Saturday, 04-19-08 Merritt Island NWR

For more infor: www.fws.gov/merrittisland

A sunny, warm day - perfect for a bike ride, followed by a walk on Playalinda Beach, with KSC as a backdrop. This is a birder's paradise: herons, egrets, wood storks, roseate spoonbills, eagles, sandhill cranes, ospreys, nesting Florida scrub-jays, white and glossy ibis, cormorants, anhingas, pelicans, ducks, red-winged blackbirds, swallows, boat-tailed grackles, killdeer, sandpipers, gulls, and ubiquitos black vultures, all of which we saw. Our list can go on and on. The first thing we saw, however, was the gopher tortise above. It stopped in its tracks when we pedaled up, and then pooped. Spotted several alligators soaking up the sun. The vulture was perched atop a parking sign near the beach, and didn't seem to care how close we got. It wasn't quite as ugly as I thought it should be! Bugs? Oh yeah! Lots of skeeters for the birds to eat. I got bit, so GET BUSY!
Tomorrow: Home

04-18-08 Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral FL

Wow, what a trip! We spent all day at the KSC, half the time with mouths agape at the magnitude of what our country has accomplished and the stupendous size of the structures involved. We boarded the first guided tour bus for an overview of the area, and were allowed to get quite close to Launch Pads 39A and 39B and the colossal Vehicle Assembly Building (above with the flag - each stripe is 8' wide and each star is 6' from point to point!). We learned about Skylab/the International Space Station (ISS), which has more than 22 Space Shuttle Missions to date. Saw the 15,000' Shuttle Landing strip (w/ 1,000' asphalt overruns!), visited the Apollo Saturn V Center, watched two IMAX movies, and Jimmy rode the "Shuttle Launch Experience," which I declined to do, but did observe. He said it was great. I said, "Great!" We toured the rocket garden, and we could have done more, but we ran out of time. We were directed to park our RV in the front row again, which we LIKE, and at noontime, we walked to the RV for a PB&J lunch. Nice. Neither of us had ever been to the Space Center, but we're glad we made the effort... and can highly recommend a visit.


Thurs, 4/17 - Hollywood Studios (MGM)

We planned to move east to the Cape Canaveral area today; however, since it's roughly 50 miles away, we decided to play for a few hours at Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM) to see what's new. We ran into more crowding, but had fun regardless. Saw the Indiana Jones stunt show for the first time - quite an impressive show! Enjoyed the streets, the facades - but steered clear of Tower of Terror! Left our Disney adventures early afternoon for our Titusville campground. Once settled, we rode our bicycles to Publix to buy a few things. Nice day, but we were tired by day's end.


Wed, 4/16 - Epcot... all day!

Epcot was celebrating their Garden Festival. The ornamental displays all over the Park were beautiful - a spectacular feast of color for the eyes! Again, the crowds were a bit overwhelming. Plus, we've noticed an influx of Britishers everywhere this week. (They don't speak English like we do.) We rode our favorite Test Trac, after which I caught Jimmy - on camera - drooling over a GM Car of the Future. We spent the whole day at Epcot, but ate lunch in our RV parked in the first row of the parking lot - that was nice! Enjoyed a fine dinner at the Nine Dragons in "China." Had a terrific day, except we missed out on Soarin' - we'll just have to return another time!


Tues, 4/15 - Magic Kingdom AND a surprise!

We always have fun at the Magic Kingdom, even if the Park is CROWDED, as it was today. We were sort of taken aback by the crush of people, and we were only able to ride a few of our favorites rides before we needed to leave:

to visit Aunt Bea and cousin Dave at home in Orlando! So good to see Aunt Bea again and get reacquainted with Dave (after only 46 +/- years!). We enjoyed a delicious dinner at Beef O'Brady's, but best of all, we spent time together. Aunt Bea may be "getting on in years," but Dave is taking good care of her -- and we say, thanks to you, Dave!


Busch Gardens, Tampa 04-14-08

Since we're not into riding roller coasters, we checked out the rest of the place. Enjoyed a few of the tamer rides, but really had fun walking the grounds, playing with the birds and seeing the animals... and being goofy (oops, wrong theme park!).

We certainly have enjoyed the heated pool and hot tub at our C/G the last two (coolish) days!


How could I forget...

to show you my famous little Busch Gardens friend, the mighty Sprint, who thinks he's as big as a Clydesdale... or any rate, cuter!


Pinellas Bike Trail - Sunday 4/13/08

Lots of ospreys. This one leered down at me when I got too close.

Click on any image for a larger view. To visit the trail: www.pinellascounty.org/trailgd

The boxcar was a great place to stop for coffee.

Some guys forage one way, some another!

34-mile (one-way) Pinellas Bike Trail, from Tarpon Springs to St. Petersburg, FL on the Gulf side, is a wonderful place to ride. Though rain had been predicted (which only amounted to a couple of sprinkles), we sure as heck preferred the cool overcast day for pedaling. We rode 35 miles from the trail head in Tarpon Springs to Clearwater and back. Lots of wildlife and birds, thru Wall Spring St Pk, salt water wetlands, tidal inlets, small towns, and a gorgeous tropical
landscape of trees and flowers!
Butt, when it's over, it's over!

The End!


Run, Forest... RUN!

Jimmy, Rob, Nannie, Ruthie, Shirley.

Look at the five of us, proud of having suited up, shown up, and finished the Azalea Trail 10k Run in Mobile AL last Saturday morning, 3/29. For the couch potatoes reading this, that's a run (or a walk) of 6.2 miles. That evening we enjoyed a fine dinner at the Original Oyster House on the Causeway between Mobile and Daphne AL, where these pictures were taken. Good show!

Ruthie, Jimmy, Rob, Nannie, Shirley