Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Biking Apalachicola

Sunday March 30, 2014                                                                                          If you are reading, Please comment so I’ll know you are out there.
St. George Island State Park
Eastpoint, Florida

 

 

 

 

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Breakfast today, Sunday,  is the end of the party. David did pick a place in Eastpoint so we go and have the usual.  The food is good but the restaurant has the distinct odor of rancid oil and thus we probably won’t return there although it is filled with folks who thought it was fine.

We then meet Laurel and Eric at Battery Park in Apalachicola for a bike around town. Battery Park is the town dock area and there are some great house boats docked there.  Two of them permanently without any motors including Hannah’s Ark.

 

 

 

I love the whole attitude of this place including the two  residents sunning on the back deck.

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We take a walk up the pier and there is a loon in the water. I am really surprised to see him here. Somehow I just didn’t think about loons migrating to Florida along with the rest of us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Laurel knows a lot about the town since both her father and grandfather were born here. She visited her grandparents nearly every summer and we ride up and down the streets as she shows us their house as well as the houses of a couple other members of her family. It is really a darling little town with some beautiful Victorian homes. It was an easy town to bike in at least on a Sunday late morning and afternoon.

 

 

 

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We stop at the lovely community garden where there is such lush spinach, rainbow chard, arugula and other greens growing it is hard to heed the sign which says “Harvesting by Gardeners only”. One box has a dozen little corn plants about 6” tall in it. Too cute. And one is so over grown with beautiful unharvested vegetables it seems like a crime. Lettuces, peas, carrots, beets, cilantro and more just going to seed.   Someone should definitely slip out after dark and harvest these goodies before they become too bitter to eat.

 

 

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Next stop, the Ormond House State Park where I get my park book stamped and the ranger there gives us an enthusiastic 90 minute tour of the house and the history of Thomas Orman and his son William. The house had remained in the family until the state bought it in the 1990’s. We learned a great deal about both Apalachicola history and the Ormon family.

 

 

 

The house, an antebellum home, on a bluff overlooking the Apalachicola River was completed in 1838.  the frame is of local cyress and probably built by craftsmen skilled in ship building since it was joined with wooded pegs and rope hawsers.  The remainder of the house was made of long leaf or heart pine from Syracuse New York.  It was brought down around the peninsula of Florida by sailing ship.

 

Ormon House

 

The ranger, over his eight years as head of the Ormon house, has managed to procure a number of the original furnishings on loan from the family, such the dining room table and Ormon’s canopy bed.  Other beautiful period pieces have come from several members of the local community.

 

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The house is filled with beautiful quilts and quilt pieces.  I just love antique quilts.  I have several created and given to me by my Great Aunt Carrie.  This sort of hand work always reminds me of the love she stitched into each piece.  Somehow today’s machine made quilts are just not the same.

 

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Also on the grounds is an original slave cabin awaiting funs for repair.  The azaleas are in bloom here as well as all over town.

 

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We brought our lunch with us as we always do thinking we would all have a picnic but Laurel and Eric had not so we went again to Up The Creek so that Laurel and I could both have the Conch cakes. They are very good but I have to say that the week-end cook does not do quite as good a job as the chef did on Thursday. Mine were very good but David’s were superior. So if you decide to try them, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed but how fabulous they are may depend on who the chef is that day

 

 

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We finish off the afternoon by riding over to the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge headquarters area and around the working waterfront.  It’s here that we see the last and biggest of the oyster piles.

Apalachicola is famous for the large quantity and size of its oysters.   Riding around town we found several large hills of oyster shells.  Are they oyster middens?   Guess this is how the Native Americans did it too, eat em’ and throw the shells in a pile that gets bigger and bigger and bigger.  The small pile in the front is gravel.  The large one in the back is all oyster shell.  Eric on his bike provided perspective.  Thanks Eric.

 

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This has been beautiful day outside in a really pretty town with good friends. They are leaving on Thursday so we have to get together as much as we can before that. It’s wonderful of her parents to share them with us.

After leaving them and driving back over to the island,  we stop at Harry A’s Sports bar to check it out in case we want to watch the ACC semi finals there next Saturday before we too leave the area.

We then drive on into the park and check out both of the kayak launches to see which would be the first one we’ll do when/if the winds and waves die down.  Stay Tuned!

We have lake side property

Saturday March 29, 2014
St George Island State Park
Eastpoint, FLorida

 

 

We are side lined by the rain.

 

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The rains started Thursday, the night of the party, after we got home.  It rained all Thursday night and then all of Friday  and into Friday night. Friday the rains were at times torrential or at least that’s how it sounded on the roof and looked out the window.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It’s a wrap!

 

David worked on the camera problem for 3 days and finally threw in the towel.  A very unusual thing for him to do but it just didn’t seem to be worth the time it was taking.  I’ve ordered a new camera to be delivered on Monday so until then, pictures are few and far between. 

 

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After over 24 hours the rain finally stops for good and the sun actually comes out.

 

 

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On Saturday the rain finally stopped about 1:00 so we ventured out to find that we now have lake front property.  Well  lake side actually.   Not sure you can see the water over the mats and under the kayaks.  The trees are reflecting in the water.  It’s about 4” or so deep.  My kayak can float but David’s is upside down.  Luckily the water did not come clear up to the door.  The duckies come out for a turn around the pond.

 

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Duckies swim, we go for a walk to see where else all this rain went.

 

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While they are swimming, we walk down to the beach to see how things are after the storm.  On the way we stop by the ponds and see this guy in one of the far off trees on the other side.  I think he’s a cattle egret – Page? Eric?  Judy?  I love his light caramel coloring.   No cattle around here and he seems to be alone.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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There is also a couple of Pied Billed Grebes and one female bufflehead on the pond.  Everybody looks pretty happy with all this water.  It really is wonderful having the pond habitat, the gulf beach habitat and the wetlands habitat all right here within walking distance.

 

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If wishes were horses then………….

All day Friday was pretty heavy wind and rain.  I wish I had gotten off my duff and put on my rain gear to go out and see the storm at its height over the gulf.  I used to do this all the time when I lived a block from the water in Virginia Beach. 

 

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The waves are stronger than usual and so is the wind but the sun is brightly shining and folks are out.  The red flags are flying warning people to stay out of the water but the kids are playing in the shallows.  So we head down the beach toward the farthest tip knowing we will be walking into the wind on our return.

 

 

 

 

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What a day this is, so fresh and clean, crisp and clear.

 

 

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It’s a beautiful blue sky puffy cloud day.  The dunes look gorgeous against the sky.

All along the beach there are sections roped off with signs asking that you not go beyond them due to the nesting birds.  These are put up when a nesting site is documented.  I love this and appreciate the parks for their efforts at giving other creatures a chance at a normal life.

 

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David turns back before I do. 

 

He gives me his camera but I simply cannot see in these LCD only screens so most of my pictures do not turn out and get tossed.

 

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I walk about another half an hour after he leaves and I can clearly see the end of the island when I stop to turn around and check the power of the wind at my back. 

It’s been a very pleasant walk down the beach and very different without a camera I can use easily.  There were one or two things, especially an unusual bird that I wish I could have gotten a picture of since I couldn’t identify it by memory once I got back.   But the picture I took sure that I was pointing right at the posing bird showed no bird at all when I got it back to my laptop.  Very frustrating.  I don’t know how you guys with LCD only cameras do it.

Anyway, now when I turn around I realize the wind is much stronger than I thought.   15-18 mph is my guess.   So even though I really really really wanted to see the water crossing along the front edge of the island, and it isn’t that far away, clearly visible; I think better of adding any more distance to what I have to walk back.   And I’m very glad I did.   I was leaning into the wind to make my way. 

 

 

The winds convince me to change my course at the very end.

 

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I walk off the beach at the public beach area perhaps 1/8 mile before the campground road to get out the strongest forces of the wind and walk up the road. 

On both sides of the road are lakes in front of and behind the dunes.  I wonder how long it will take the sands to absorb this water.

The entire walk was 6.75 miles so I did over 3 walking into the wind.  I am tired when I get back but it was wonderful to be out on such a lovely day at this fabulous natural beach.

 

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Thanks to Carrie for a GREAT play by play these last few days.

Saturday evening Carrie and I do a partial chat/play by play of the game between my original hometown basketball team, the Dayton Flyers and the Florida State Gators from nearby Gainesville.   Here on the island we can pick up all the networks from Tallahassee but one.  And of course that’s the one carrying the game.   I probably should have gone to a local sports bar and been the only one in the entire state cheering for Dayton.  The Flyers are the only Cinderella team left in the Elite Eight and at a #11 ranking they have made an amazing run.   They do a pretty good show fighting all the way to the end but the final score is 52/62 Florida. 

I had no idea that two times I root for would be in the NCAA or I would have made sure my late March was in a more TV accessible area. But who can know that 11 months in advance which is when you have to make reservations if you want to be in Florida in the winter.

Many thanks to my basketball loving and playing daughter for her great written play by play of the Dayton and UVa Games for her mother without TV. 

Let the PARTY begin

Thursday March 27, 2013
St. George Island State Park
Eastpoint, Florida

 

 

The attempted camera repair continues.  

 

David has gotten the camera all apart and cleaned the pieces before it’s time to leave for the party. So everything stays on the table waiting for his return.   Although I doubt that it will get any more attention today. Quite the mess isn’t it.  Just pray no one bumps anything there are nearly 4 dozen screws in 3 different bottle tops. This surely is not something I would have attempted but as I said.  Nothing to lose, it’s useless in my mind without its zoom and he wanted to do it.  He has the patience for this sort of thing and actually likes to do it.   To a Point.  Check back on how long he’s willing to persevere

 

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The 2nd day of the Party begins at Up The Creek

 

 

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We arrive at Up The Creek for a late lunch and then we’ll meet, Laurel and Eric at the Owl Tap Room at 4:00. Those who bet on beer and restaurant fare win.

Those who bet on bakery will have to find us a good one in the area. We struck out. Those who bet on breakfast are probably correct too as he did finally find one he wants to check out So it will no doubt be on the agenda for a day later in our stay here.  You all know him amazingly well.  <grin>  The two top of the line things for today are lunch here and a brew pub with friends.  Up the stairs of Up The Creek he goes.

 

 



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Up the Creek turns out to be perfect. It’s another very windy day but we can sit inside or outside on their porch out of the wind and still watch the river. We pick outside.

 

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We study the menu. I’m torn between Oysters Parmesan and one of the house specialties,  the Grilled Conch Cakes served with tupelo honey-lime sauce and topped with a sweet/savory coconut-mango slaw. The comment on the menu is “Key West wishes they had this dish.   We can’t seem to make it to Key West so let’s make them envious.

 

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Apalachicola is famous for its huge oysters. I get the oysters, David gets the Conch and a cup of alligator, shrimp sausage gumbo. The oysters are great and taste delicious. the gumbo is excellent but the Conch wins hands down. It is just out of this world. Lucky David!! He generously gives me several tastes of his three cakes and this is one of the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten. It is all I can do not to order another plate of it all for myself. For sure we are coming back here before moving on so I can have it.

 

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The Highlight of the Day is the celebrating with friends.

 

 

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We meet Laurel and Eric as the Owl CafĂ© Tap Room opens. Laurel writes the blog Raven and Chickadee which features hiking, biking, kayaking and wonderful pictures taken by them both. We have known each other only through our blogs and emails but we hit it off immediately. We have so much in common we have yet to find anything we don’t. It’s amazing. They are from Oregon, we are from Virginia. You’d think we’d been friends for years. We actually talk about politics, religion, spirituality and all things in between.

The beer drinkers 3 try all different brews at the happy hour prices. I have dessert which gets disappeared long before any pictures get taken. Notice empty plate.

 

 

 

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We have just a fabulous time of non stop sharing and of course their beer selections. We reluctantly part at about 6:15 since her parents, who live in the area, are expecting them at 6:00. Sorry to make them late. We’ll be making plans to see them again while we are here. Thanks Laurel and Eric for making this celebration an extra great occasion.

 

Does this man look happy?

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Any more fun would have been illegal.
Great way to celebrate things at least seeming to trend in the right direction.
And so, I chauffeur the celebrator home. Smile
Life is Good!!