Sunday, January 19, 2020

St. George Island - 2020

St. George Island is a 28 mile long, very narrow barrier island about 4 miles off the Florida panhandle near Apalachicola. The island is characterized by sandy beaches (nearly deserted in the off-season) with extensive dunes on the Gulf of Mexico side. Closer to the bayside the landscape is dominated by slash pines with a scrubby understory. The state park where we camp occupies the eastern third of the island. It is one of our favorite places to visit in Florida.

Diane contemplating the unknowable

We've had both sunny and foggy days during our visit. Frequently the fog burns off by mid-day but returns in the early evening. The fog gives a mystical and magical air to the landscape.

We've written about Florida's slashed pines and turpentine making during previous trips.
When we are hiking it seems so "old fashion" to see these scarred trees that still have the attached metal pieces used to direct the pine pitch to a pot. The collected pitch was made into turpentine. 
It reminds me of maple sugaring.

The metal pieces in the scar of the tree.

This is a unique fungus George found growing in the sand. I have no idea what kind it is. Anyone?

This is a sand/wind/ shell sculpture on the beach. There are small shells being hit  "head-on" by the wind. The shell  protects a section of  sand behind it and as the wind blows away the sand around the shells, it leaves a "streak" of protected sand. 

We had some windy days at the beach bringing up a good surf. It didn't seem to bother this fisherman or great blue heron.

The town in the center of the island is very quiet and laid back in the off-season. We're told its much busier in the summer with families coming down from Alabama, Mississippi and Tennessee for family vacations.

The lighthouse in the center of town

Our campsite at the state park.

... and finally, George's shower buddy:

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Austin and Big Bend National Park

Big Bend National Park in southwestern Texas was our last stop. The park is larger than the state of Rhode Island. We are now on on way back to Bristol. It will take us about 6 days driving.

Sunset behind Chisos Mountains from high desert.

The desert in bloom

Prickly Pear Cactus in bloom

Chisos Mountains from above Rio Grande Village Campground

Mule Ears Peaks

Santa Elena Canyon

New Orleans, Galveston

New Orleans 
We camped on the south/west side of the Mississippi and would drive to Algiers Point and take the 5-minute ferry across to New Orleans. We did a lot of walking and trolley riding to see the sites. Mardi Gras was getting into swing so there were lots of interesting people to watch.
New Orleans from the Algiers Point Ferry

Below is the tenth steam-powered riverboat named Natchez that has plied the waters of the Mississippi. It was built in 1975 and can do "an honest 16 m/h" and has never lost a race. Personally, I didn't even know there were steamboat races. This Natchez is for the enjoyment of the tourists offering jazz and dinner cruises. 

No Rules Fashion-Perfect for Mardi Gras

Voodoo Shop

When we were young (1973) we went to Mardi Gras-the parades, the floats, krewes, beads, crazy people etc. and it's not something I need to do again. We looked for different aspects of New Orleans to appreciate, the architecture, iron works, food, music, cemeteries, neighborhoods etc. Below is a tree that has "caught" more than it's fair share of beads thrown from Mardi Gras floats.

The following four photos are examples of the excellent iron works found in New Orleans. The last one is probably on Bourbon Street and is all decked out in the Mardi Gras colors.

Mardi Gras street corner
Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 in the Garden district was established in 1833 and is still used today. The tombs can fit many family members and the remains when decomposed can be removed to make more room.

Preservation Hall is a musical venue in the  French Quarter founded in 1961 to protect and preserve traditional New Orleans jazz. As you can see it's not a fancy place, and I walked right past it the first time, but the music was great!

Jean Lafitte National Historical Park
This was a surprisingly beautiful walk through the bayou.

On to Galveston

Casita on the Bolivar to Galveston Ferry

Oceanstar Museum: explaining the energy industry here in the Gulf of Mexico. It is actually a retired jack-up drilling rig. We learned quite a bit!

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Davis Bayou

Mist in  the bayou
rising up to greet the dawn.
A new day begins.
 a haiku from a friend
An egret on Davis Bayou

This was our second time visiting the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Florida. For those of you who have seen our blog from previous years, you may recognize the photo of the Blue Angels. I find it so amazing that this display accurately reflects how closely the Blue Angels fly to each up to 700 mph.  It all seems too dangerous to me..

The combination of excellent tour guides who are retired aviators and thoughtful displays make this museum worth visiting numerous times. Even if the photos seem overly packed with planes and jets, when you’re there, it’s all good! I would go back again.
Blue Angels F-18 displayed in formation at a true scale.

PBY Catalina with clear fuselage
The PBY Catalina Flying Boat was used during WWII in anti-submarine warfare,
as a convoy escort and for search and rescue.

A walk in the wetland forest of Davis Bayou.

This is a piece of public art in Ocean Springs, MS
outside their cultural center where we attended a
folk music concert. We try to appreciate
local theater, music and food when traveling.

This is a metal side panel on a bridge. It is the logo of the
Shearwater Pottery. What you see through the cutouts is the marina behind it.




















 Laissez les bons temps rouler!

It's Mardi Gras season in Louisiana!

This is standard fare in Louisiana! We've tried gumbo, crawdads, gulf shrimp, crab cakes, soft shell crab...but so far no grits, catfish or... Bud Light! 😪