Preparing for Hermine

The National Weater Service has been warning about heavy rain and wind, flooding and other effects of Tropical Storm Hermine for over a week. So what’s the best way to prepare the day before landfall is expected? Get outside for a little fun before a day or more of being shut inside in the rain.

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With bikes in the back of the Suburban, we drove to Daytona to ride the Sweetheart Trail, a very short portion of the East Coast Greenway which connects Key West to Maine.

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We rode past the International Speedway Bridge, decorated with mosaics.

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And then just off the trail, we found Jackie Robinson Ballpark. In addition to being the home of the Tortugas, it’s also where you’ll find the Jackie Robinson Museum. We didn’t visit the museum since we already had a full day ahead.

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Less than a mile from the Atlantic, we continued riding east to spend a little time on the World’s Most Famous Beach. The overcast sky meant very few people so it was a perfect time to ride on a hard packed sand without dodging cars.

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Of course being so close to the boardwalk called for a short detour north to see how the area has changed in the forty years since I last spent time on this part of the beach.

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No time for the Jackie Robinson Museum but we learned about the history of motorcycle racing on Daytona Beach since this exhibit is located outside near the bandshell.

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After returning to the car and loading the bikes, we were off on Part 2 of our adventure with stops in New Smyrna Beach, Titusville and Melbourne to local quilt shops to purchase Florida Row by Row kits for Meghan’s upcoming quilt project. But not before a seafood lunch overlooking the Halifax River at Dolphin’s View.

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And how could we resist a stop at Canaveral National Seashore to see the storm approaching.

Hopefully we won’t experience too many ill effects from Hermine, but after a full day today, we’ll be ready to read and nap on a rainy Thursday.

And while it was good to play today, it was also nice to see the Volusia County Public Works trimming trees and the tree trimming trucks and power company trucks traveling north on I-95 getting positioned for possible storm damage.

Time to stay inside and stay safe.

Woodpecker Trail

I can always count on John to find new trails to hike or ride. Last week he suggested we ride the Woodpecker Trail in White Springs. That meant setting the alarm clock for 6:00 (during the first week of school), but we had a two hour drive ahead of us and didn’t want to ride in the heat of the day.

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Since Woodpecker Trail is only seven miles round trip, we decided to not only ride, but to also hike to Big Shoals, Florida’s largest whitewater rapids.

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It’s an easy mile to the shoals, but since we were the first on the trail, we had the pleasure of breaking through all of the spider webs. I looked like a crazy Ninja chopping my way down the path trying to avoid having webs across my face. And after a short while, John took the lead and handled the webs and spiders blocking the way.

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The overlook provided a good view of the Class III whitewater. But of course, we had to climb down the rocks to get a closer view. image

The first time we were on this part of the Suwannee River was in the early 1980s…in a canoe. We watched two canoes attempt to manuever through the rapids unsuccessfully, but that didn’t prevent us from making our own attempt. I’m pleased to say we paddled through without any difficulty and plucked the items from the overturned canoes out of the river tossing them on the bank so they could be retrieved by their owners once they were back on the water.

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When we completed the hike and returned to our car, we unloaded the bikes and started down the paved trail.

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Within the first couple hundred feet, we found the trail blocked by a tree upended in a recent storm, but John wouldn’t let me use that as an excuse to call it a day.

 

The 3.4 mile Woodpecker Trail connects the Big Shoals and the Little Shoals through a mostly wooded path with bridges crossing tributaries of the Suwannee.

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Big Shoals State Park offers over 28 miles of wooded trails for hiking, biking, horseback riding and birding, and for those interested in water, there’s a canoe launch and plenty of opportunities for fishing.

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However, be aware that those who own the property adjacent to the park don’t take lightly to trespassers.

It’s Monday. Take a Nap.

Yes, it happened again. We planned an outing for a Monday, and when we arrived, we were met by locked doors.

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That’s our car. The only one in the parking lot of the Appleton Museum. As we pulled in, I asked, “Did we do it again? Is the Appleton closed on Monday?”

A quick check of their website confirmed what we already knew. The Appleton Museum hours:

Tuesday-Saturday 10:00-5:00

Sunday 12:00-5:00

We were out of luck.

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We decided to do as the banners in the parking lot suggested: Be Inspired by the art displayed in the outdoors space.

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Connect with the whimsy of childhood memories.

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Celebrate the beautiful, sunny day.

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Create a plan for a return visit.

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To explore not only the creations made of reused water bottles.

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Or of the Fancy Free sculptures made of Crepe Myrtle and Elm saplings, but also of the more traditional artwork on display inside.

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Maybe we’ll learn our lesson. Check schedules before making plans, especially on Monday when restaurants and museums are frequently closed. In fact, you may be better off taking a nap on Mondays.

Appleton Museum…we’ll be back in the fall.

Celebrating Sun & Wind

Days with both sun and wind have been few and far between this summer. We’ve had many windy days, in fact one day it was so windy the sailboat was picked up and tossed on its side. However, like the sailboat tossing afternoon, most often the wind has been accompanied by heavy rainfall and usually lightning as well.

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So when we awoke this morning to both sunny skies and steady winds we wasted no time in raising the sails to take advantage of a morning sail on the lake.

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A morning sail followed by a swim and then lunch on the porch…couldn’t do any better loading the car and heading to the beach.

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What a good reminder take advantage of our backyard! No need to always pack a suitcase or travel when we live in Florida.

TBT: 250 Years of Teaching

What better way to celebrate a new school year than by gathering with other retired educators for a first week of school lunch. Friends from over thirty-five years with more than 250 years of combined service in the Marion County joined us at the same location where we’ve hosted end of year staff parties since 1984. Of course, we missed several who were traveling, because after all, we can now travel on our own schedules instead of relying on the school calendar.

After seeing all of the first day of school pictures posted yesterday, we decided to take our own version.

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John ended his career at Osceola Middle School, the same school where my teaching career began, and a place both Karen and Doug made their marks.

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John and I not only both taught at Stanton-Weirsdale, but we taught there together with Leasa.

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We were also both at Ward-Highlands, but at different times. John worked with Kay and I worked there with Doug.

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John, Leasa and Kay were all members of the South Ocala staff in the ’80s.

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And then John joined forces with both Karen and Kay at Shady Hill.

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While not there together, John and Doug were Reddick Collier Mustangs.

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Somehow John, Maureen and Doug spent over twenty years at Oakcrest, but none of them were ever on campus at the same time.

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Then Doug and I came back together at Ocala Springs where we teamed up with Maureen and Lisa.

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And finally Lisa introduced me to the virtual world of education where we taught together my final five years, and while Lisa doesn’t qualify as a retiree, she joined us for lunch between student calls. We want to provide good retirement mentors for her.

This is the way to spend the first week of school.