29 August 2010

excerpts from the road. part four. the finale'


((i'm still having problems here with the placement of my pic's and text. it just never comes out exactly how i want it...so much wasted space...i've searched 'help' and to no avail. oh well...))

i wanted to get in the final 'road trip' post from our vacation today...so i can move on to all my (usual) nature stuff! i saw a pileated woodpecker yesterday while heading down the street to the mailbox on the corner of the main road...i didn't have my camera.  and i saw one of those BIG Eastern Tiger Swallowtails in the front yard...perched on a plant...and they NEVER seem to sit in the yard! they just do a fly-by. i didn't have my camera.

anyway, last post left off at De Soto Caverns. from there we headed to Cheaha State Pk (still in alabama), the highest point in alabama at 2,407 ft with an old stone observation tower built by the CCC (explained in first road trip post) in the early 1900's.







after we had parked the camper and set up...
we noticed these hornets...two of them...sitting over this long hole in a tree right by the back of the camper. it looked like they were eating ants...or termites.
it wasn't until we got home and i had internet that i was able to look them up. i learned they're european hornets and are the largest in the u.s.a. it said they're not agressive...yet one of them kept us trapped in the camper one night...flying around the back door...swooping down on us when we went outside. i also learned they're attracted to 'light' at night. that explains it!
 
a Happy Mushroom









on the way from Cheaha to De Soto State Pk , DeKalb County (a DRY county...so make sure you have your supply of beer...wine...)  we stopped at Little River Canyon Falls.  which was nice because all the trails we walked in Cheaha were DRY falls (and we weren't even in DeKalb county yet...)  Little River Canyon is part of DeSoto Pk on LookOut Mountain.

The human spirit needs places where nature has not 
been rearranged by the hand of man. 

the water wasn't flowing like it should be...as this canyon is known for it's rapids. and the scenic drive along the rim was "road closed to thru traffic".  we would've loved to hike down to the bottom, but it was HOT and milo was in the camper...so we had to keep moving!  it was a beautiful view!!  a place to come back to!

this tree just couldn't decide which side of the small boulder to grow on...so it grew up on both sides!  cool!  
look at this boulder closely...can you see the face??  a profile??

at this point we're working south east...toward Auburn, AL...then into GA...then home.
next park was Chewacla, nice and woodsy...another CCC park, on Lake Chewacla.

see the tiny green anole resting on a branch? natural camo!
slowly creeping toward home...on to georgia...

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.  
~Albert Einstein 

another place we'd love to see again...and hike to the bottom...but we'd have to leave milo at home. i guess we could take her with us on these hikes...get her one of those baby papoose things...i wonder if she'd be cool with that. 'cause if we just walked her on her leash...that 3 hour hike would take 10!  hmmm...

after Providence Canyon...on to GA Veteran Memorial State Park on Lake Blackshear. they have a really nice memorial to U.S. Veterans, displaying aircraft & armored vehicles outside...and an inside museum with all kinds of items from the Revolutionary War to Desert Storm. 











very cool sunset!  with a star in the sky...venus??

and now...although i hate for this to come to an end...we head to florida, to one of my favorite florida parks...
Stephen Foster St Pk in White Springs.  every 15 minutes...all day long, you can hear the (carillon) concert bells...toll the quarter hour...the hour...and nearing christmas time, christmas songs ring out of the bell tower. no matter where you are in the park, you can hear the bells! such a soothing sound!!

you know you're back in florida...when the lizards, spiders, gnats, mosquitos, gators...are abundant!!  :)












well, thanks for traveling with me!
whew! 
we covered alot of ground...hiked alot of trails...saw so many new places - some to go back to and see again!  i hope this journey wasn't too long for you!
of course if you made it this far...and are reading this line...then...i just wanna say 'thanks for joining me!'



so, i've already started taking pictures...around the house...in hot, muggy, buggy florida!
and will post in a few days...give you a rest...and me a rest. 
tomorrow's back to the same old routine...work, driving, laundry, shopping, cooking...
MAN! i can't wait to retire. i have so much i want to DO...and SEE. i have so many hobbies...things i can't wait to have time to...time to...time...to...do...whatever i want...whenever i want!

milo's pooped from the vacation too.
ZZZZzzzzzzz.

be safe...wherever you wander...
Let your heart guide you.  It whispers, so listen carefully.  
~Littlefoot's mother, Land Before Time 

laura   :]




excerpts from the road. part three.


well, where did i leave you yesterday?
oh yeah. just outside Birmingham. Oak Mountain State Pk. Alabama Wildlife Center.
((in case you're dropping in for the first time, sam & i just got back from a camping/road trip/vacation...from FL>AL>GA and back to FL again. cool sites. lots of pic's. 12 days. this is the third post of our adventures. one more to go after this and then life will be back to 'normal'...posts filled with the little critters of nature.)  :]


ok. so let's roll. Birmingham, Alabama. SLOSS FURNACES

amazing. 

overwhelming. 

massive.

an old industrial site
that was in operation from 1881 until 1971. 

now a national historic landmark. 

you can still smell the molten iron. 

you wander around the site...
you can see and feel what it must've been like...

the heat. 
the smoke. 

sparks. 

fire.  

the huge blast furnaces.
imposing smokestacks. 

a maze of pipes.




i left there feeling drained. and hot. it was getting cloudy and i was hoping it would rain. it didn't.



after Birmingham 
we were planning to head to 
the highest point in Alabama. 
but first...we had to do a drive-by 
of birmingham's "satanic statue". 
a fountain.
outside a church.




on our way to Cheaha, 
we stopped by the De Soto Caverns
 in Childersburg, AL.

(cool caverns, 
but i wouldn't recommend it to anyone
as it was very  pricey 
and nearing the end of the tour, 
down in the caverns, 
they showed 
a laser bible show 
about the creation of life.
i'm sure a lot of people wouldn't mind this...
after all, we WERE in the bible belt.
but we didn't pay 40 bucks for a sunday school lesson...
and then told we had to pay another $20. 
for additional tickets to see the butterfly garden. oh well.)

MUCH cooler caverns: we've been to the Florida State Caverns
Tuckaleechee Caverns in Tennessee 
and Lost River Cave in Kentucky....and i would say GO to any of these!!
check 'em out if you have the chance!

well, later this eve i'm gonna try to get the rest of our vacation on here in ONE MORE post.
Cheaha St Pk...De Soto St Pk...then to GA to see Providence Canyon, GA Veteran's Memorial St Pk...and finally back to FL for one night at Stephen Foster Center St Pk before puling into the driveway at home, parking the truck...pulling out from under the camper...unloading...and then getting on with all the chores we left behind.
laundry.  mowing.  more laundry.  food shopping.  
back to work tomorrow.  wow.

No man needs a vacation so much as the person who has just had one.  
~Elbert Hubbard 

so, stay cool...have a happy day...or night...
laura  :]

28 August 2010

excerpts from the road. part two.

...this is a continuation...a condensed version...of our  'just short of two week road trip'  from FL to AL to GA and back to FL again. since we didn't have any internet access along the way...no iphone or air card...i get to live it all again through these posts and pictures!  enjoy!!  :)

ok, so, where did i leave off?
oh yeah,  Torreya State Park in FL...next stop...Oak Mountain St Pk in Pelham, Alabama...15 miles south of Birmingham.

so we're heading out of florida...into alabama...losing an hour as we make it west of the chattahoochee river. eastern to central time zone. "Let's Roll Alabama" is everywhere! more cow pastures. dairy farms. goats. rolling hills. purple martin (gourd) houses hanging in just about every yard. peanut fields. horses.
Oak Mountain is Alabama's largest st pk , 10,000 acres in the southernmost part of the Appalachian Chain.  some of the views are like those in the Smokey Mountains.


we stopped at the visitor center to get maps, etc...(just in case the garmin GPS lost it's signal. it used to be MY job to navigate! sam drove...i told him where to turn...i was GOOD! but i was replaced! :[  anyway, maps for back up.)

they were collecting watermelon rinds at the visitor center. we should have asked them 'why'?  but we forgot.  anyone know?  for compost?


 



Double Oak Lake





milo...exploring...




creek running through the Alabama Wildlife Center  which is located in Oak Mountain State Park.











the pictures that follow are some of the non-releasable birds in 'flight cages' built off the ground, among the trees. these birds are blind in at least one eye and therefore wouldn't be able to survive in the wild.




              

        
 the female owl on the left is blind in both eyes.  
the male owl on the right is in the cage as her companion and 'seer'...

this red-tailed hawk  is "Ireland". she's been at the AWC since she was a flightless baby...two years ago, when a car hit the tree her nest was in. she fell out of the nest. when the tow guy came to tow the car away...he saw her on the ground and took her to the Rehab center. she has neurological damage and can't be released back to the wild.  she's one of their 'educational' birds now. we spent alot of time here...learning about the animals...walking the trail...visiting the nursery and convalescent ward. really interesting...we left there appreciating all the good they do for the wildlife in the area.






since we were already pretty hot and sweaty, we decided to tackle the hike to Peavine Falls before heading back to the campground. well, we finally get to the falls...but there's no water. dry. just rock. oh well...we got our exercise and the rock formations and view made it all worth it!

back to the campground...to our campsite where we had 
"A Close Encounter of the Squirrel Kind"...


milo was on the picnic table...shocked that the squirrel was so brave!
we were kind of surprised too. 

so this is the end of our Oak Mountain adventure...next day we headed to check out Sloss Furnaces in Birmingham. VERY cool place!!! overwhelming! amazing! 
then on to the De Soto Caverns in Childersburg...and Cheaha State Park ...
stay tuned for Part Three  :]
and so...i leave you with just a few more pic's from our campsite...

  
There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, 
but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.  ~Minnie Aumonier 

stay cool - - - - laura  :]
(if you missed the previous post - Part ONE click here )
    
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