad for dinner, since I’d be getting home in the dark and wasn’t in the mood to cook. I put the groceries away, had dinner and set a fire as I listened to the Super Tuesday results and speeches. The fire waned as did the evening and as did I. I got some more birdseed and spread it and distributed some peanuts for the morning feast. The birds and squirrels woke me as the sun crawled over the horizon. I lounged in bed and then just sat and chilled the morning away. I took a ride, showered, had some chicken salad, last night’s leftovers, and headed to Apalachicola for oysters at Hole in the Wall and then a glass and growler of Red Snapper IPA from Oyster City Brewery. I washed the car, which is getting filthy more from the yellow pollen than anything else. Then the night dew makes streaky patterns, so I decided to wash the car. The ride along the coast is so wonderful especially along this part from Apalachicola to Ochlockonee. It was a lovely calm evening as I had dinner and a fire and listened to some music before going to bed.
I woke and took a bike ride and then broke camp and was out by 12:30 heading east on 98. I stopped at Oust’s Grill &Raw Bar for some oysters. I had stone crabs here last December, but they didn’t have any this time. The place was filled with bikers on their way to Daytona for Biker Week. All were in good moods and they loved the Scamp and my two bikes on top of the car, a road bike and a mountain bike. On the long monotonous 98 from St Marks to Manatee Springs State Park, I saw trailer after trailer hauling a big wheel monster truck. There must have been close to fifty rigs. I wonder if they were on their way to Daytona or some big wheel rally or monster truck thingy. This is cowboy country. There is big ranch after big ranch, with big entrances and large fields filled with cattle. I read somewhere that there are more cattle in Florida than any other state. Add to that the citrus and floral farms, Florida is an important agricultural state. When I got to Manatee Springs SP, I immediately noticed a warmer temperature. At the end of the road are where the Manatees are. When I go back out of the park and go down the road a few miles and take a right, I’m heading to Cedar Key. I will explore this for my bike rides. I have a good spot and a cute 13’ Scamp, similar to the one I was in a couple of years ago when I did the NW is next to me. I had a good dinner, a lovely fire, and an early evening. As predicted a thunderstorm rolled through about midnight. The songbirds didn’t get the memo on quiet time.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Big Bend, FLA


After posting the last travel post, I headed out of St Joe and as I drove down the road, the gulf was angry. The gas here, a more remote place was cheaper than on 98. So I got gas. At one point in the road, the surf was coming over the seawall and that spray covered all cars on the road. We got a salt-water bath and it was yucky. I knew then, that I would have to wash the car and travel as well as the bikes when I got to St George SP. I stopped at Indian Pass Café for oysters. The best I’ve had since being here. They had a good amount of saline. I then moved on to the Piggly Wiggly for groceries and glad I did since nothing of same value was seen on the rest of trip. I stopped at Oyster City Brewing Company to better understand the price of yesterday’s consumption. Fifteen dollars was returned. I drove around Apalachicola to learn more about this quaint little town that reminds me of Berlin, MD. The wind is still very strong and as I head east out of town over the long bridge the wind is blowing hard and the seas are high. After a short time of respite I turn into the wind, as I have to cross another bridge to access St Georges Island. At the end of the bridge I hand a left and proceed through a very stylized beach community with lots of swimming pools. My camp is at the end of this long and winding road, which looks good for a bike ride. It is a beautiful road between the Gulf and Apalachicola Bay, with good dunes. The campground is more suited for big rigs. After finding my spot, 45, I wash everything and get the salt off and then I repositioned the Scamp away from where I washed everything. After setting up, I walked around the camp to find sites suitable for the next visit, if there is another visit. I found some good sites and wanted to see what they were like in the morning. I then go and take a shower before I walk to the beach. It is a pleasant walk between two ponds that contain many cranes, an alligator, and other waterfowl with so many tourists around with binoculars. The walk to the beach is pleasant and very doable, provided the weather cooperates. It is getting late and I make dinner and retire early to avoid the chill and wind. I read and fall asleep early and sleep through the night. The heater goes on a couple of times. A bright sun wakes me and it is chilly outside. After breakfast I walk to the beach again to assess the wind for my bike ride. It is softer and cutting across the road. I walk back on the perpendicular road to camp into the wind, which is strong. I review the campsites I selected yesterday as I walk down to the path that leads to the bay side. It is very windy. I get back to my camp, get the bikes off the car, and prepare for a ride.  The wind isn’t as hard as it was yesterday, but it is still a factor. I ride into the wind to the entrance, which is six miles and that makes it a simple twelve-mile ride. After my shower, I prepare for the beach and make lunch, an egg salad and a peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I drive to the beach, since my chair, umbrella, and rest is in it and makes an easier walk to the beach. When I get to the beach, I went to open the umbrella and it falls apart. The wiring has salted out and broken. I pack up and go back to camp to fix it. It is hopeless and can’t be fixed. I prepare it for the garbage bin and stay at camp and sit in the warm sun there for the afternoon. In works out, there is no wind and the sun fills my campsite. I’m able to sit in my bathing suit and eat my lunch, while I take in the sun. Since I had planned on going into Apalachicola for the night to hear some music, I ate dinner early because The Oyster City Brewery closes at 7 every evening and the music at the Bowery Station begins at six and ends at 8:30 every night. I picked up a couple of growlers at Oyster City and moved on to Bowery Station. Riley and Molly from South Bend, IN were playing. They were on their southern tour. I bought one of their CDs. When I got home, I had a fire, had a beer, and listened to the CD. The moon wasn’t up when I went to sleep, but it was up throughout the night. I woke to a much better day and took a twenty-mile ride back to the bridge that takes us back to the mainland. After my shower, I break camp and get out at the deadline of 1PM. I follow the same road I earlier rode on the bike and take a left to go to Paddy’s Raw Bar to enjoy a dozen raw oysters and a Smithwick. I’m so used to this southern slow, I expect it and enjoy it. Many of the patrons are bemoaning that this is their last day here before they have to return to some northern locale in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and such. Also, there seem to be more Georgia plates than Florida plates mixed with the usual suspects from the north. I feel different with an eastern plate, MD. As I drive east much becomes familiar as I get nearer Ochlockonee River State Park. I drive past the park entrance to go to the Post Office to verify address so my daughter can send me my mail. I then checked in and set camp at Ochlockonee SP. I like my spot. The door is facing south. I have a good size yard and relative privacy considering the camp is full and with kids, since it is a weekend and perhaps vacation for some. In addition, the park is hosting a weekend long Primitive Arts Festival which included primitive fishing lectures and demonstrations, Atlatl competition, primitive knapping contests, and primitive archery competition. Also there were about two dozen booths selling everything from flints to the stones to make the flints, the arrows used with Atlatl and bow, jewelry and much more. I had dinner and a fire as I enjoyed the star filled sky.
The birds woke me Saturday. I had spread some seed and peanuts the night before and the ground was filled with a variety of birds and some squirrels. To my surprise there was a rare white squirrel gnawing on a peanut. After breakfast I went into town to do some chores and upon return to camp, I took a twenty-mile ride up a road just outside the park and into the National Forest. After a shower and lunch, I walked down to the festival. I first watched the Atlatl competitors practicing. I then walked around all the vendor booths and ended up a the fire making demonstration given by two survivalists who work full time with the Army and Air Force teaching these special skills to the special forces personnel in these military units. I learned so much about starting a fire. After that, I walked out to the river and just sat there taking it all in when I heard a woodpecker. Upon further exploration, I found it and discovered it was a Red Cockaded Woodpecker, which is rare. A Ranger came by to verify it was a RCW and slowly a crowd gathered. There is only two pair right now in the park, so this was a good find. What a great day with the festival and seeing two rare wildlife. I closed the day traditionally with dinner and a fire and went to bed after hearing a very good victory speech by Hillary after SC.
Again the birds woke me, as did the bright sun. I followed a text version of the first half of the Spurs vs Swansea game. Spurs were down by one when I left on my bike ride. When I came home I saw Spurs won by one and Arsenal lost, GREAT!!! Leicester City won yesterday so Spurs were still 2 points behind LC and now 3 ahead of the Gunners. Spurs owned second place with best Goal Difference for any possible ties. I spent the rest of the day at the festival watching flints being made and primitive archery. I had cocktails in the afternoon watching the birds while sitting in a very warm sun before preparing dinner and then a fire in preparation for the Big Broadcast.
The birds and rising sun woke me and it was an even better day today, the leap day of the year. I followed my normal routine and after my bike ride and shower, I headed back to Apalachicola and to the Oyster City Brewery. I met the brewer, Clayton and shared a can of Burley’s Pale Ryeder. They had added the snapper IPA, which I was told came back from the distributor who had six kegs. I took a growler of it as well as the Mica Pale Ale and Honey Ale made with Tupelo Honey. I spent some time in town before heading back to camp. I’m amazed at the amount and variety of birds at this camp. That I spread seed helps attract them. I made some popcorn and distributed lots of it around and loved watching them fly away with a big white kernel in their tiny beaks. They looked hilariously ridiculous. When they would light on a branch to eat the kernel, many times it would fall back to the ground. Of course they figured it out, but they did provide me much amusement. The lovely evening was the same dinner, a fire, and the beautiful sky filled with stars. It was a glorious extra day.
The birds and sun woke me again and after my bike ride I went and did my laundry. Mail has always been an issue for me when I travel. I’ve had it held and that is fine except in times when I need access to some mail as I’ve discovered. Forwarding mail works only if I’m in one place, which I’m not. I have now had the mail forwarded to my daughter in Marietta because I will be there at the end of March. She has sent me the mail thus far accumulated, but now I have to wait for it here in Sopchoppy. I have to fine-tune this process. I’ll cross that bridge as it materializes. I stopped at the library and paid some bills online. I put the clean clothes away, made lunch and headed to Tallahassee in search of a couple of breweries and to go shopping at a Publix. When I arrived at the first brewery, Proof, the place was obviously closed and not a brewery anymore. A sign on the door informed me they had moved. I put the new address in GPS and saw I had to go back the way I had come, which was on Stadium Drive through the FSU campus and right by all the sport fields and Football stadium. The campus was very active and all were in shorts and t-shirts as they moved from here to there. When I arrived at the new location I found a playground for the students who drink beer. A lady was using a long pole to retrieve beanbags from the trees, which had been misthrows by students playing a beanbag game. The place was modern and shiny, almost like Funky Buddha in Ft Lauderdale area. I had a flight of La La Land IPA, Liberty brown ale, Ghost Totem, a porter, and Hello Dolly a further derivative of Ghost Totem. They made crowlers, 32 oz. cans, so I took a can of La La and Ghost Totem. I discovered that Grasslands was back on a road I had traveled. When I got there, I found I had passed by it and hadn’t paid attention since a couple was sitting outside drinking PBRs and the sign said Coffee. Hidden around a corner was the Grasslands sign and entrance. I went in and the place was very dark and my sunglasses made it worse. I ordered a flight and went to get my other glasses. I liked the selections: Horizon Line, a Farmhouse Saison; Groundation, Amber Ale; Roller Derby Red Ginger; and Tropical IPA. I was informed that I couldn’t take a growler. They didn’t have the capacity yet. As it happened, the brewer was sitting next to me and we started chatting. I told him how much I liked his brew, but was disappointed I couldn’t take any away with me. He looked at me cross-eyed and went back to talk to the boss. He came back and told me to get my growlers and he’d fill them. I brought in three growlers and a can of my own Burley Oak Pale Ryeder for them. I took a growler each of my flight home happy. Directions home was so simple, a right a half a mile and another right in a half a mile and stay on this road all the way home. I stopped at a Publix for a big shopping. I chose to get a coked chicken and some potato salad for dinner, since I’d be getting home in the dark and wasn’t in the mood to cook. I put the groceries away, had dinner and set a fire as I listened to the Super Tuesday results and speeches. The fire waned as did the evening and as did I. I got some more birdseed and spread it and distributed some peanuts for the morning feast. The birds and squirrels woke me as the sun crawled over the horizon. I lounged in bed and then just sat and chilled the morning away. I took a ride, showered, had some chicken salad, last night’s leftovers, and headed to Apalachicola for oysters at Hole in the Wall and then a glass and growler of Red Snapper IPA from Oyster City Brewery. I washed the car, which is getting filthy more from the yellow pollen than anything else. Then the night dew makes streaky patterns, so I decided to wash the car. The ride along the coast is so wonderful especially along this part from Apalachicola to Ochlockonee. It was a lovely calm evening as I had dinner and a fire and listened to some music before going to bed.
I woke and took a bike ride and then broke camp and was out by 12:30 heading east on 98. I stopped at Oust’s Grill &Raw Bar for some oysters. I had stone crabs here last December, but they didn’t have any this time. The place was filled with bikers on their way to Daytona for Biker Week. All were in good moods and they loved the Scamp and my two bikes on top of the car, a road bike and a mountain bike. On the long monotonous 98 from St Marks to Manatee Springs State Park, I saw trailer after trailer hauling a big wheel monster truck. There must have been close to fifty rigs. I wonder if they were on their way to Daytona or some big wheel rally or monster truck thingy. This is cowboy country. There is big ranch after big ranch, with big entrances and large fields filled with cattle. I read somewhere that there are more cattle in Florida than any other state. Add to that the citrus and floral farms, Florida is an important agricultural state. When I got to Manatee Springs SP, I immediately noticed a warmer temperature. At the end of the road are where the Manatees are. When I go back out of the park and go down the road a few miles and take a right, I’m heading to Cedar Key. I will explore this for my bike rides. I have a good spot and a cute 13’ Scamp, similar to the one I was in a couple of years ago when I did the NW is next to me. I had a good dinner, a lovely fire, and an early evening. As predicted a thunderstorm rolled through about midnight. The songbirds didn’t get the memo on quiet time.