"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime"-MARK TWAIN

Monday, December 31, 2012

Great Year


As the last day of 2012 dawned on the Gulf Coast of Florida, temperatures were a lot warmer than previous days, but scattered clouds covered the sun.

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As I walked the beach this morning, I noticed the hundreds of wave lines of small debris left along the way as the water receded.

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For whatever reason they brought to mind our past year of traveling around this great Country. All the ins and outs, intertwined within each other, sometimes following the pattern, occasionally breaking away to leave an individual mark. Kind of like our year.

Last January we traveled to Florida, meeting Judy, along with Janna and Mike.  March found us at the Green Eggs and Ham Rally where we hooked up with about sixty old and new friends. April found us in Northern Arkansas, and May found us following our grand daughter to the state softball championship game, along with her high school graduation.  June was pretty quiet, but July found us headed North and West all the way to Glacier NP and a tour of parts of Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, and Utah; before returning home in September.  Along the way we were privileged to meet Emily and Lynne.  October was balloon month in Natchez and Arkansas.  November was spent around home, but here it is the last day of the year and we are again on the coast of Florida.

Many twists and turns, but almost all of them brought us closer to so many people we didn’t even know a year ago. We are thankful for meeting every one of them.  There are those we only know through their blogs such as Kim, Horst, Sharon, The Ducks, The Longdogs, and many many more.  Though we haven’t met in person, we consider each one of them a friend. Our goal for 2013 is to try and make many more.  Somewhere along the way.

Sally and I got out and hiked part of the Florida Coastal Trail this afternoon.  It was fun to get out and about after hanging around the trailer the past couple of days.

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Happy New Year to everyone.  We wish you the best year ever for 2013…….jc

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Florida? warm! NOT!!


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With the temperature near thirty and the wind out of the North at 25 miles an hour, the only thing to do is point your beak into the wind and hang on.  Seems every snag had a heron of some kind sitting on it this morning, hunkered down, not wanting to fly in the wind.

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That pretty much was the pattern of our day, also.  We found a nice warm place to spend the day.  The Naval Air Museum in Pensacola.  No pictures, as I blogged about it last year, but it was still a fantastic place to spend most of the day.  I don’t think you could absorb everything there if you spent a week.  Highly recommend it if you are ever anywhere in the area.

About dark we built a campfire at a friends site and had a chili dump for the evening meal.  Everyone brings a can or pot of chili of some kind, dumps it in the larger pot and after mixing and heating for a while, everyone has a bowl or two.

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A great way to fight the chill on a cold evening. 

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It wasn’t long before a full moon showed up to the East.  By then most everyone was ready to give in to the cold and head for their trailers.  Forecast to be near freezing again tonight.  Hopefully warmer temps for tomorrow…..jc

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Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cold Morning


This morning dawned cloudy and cold.  A damp thirty two degrees with a North wind rattling the leaves on the trees.  Even the doves were puffed up trying to conserve whatever heat they had accumulated.

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I managed to get Wanda and Sally out for a walk around nine.

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We hiked around both campgrounds, and then to an overlook of Pensacola bay.

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Lots of unusual plant material along the way.

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We didn’t do much else today other than a guided tour of old Fort Pickens.

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As I’ve posted on it before, I’ll just post a few pictures with new stuff I learned from our guide today.  The fort was constructed entirely of brick placed in the form of arches resting upon arches.

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The strongest form of construction, the walls and roof were constructed separately to prevent one from bringing down the other.

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Most of the brickwork was done by slaves.  The fit and finish was still very apparent, even 175 years later.  These are pictures of the walls of a powder magazine.  Five separate walls becoming a peaked ceiling.

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Awesome craftsmanship.  The day was topped off by bowls of gumbo prepared by one of our group, while sitting around a warm campfire.  Thinking we’ll do a pancake breakfast, tomorrow……jc

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Driving South.


We got away from home around eight this morning.  An uneventful drive through Hattiesburg, Mobile, and Pensacola, to Fort Pickens National Park out on Santa Rosa Island.  An uneventful trip except for some tornado damage just outside Mobile that delayed us for a few minutes.  Had everything set up in the campground by 3 PM.

Pretty cool with temps around 50 and a brisk North wind.  Met a couple of friends that were already here, but no one wanted to sit outside and visit.  Wanda and Sally held down the fort while I decided to brave the wind and take a walk on the beach.  One thing for sure, there were no crowds to avoid.


The sun was shaded by thin clouds which only added to the chill.

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A few unusual things washed up on the beach.  Wonder where this guy came from?

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The clouds did make for a beautiful sunset.


Looking the other direction.


Another dunes shot and a few hurricane relics from the campground.


It’s supposed to be 32 degrees tomorrow morning, but things are toasty in the Casita.  We’ll see what tomorrow, holds………..jc

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas


We would like to wish each and every one of you a very wonderful Christmas season.

Wanda and I were blessed to have both our families here at home yesterday for our Christmas gathering.  From before the time we married, it has been a tradition. All the parents, brothers and sisters, kids and grandkids, along with nieces and nephews gather at the home of one of the elders.  Everyone brings something to eat, and there are gifts under the tree for all the little ones.  It was quite a day, though I'm having problems with this elder thing.

The forecast for tomorrow, Christmas Day, is bleak.  A severe cold front is to meet up with warm gulf moisture in our area tomorrow morning. Tornado watch’s and probably warnings are in the forecast.  We are planning a hopefully quiet day at home.

Once again, Merry Christmas; and remember “the reason for the Season!”

Friday, December 21, 2012

Stand by for Breaking News


If my calculations were correct, the Winter Solstice for our part of the world happened at 6:12 AM this morning.  There have been many articles printed, and stories on television and the web, about the end of the Mayan calendar and the end of the world.  We put the information in the file for kooks and hoax’s.  My favorite cartoonist, Jimmy Johnson, the creator of Arlo & Janis, did an entire series of strips on the subject last week.



The days arrival does bring to mind the guy we met in Arkansas last year.  If you weren’t a follower back in September of 2011, you may want to go and read my post from that day.  I understand the highlighted text didn’t show up well in Google Reader, so you may have to read it on Blogger.

I’m sure that shortly after the first of the year, there will be big news out of Little Rock.  Scientist’s will announce finding evidence of the missing link that has eluded them for centuries.  Hidden in the wilds of Arkansas.  As I mentioned then, you meet all kinds of “interesting” people on the road.

The cold front blew its way through our part of the Country around 5 yesterday morning and the sun was out again by 9 or so.  Temperatures fell throughout the day and strong winds brought down more leaves, dead limbs, and pine straw.

It didn’t make the predicted 28 degrees this morning. Only 34, and the sun is shining again with a high forecast for the mid fifties. I think I’ll do a little loading of the Casita and truck later today.  Only five more days until the egg is rolling, again.  Looking forward to getting together with some folks at Fort Pickens, a part of Gulf Islands National Seashore, for a week or so of fun and fellowship.

We had friends over early for a pancake breakfast, and really enjoyed visiting with them. It seems more difficult to find time to visit during this period of the year.

For those hitting the road in the next few days, Safe travels, and Merry ChristmasSmile…..jc

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Almost Christmas


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Yep.  Those are Christmas wreaths hanging on the porch posts.  I took these pictures earlier today while wearing a pair of shorts and a tee shirt.  There just may be something to that global warming.  Not really sure there is anything we can do about it, though.

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Those are begonias still blooming in the old whiskey barrels and the elephant ears haven’t even been touched by frost or freezing temperatures.

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We have lots of this stuff covering the ground this time of year.  We use quite a bit in our flower beds, and around the trees and shrubs in the yard; and also give trailer loads away.   I usually still have to burn some to get all of it off the grassy areas of our yard. 

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A storm is scheduled to blow through early tomorrow morning, and is forecast to bring our first below freezing temperatures of the season tomorrow night. A frosty dawn Friday, on the first day of the new Mayan Calendar. Smile

Sunday, December 16, 2012

, and Model Trains!


When thinking about putting together yesterdays post, I didn’t plan to end it as I did.  It was to be a post about a lazy day in which we attended the parade and visited an old landmark in our little town.  The title was “A Country Christmas Parade, and Model Trains”.  It just didn’t go as planned.

So, back to the trains.  A few years ago it was discovered that an old depot from the town of Summit was rotting away on property way out in the country.  It had been hauled there years ago and used as a hunting camp before being abandoned.  This wasn’t a depot building from the big Illinois Central that ran through town, but of the little Liberty-White railroad.  A small line started by a local man that was one of the pioneers of the area.

The ladies garden club came up with the idea of having it moved back to near downtown and restored for use as a small community center.  It was in horrible condition and many, including myself, thought it was a waste of time and money.  We were wrong.  I should have known that a dedicated group of women can do anything.


The building has been fully restored inside and out.  Each year at Christmas local model train enthusiasts set up a few layouts.

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I don’t suppose there will many electric trains sitting underneath the trees this Christmas.  I do remember the Christmas Santa left one for me.  After talking with the owners of these layouts, I sure wish I still had it.  They brought back some fond memories.

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It wasn’t all about the boys, though.  There was also an old Victorian style doll house.

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It was fun to visit with some folks we know, as we reminisced about days gone by.  It was good to see smiles on faces such as this.  Don’t think I’ve ever met a happier Conductor.

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It’s going to be a busy week around here.  There’s supposed to be a crew of about forty people; made up of siblings, kids, in-laws, and outlaws at our little place next Sunday.  Lots of house cleaning, yard clearing, and cooking to take place before then.  I may do some of it, myself….jc