Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Archive for December, 2006

The Family Threskiornithidae

posted: December 31st, 2006 | by:Bert

Bert Gildart: Bay Bayou RV Resort has grown on us, in part because of the delightful accommodations, but as well, because of the assortment of people. Lots of these folks we’ve meet while walking the compound, but others we have met while walking the shores of Bay Bayou, which borders us on several sides.

Most recently, we attended the Christmas celebration, and the function was one in which we RVers were all invited by the management to a grand feed. They provided the turkey, while we, in turn, provided the side dishes. Suffice it to say that no one left hungry.

One of the biggest attractions for us has been the bird life and we’re finding that “birding” is something we share in common with many others. In fact, several locals are so thoroughly acquainted with birds that they can almost recite a bird’s Family, Genus, and Species.

“No,” said John, our new acquaintance just several sites away, “that’s not an ibis of the family Threskiornithidae; rather it belongs to the family Ardeidae and that includes herons and egrets.”

By now, as you can certainly understand, John had my rapt attention, and so he continued to explain that you can differentiate between herons and ibises by looking at the beak. “Ibises,” says John, “have a long beak that is down curved, but not so the herons and egrets. What we’re seeing here, today, is a member of the heron family because its bill is long and straight.”

John still has my attention (He checks to see!), and he continues, asking if I can tell whether the bird is a heron or egret. Because the bird is white, I make it an egret and John exclaims that I am right, but adds that you can easily confuse an immature Little Blue Heron with an egret.

Continuing, John says that the bird I’m seeing from the dock is Egretta thula, the Snowy Egret, and that we can tell by the coloration of its snow-white plumage and black beak with a patch of yellow at its base. As well, it has bright-yellow feet.

Because I.D.-ing birds is such a fascinating study, we progressed in our conversation, talking about all the other aspects of a bird’s topography, trying to draw other walkers into our conversation with words like “coverts,” “speculum,” “scapulars,” and “median lines,” but we both quickly sensed these other passer bys had much to do, for they could not be drawn in. But the day, of course, is very, very young.

Tonight is New Years Eve, and we will be attending the party at the Bay Bayou Community Center to listen to Gordy play some good Merle Haggard tunes, truly one of my favorites. Gordy, incidentally, as a musician and partially retired motorcycle policeman, has an interesting background, and I hope to sneak in a visit or two with him.

Then, while he’s singing, perhaps we’ll find the people who passed up this morning’s dialog on the family Threskiornithidae. I really do want to detail what they missed.

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Christmas On The Road

posted: December 24th, 2006 | by:Bert

Bert Gildart: Christmas is a special time of year regardless of whether you are on the road or not. But because travel is such an integral component of so many of the people staying here at Bay Bayou, you might think that Christmas would be glossed over, but that is not the case. Right now the entire camp is aglow with colorful lighting and imaginative decorations.

In many cases, the decorations are a photographer’s delight, and so we took a few photos, though we tended to concentrate on those that incorporated RVs. Although the decorations look great during the day, what we’ve discovered is that night photos of these same decorations look best.

Typically, it seemed, people began by stringing colored lights the length of their awning. Others added a wreath to cover the propane cover, while yet others added colorful lights to the dash of their motorhomes.

Several, however, have created a mini fantasy by decorating the front of the small lawn in front of their rigs. The most elaborate of these included Frosty along with several reindeer, which covered the front and part of the sides. If we were to vote, I guess that would be our favorite. The fountain in the “Alligator Pond” back-dropped by several motorhomes added yet further to the festive aura.

My night photos were all taken from a tripod with time exposures of about eight seconds and f-stops of f-8 to f-11—to increase depth of field. Obviously the picture of my wife, Janie, decorating our trailer was taken during the day, and it was our small attempt to join all the other Christmas celebrants who have created such cheer.

Monday, Christmas day, Bay Bayou is hosting a turkey feed and we will be joining several new friends we’ve met while camped here. Most are from out of state and though only one is a fulltimer, all live the majority of the year in their RVs. All attending the dinner will bring a dish to complete the turkey provided by Bay Bayou. We’re looking forward to celebrating the day with some very lovely people in a delightful setting.

Merry Christmas
Bert & Jane Gildart

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Kayaking Old Tampa Bay

posted: December 19th, 2006 | by:Bert

©Bert Gildart: According to Bob Feely, a friend from our campground here in Tampa, Florida, Old Tampa Bay is often rough and though not necessarily a challenge for kayakers, it is not always so pleasant as it was several days ago.

This past weekend a small group of us pushed off from Philippe State Park, a beautiful park acquired by the state in 1948. The park is the county’s oldest and it is historically rich. The 122-acre park provides an exquisite drive beneath a canopy of live oaks and the park’s road leads to parking areas where you can launch kayaks.

Nancy and Bob were our companions and as we unloaded our kayaks along a small sandy beach, and shoved off into Old Tampa Bay we all appreciated the incredible calmness of the bay. So still were the waters that our kayaks created almost perfect mirror images. And so clear were the waters that we could easily peer down and see the bottom, which was surprisingly shallow. Paddling forward, we saw that the water level remained shallow, and not far away we watched a group of men and women attempting to free a sailboat, now high and dry. Because the tide was high, we wondered how they would ever break free.

Bird life was abundant, and not far away about 30 egrets were perched on the railing of a dock. In the other direction, literally thousands of cormorants had found a roost on the girders of several huge towers that rose from waters in the bay. Beneath the towers and scattered throughout the bay, a number of fisherman plied the waters in the only craft truly capable of navigating these shallow waters, and that, of course, was a kayak.

Janie and I were in sea kayaks, capable of navigating ocean waters in a fast speedy manner. We could see, however, that kayaks used by the fishermen were shorter and much broader, adding stability, but losing speed. Bob and Nancy’s kayaks were broad and stable, ideal for these waters, but we all stuck together and soon reached Safety Harbor, our destination for the day.

Safety Harbor is the home of the historic Espiritu Santo Springs. Given this name in 1539 by the Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto, who was searching for the legendary Fountain of Youth. As well, Safety Harbor is the site of a Veterans Memorial, celebrated in part with a heroic-size fountain of water spraying over a number of herons.

The setting was quite attractive and I experimented with different shutter speeds to vary the amount of freeze and blur of the water falling on the birds. The effect and the backlighting imparted an almost life-like quality to the setting.

Park police patrolled the harbor and so we left our kayaks at the actual site of Safety Harbor and strolled the town of the same name, stopping for lunch at a small café located directly across from the historic Safety Harbor Resort and Spa. Once Caloosa and Timucuan Indians prized the spa for its healing properties and they made their home here. When Hernando de Soto visited the area, he thought he’d found the fabled Fountain of Youth.

Today, the sprawling complex of beige stucco buildings with Spanish-tile roofs offers customers willing to pay the price treatments for the body that are described with such exotic names as “salt glow, fango masks, herbal wraps, mineral spring baths, and aroma-hydrotherapy.” Brochures proclaim the spa to offer one of Florida’s most tranquil spa destinations, focusing on the rejuvenation of mind, body, and spirit.

As a Montana couple we’re a little overwhelmed by the pleasures described in these large urban areas, likening our awe and somewhat bumbling ways to that experienced by Crocodile Dundee, or perhaps even Ma and Pa Kettle, when they visited large metropolitan areas.

Both Janie and I have traveled widely, beginning our travels as army brats, so we are not naïve. Florida, however, never fails to overwhelm, particularly with its implied promise of eternal youth, something we could buy into—if only we could believe. This, however, is not to say that we’re not enjoying these new experiences—and learning from them.

After lunch, we returned to our kayaks and pushed back into Old Tampa Bay, realizing that what we were enjoying is the result of much effort on the part of conservationists, specifically, TBEP, short for those involved with the Tampa Bay Estuary Program.

After decades of dredging, development and disregard, 1979 marked a turning point for environmentally battered Tampa Bay. That year, the federal government provided the city of Tampa with a grant substantial enough to evaluate matters of great environmental concern, most notably the infusion of waste water from a treatment plant at Hooker’s Point. The facility, which discharged millions of gallons of barely treated wastewater to the bay, had long been targeted as a culprit in the bay’s demise.

At the time, algae blooms and fish kills were common, and divers brave enough to plumb its depths encountered water so murky they couldn’t see their own hands. Local newspapers quoted wetland ecologists who said that you could take a boat out in the bay near the plant and actually see effluent boiling up in the water.

The grant moneys helped reverse the pollution, and today, the waters, though not pristine, are nevertheless deemed safe. Still of concern is the loss of bird habitat and the loss of seagrass beds and mangrove forests. Now the culprits are developers intent on building sprawling condominiums for the hordes descending into Florida at the rate of 1,000 per day.

But today, in mid December, the waters were clear and the surface calm, and as we paddled, the sun was beginning to sink into the forest of mangroves preserved by Philippe State Park.

Pelicans dove into clear waters, fishermen pulled in catches of snook, snapper, tarpon, jack, sheepshead, red drum—and thousands of cormorants found sanctuary on the girders of a huge tower that again greeted us on our return. In this urban park, the tower was not an eye sore, rather more of an abstraction, and we all agreed that the day could not have been more perfect.

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Tampa’s Cycling Trails—Ribbons of Sanity Through a Sea of Chaos

posted: December 16th, 2006 | by:Bert

Bert Gildart: Bicycling is turning out to be my outlet from work here in Tampa, Florida, where I am producing stories for several publications. In this highly urbanized city where sirens wail every morning, city fathers have had the foresight to produce a series of trails that thread throughout the entire city.

Several days ago, three other men and I rode a segment of the Pinellas Trail to Tarpon Springs. The outing provided insights into this most heavily populated of Florida cities.

My companions were from our campground and represent a small group I have met these past few weeks who seem to be active outdoorsmen. Our campground, you could say, is a melting pot representative of the U.S. at large and we are meeting a variety of good people, but with varied interests. Bob, is one of our new acquaintances, and he has spent the last two winters learning about the outdoor activities that surround us. Kayaking is one; cycling another, particularly as it pertains to what I now call the city’s “ribbons of sanity.”

The Pinellas bike trail began as a result of tragedy. In 1983 a man’s son was killed while riding his bike. Desirous of creating a safe route for others, Fred Marquis helped form the Pinellas County Metropolitan Planning Organizations Bicycle Advisory Committee. Essentially, the committee consisted of bicycle enthusiasts and their goal was to create a safe place to jog, stroll—or cycle. The committee discovered that Pinellas County owned a 34-mile corridor of abandoned railroad right-of-way and didn’t know what to do with it. A union was created.

One of the access points was at the junction of U.S. 19 and Curlew Drive. Within minutes after parking our car at the Publix Food Store, we rode onto a paved trail. Though the trail is now 34-mile long, we used but a portion, picking it up following a 15 minute drive to the intersection of segmented into a walker’s lane and a cyclist’s lane.

Yet another few minutes and we peddled onto a ramp that rose abruptly. As it passed over the four-lane below, it was encased in wire mesh, presumably to prevent vandals from tossing bricks, bottles or other harmful objects onto the four-lane traffic below. The ramp descended quickly, and continued on as a trail, soon passing through an underpass now allowing traffic to flow over us.

As we rode, we passed the “Primate Rehabilitation Center,” apparently owing its existence to the fact that some people want primates as pets, but then discover they cannot handle them. The trail also passed a water purification system so that “used” water could be safely spread over lawns. About five miles into our trip we stopped at Wall Springs County Park. A wooden walk passes over the springs, and we followed its path into a marsh that serves as home to a variety of different species of fish and to the birds that prey on them.

Essentially, the Pinellas trail is level, and we reached Tarpon Springs in about an hour and a half. This was my second trip to Tarpon Springs, the first made by car during the 5 o’clock rush hour traffic—a big mistake. That night traffic had been so thick that our forward progress was reduced to the speed of a pedestrian, and our trip to this old Greek settlement took about the same amount of time as we did on bikes.

Greek immigrants established Tarpon Spring back in the early 1900s, and made a name for themselves as those who harvest sponges from the sea. On this December day, the sponge fleet was quiet, but beautifully decked out in Christmas colors. After taking photographs, we all rode to a nearby café called Mykonos. I ordered a dish called Calamari, which is broiled squid, thinking this would be a good choice as I like virtually all sea foods. Calamari, however, is a dish I’ll never reorder.

From the restaurant, we rode to another small café on the outskirts of Tarpon Springs advertising cold beer and “alligators to feed.” True they had both, but the alligators were small. Nevertheless, the gators caught our attention and we watched as several visitors fed them, using the designated technique of tying dog munchies purchased at the bar to the end of string. The patrons then dangled the offering in front of the mouths of the hungry gators, which responded immediately with quick lunges and gaping jaws.

We began our 10-mile return in late afternoon, knowing we must be off the trail before dark. Though crime in Tampa is a problem, apparently, that’s not the case along the trail, and that’s the direct result of extremely heavy law enforcement. However, at night the effectiveness of the ranger force and sheriff’s department is diminished, and so they advise that all complete their outings before nightfall.

With 90,000 people using the trail each month, the popularity of such activities is obvious, and suggests that more stringent methods of combating crime should be implemented.

I, of course, have some recommendations, but my sure-fire methods of reducing crime against this small faction are probably not appropriate for this entry. What is appropriate is to say that the companionship was great and that the designers of the Pinellas bike trail were farsighted people.

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Tampa, Florida—Setting For An Outlandish Experiment

posted: December 9th, 2006 | by:Bert

Bert Gildart: Picture this setting: We’re at a Flea Market in Oldsmar, Florida, one located near our campground, and we are photographing body-piercing hardware sold at an outlet which specializes in the marketing of used DVD movies.

The proprietor has already expressed his displeasure, for just moments ago I had asked him if his DVDs produced reliable sound and images. He was incensed. Now, he wants to why we’re photographing belly rings.

“What are you doing? Are you with the FBI?”

Truly, that was the man’s question (He wasn’t kidding!), and to some extent, the man’s suspicions were probably appropriate, for Janie and I had decided to make a survey of some of the world’s most useless items, and belly rings seemed to fit that category. I assured the man that I was not with any legal organization, but that I would continue to photograph his sales items, as they were on public display.

Nevertheless, we soon moved on searching the flea market for more items that seemed to be worthless, more or less. We concluded that what is one man’s junk is another’s treasure, but Janie did like the ankle bracelets. And I have to admit, we both found humor in Jar Jar Binks from Star Wars I (Flea Market bargain price: $1,500.00).

Still, you might say that Tampa, Florida, represents an immense experiment for us. Can two dedicated outdoor enthusiasts find something of interest in an urban setting? Tampa is an excellent setting for such questions, for its population of 2,396,000 makes it the state’s largest city—surpassing even Miami.

My question is derived in part for the concern I have for my home state of Montana, for in the past 10 to 15 years, the population of the Flathead has grown more than at any time in its previous history. But my concern is also derived from the increasing danger many of our national parks are experiencing because of urban sprawl and population growth.

For starters, there’s a cell phone tower near Old Faithful. And now malls in the East threaten several Civil War sites.

Florida provides some insights into our future, for growth here surpasses anything we have ever seen. With our policy on immigration and no solution expressed by politicians concerning unchecked population growth, Florida—and Tampa in particular—offers a picture of what the future holds.

To set the stage, here are a few quick statistics:Geographically, Florida ranks as the 22nd largest state, and with a population of 17,019,068, it ranks fourth in the nation. Its attractions are based on a number of factors, but foremost is its weather, which claims average winter temperature of 68°F. Next may be the thousands of miles of beautiful beaches. Without a doubt, it is these features that attract 1,000 new residents—each day (!)—and 76.8 million visitors annually. In fact, Florida claims to be the world’s top travel destination.

So here we are, knowing we are in a state that has wonderful features, but catatonic about exploring the area because of all the people. Our fears are justified, for each day we turn on the news and hear about more new accidents. Today, a head-on collision killed one person and sent two policemen to the hospital. News about their satisfactory recovery is pending.

Nevertheless, people do get out and about, and several people in our campground told us about the local Flea Market, and about the area’s bike and kayak trails. True, the routes begin in urban settings, but because that seems to be the wave of the future, we are determined to discover what such settings offer.

Can we find wildlife? And if we do, how will it respond?

With that thought in mind, after our flea market experience, we decided to explore nearby Fort De Soto County Park, and discovered the park provides a setting for many species of wildlife, most notably the brown pelican. Although not really wild anymore, it remains a fascinating bird to watch, and study.

To survive, it has had to adjust to the endless presence of human beings. And despite crowds, pelicans go about their daily business of seeking shelter and finding food—and their antics are still fun to watch.

From local fishing piers, pelicans fly high into the air and search surface waters for small fish. Sighting a small school, this marvelous bird folds its wings and then dives down hard into the water, where it snaps its beak forward, scooping up its meal, which it holds in its gular pouch—the large sack that holds food until ready to swallow.

As well as pelicans we also see other species to include turkey vultures, and egrets, and they, too, have learned to endure the hordes.

Despite the crowds we, too, enjoyed De Soto, and did so to such an extent that we wanted to return with our camper about mid-January. But incredibly the beautiful campsites are full not only for the month of January but through April, and after returning to a page on the Internet listing Florida statistics, we know why. Each year 6 million people seek out this state’s 100,000 campsites.

Despite the lack of camping facilities, Florida does have 1,250 golf courses, more than any other state, and if I were king for a day, I do believe I’d do away with all but one, leaving that for mis-directed friends and family members whom I don’t want to irritate.

The other courses I would convert to campgrounds—or better yet, return to nature, recalling that golf courses surrounding Palm Desert, California, have so depleted water supplies that bighorn sheep habitat is so vastly reduced that the species is now threatened.

Most assuredly, Florida’s golf courses have impacted other species in the Sunshine State. But the bottom line is that golfers are often a very affluent, powerful crowd, which is not always in alignment with those of us simply interested in preserving wild places and watching wildlife. Again, the statistics indicate that here in Florida, KOA and other campground sites are being bought up by extremely wealthy organizations and often converted into condominiums.

In an nutshell, and with the population of the United States predicted to reach between 445 and 462 million (Watch it grow!) people by the year 2050, it seems as though the future for people with interests in activities such as kayaking, wildlife observation and camping may have to find new outlets for their interests.

Speaking for myself, look to the flea markets, where I’ll be searching for more outlandish creations; perhaps a belly ring or two–or even a little cheap cash. Adjust then or perish—or attempt to implement great social change that would curb America’s population growth. That’s the gospel for the day.

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Sunshine Skyway Bridge—Converting Tragedy Into Pleasure

posted: December 4th, 2006 | by:Bert

Janie Gildart: Several days ago, the Luhrs (our Airstream friends) packed up from Bay Bayou RV Resort to continue their travel odyssey. But before leaving the Tampa area, they invited us to spend one last nostalgic evening with them as they camped at the Skyway Fishing Pier State Park, which parallels the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

Born from tragedy, the bridge is an engineering feat as well as a structural beauty. The original two-lane bridge was built in 1954 and became a four-lane bridge in 1969.

Disaster struck in 1980 when the bridge was rammed by a freighter (the “Summit Venture”) during a violent storm. 1,200 feet of the south span of the bridge dropped into Tampa Bay, along with a bus and several cars. Thirty-five people died.

Re-building was obviously a priority, as a solid bridge was necessary to span Tampa Bay, connecting St. Petersburg and Palmetto. The new bridge was completed in 1987, relieving the northbound portion of the old bridge from carrying all the traffic, as it had done following the accident.

Now you can behold the world’s longest cable-stayed concrete bridge at over 29,000 feet (5.5 miles in length), with the longest span of 1,200 feet rising to 193 feet above the water. The 21 steel cables supporting the roadway are painted yellow-gold (thus “Sunshine Skyway”) and are lit at night to continue the golden theme.

Unfortunately, the new bridge also has a tragic attraction. As with many other bridges and high places, the top of this bridge draws those attempting suicide and the sad statistics continue to rise. So much so that authorities are trying to implement the use of suicide-prevention techniques. Enough sad news…

One of the better outcomes of the new construction is that the engineers left the approaches of the old bridge at either end to be used as two, several-mile-long fishing piers; these are under the auspices of the Florida State Parks and are known as the North and South Piers, running nearly parallel to the new bridge.

You can pay $3.00 for an hour’s worth of sightseeing, or stay 24 hours for a bit more money. Those with campers are welcome to camp on the piers and this is what the Luhrs’ plan was; this is “the happening place to be.”

Here, on the south pier, fishing is apparently good (no license needed) and the bird life is plentiful. While we didn’t see any huge fish reeled in, we did see brown pelicans, egrets, terns and blue herons all seemed to be catching more than the humans with poles. A bait shop sits in the middle of the several mile-long pier and Nancy, the attendant, showed us various live baits and weights that usually work.

Many families were settled in for the weekend with all members throwing at least one line into the bay and everyone having a great time. Some children showed us the silver flashes of bait fish jumping in the dark waters.

As evening closed in and the pink sky grew black, we saw a manta ray swim by, followed by what appeared to be a huge crab migration. Where they were going and what kind of crabs they were remains a mystery.

After a fun, delicious supper we left the Luhrs and the south pier and now it was very dark. The tiny silver fish were still jumping, the crabs were still moving on, and the graceful bridge was lit brightly, pointing to the risen full moon.

It was a beautiful evening in a central Florida “happening place.”

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Retrospectives—In Which We Find a Title for Our Blog

posted: December 3rd, 2006 | by:Bert

GLIMPSES—Journals From A North American Travel Odyseey

Bert Gildart: In order to better define the contents of our website and provide us with direction, we have given our website a name. The title helps us, and we hope it will point potential readers looking for insights into the American life, essentially derived from our extensive travels.

“Glimpses—Journals From a North American Travel Odyssey” is the combination of two newspaper endeavors in which I once engaged, and the first word derives from a weekly column I provided not only to several weekly newspapers but eventually to Montana Magazine.

I ended the column at a time when various aspects of my life were in flux and something had so give. Later, the magazine resumed the column using my title, and I believe they may still publish Glimpses. The point is that I am not copying the name of a column created by someone else; rather I am copying the title of something that was of my doing.

The word Journal derived from a quarterly outdoor journal that I provided to three different newspapers in the ‘80s. The insert was tabloid size, and over a period of about eight years, my journal covered subjects that ranged from bear management in Glacier National Park to features that generally focused on individuals whose lives I found interesting.

Other times, stories described travel in the Flathead Valley and always included pictures that I believe had impact. Because photography has always been one of my passions, and is now one of Janie’s, quality photography will always be a goal for “Glimpses,” and we hope we are succeeding.

Essentially, then, the previous components of my life (Glimpses, Travel Journal) seem to define the way our blog now seems to be evolving, so I guess the past is inserting itself into the present. It seems appropriate then to take themes that worked in the Flathead and apply them to our national and sometimes—international—travels; to our odyssey.

What we’ve discovered as we’ve been traveling these past five months is that our blog entries are “glimpses” of life in various parts of the country.

Examples suggesting the direction of our blog include entries on West Point, Kayaking to the Wreck of the Francisco Morazon, Grave Yard Tours, Border Crossings, The Arctic, and Shenandoah National Park. In other words, some of our entries provide glimpses of our personal lives; while others will provide information on destinations, and what we’ve discovered from our adventure travels.

With the passage of time we want our odyssey to create a body of work that will provide insights—or glimpses—on various parts of the country and often on the people associated with those areas.

Many of the people we are meeting are not only fascinating, but extraordinarily colorful, as was the pipe smoker along the Natchez Trace.

Finally, we want our blog to offer perspectives—or opinions—on life and our travels, for by definition that is often the function of a blog.

Along with the creation of a title, we have also added under categories, a section that will provide a schedule of our upcoming travels, even though that tends to go a little against my sense of freedom. For me, I enjoy life best when our travels are spontaneous, so the “schedule” will always be subject to change.

At the moment we’re in Tampa, Florida, and can tell you that we will be here for yet another month, as we have to stay put in order to turn out a number of stories, thereby fulfilling deadlines. Nevertheless, we will continue exploring while here, and will be making a number of day trips to surrounding areas. Soon, manatees will be leaving colder ocean waters and entering warm rivers. We want to greet them, and Tom Ulrich, a photographer friend, says he will loan me an underwater camera.

About mid January, we’ll depart Bay Bayou and then travel to the Everglades, about five hours south of us. Then, if we can figure out the logistics, we’ll be visiting the Dry Tortugas, a fascinating area located about 100 miles south of Key West.

Beyond that we just don’t know, and, furthermore, think it unhealthy for someone traveling as we’re traveling to be so rigid that they must known minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day, what they’ll be doing months down the line. Relax, slow down… Smell the roses.

Looking back, we believe the past five months have been productive, and comments and electronic blog counters seem to suggest that we are developing an audience. We hope our readers are finding something from our postings that might enrich their lives, however much, or however little.

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