Monday, September 14, 2015

2015 3 week road trip: S Florida - Daytona - Edisto - Knoxville - St. Louis - Knoxville - Edisto - S. Florida!

When Ken agreed to rent an apartment in S. Florida for the year, he also claimed he was going to go back to St. Louis every 4-6 weeks.  So it came as a bit of a surprise to me when it was almost 3 months before he decided to head back for the first time.  His good buddy and x-work contact was going to be in St. Louis the beginning of September and had rented party rooms at 2 Cardinal baseball games and invited us to one.  That was enough incentive to even get me to come back to St. Louis for a "vacation"!  So on Aug. 19th, we jumped in our car and started our long trek back.  

2015-8-19---So long Coral Springs---      


2015-8-20---on to Edisto---      


2015-8-21---on to Knoxville---    




2015-8-23---riding around West Knoxville     


2015-8-24---on to St. Louis   


2015-8-25---Missouri Botanical Gardens  


2015-8-28 and 29---visiting with friends and family   

2015-8-30---St. Louis Zoo 

2015-8-31---kids'  old house
2015-9-3---Butterfly House

2015-9-5---Cardinal game with Bailey's  

2015-9-6---to Knoxville and Boomsday celebration

2015-9-8---to Edisto 

2015-9-9---Botany Bay

2015-9-10---on to Coral Springs

 It turned out to be a fun 3 week trip.  Even though at times I felt like we were back in the dark ages---no cable tv, just digital antennae; no computers, just a phone; no ac for the hottest part of the trip!  Was great seeing Tim and FAith and all our friends and family in St. Louis.  Am I ready to move back there---not hardly!!!


Thursday, September 10, 2015

2015-9-10---on to Coral Springs
Next morning, we were back on the road for our last travel day.
 After about 3 weeks of sunshine and HOT weather, we arrived in South Florida to storms and rain and cooler temperatures.
No stopping in Daytona this time.  So it was a really long day.  But it was nice to be back "home" in S. Florida.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

2015-9-9---Botany Bay
Next day we did another "owner's update breakfast" for another $50.  Figured the $175 in Wyndham money pretty well paid for our gas to/from St. Louis.   Breakfast was actually very good---biscuits and sausage gravy; eggs; muffins, and other assorted stuff.  When you're VIP Platinum, the owner's updates are pretty low key.  I guess they don't expect you to buy any more points and often send you on your way quickly.  By 11 we were on our way to Botany BAy.  I had been here with Angie twice, but at different surf stages.  The one constant is the tree skeletons in or near the water.  This time we were there right at low tide.  Once before it was high tide and the other time it was somewhere in between.  I would have loved to go there for sunset, but it was closed the day we got to Edisto and we made plans to go on a sunset cruise tonight.  But I thoroughly enjoyed wandering around taking a bunch of pictures.  Even the ride into the park is neat.  First through the tunnel of oak trees.
 Then onto the plantation grounds where there are bird feeders by the sign in area.
 I love Cardinals.
 and big old oak trees.
 The walk from the parking lot to the ocean was about 1/2 mile @ way.  It was an interesting walk.  Lots of these little crabs.
 Lots of marsh land.  As we were walking across the marsh trail, we kept hearing load pops.  Thought it might be what looked like oyster shells popping.  But after doing a little research, it sounds like it's Bigclaw Snapping Shrimp.  Apparently at low tide they snap their one large claw in the water making a large bubble that pops.  Researchers assume the pop is to stun smaller critters so the shrimp can eat them or to scare away larger critters that want to eat them.
 Even saw a lot of huge spiders.
 Then come the knarly trees all over the beach.
 some still standing and still in the water even at low tide.
 the clouds even cooperated for making beautiful pictures.
 Bird on the shell studded beach
 about a 1/2 mile down the beach.
 heading back.
 looking inland.
 Ken on his perch waiting for me to get back from taking pictures.
 There are a ton of shells here, but it's illegal to take them off the beach, so people hang them all over the trees.
 or leave them laying where they washed up.

After spending a couple hours on the beach, we headed back across the marshland.  This was just off the beach.  (I've heard that Hurricane Irma in 2017 destroyed Botany Bay and the trees are no longer standing in the ocean.   The boardwalk was also washed away, so the beach is indefinitely closed.)
 a lizard hiding in the shade.
 Ken leaving me in his dust while I'm take yet more pictures.
 There are a couple clumps of trees along the way.  One clump is suppose to be home to a little red bunting.  Didn't see any of them, but did find this cute little guy.
 more of the walkway
 coming in for a landing in the marsh
 some of the wierd plants along the way.
 and more pretty butterflies.
 To drive out of the area, there's a self driving tour of the remains of a plantation.  We didn't stop much this trip --- Angie and I had checked it out more thoroughly on a previous trip.  But we did stop at this pond covered with - pollen or algae?  Probably a mistake stopping here.  Even though I had sprayed insect repellent before going to the beach, I forgot to spray again and at one point I looked down to see at least 10 mosquitos feasting on one of my legs.  After a quick swat, I hurried back to the car and have been itching every since!
 on one of the ponds we even saw this alligator.
saw a few more butterflies which I took pictures of from inside the car.
Another pretty butterfly. 
 Back at the entrance we sat and watched the bird feeders some more hoping the little red buntings would show up there.  Not a bunting, but this guy deserves another picture.
 Wonder what these big-eyed little birds are?
 "Artwork" just off the main highway into Edisto across from the turn off to Botany Bay.
 We did some more driving around and found this fancy fishing dock out in the middle of nowhere.
 a view from the above dock.
We watched some of these guys dive for fish near the dock

 Ken talking to some people who showed up to fish and crab for blue crab.
 getting artsy with the flora of Edisto.
 At 5:40 we showed up at the marina for our sunset tour.  I wish we had been on that boat!  Angie and I had gone on a tour before and had a great time.  This time the boat driver would stop then drive like a bat out of hell to the next spot.  I was soaked!  Managed to keep my dslr dry, but it wasn't an easy task!  Even when we were by the dolphins he kept going around them in the same direction.  I, of course, was on the other side of the boat.  Finally I got up and stood on the other side for a few minutes.
 At least we did get a pretty nice sunset.
 looking East.
 another to the west as we flew through the water.
 He did stop for a little while when he noticed the sun came out of the clouds.
When we were done there, we hit the resort pool, as we did all 3 nights we were there.  Then we decided to pick up some stuff from the store and cook dinner: pork chops; mashed potatoes; and corn on the cob.  It was quite yummy, even though we didn't eat it until about 10 pm.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

2015-9-8---to Edisto

  Again I enjoyed the ride through the mountains.  Only had one scary moment when someone entered our side of the highway going the wrong direction.
 Since we were driving right by Asheville, we decided to see if we could drive through the Biltmore estate. 
 Found out we would have to buy tickets at $80@ just to drive through.  So we passed.  I had been there a couple times before for a wedding I shot there, but the bride had handled all my tickets and lodging.  That was definately a fun wedding and reception!
 on the highway again and admiring the flowers along the way.

 and the mountains.
 and the old barns.
 Finally we reached the turn off for Edisto.  Decided to stop for dinner here at Dimitrios.  Very good pizza and great service!
 Originally we were only going to stay in Edisto 1 night again on the way back, but it would have been in an older unit.  Ordinarily that would have been ok, but when Angie and I stayed there on our first trip to Edisto, we did find it pretty bug infested.  Their excuse is it's a tropical region and to expect that.  Yet we've never had a problem like that in Florida, St. Thomas, Hawaii, or anywhere.  Even in the presidential units we saw a couple "palmetto" bugs, but they were dead or dying. If we wanted to stay in a unit like what we had on the way out, we needed to spend 2 nights or throw away the points for the 2nd night.  Ken agreed to the extra night and it worked out great.

Love all the big old oak trees in Edisto with the moss hanging all over them.
one of our back porches.
 another view from our porch.  Note the stand with bottles of water stacked in it.
 another part of the resort.
We headed to the beach again.
 Didn't know if we'd get much of a sunset.
 The typical house along the beach!
 Even had interesting wild flowers growing along the beach pathways.

I knew where to go for sunset and where the dolphins like to hang out.   We were treated to quite the dolphin show.
Lots of tail slapping.
 Even a few breeches.

 lots of "porpoising".
 The sunset even turned out to be quite pretty.
I like breaking up these long trips with interesting destinations along the way!