Monday, January 31, 2011

FL: Sunday

On Sunday, warmer weather beckoned us to the beach. The beach is a short 5 min walk from my parents' place in Panama City Beach. While 60 degrees was a little chilly for some of the locals around there, it was quite balmy for us.

Out on the pier, we spotted a few jellyfish below.

That afternoon we headed back to my parents' place to watch the much anticipated Bears Vs. Packers game. Zach's poor Bears lost to my Packers, so all is well :-P

While watching the game, my Mom and I did a crafting project. We made bouquets of button flowers. A friend of hers made her a few, so she wanted to try some herself. They turned out quite adorable.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

FL: Saturday

Saturday, we headed to Wakulla Springs State Park to see some Florida wildlife. Its a favorite hangout for manatees in the winter months, as it has a large deep freshwater spring that the manatees swim up river to stay near, as it is naturally warmer water. I think we spotted close to 25 at time.

After lunch at the historic lodge at the park, we took a boat ride on the river for wildlife viewing. Our park ranger had everyone trained on the boat to yell, "Woo!" when an alligator was spotted, for fun and probably our safety too, so he wouldn't steer our boat into one. Why does it seem park rangers are always eccentric? He taught us to "Woo!" in song of course. :-)
Here are few turtles and a gator.


It was a chilly day, but sunny, so there was a lot of alligators sunning themselves.

An Anhinga bird, they perch like that after diving, to dry their feathers.

Black Vultures. We also saw many water fowl and herons, but those pics didn't turn out as well.

FL: Friday

On Friday, we drove up to DeFuniak Springs, to have lunch and visit some of the historic shops and homes. I had my first Sarsaparilla too. Its pretty good, reminds me of root beer.

Heading back home to Panama City Beach, we stopped at Eden Gardens State Park in Point Washington to take in the gorgeous live oaks. It also happened to be a civil war encampment there that weekend. Didn't watch a battle, but we did get to observe a working encampment and ask questions of the reenactors.

I guess I never realized how "alive" live oaks can be. I love how the moss, ferns, and fungi share the space with the tree creating something fascinating to look at. I could stare at those trees for hours, changing every moment as the day's light moves through the branches from dawn to dusk.

FL: Thursday

After spending the night before in Milwaukee, we flew out of Milwaukee early Thursday morning. I was a bit anxious about the flight, not so much a fear of flying, but worried I would feel too sick during. This was my first commercial flight in my life. My friend Kate has gotten me airborne a few times in a small Cessna, which I enjoy a lot, but I always end up feeling a bit woozy. (Yeah, I can't read in a car either) Following some advice from a few friends, I loaded up on chewing gum and Dramamine. Beside being slightly drowsy, I did well. Thanks Dramamine and Orbit peppermint gum!

After a short layover in Memphis, we arrived in Pensacola, FL. My parents picked us up from the airport. We had about a 2 hour drive back to their place, so we did some sightseeing along the way there.

We stopped at the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin Air Force Base near Fort Walton Beach.

It was interesting to learn about vintage to modern armament technology and how it has changed over the years.

That's a lot of rivets.

There was also a lot of aircraft, inside and out to view. Zachary's hours of watching military documentaries on the History Channel paid off, as he was able to ID half of the planes before getting up to them and spout off random factoids.

Afterwords, my Parents took us to one of their favorite places to eat, McGuire's Irish Pub in Destin.

Very Irish, very tasty. Being an Irish place, I had to try their Corned Beef & Cabbage. Yeah, the best I have ever had.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Beach

We are currently in Florida, enjoying our last full day of vacation before we fly back home Tuesday. Its been a great trip and we are sad to leave the beach behind. I have to admit, the white sandy beaches feel better on the feet than the white snowy drifts back home. Lots of pictures to download and share soon. :-)

Hey There

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