So long Coral Springs---
Since we had a lot of Wyndham vacation resort points left for this year, we decided to make a few stops along the way. First stop---Daytona Beach at the Wyndham Ocean Walk Resort. We hadn't been to Daytona for about 30 years. Even then it was just for a night and not in a resort. It was nice checking out another Wyndham resort. I was very impressed. We were able to use our VIP status and get a 2 bedroom presidential unit for half the points of a 1 bedroom. I was very impressed with the condo.
We were on the 10th floor and had quite a view of the ocean. Even though we were looking East over the ocean, sunset was still pretty impressive.
The resort is huge with at least 5 pools. After dining at Forest Gumps in the plaza adjoining the resort, we hung out in one of the 3 outdoor pools. It's nice that they're open really late.
The next morning we attended the "owner update breakfast" and got our $125 Visa gift card. Breakfast was pretty sad---instant oatmeal and muffins. Then loaded up our stuff and took one last look at the ocean from our room and headed off to Edisto, South Carolina.
One of my favorite pastimes while traveling long distances in a car is to take pictures along the way. So when I saw this interesting bridge in Jacksonville, Florida, I snapped one of it.
I managed to get another Presidential unit at the Wyndham King Cotton Resort in Edisto. This time a 3 bedroom 3 story villa complete with our own elevator. Possibly the nicest Wyndham resort we've stayed in.
The livingroom area.
master bedroom complete with boxes of chocolates.
Assortment of goodies.
The huge kitchen and diningroom.
Our elevator to the 3 levels of our unit for when we didn't feel like walking up all the steps.
After checking out the resort, it was time to check out the beach and then find some dinner.
One of the many walkways to the beach.
We ended up here at Finns for dinner. Dinner was good and the views were great.
Next day we were up early and back on the road for another 400 miles to Knoxville. I especially love the drive through the Smokey Mountains to Tennessee.Loved seeing all the flowers along the highway, too.
Our son and daughter-in-law moved to Knoxville in June, so it was nice seeing them again. We spent 3 nights with them. It really is a neat little city.
They took us to Tupelo Honey Cafe for breakfast the next day. Here Faith's enjoying a Bloody Mary while I enjoyed a Mimosa. Our meals were excellent, too!The mall downtown turns into a marketplace on Sat.s, so we wandered around the mall a bit.
Some of the many local items.
There are even performers there.
Tim and Faith heading down the marketplace with the Federal courthouse Tim works at in the distance.
A look back at Tupelo Honey Cafe on our way back through the "mall".
The World's Fair was held in Knoxville in 1982 so we walked to the area where most of it took place. The Sunsphere was the symbol of the fair. After the fair, it closed to the public. It was used for short periods of time until 2005 when it was scheduled for renovation. The 4th level is the observation floor, 5th level is a restaurant, and other levels are businesses. Best of all, it's free!View towards downtown from the observation floor.
From there we walked towards the Worlds Fair park passing another water feature along the way.and a Chocolate store, but for $15/lb, I passed on buying any.
Another city sign.
Now it was time to find a little nature. So many parks to check out around Knoxville!!! This time we went to Ijams Park and hiked around a bit.
even saw some snakes
love all the wild flowers growing throughout the park
down to the Tennessee River.
more wild flowers
walkway along the river
male eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly
female eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly missing part of it's tail.
hoping to someday be a butterfly, but these fall webworms will end up as moths. I believe the big webs we saw all over the trees along the highway were webs caused by colonies of webworms.
Made for an already long trip even longer. We did stop about 100 miles from St. Louis and had dinner and visited with my brother and sister-in-law in southern Illinois. We ended up leaving there around 10 pm.
Got into St. Louis after 11pm. Assessed the house. We had the ac shut off (later I was reminded the ac doesn't work---we had to have Freon added to it the last 2 summers, but we didn't need it our first week so we didn't bother have more added for 1 week). Apparently our family room floors didn't like not having ac and buckled pretty badly. I figure they'll go back down in the winter, but for now we walked up and down mountains in the family room.
Now was the start of a busy 2 weeks in St. Louis.
Day 1- I met up with a photography friend and she and I went to the Missouri Botanical Gardens and shot pictures of everything. They were still set up for the Chinese Lanterns exhibit, so we got to see it by daylight. This is made up of bottles of different colored water.
The St. Louis symbol Flore de li made up of tiny plants.
The next few days we caught up with friends and family---dinner with the Schneiderjans-twice; breakfast with Josh's folks; dinner with FAith's Dad and fiance; lunch with friends from swimming; dinner with friends from volleyball; Ken saw friends he use to work with; dinner at his sister-in-law's and brother's restaurant (Stefanina's--great as always); lunch with some friends from Illinois from my childhood; and a couple more visits with my brother and sister-in-law. Took my brother and sister-in-law to a park we use to ride bikes at--Confluence park where the Missouri and the Mississippi meet--and wandered around a bit.
I even went bowling with a friend. We were doing pretty good until they shut the lights off and a bunch of little kids came in and started running wild all over the lanes. We packed it up and headed to lunch then.
When we lived here full time, I always thought about going to the zoo or Arch or butterfly garden, or many other places, but it would be decades between trips to most. So as a tourist, I went to as many as I could fit in. First to the Botanical Gardens, then to the zoo. I've always been impressed with our zoo and everytime I go they've added more to it. It is quite large and beautifully landscaped. The newest thing there now is the Polar bear enclosure.
one of the big cats
Like I mentioned, it got hot! Temps in the mid 90s with heat indexes well over 100. People are always commenting isn't it hot in South Florida. I always say never as bad as the days like we have in St. Louis when they have heat waves---and there usually are some in July and August in St. Louis. Maybe it's because S. Florida gets almost nightly thunderstorms and lots of clouds to cool it down and St. Louis doesn't.
One day Angie texted and said their house from when they lived in Ferguson was going up on the auction block starting at $35,000! To the unknowing, that's probably status quo for a house in Ferguson since the riots and continued unrest, but we know that it had burnt down about 7 years ago and she used her K-State architecture schooling to rebuild it with a lot of top of the line stuff! We were shocked to hear it was going to auction. I was tempted to go to the auction, but was afraid I might buy it. We already have 2 houses in north county and an apartment in Florida. But I still can't imagine this going for $35,000---complete with finished basement.
One hot day I decided to see how much hotter I could get and went to the Butterfly House. It was about 95 outside. Not sure what it was in the "greenhouse" where the butterflies live, but it made our house feel not so bad for a little while.
On our final full day there, we headed downtown to the Cardinal game. It was great seeing our friends from Oregon! The air conditioned party room for the afternoon game was welcoming, too! The Cardinals even won for us!
That pretty well filled up 2 weeks in St. Louis. Next day we were invited to go to the final Boomsday celebration in Knoxville with Tim and Faith. So we loaded up the car and got an early start. Made it without delays. WEnt to dinner in downtown Knoxville. Did a bit of walking before we found a place without a 2 hour wait! For watching the fireworks we ended up in the parking lot Tim parks in for work. There we saw a spectacular fireworks display!
After spending that Sunday and Labor DAy with them, we were on our way to Edisto again. Again I enjoyed the ride through the mountains. ONly had one scarey moment when someone entered our side of the highway going the wrong direction.
and the mountains.
Loved all the big old oak trees with the moss hanging all over them.
Lots of tail slapping.
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.
or leave them laying where they washed up.
Next morning, we were back on the road for our last travel day.
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!!!