June 02, 2008

From the Panhandle to DC and More

Gainesville Wild Life
 Gainesville Alligator

You have my apologies for waiting so long before filling you in on our travels in April and May. My last entry was in April and ended with the story of our stay on the Mississippi gulf coast. We headed east toward Florida

We took our time driving as close as we could to the gulf, as we crossed the Florida panhandle. We passed through Pensacola and we stopped for the night in Panama City. We continued our trip east passing through Port St. Joe, East Point, Carrabelle and ending the panhandle transition in Perry. Three hours later we were in Gainesville, which is where the University of Florida in found.

We spent two nights couch-surfing in Gainesville. Our host was the lovely Heather. She is a life long resident of the city and teaches at a local school. We spent a whole day exploring and enjoying the city. There is a small downtown and huge university campus. We had lunch downtown. We spent the afternoon enjoying a small lake on the campus. There were alligators and turtles and egrets. In the late afternoon, we enjoyed the weekly farmersí market. Heather met us there. Then we went out for a dinner tapas and good bottle of Argentinean wine.

To see a slideshow from Florida, press HERE.

St. Augustine Harbor
 St. Augustine Harbor
Fort St. Augustine
 Fort St. Augustine
Back in Savannah
 Back in Savannah
Wilmington, NC
 Wilmington
Ocracoke
 Ocracoke
Hatteras Homes
 Hatteras Homes
The Dunes of the Outer Banks
 Dunes of the Outer Banks
Washington Sites
 Washington Sites

To see a slideshow from North Carolina, press HERE.

The next day we headed to Saint Augustine. We stopped in the town of Palataka, so that I could do some family research. We had hoped to do some couch-surfing in the Saint Augustine, but that did not work out. We spent a long week-end. We enjoyed the beach, walking in the sun, listening to the roar of the ocean and playing cards in the shade. We had several seafood diners. We also walked the streets of the old town. We walked around the old fort, and we walked on avenues of old houses. We visited a local winery where the wines were OK but not great. The most common wine grape in the south is the Muscadine grape. Wines made from it are an acquired taste. However, the sherry made from this wine is excellent. It was a very enjoyable four or five days.

Another thing that we did was visit a distant cousin and her husband, Beverly and Carlton Smith. They have a lovely new home. They were so welcoming. We spent the day gathering information about the family. They even gave me copies of some old photos. We left with a warm feeling.

On Monday we headed north on the coast highway, which is a road less traveled with an occasional great view of the ocean. Eventually, near the Georgia border, we turned to I-95. We made it to Brunswick, where we stopped to lunch at GA Pig - a wonderful barbecue joint, just off I-95 on route 17. With our bellies full, we continued our northern journey.

Betty so loved Savannah, that she insisted that we stop for a three or four hour to see the city in the spring. It was just as lovely as our first visit in January. We hiked from square to square. Truly a beautiful city, nearly perfect in size!
In the late afternoon we continue north for an hour or so.

The next day we worked our way slowly to Wilmington. We had found a couch-surfing host, and arrived in the late afternoon at the home of Alyssa Bauman. She is a successful business woman, having owned and run a vintage clothing store for many years. A good portion of her business is dealing with movie makers. Wilmington is a center of movie production on the east coast. After getting to know each other, we went out for a really good Mexican dinner. The next day, we walk all around the old part of town, seeing old homes and enjoying the riverfront. It was a great day. In the late afternoon we met up with Alyssa and another local couch-surfing host, Will Newport. The pub food was good and the pubís brew was just excellent. We really like Wilmington.

We left very early the next morning. We were headed for outer banks of the North Carolina coast. We stayed close to the coast until we got to Cedar Island. We just barely made it in time to take the ferry to Ocracoke Island. We were now in the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. We made or way slowly to the other end of the Island, where boarded yet another ferry to Hatteras. The sea island and dunes are beautiful. There is very little development in the national park. We again mad our way slowly northeast and then north along the chain of outer bank island. In the late afternoon, we arrived in Kitty Hawk and stopped for the evening. The next day we continued north, heading inland and then north passing by Norfolk and Newport News. I showed Betty a bit of the Richmond I had seen last month before stopping for a barbecue lunch.

To see a slideshow from Washington, DC, press HERE.

The National Cathedral
 National Cathedral
Bill with Carolyn and Jerry Parr
 Carolyn and Jerry Parr
My Pic of Hillary
 Hillary Clinton
Bill with Dawn and Mitzi
 Dawn and Mitzi

In the late afternoon, we arrived in Washington. We had come both so that Betty could see the capital for the first time in years and so that I could do a bit of family research. We had been invited to visit Carolyn and Jerry Parr, a distant cousin and her husband. They have a lovely home in northwest Washington. They are wonderful people. We had never met before, and I was expecting a fairly conservative couple. She had been a federal tax court judge and he a secret service agent. In fact they were very liberal politically which meant that we really got on well. Carolyn had lots of information to share with me. She also had a number of photos, which I borrowed so that I could scan them. She also presented me with my greatest genealogical find: a bible that I believe belonged Zenas and Nancy Miller, my great-great-great grandparent and the common ancestor of Carolyn and myself. Jerry wanted to some research on his roots. I helped him get started and I gave them a copy of the Miller-Partridge family tree. We also got to see a couple of museums: the Space and Science Museum, the Portraiture Museum and a textile Museum. All in all, we spent about five days with Carolyn and Jerry. They were totally enjoyable days with some very lovely people.

We head toward the mountains and then south. We were headed back to my sisterís home in Greensboro. We only stayed couple of days before heading back to the Midwest. But one very interesting thing happened, while we were there. We went to a Hillary Clinton Rally at Guilford College. She gave a great speech. Betty got an autograph on campaign sign. Yes, both Betty and my sister Dawn are big Hillary supporters. But Bill, what about you? I really do not care who gets the nomination, because for me anybody other than those awful Republicans will do.

An Inch of Hail - 31 May
 Hail Stones

We have been spending a lot of time with our granddaughter. Johanna is the joy of our life. Birgitta has not been feeling well. She is with child again. The yard and garden has required little work. They weather has been cool and when it warms up thunderstorms bring rain, hail and strong winds. Tornadoes have also destroyed homes and lives in the area. Last Saturday more than an inch of hail rain down from the heavens onto the yard.

No Longer an Airplane Owner
We did not travel this winter, because I was trying to get my airplane repaired after a minor incident. After much time and money it, I no longer felt safe flying it. So, I have sold my Piper. It was a very hard and expensive decision that left me a bit depressed. But I felt that as much as I love owning a plane that I would rather be alive than a dead plane owner. I have no plans to buy another. From now on I will either join a club that owns a couple of planes, or I will rent.

We are planning to travel out to the west coast soon. If and when we go we will let you know.

Grandma Betty and Grandpa Bill Holding Little Johanna
 Betty and Bill with Johanna

Posted by bill at 08:56 PM | Comments (0)