Tag Archives: Instagram

Kayaking on the Gulf Coast

Kayaking on the Gulf Coast

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

We only stayed in Cedar Key, Florida, for a week, but we packed it full of fun stuff. One of our favorite things was kayaking out to Atsena Otie (which means cedar island in a tribal language). Mike and I shared a kayak and accompanied guide Mandy Davis and three of her friends on an awesome daylong adventure.

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

Mandy is an accomplished, seasoned naturalist and guide who’s recently set up shop in Cedar Key. She runs Hidden Coast Outdoors, and the Atsena Otie adventure is one of many tours she offers. Not only did Mandy show us how to kayak, but she also educated us on the history of Cedar Key. We learned that the city of Cedar Key was located on Atsena Otie Island. Cedar Key was an important port. Two mills on the island produced ‘cedar’ slats for shipment to northern pencil factories. Economic decline began when Henry Plant’s railroad to Tampa began service in 1886, and a devastating Atlantic hurricane in 1896 was the final blow.

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

We made the short hike to the now-closed pier and the cemetery. Mandy brought along paper and crayons so we could take headstone rubbings. I chose a grave marker with my name (except with a Z instead of an S). What a unique souvenir! We then kayaked further east for lunch. Mandy prepared a homemade, gourmet Mexican meal for us, and we ate on the beach near eaglets and other water birds.

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

travel, photography, Instagram, kayaking, outdoors, Hidden Coast Outdoors, Atsena Otie, Cedar Key, Florida, beach, water, hiking, history, cemetery, headstone rubbing

It was a glorious experience, so much fun and a wonderful workout.  $90 (per person) VERY well spent!!

Milwaukee to Cedar Key in Instagrams

Milwaukee to Cedar Key in Instagrams

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

Before we left Milwaukee, probably for the last time this “season”, we had dinner with our good friends Larry and Maribeth at Mo’s Irish Pub. The company was awesome; the steamed veggies were crisp; and I was digging the light fixtures.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

In the morning before we left town, we stocked up at the grocery store so that we’d have healthy stuff and save money by not shopping at the truck stops.  We also popped into Hobby Town, so Mike could pick up something airsoft-related. I can’t keep track of all those gizmos!  At the checkout counter, I spotted these freaky snacks. If these are what the early bird gets, I think I’ll sleep in from now on!

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

It’s amazing how impressive a city’s skyline can be as you motor by in the RV.  The Chicago skyline was enchanting.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

It’s not every day that you see a dinosaur as you roll down the interstate!

 boondocking, Cedar Key, Chiefland, Florida, fresh-squeezed, Georgia, grapefruit juice, Instagram, iPhoneography, Milwaukee, orange juice, pecans, photography, Roadside America, roadside attraction, Sunset Isle, travel, Walmart, Wisconsin

The Corvette is Mike’s favorite car, so we had to stop at The National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green. We didn’t buy the $10 per-person tix because we were meeting Stevi for lunch in Smyrna and didn’t have time to do the full tour. That meant that we didn’t get to see the sink hole either. The docent told us there was plexiglass around the hole so museum goers could see it, and apparently there’s a live webcam of the repairs.

 boondocking, Cedar Key, Chiefland, Florida, fresh-squeezed, Georgia, grapefruit juice, Instagram, iPhoneography, Milwaukee, orange juice, pecans, photography, Roadside America, roadside attraction, Sunset Isle, travel, Walmart, Wisconsin

One of the very best things about our RVing adventure is reconnecting with friends we haven’t seen in forever.  Mike worked with Brian at MMI; they were both instructors. But Mike hadn’t seen Brian and his wife Donna since 1997! So, after we had lunch with Stevi, we caught up with Brian, Donna and their grandson Bowe for a late dinner at the Montana Saloon & Grill in Talladega. I was delighted to meet them – such nice people! – and was sad when Donna had to take Bowe home since she had to be up early the next day. Thankfully, Brian was able to hang out for a while, and he and Mike visited over a couple of beers in the rig.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

No drive down I-75 in Georgia is complete without a stop at the World’s Largest Peanut. There’s a picnic table and plenty of grass to walk the bark babies. As a bonus, it’s right next to Carroll’s Sausage & Meats, which has an adjacent RV park.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

We knew we were outta the cold when we saw this orange-and-pecan stand in the parking lot of the Flying J at the Georgia/Florida border. We bought a bag of fresh oranges, a bag of homegrown raw pecans and a bag of pralines from Moses himself. $30 well spent!

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

Complimentary fresh-squeezed orange juice and grapefruit juice at the Florida Welcome Center. We picked up a Sun Pass while we there to cover those pesky tolls that are so easy to miss when you’re driving.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

We arrived in Florida two days before our campground reservation. Sunset Isle in Cedar Key couldn’t squeeze us in, so we boondocked in the Walmart parking lot in Chiefland. We snagged a lovely spot next to the water. Practicing good boondocking etiquette, we asked management’s permission, didn’t put down our jacks or push out our slide. Feel free to send us a gold star!

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, roadside America, roadside attraction, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Florida, Georgia, pecans, fresh-squeezed, orange juice, grapefruit juice, Cedar Key, Chiefland, boondocking, Walmart, Sunset Isle

Our boondocking parking lot not only had a Walmart but also a hair salon, a Radio Shack, a clothing boutique and a Mexican AND a Chinese restaurant. Viejo Amigo was a surprisingly charming eatery. It was the first time we’d been served a salsa carafe.

We’re super excited to move into our camp spot – with full hook-ups! – for a week. Bring on the famous Cedar Key sunsets!  But it sure has been a fun trip getting here.

Working at HDU

Working at HDU

Harley-Davidson, Harley-Davidson University, Instagram, iPhoneography, Milwaukee, photography, travel, Wisconsin

Mike has been a contract technical trainer at Harley-Davidson’s University for eight years, and he never tires of being on such hallowed ground. HDU is located at Harley’s corporate headquarters on Juneau Avenue. It’s the site where the first factory – a wooden shed – was built in 1903 in the backyard of the William C. Davidson family home. On a couple of occasions, when I’ve been traveling with Mike, he’s brought me there to see the classrooms where he teaches and meet the Harley staff he works with, many of whom he’s known for decades and are now good friends.

Harley-Davidson, Harley-Davidson University, Instagram, iPhoneography, Milwaukee, photography, travel, Wisconsin

I joined him there this past Friday. He had just finished up a four-day class the day before, and he was tidying things up. We brought our hotspot iPad, and Mike parked me in the third floor breakroom to do my work while he tied up loose ends.  With all the friends that stopped by, what should have taken just an hour or so ended up taking all day. It was a hoot! We ran into Becky in the Red Brick Cafe and saw the new Street bike all studded out for ice racing. Kathie, who handles admissions and scheduling for HDU, treated us to lunch at the cafe, and we chatted about social media and shared road stories. The Red Brick Cafe is awesome. Lots of great selections, including a salad bar and a pizza counter. The Margherita pizza I had was freshly made and only had 282 calories in the whole pie! Back in the breakroom on the third floor, longtime pal Anthony pulled up a chair, and he and Mike told stories of the bad old days. It might not have been the most productive day, but it sure was a good one!

Harley-Davidson, Harley-Davidson University, Instagram, iPhoneography, Milwaukee, photography, travel, Wisconsin

Just enjoy the journey

Just enjoy the journey

travel, photography, motivation, inspiration, Instagram, sunrise, open road

When you become a full-time RVer, or embark on some other kind of epic trip, it’s easy to let the pitfalls drag you down. Things break; people are strange; the dream job is still a job. Sometimes you’re gonna get sand in your margarita. It’s easy to get discouraged, but when those situations come up, remember:

Don’t worry about the potholes.

Just enjoy the journey.

Getting an early start

Getting an early start

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, RVing, boondocking, sunrise, sun coming up, early start, New Mexico

Although we try to take things at a fairly leisurely pace, some trips require long days of driving.  They can be exhausting.  We break things up by sharing the driving, listening to audiobooks and podcasts, and stopping frequently to walk the bark babies and ourselves.  I also work on the laptop while we’re motoring along.

When the alarm goes off well before dawn, we often groan and grumble, especially if we haven’t had our caffeine yet.  🙂  But then, once we get rolling, we’re rewarded with glorious views as the sun rises in front of us.  It makes getting an early start worth it.

travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, RVing, boondocking, sunrise, sun coming up, early start, New Mexico

Sunday morning hike

Sunday morning hike

hiking, Red Rock, Las Vegas, Nevada, Calico Basin, travel, photography, iPhoneography, Instagram, exercise, outdoors

While we were back in Vegas, we returned to a cherished tradition: a weekend hike in Red Rock with friends and the bark babies. Sheryl is a fellow writer. She’s full of sass and sarcasm and funny as heck.

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She’s also a dog lover, mama of a cream-colored girl named Akasha. Sheryl helped us find our little man Meeko at the adoption center after a hike last spring. She drove him home for us. On this warm, clear Sunday, the dogs roamed free while we got caught up, periodically stopping to admire the stunning backdrop we’d been away from for so long.

HikingRedRock2

Pieces and parts

Pieces and parts

FreightlinerServiceCenterFrontDoor

When you’re buying a motorhome, one of the things you have to decide is whether you want a gas rig or a diesel one.  A big plus for gas is the availability of parts.  Every auto parts store has tons of supplies for gas vehicles.  We knew, in going with a diesel pusher, that we were trading ease of replacing broken pieces and parts for engine durability.

So far, it’s been a fair trade, but it does make replacing damaged doohickeys a little more challenging.   A few months ago, we noticed that our coach was struggling as it climbed hills.  The steeper the grade, the more sluggish we became.  Mike did some research and figured out that our fuel filters were gunked up.  Luckily, our stay in Fletcher, North Carolina, put us reasonably close (three hours round trip) to a Freightliner service center in Gaffney, South Carolina.

FreightlineServiceCenterBays

We tried to schedule a full service for the rig, but apparently, those are booked out months in advance.  (It’s become clear that pre-planning is something we need to work on.)  Even though they couldn’t squeeze us in for the service, they did have the parts we needed.  Besides a water separator fuel filter and an engine fuel filter, Mike also picked up a branded ball cap and travel mug.  He’s so proud of his chassis!

He still had to buy filter pliers, but after that, swapping out the filters was easy peasy.  And now the hills are no match for our hallway on wheels!

FreightlinerServiceCenterParts

Air and Space

Air and Space

AirAndSpace1

Our next stop after hanging out with Grant and Barbie was Washington, D.C.  We were in town to inter Mike’s mum with his dad, who was buried in Arlington in 2003.  Evelyn passed away in early 2012, but it took a while for all of our schedules to sync up so we could reunite her with her husband of over 50 years.

Although the reason for the visit was bittersweet, we managed to fit in some fun.  With Mike’s passion for all things flying-related, a trip to the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., was a “must do”.   Luckily, we were in D.C. right before the shutdown, so all the museums were open.

Of course, Mike was in aviation ecstasy the moment he stepped inside the Air and Space doors.  🙂  I was pretty excited, too, especially about the Wright Brothers exhibit – coming so close on the heels of our visit to First Flight.  While were at Air and Space, we saw two movies in the IMAX theatre: Air Racers (which was in 3D) and To Fly!  Both were good and gave our feet a nice rest after all the walking.

(The Instagram photos were taken by me.  The others were taken by Mike.)

AirAndSpace2

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AirAndSpace3

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He breaks for quadcopters

He breaks for quadcopters

RestAreaQuadCopterBreak

Mike loves gadgets and technology and especially technological gadgets.  (Is there any other kind?)  This DJI Phantom quadcopter covers all the bases.  It’s a streamlined, ready-to-fly multi-rotor system with a GoPro mount, for capturing stills and video.

More than a nice diversion at rest areas, it’s great for taking aerial photos of campgrounds and for inspecting the roof of the rig.  Play and practical purpose all rolled into one.