Saturday, April 2, 2016

The River


 The first thing I noticed aboot Spokane is it isn’t in Florida. In fact it is a long way from Florida,  I was keenly aware of the distance from Florida as I walked off the Boeing. Well I sorta walked off the plane but I think it was more of a hunched over shuffle as I had been crammed into the jet liner for hours and hours heavily sedated by pharmaceutical  grade  anti-anxiety drugs to keep from freaking  out aboot being crammed into a tube aboot as big around as a sewer pipe, that if it was a sewer pipe you would have to abide by confined space rules to enter the darn thing…
 
 Jacksonville Florida Art At Your Feet

It was also colder. The air was hovering around 39 degrees, but without the 98% humidity of Florida. It actually felt refreshing, epically since I had  prepared for this change with long trousers, long sleeve blouse, and a jacket that I had strategically   placed in my camera carry on, and when I removed the jacket prior to boarding at gate C6 in Fort Lauderdale the charger for my phone fell to the floor, and became a permanent Florida resident.
The Energizer  Bunny After Turning To Drugs

The missing charger was only discovered later as I unpacked and went to charge  the phone that had been used a lot trying to keep up with the storm delayed jet out of Florida and the close connection in Seattle, that to Alaska Airlines credit my bag actually made it from terminal C where we landed to terminal H where my connecting fright awaited. I was not the last human to board, but the door was closed shortly after…
It is spring in Spokane.  The leaves are beginning to open up. Tulips are sprouting and some close to buildings have even opened. The Japanese Garden Is open again after being closed for winter.

Spokane's Japanese Garden

Doing new activities this trip to Spokane that included a trip to the local Indian casino for lunch at the buffet. The lunch line wasn’t exactly Horizon Court but the offerings were tasty and plentiful. The casino also contained one of the most amazing gadget I have ever seen. Better than the veg a matic and the sham wow combined.
Brilliant
 
If you think that this gadget is a motion activated automatic plastic toilet seat cover then you are correct or have been to the casino in Spokane. One can only hope all unnecessary useless  this plastic will end up in the ocean…

What is really racing towards the ocean here is the Spokane river. Running at flood stage and careening over the falls, an amazing amount of water.
Spokane Falls After Dark
Got to enjoy the last of the Washington sun before heading home soon…..

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tan Is My Religion

Our work in Florida is completed. Every trip comes down to it…The last day. The things you have to do, to get home, and the things you didn’t get to do. Actually the things you will do next time you happen to be in a place where the ocean isn’t frozen in March.

Paddle Board did not get a chance to do that. Jet Skiing on the ocean on a hot southern day. Didn’t do that. Stop at every Ron Jon’s in the entire state of Florida, and get a beach trinket…  Well one Ron Jon should be enough for a while.
 

 
 Ron Jon Beach Trinket Palace

Looking back on everything I should have swiped a pool towel from the ship, it would have come in handy more than once as I seem to be attracted to the ocean on hot Florida days. As it is my favorite dessert spoon did serve us well making coffee every morning and the suitcase full of spa moisturizers will have to last until next year.
 
Hanging out in the Fort Lauderdale airport for most of the day waiting for a jet north, I kept hearing horns, sorta like cruise  ship horns, but not like the Royals horn that plays the song from the Godfather. It took a while but after investigating I discovered that the  baggage carrousels,  when they start to deliver instead of a bell ringing like most airports they come to life with the sound of a cruise ship horn. Poor  carousal  number 13 sounds like it might be sinking.

After claiming baggage at this airport twice I never actually heard the horns until today, I never got to the carrousels in time. Horns are the official sound of Florida. You can hear them almost every day in traffic especially if the road you are on becomes a parking lot, like they do a lot. Floridians will sound their horns to help get traffic moving again as they drive on sidewalks and go the wrong way on one way streets. No need for courtesy or obeying the laws when you can just honk and honk…
Ford Falcon

Once the ticket counter opened it didn’t take long to clear gate security. The wait for the plane was only delayed a little while by the thunder storm that darkened the sky and pelted the terminal with rain. Lucky me the sky carriage was a 737- 800 the most uncomfortable  ride in the sky.

 

Travel and do it frequently so that when you do go home you will have been gone long enough to forget your routine….

 

 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Refrigerator’s That Rock

The hotel washing machine took our money then wouldn’t work. The machine at the other end of the room looked better so Peppermint moved our clothes while I went up to the office to get our money back and another box of soap.

I got our money back and another box of soap. Dan the  maintenance man was unwinding after work in the office so I got  Dan to come back to the laundry room with me to make sure everything worked.

The other machine the one that looked like it might work, when Peppermint put the coins in the coin slot pushed them in then pulled it back out, the entire mechanism pulled out…When Dan got there he went to  get the key, he opened the coin box and flipped the switch by hand. The machine came to life. The green light came on and it started filling up with water.

Our clothes were already in there so I added the soap, tide, it was a bit chunky as if it had been wet at one time…

We thanked the Dan,  he was out the door around back of the building when I noticed water flowing across the floor. This frightened me as we are below sea level here, but then I realized it was just water pouring out of the washer. I called Dan back…

Dusters And Brooms At The Ready

Dan opened the coin box on the other machine, we moved our now wet clothes…

This was actually a great hotel.  The room was clean. The front desk, well mostly Dan got everything working, so in the end our clothes got clean, a good night’s sleep was had, and it was fun watching the boat tail Grackles and a squirrel clean up the pile of popcorn that was spilled just a couple of doors down…
 

We found that the refrigerator was  a bit tipsy but our second floor room, pool side was very nice, clean, right across the street from a Publix, my new favorite  grocery store, and the front desk clerk even helped get our luggage to the room and gave us vouchers for the restaurant.

Poolside At Dusk

We discovered that the pool open until 11:00 pm was a happening place, especially now during spring break. It did close promptly each night on time, and the hot tub was large, deep and 102 degrees
Checking the hotel reviews on Expedia, and trip advisor has become a necessity. Surprisingly  enough here in Florida during spring break there are hotels that are less than favorable. We have been fortunate to find only decent places, and really a tottering refrigerator is not so bad.

The standout room has to be the one in St. Augustine. The Jaybird. Excellent rating on all the on line rating places. Super clean. Nice people to check us in. The owners are birders and offered perhaps the best amenity ever of free bike rental.



The bikes are cruisers, single speed and coaster brakes but were smooth spinning and carried us along all day probable faster than the cars stopped in resort town traffic.
Tonight I am not so sure aboot it is the only room all trip that does not have a Psycho shower curtain, you know the one that you can see through on the top, so you can watch the ax murder approaching as you wash your hair. Might not shower here…

 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Outer Space Wetlands

Last night we were in Titusville to watch a  Saturn V rocket take off from Cape Canaveral. It was carrying a Cygnus cargo ship on a resupply mission to the International Space Station. Our hotel The Siesta is directly across the water from the NASA rocket assembly building. We did not know what pad the rocket was launching from but as it turned out it took off from behind the assembly building directly across from us.  

The Saturn V light up the night sky and  illuminated the huge building. The rocket took off without a mishap. As it arched across the sky we could hear the rocket engines roaring.
 

NASA Photo

The little parking lot where I watched the rocket until it was just a speck of light in the sky was full of people when we walked across the street. Some sat in their cars, others brought chairs, most cheered when we could see the rocket clear the top of the NASA Vehicle Assembly Building.

Seeing the big Saturn rocket fly off was absolutely amazing. The space program is by far the best thing we have ever done as a nation. Technology invented by the space program touches almost every corner of modern life, and almost by accident NASA and the Cape Canaveral Air Force station have preserved miles and miles of wild Florida tidal wetlands.

Cape Canaveral National Sea Shore is miles of sandy beaches perfect for swimming, wading, walking, it is one of the best Atlantic beaches I have found.
Fishing At The National Sea Shore
 
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge is some of the best birding I have found in Florida. Pristine habitat for large and small animals.

Painted Bunting
The Male Painted Bunting has to be one of the most colorful little birds I have ever seen.
Northern Cardinal
Have been wanting to shoot a Cardinal ever since first spotting one on some motor bike road trip somewhere. That time the bird was waiting for his picture to be taken. Sitting there singing away and I had camera issues.
This trip the one bird I wanted to shoot  was the elusive Rosetta Spoonbill and the wildlife refuse was there for me.
Spoonbill And Friends
 
This is not the best photo of the day but in this photo is a Snowy Egret, White Ibis, Little Blue Heroin, Glossy Ibis, and the Spoonbill. There might even be an alligator in the water but I can’t be sure.

Baby Gators Enjoying The Sun
 
Mom was not far away and I had no idea that mother alligators hung around to watch out for the kid, but they do.

Young Tri Color Heroin
 
This little Heroin almost ran right up to me before turning and hiding just a step or two away, he posed nicely for this photo and finally the sought after ever elusive..
 
 
One of the better shots of the day.  Rosetta Spoonbill and its pal Snowy Egret…
 
Such diverse species in a well preserved and managed habitat. Perfect for rockets, wildlife, and humans…