Florida Vacation without the RV

For the first time in many years we took a vacation without our RV. Instead, motels and a condo were our home for the week.

We decided to break up our trip to Orlando and spend a night near a beach to take a drive along A1A. Flagler Beach sounded like a perfect place. It’s a small beach town on the Atlantic Ocean that still has that old Florida feeling. Driving down A1A the Atlantic Ocean is on one side of the road and beach houses and locally owned restaurants are on the other. Heaven! After a walk on the fishing pier we ate fish sandwiches with an ocean view at the Funky Pelican next to the pier.

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Flagler Beach Fishing Pier

Our home for the rest of the week was a condo in a resort in Lake Buena Vista. We enjoyed the screened porch with a view of the fountain and pond.

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Our home for the week

We had the condo to ourselves for the first three nights. We celebrated my birthday at Bongo’s, a Cuban restaurant at Disney Springs.

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We started off with a mojito at the bar at Bongo’s
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Birthday Dinner at Bongo’s at Disney Springs

On Wednesday we picked up our two oldest grandchildren at the airport. After a long travel day they enjoyed a dip in one of the pools.

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Pool at the resort

Going to Universal Studios to see the Harry Potter attractions was at the top of their wish list so the next morning we got up early to be at the park as soon as it opened.

Universal is made up of two separate theme parks with Harry Potter attractions in both parks. We purchased the park hopper tickets so we could ride the Hogwarts Express train between the parks. The train ride was fun and when we disembarked we were in The Islands of Adventure Park in Hogsmeade. We cooled off with a Butter Beer before riding any more rides.

The kids loved the two Harry Potter thrill rides. Henry liked the Escape from Gringotts. Our 14 year old grandson said the Forbidden Journey was his favorite. Our granddaughter liked them both. I’m not a fan of thrill rides. The train was more my style.

After our epic day at Universal we took it easy the next day. While it rained all afternoon we played some games and enjoyed hanging out with our grandkids.

One evening the kids enjoyed the pool while I enjoyed the evening sky.

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Sunset at the pool

On our last day we put on our bathing suits and went to Blizzard Beach, one of the Disney water parks. We were able to enjoy a few rides before the afternoon thunderstorm came through. Just as predicted, at 1:00 the lightening was so close they closed all the rides.

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The Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizard Beach is on the right where the flags are.

One thing that is almost guaranteed if you travel to Orlando in late June is the daily thunderstorms. The only day we didn’t get rained on was the day we went to Universal. How lucky was that?

What a great week making memories with our two oldest grandkids!

Favorite Alaska and Canada Wildlife Photos

Five years ago this week we were on the road to Alaska from Georgia. Once we crossed the border into Canada, I spent every day looking for wildlife. There were many “WOW” wildlife sightings in both Canada and Alaska.

I’ve been thinking about posting some of my favorite wildlife photos from the trip and today I finally got the boost I needed to put it all together. When my friend Ingrid at Live, Laugh RV posted that the theme for her very first Wednesday photo inspiration was wildlife, I immediately started going though the thousands of photos from the trip.

If you would like to participate or see other posts inspired by Ingrid, click on over to Ingrid’s post Wandering Wednesday.

Here are just a few of my favorite wildlife photos from our Canada and Alaska adventure.

Elk in loop 63
Elk near our campsite in Jasper National Park, Alberta
Bear in British Columbia
Soon after entering British Columbia we were in Mount Robson Park and saw this grizzly beside the road
Black Bear eating Dandelions
Bear in British Columbia
A small herd with calves
Bison herd with calves near Liard River Hotsprings in British Columbia
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Moose in Denali National Park, Alaska
Black Bear Cub
Black Bear Cub in Valdez, Alaska
Stellar Sea Lions on day trip to Juneau
Stellar Sea Lions on wildlife cruise from Haines to Juneau, Alaska
Whale Tail
Humpback Whale on wildlife cruise from Haines to Juneau, Alaska
Two Sea Otters Valdez
Sea Otters on Columbia Glacier cruise from Valdez, Alaska
Pod of Orcas with calf
Pod of Orcas with calf on Columbia Glacier cruise from Valdez, Alaska
He was looking at me
Eagle at Deep Creek Beach, Alaska
Pair of Eagles
Pair of Eagles on Columbia Glacier Cruise from Valdez, Alaska
Puffins
Puffins on the Columbia Glacier Cruise from Valdez, Alaska

 

 

 

Mosley’s Wiregrass Junction

When was the last time you were driving down the interstate in the state of Georgia and saw a camel or a buffalo?

The first time we saw a buffalo from the interstate as we were traveling east on I-16 towards home we knew we were going to have to stop. Ever since then Moseley’s Wiregrass Junction has become a favorite stopping place when we are traveling along that route.

Usually we just watch the animals from the parking lot but the last time we were there we opted to pay the $2 per person fee to see them up close. We also bought a bag of animal food before going through the gate to see animals.

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Mosley’s Wiregrass Junction just off I-16 at exit 98
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Camel at the Animal Exit
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Tortoise
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Emu at the Animal Exit
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Black Swan
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Peacock
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Peacock Feathers
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The goats weren’t shy
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Feed Me!
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Goats waiting for a handout

Next time we may opt for an additional $8 to take a tour of the farm where their zebra, buffalo, cows, pigs and other animals live.

Mosley’s Wiregrass Junction Animal Exit Farm is located on Georgia Interstate 16 at exit 98 in Aline.

You can connect with them on their Facebook page at https://facebook.com/wiregrassjunction57

 

 

The Middle of the Road

Whether it’s towing our fifth wheel to get to our next campground or taking a scenic drive after setting up camp, we spend a lot of time in our truck when we are wandering around the U.S. and Canada. While Henry drives, my time is often spent looking through the windshield of our truck at the lines in the middle of the road .

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Driving through Nebraska
Moose on the Alaska Highway
Moose on the Alaska Highway
A paved section! Top of the World Highway
Top of the World Highway, Yukon
Big Thompson Canyon Hwy 34 Colorado
Big Thompson Canyon Hwy 34 Colorado
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Tunnel on the Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina
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Tunnel in Utah
Miles and Miles of Texas
Miles and Miles of Texas
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Terrifying icy road conditions in Minnesota
Storm over the Bighorn Mountains
Storm over the Bighorn Mountains

Revisiting My Childhood in Pictures

My father loved to take pictures with his Minolta 35 mm camera and through the years he accumulated thousands of slides. My younger brother became the curator of his slides and has been converting the good ones to digital format. His Christmas present to us this year was a DVD with many pictures from my childhood. In the photo at the top of this post you can see our Ford station wagon in Yosemite National Park.

In 1959, when I was eight years old, my father’s work required him to go to California for several weeks. Instead of going by himself, my parents decided to take the whole family on a cross country journey to see America.

I spent many hours crammed in the back seat of our station wagon, usually on the hump in the middle between my two brothers. I wonder how many times my mother had to turn around to tell us to be quiet?

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Our family of 5 traveled cross country and back in this Ford Station wagon in 1959

I had so much fun looking at the old photos converted from my Dad’s slides. Each one brought back so many memories. As I was going through the photos I found a few that I unknowingly replicated as an adult during our RV travels. On the left is me in 1959 on the Big Tree in Redwood National Park and on the right that’s me in 2007 at the same tree.

Dad took a picture of Yosemite Valley that looks a lot like the one I took almost 50 years later. It looks like we were standing in the exact same spot.

Here’s our two pictures of the Yosemite tunnel at Tunnel View. I love the old cars in Dad’s picture.

Mount Rushmore in 1959 and 2006.

While we were in California we went somewhere almost every weekend. We visited national parks, theme parks, San Francisco, and even went panning for gold. I’ll never forget our trip to Disneyland. Where were the crowds back then?

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Disneyland in 1959

Dad loved gathering the family together in the basement for slide shows. Thank you to my brother for putting these slides into digital form to be enjoyed over and over again.