Photo Gallery – Florida Part II

I know that I promised pictures and I have been taken many.  Now that I’m not driving for a few days, I’ve had some time to start sorting them and organizing them.  Here are some from last weekend in Florida when I went to visit my Dad’s cousin and her husband.

And the best picture of all, Christie and I in the gulf with a school of sting rays!

So yeah, I camped at the Grand Canyon

After getting to Amarillo late on the night of the 3rd, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the Grand Canyon the next day because it was still like 10 hours away and I was TIRED.  But I got up and got going.  By about 4 in the afternoon though, I was having second thoughts about making it all the way and actually stopped in Gallup, NM for a little it and looked at hotels but that would have put me still like 4 hours away and I was really looking forward to having a day with no driving the next day, so I pushed on.

The drive through New Mexico and Arizona was amazing.  The landscapes are breath taking.  It was hot and since I was heading west and directly into the sun, it was hard for the air conditioning in the car to keep up.  I was warm all the live long day.  Once I got over the “hills’ in Albuquerque, the drive was pretty flat and I was able to maintain an average speed of about 82 miles an hour.  It is also important to plan ahead regarding gas and bathrooms as you can easily go thirty miles between exits without services.

By far though, the hardest part about the three day drive was the crossing of all the time zones.  Some devices automatically updated and some didn’t and so everything had a different time on it.  Every time someone called or I talked to someone, I was like, “what time is it?”  I think I finally have it under control.

So I made it to the Grand Canyon about 7 pm local time I think.  I entered the park and chatted it up with the nicest lady park ranger.  Then I found the campground check in area  where I wasn’t the only one getting there that late.  While I was standing in line, there was a sweet lady Elk grazing pretty nearby.  It was a pretty cool way to kick things off.

By the time I found my campsite and made a trip to the closely located flush toilets, it was starting to get a little dark out so I hurried up and made “camp”.  i set up my pretty little tent and actually put 4 stakes in the ground.  I forgot to bring a pounder so I used a rock and now have 2 bent tent stakes.  I mean what do you expect though for a $20 tent?  I blew up my air mattress, put my pretty white sheet with the strawberries on it, cracked some glow sticks and scattered them for atmosphere on the floor and I was ready for bed.  I was nervous about feeling claustrophobic but it was actually quite cozy and I feel asleep quickly thanks to Enya.  I was a little bit scared of people/creatures unknown so I slept with my keys nearby so I could use the panic button if I needed to.  Once quiet hours kicked in, it was surprising quiet except for the ravens.  Those things NEVER shut up.  I woke up the next morning ready to explore, kind of.  It took me a while to get going. I looked over the map and planned my day and just kind of sat in my cozy chair and relaxed for a few minutes and may have closed my eyes for a few moments and when I opened them, there was a lady Elk walking past me.  Pretty cool.

I finally got moving and decided to go shower.  I paid $2 for 8 minutes and I have to say, it was a better shower than some others I had visited.  There was plenty of water pressure and the water was warm.  After I took care of business, then headed out towards Desert Point, stopping along the way at various look outs to see the Grand Canyon from various angles.  It was pretty cool.  I was surprised however, how many foreign people I encountered.  There were a lot from Asia and Germany (I think). It took about an hour to make it to the desert look out with all the stops.   I treated myself to a special lunch at the snack bar of a hot dog and lemonade, bought a magnet and coffee mug and headed back to my camp site.

Not to leave you hanging, but there are plenty of pictures coming as well as some sing along videos.  I am still sorting through them all, so be patient.  I’m hoping to have them all up this weekend.

 

 

Don’t ever try to drive 1600 miles in two alone.

I think I may have been a bit ambitious when I planned on driving from southern Florida to the Grand Canyon in just 2.5 days.  In the last two days, I have driven over 1600 miles and I am exhausted AND I’m only in Amarillo.  I still have further to go tomorrow to finish the trip out.  I’m not going to lie, I haven’t looked how far it is yet because I am really hoping for a short day, LOL.  Also, I actually have a store hand from the way I hold the steering wheel.  What the hell?

So the driving has certainly been eventful.  I probably could travel a little faster if I wasn’t such a stopper.  On Sunday, on my way out of Florida, I stopped at the neatest little town on the Gulf Coast called Tarpon Springs.  The whole town is Greek.  It is so cute and neat.  There are all kinds of Greek Restaurants and bakeries as well as shops and boat tours that leave from there.  Their big claim to fame are the sponge docks.  It’s where all kinds of sponges/loofahs from the sea are brought in.  They have all kinds of stores there that sell them and many other cool things.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning, when I got into Louisiana, I stopped at a Love’s truck stop that had a casino attached.   I lost $10 at video poker and scored some top notch beef jerky.  I mean seriously, Love’s has the best beef jerky.

So do you remember that show fear factor?  That is kind of what the last two days has been like.  I gave had to deal with huge bridges – (Mobile, Alabama anyone) and then a tunnel – I also crossed the Tampa Bay Bridge which actually was kind of cool- so was the one in Mobile but it took a good talking to myself to be ok.

The whole big Tampa Bay Bridge
Fisherman in Tampa Bay

 

 

 

 

Proof of crossing Tampa Bay

I also encountered a very scary like 3 inch long Grasshopper when stopping at a rest area.

At last, but not least, I had a frightening encounter with some thunder storms in Texas.  I thought I was between two storm cells when all of a sudden the wind picked up and it looked like dust was swirling in front of me.  I thought for sure I was going to get sucked in a tornado.  It wasn’t one.  There were no flying cows.

I have so much more to share but I’m pooped and I need to rest up for Grand Canyon – Day 1!!