Thursday, April 8, 2010

Day 2; The TX trip

No shopping today - just driving. But we finally got out of Florida! It was 605 miles from our place to the FL border - that is about 1/2 of the trip to Bedford, TX according to the AAA Trip Tik.

We stopped just before we left the state and I took a picture of a nice park that looked like there weren't any aligators lurking! It really felt like "home" - a non-threatening park. In S.W. FL there is always the threat of aligators or wild boars or monitor lizards, etc. so a nice park with just trees was a treat!

We're in Lafayette, LA tonight with the weather in 60s. We had some rain during our drive with the temps in the 70s, just lovely driving temps today. We didn't stop at the Pensacola Beaches because of the rain but did see the huge interchange leading to the beaches. Huuummm...navigating that will be a challenge. We should be able to do it with all of the navigation equipment/supplies we have with us. I've been testing out my new GPS, Bob is using his favorite AAA Trip Tik and we tossed in the maps AAA gave us and an Atlas (I need the bigger picture).

The MSN that the Garmin GPS uses would have made us take a couple of very wrong turns if we hadn't used our heads and not listened to "her". I put in "Bedford, TX" while we were still in Alabama - that may be a bit of a stretch - maybe directions should be for more local addresses 0r shorter distances. We'll see but at least I'm getting pretty good at using it - even got us to the right motel tonight without clearing out the original destination. Maybe I'll learn how to tell it to stay on major roads to get me to major cities?

One more day of driving and then the partying begins. Here are a couple of pics you might enjoy. Madlyn
Nice FL park.The Chamber building - very nice.Bridge in MississippiMiles of this kind of bridge.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

1st Day: TX Trip

Sometimes vacations start out very well.  We got loaded and on the road at 8:00AM as planned, and other than some delay about 20 miles into the trip on I75, we made it to our first stop: Tallahassee.
The desk clerk told me that there was an antique area about 10 miles away when we checked into the motel.  So we drove to Havana, FL instead of going to the pool.  The pictures show a little of what we found – a lot of stores in a small town that have been turned into antique shops or malls.  A few are huge, a few are tiny, a few are all antiques while others are more gifts/art and some are a combination.  There is quite a bit of great big new and used furniture, also.
One shop had a mid-sized room filled with books.  The books were nicely displayed, individually priced with a variety of topics.  Many of the other stores or booths had a small variety of books but most weren’t in very good condition.
Bob was happy to find a die cast Volkswagon made in Italy in one booth. He said that a 1/24 scale made in Italy is just what he was looking for! Luckily it was priced low enough so he could purchase it and resell for a bit of profit.  That buy made his day.

On our way out of the neat, clean antique town we just had to stop at the junk store! From the sublime to the ridiculous.
I didn’t know anything about Havana, FL but was very impressed with how neat and clean and friendly it was.  If you have the time to get off I10 when you’re in the area, stop and shop for awhile.  It is easy to find.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Boca Grande, FL Day Trip

I like day trips. And from my location in S.W. FL I can get to a lot of beautiful locations and back home in one day. So, now that I don't have to be to work at noon (or just getting out of work then), Bob and I took a day trip to Boca Grande (Gasparilla Island), just about 5 miles via Charlotte Harbor - but 30 miles (one way) via car - which is how Bob and I went.  Interesting detail about getting there - there is a $4.00 fee to get over the bridge to the Island but my Lee County transponder isn't accepted - we were told this is a private bridge. (I don't understand a private bridge with a fee on a public road but decided to not hold up traffic while I questioned the fact.)

Locally Boca is known for a couple of things besides fishing and beaches: it is 1. the Bushes' Florida winter vacation site and 2. Iguanas.  I didn't go to see either of these attractions but to see the private Johann Furst library I'd read about some time ago.  

It was built (or endowed by) Mr. Furst who wanted it to be a library, resource center and community center for his favorite FL vacation location.  At the time there was no public library on this small island - which is a part of two different counties (the southern half is part of Lee County, the northern portion is part of Charlotte County).

The library is charming as you can see in these photos.  With doors made from the hard local cypress trees and the landscaped courtyard, it is a charming, relaxing place to visit.  There are two display cases of named local and national sea shells, a small lending library, a nice selection of local history books that cannot be checked out and a juvenile book room.

There is also a locked displayed case with a page from the Book of the Dead ( "The Book of Dead" is the usual name given to the ancient Egyptian  funeral text, a page from the Gutenberg Bible, a page from the Vulgate (early Catholic translation) and a "stone tablet" (literally a stone with text) .   These are all very nice holdings for a small community island library!

Lee County has since opened a small lending library on the island in a very nice building so the small year 'round  community does have access to a lending library with access to the books in the county-wide system.

There were lots of tourists, the day was beautifully sunny and warm, the beaches were windy and the water cool but since we weren't there for shopping or the water, we were very pleased with the day's outing.  We visited both libraries, didn't stand in line to eat and didn't run over an Iguana - or tourist (both of which  you just have to watch out for) so we had a successful day trip.  I'll try to add a couple of the very nice photos I was able to take.