Big Lagoon State Park, West Pensacola, Florida - May 9, 2017

Big Lagoon State Park, West Pensacola, Florida - May 9, 2017
Big Lagoon State Park, West Pensacola, Florida - May 9, 2017

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Big Lagoon State Park Volksmarch - Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Well, we did not start our walk as early as planned so we paid the consequences later in the walk as the temperatures climbed. The Volksmarch instructions had warned us this walk would be only 20% shade. But, c'mon, how bad could it be?

Upon entering the park, we stopped at the entrance station to sign in for the walk. From there we drove a few miles to a big parking lot near the lagoon to start the 10k walk. One thing was evident from the get-go. Many osprey call this park home. Osprey nests were everywhere. 

Being from the Pacific Northwest for over 30 years, you come to expect certain things at the beach: beautiful scenery, sand, tall trees, and cool temperatures, fog, or rain. Today's walk had the beautiful scenery, tall trees, and sand, but no cool temperatures to be found, not even in the shade.

The walk started out along the park road as we walked from one parking lot to another. An osprey had chicks in a nest, but was in another tree preening and having a quiet moment when we ambled by. I got the "you eyeballin' me?" glare from the bird.

Osprey nest
Osprey parent in a nearby tree
At the East Parking Lot, we took off onto a boardwalk to a lookout tower. We had a great view of the lagoon and more boardwalk. From the tower, we walked in the wet sand along the edge of the lagoon before setting inland across the sand and more sand. 

Great blue heron

Viewing tower

Where we'll walk out on the boardwalk to the sand

Osprey eating a fish

Sailboat on the lagoon

Looking toward West Pensacola

Osprey still working on eating the fish

Bob enjoying the "beach"

At this point our walk had us turn inland to get a better feeling for the rest of the park. 
A kind lady took a photo of us together
A lot of this walk is in sand or somewhat deep sand which is (1) hot and (2) hard to walk in. But we persisted in our quest to finish the 10k walk.

We loved the scenery...

...and especially loved the shade, when we found it.

We won't be swimming here!
My question is, "What happens if you're kayaking and you fall in?" Is that considered "swimming?" Will the alligator get you?

"Which way do we go, Bob, which way do we go?"

We get it!

Just gorgeous!
We liked hanging out here watching the turtles. We saw a mama and baby turtle. The baby turtle was riding on the mama's back.

If you look closely, in the photo below you will see a bug just in front of the big turtle's nose. The turtle wanted it for lunch but didn't get it. You can even see the reflection of the bug in the water!

The parts of the trail that passed by water were so delightful. However, there were long stretches without water...just sand and scrubby shrubs; although I did find a few wildflowers. Haven't looked up what they are, but they're different.

But wait, what's this? Loud, screaming jets broke the silence. The Blue Angels were practicing!

More sand to slog through

Different kind of lichen (also referred to deer moss)

Bob's hot, sweaty and whiny.
So, this is a beautiful walk with lots of bird life, but it gets very hot. Both of us were ready for lunch after this. As we were driving back toward Bob's brother's place, I saw a diner and asked Bob to stop there.

Wane's Family Diner

Interior of Wayne's Family Diner

This is Wayne. He's been here 30 years.
After the walk and lunch, we headed to Tom and Rosemarie's place where we took showers and ate left-overs. Then we drove to Pensacola to see the Blue Wahoos play baseball. It was a lovely evening out under the full moon.

Rosemarie, Tom, and Bob waiting for the game to start

Can't beat the location of Admiral Fetterman Field!

Batter up!

Our day was tiring, but enjoyable. Tomorrow we will go to Pensacola NAS (Naval Air Station) to watch the Blue Angels practice and check out the museum.

That's enough for one day! I'm falling asleep typing this. Good night.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tallahassee to Milton, FL - Mon., May 8, 2017

Easy travel day today...about 3-1/2 hours from Quincy, Florida to Milton, Florida (just east of Pensacola). We arrived at Tom and Rosemarie's house about 3:00 p.m. Our 5th wheel was guided by Rosemarie into a site in front of their home with water and electric hook-ups. They, too, have a 5th wheel which they keep on their property.
Rigamarole in front of Tom & Rosemarie's home
Our stay of five nights will be a test on our gray water tanks. Thankfully, we can use their shower!
Beauty, Rigamarole and their Everest 5th wheel
We're only about 1-1/2' from their front wall! 
Tom is Bob's brother and it's been a while since we've visited them. Their property, which they purchased a year ago, is about 1-1/2 acres and has a double-wide manufactured home on it. 

Veterans Carpet Cleaners is owned by Bob's brother who was out working when we arrived. After he arrived home and had time to relax, Rosemarie served a dinner of sweet and sour chicken over rice, and cole slaw. Dinner was good and there was plenty of it. We toured the house and the property; Cocoa, their chocolate lab, took the opportunity to get to know us. The after-dinner conversation caught us up on each other's lives and we discussed plans for the next four days.

We appreciate having five nights in their yard! That's all for today. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Tallahassee, Florida - Sun., May 7, 2017

By the time we got up and moving, it was about 10:45 when we started our Tallahassee state capitol Volksmarch at Governors Inn in downtown. The day was beautiful and we couldn't wait to see Tallahassee. 

Tallahassee actually has two capital buildings, a new one, and a historic one. 

Nothing screams the South as much as
Spanish moss draping the trees
Love this pediment on the historic capitol!
Old capitol in front; new skyscraper capitol in back
At first, we were disappointed because we thought the Florida Historic Capitol Museum was closed on Sunday. However, as we passed the old capitol, Bob noticed a sign in front that showed the Sunday hours as noon to 4:00 p.m. We figured when we finished our walk, we could visit the museum. Yay!

How did Tallahassee become the state capital? The first two territorial legislatures were held in Pensacola and St. Augustine. The 400-mile distance between the two was fraught with danger, so Tallahassee, being in the middle, was chosen as the capital.

Our walk took us around to the other side of the new state capitol where there is a big dolphin sculpture.

Another beautiful sculpture installation is at the
Museum of Florida History--State Library & Archives
Within a few blocks, we were at Florida State University. The Florida State University campus is the oldest continuously used site of higher education in the state of Florida. It first started as two state seminaries in 1851. 

As mentioned in yesterday's blog, FSU's graduation is this weekend. We saw lots of graduates and their families taking photos all around the campus.

Whoever chose the route for this Volksmarch was very familiar with the FSU campus. Our route took us past sororities and fraternities. Most of the sororities we passed had designs painted on the sidewalks in front of their buildings.

We were so impressed with all the jasmine in bloom. The air was filled with the wonderful fragrance!

Jasmine was in bloom all over Tallahassee
The walk instructions had us guessing as to what the FSU Circus might be. First, we passed Bobby Bowden Field, and the P.K. Wetherell Building. As we continued around the stadium and sports complexes on campus, we saw the Haskin Circus Complex: Home of the FSU Flying High Circus. With the demise of Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, we wondered how it would affect their program. But then we thought about Cirque du Soleil and other acts where they could find employment.

More sports complexes we passed included Dick Howser Baseball Field, Tully Volleyball Gym, and Scott Spelcher Tennis Center. The walk then took us on the promenade between a number of classroom buildings
The promenade
Part of the "Integration Sculpture"

Dodd Hall
Westcott Hall - Ruby Diamond Auditorium
As we wandered the campus, we tried not to intrude on student's graduation photos with their families. I also had to find photo angles that did not have graduates in them.

After FSU, our walk took us into downtown and we passed the Florida State Capitol History Museum again. This time it was open. We went in to cool off, use the restrooms, and see the old state capitol and museum. An hour went by as we perused the displays.

Stained glass dome - redone as best they could
using colors from glass fragments found on the site
Dome in the ceiling
The painting below is on display in the capital museum. This giclee canvas is called "Seminole Warrior," by artist David Yorke. Even though this is not a portrait of an individual, the artist researched how a warrior might have appeared to ensure the authenticity of the artwork. I love this painting! I wonder if Johnny Depp based his Captain Jack Sparrow on this artwork?!

"Seminole Warrior," by David Yorke
With another state capital ticked off the list, we continued to Cascades Park. We circled the park to see the fountains, waterfall, Korean War Memorial, and amphitheater and then crossed the street to Smokey Hollow Commemoration where we learned about spirit houses.
Fountain in Cascades Park
Artwork under a railroad overpass
We couldn't have asked for a prettier day.
Waterfall in Cascades park
Nice venue for outdoor concerts!
Korean War Memorial
The Smokey Hollow Commemoration was so interesting. The area was what we call low-income housing and was in an undesirable area of town. The hollow was the low point in the city and smoke would hang in the low-lying area. Typically the densely developed spirit houses were owned by white landlords. These houses were in tightly packed rows and considered sub-standard housing. 

The houses were "shotgun style," meaning their long, narrow floor plan had the front door and back door lined up so you could see straight through the house when the doors were open. This floor plan allowed fresh air to flow through the house. 

Layout of a typical spirit house
From the park, we returned to the truck, went to Dairy Queen for a very late lunch (4:00 p.m.) and tried to squeeze in one more activity. Bob had seen info on Mission San Luis and he wanted to see how it compared to our missions in San Antonio. 

Didn't get to see much of Mission San Luis
Mission San Luis Visitor Center door
We arrived at the Visitor Center at 4:40 p.m. only to find the mission grounds close at 5:00. We had time to see a movie and look at a portion of one exhibit room; then they kicked us out. We didn't have to pay admission, but then we didn't get out onto the grounds to see the actual mission, either.

Guess we have more to see if we get back to Tallahassee!