Tag Archive: Florida

More Thanksgiving Escapes

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Island Kayak

NOTE: After a week, Thanksgiving turkey is probably getting old and not something you want to eat. I’m about a week late with this post, and I’m hoping it’s not quite as stale.

It was a week of lots of home health care visits. The nurse who will be staying with Laura’s mom on a regular basis dropped by a couple of times over the holidays. Another nurse came by a couple of times, and there were two different physical therapists in multiple times to work with her. Laura and I were tasked with heading out to get various items necessary for all of these pursuits. Add to that the desire for a traditional Thanksgiving meal, and things could get stressful very quickly.

Even so, we managed to have a traditional Wright family turkey gathering, and I was able to spend some time with my family. I even managed a couple more escapes on my kayak. (more…)

Indian River Escape

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Indian River Grunge

Been a tough couple of weeks, and I seem to be suffering from writer’s block. I just haven’t been too inspired to research or photograph anything. Even when I have subject material, such as my long urban walk, or research on my grandfather’s churches, or a dozen other things I could be pursuing, I seem to lose interest about halfway through the post or project. So, I’m going to make a concerted effort to keep writing on a regular schedule.

And with that, we’re here in Florida for the Thanksgiving holidays. Laura’s mom was just released from three months in a skilled nursing rehab center after breaking both legs in a fall. Our job was to help her get re-established at Laura’s sister’s home and situated with home health-care, etc. I needed an occasional escape, so I brought a kayak down with me.

Escape #1 – Night Paddling

We arrived later Sunday evening than I had planned. Monday was spent running errands and getting supplies for the house. By Monday evening I was ready for an escape. I headed out for an after-dark paddling trip.

Indian River Paddling-013 (more…)

Lost in the Mangroves in the Old Inlet

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Indian River Panorama HDR

So far it had been a great week in Florida. I had gotten out on the kayak for at least one paddling trip each day. In some cases, twice. Doesn’t hurt when you’re staying at a place with a boat ramp right into the Indian River.

This was our last full day in Fort Pierce, and we were going to jam it full of activities. The morning started with a trek out to the Saturday morning Farmers Market in downtown Fort Pierce. We got some vegetables, did some people watching, and Laura was even able to find a cool hat to wear in the Mini Convertible out on the artists section of the market.

Fort Pierce Farmers Market-2
Fort Pierce Farmers Market-3
Fort Pierce Farmers Market-1

When we got back from the market, Laura and Amy headed out for some shopping, and I headed out on the kayak. Most of my treks had been averaging about four miles, and I was determined to get at least one long trip in. (more…)

Gadding about in Florida – Part One

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Indian River Paddling-002

Indian River near Fort Pierce, Florida

We’ve been spending a few days down in Fort Pierce, Florida, at Laura’s sister’s place. Amy had to go away on business, so we cam down to keep her mom company. I brought toys. The Subaru was loaded with more camera and kayak gear than luggage.

Every morning I’ve been getting up and down a short paddling trip before the heat and afternoon thunderstorms hit. I’ve also managed to get in an evening paddle.

I brought the Tsunami because it handles rougher water with ease and is quick enough that I can go some distance. First trip out I headed out to the spoil islands. The morning was clear with a light breeze. The water was relatively flat.

Indian River-003
Indian River-004
Indian River-007 (more…)

Fourth in Florida

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Indian River Evening-002

Been a busy week. We headed down to Florida to Laura’s sister’s house for the Fourth holiday. The days at Amy’s have been spent on day trips, but mostly paddling out on the Indian River. I have fallen woefully behind on blogging. I’ve got a couple of ghost town reports and other write-ups to finish. Until then, here’s a slide show of what we’ve been doing over the past week or so…

Florida Christmas 2011

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Santa's Florida Sleigh

Another Christmas has come and gone, and again this year we’ve spent it in Florida with Laura’s sister, Amy. It’s been a busy week, with boat trips, paddling trips, and explorations of the area. Normally I would have done several posts, but I just hadn’t gotten around to it. So I’ve combined a few items in one long post. Here are a few highlights and photos…

Beaches

We took a couple of trips to the beach. First was a trip up to Avalon Beach on North Hutchinson Island after a shopping trip to Vero Beach. The wind was whipping, and the waves were higher than usual. We didn’t stay long at the little park, but just parked so that Laura’s mom could look out over the ocean and we could walk on the beach.

Laura at Avalon Beach

Avalon Beach on North Hutchinson Island

Wright Family at Avalon Beach

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Winter Solstice Sunrise Paddle

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Solstice Sunrise

Last night was the longest night of the year. The Winter Solstice occurred at about 12:30 am. That meant sunrise would also be the latest of the year, and I could paddle out to enjoy it without having to get up too early. It also helped that both my kayak and body of water on which I’d be paddling were only about 100 ft away from my bed.

…but backing up a bit…

We arrived at Amy’s house in Fort Pierce earlier this week. In addition to luggage, my electronic gizmos, and Christmas presents, we had strapped the tandem kayak to the top of the car. While the weather down here is spectacular – hovering in the 80s during the day – paddling conditions have not been ideal. It’s been breezy and very choppy out on the Indian River.

Indian River Panorama

Returning

I tried a couple of solo trips. On one a large sea turtle came up next to me and kept me company for awhile.

Sea Turtle Head

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Anniversary at Kissimmee Prairie

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Kissimmee Prairie Palmetto Scrub

Monday Laura and I celebrated our 22nd anniversary. We usually like to get out and travel a bit on our anniversary. It was cold and windy, even in Florida, so a paddling trip or boat ride was out of the question. Instead, we decided to head inland to the Kissimmee Prairie, a 54,000 acre nature preserve north of Okeechobee.

Our directions from Amy were to drive down to Orange Avenue in Fort Pierce, then head west until it ended at Highway 441.  It was 25 miles of the straightest road I think I’ve ever seen on this side of the Mississippi.  It was another 20 miles on 441 through some of the most desolate countryside in the state.  There were large ranches and orange groves dotted with small single-wide trailers.  I couldn’t imagine living out here, especially in summer.

When we got to the Prairie we found a large flat area that alternated between palmetto scrub, grasslands, and wetlands interspersed with palm tree and live oak hammocks.  A couple of dirt roads traversed the area, but for the most part the only way to see the place was on foot. (more…)

Christmas in Florida

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There were rumors and reports of snow back in Greenville. It wasn’t exactly my definition of a “white Christmas.” To me, a white Christmas is when you wake up and everything is covered in snow. However, I wasn’t going to be picky – snow is snow, and I would have enjoyed it all the same. The simple fact was that I was going to miss it all together. It was a warm 70 degrees down here.

The day began with the Wright family tradition of wrapping everything under the sun and putting it under the tree. They love to wrap/unwrap packages. It’s fun. This year Santa brought me life vests so I could take friends kayaking and a cool remote helicopter with built in camera. (more…)

Christmas Paddling

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Indian River Sunset

It’s Christmas. That means a trip to Florida to visit Laura’s sister, Amy. Using the new kayak racks Laura gave me for my birthday, I brought down the tandem that we got last summer so that we could paddle it out on the Indian River. After an 11 hour drive, I had to hit the water as soon as I got there.

Amy's Canal

The water was quite calm, and sun was just setting as I paddled out into the channel. Since it was dusk I decided I didn’t want to get out into the main channel, but paddled out far enough so that I could watch the sun set. It was a short paddle, but enough to improve my mood immeasurably.

Indian River Sunset (more…)

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