Monday, April 27, 2015


Florida has a nifty feature in its traffic control system Ohio would do well to consider.

When it is difficult here to make a left turn from a driveway or side street, FL traffic simply is compelled to make a right turn.

Imagine wanting to go West across several busy lanes of both East and westbound traffic.  No sweat here!

Drivers simply turn East, slip into oncoming Eastbound traffic, change to the left most lane as soon as possible then move along until the next "flip" turn lane comes along.

Bingo, congestion is eased, traffic continues to move nicely and the only penalty is a short detour until you can make your flip into your intended direction.

We encounter a version of this every time we leave our mobile home/RV park on a very busy US 1 and want to head South.

We simply leave the park headed North then simply slide left into the left-most of two, left turn lanes at the next major intersection--which produces another challenge.

Northbound traffic turning left gets a green turn arrow at the same time crossing traffic can make a legal turn on red to head southbound as well.

Here the solution is simple too.  Traffic making the flip always yields.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


This traffic control sign was encountered recently on a rural, neighborhood road near Stuart, FL.  The only thing I noticed this sign could be warning about was a speed-bump just ahead.

I wondered if this was the product of a great sense of humor in the local road sign department--or, the latest example in our pitiful struggle for political correctness everywhere.

Sunday, April 19, 2015


The critter above is a curly tailed lizzard who was curious about my geocaching activity on a drawbridge in West Palm Beach, FL recently.  It was about a foot long and, while common in Broward County, is not likely to be seen in Vero Beach, just 50 or so miles to the North.  Reminded me of a hunk of speckled corn--with eyes.

Often-times caching partner Leslie Cornet jokingly displays her displeasure when we were barred from seeking a geocache in this Brevard Co, natural area due to, as the sign says, "Habitat Restoration in Progress."  Both access and the cache find occurred a few days later.  Leslie is the "me" in the caching team known as GOC+me.  GOC is her hubby Greg Cornet.  They live in Sunbury, OH and winter close to Sue and me in Vero Beach.

A Favorite Dining Establishment:  Sue also was in a playful mood while we stopped for lunch at Archie's Seabreeze eatery, oceanside in Fort Pierce, FL.  This mostly outside dining/drinking establishment defines the word casual to the extent motorcyclists gather here for Sunday services where communion is said to be served, with due theological reverence, from the tap.

This Gopher Tortise watched Brad Smart and me as we geocached in the Melbourne, FL area.  These pleasant rascals are common, long lived reptiles throughout the state and their large burrows are believed to be refuges to all manner of critters when a fire is active in the neighborhood.  Natural predator/prey relationships are said to be suspended while everyone enjoys their haven.

Riding the Tri-Rail!  This train system is a combination of interurban rail rides stretching from West Palm Beach to Miami; Florida's most densely populated corridor.  The high-speed, modern, Tri-Rail train heads south to the Metrorail transfer station where a smaller train whisks riders into downtown Miami.  There an automated, Metromover roams around downtown, mostly on elevated tracks where multiple loops service more than a dozen stops.  Sue and geocaching friend Betty Maus from Tupper Lake, NY are shown enjoying the middle of the three rides.

Friday, April 17, 2015


After posting the original story I still was pondering this pic.  Since the sun had already set, the lovely sky (above) had darkened considerably thus enabling an exposure with sufficient latitude to reveal detail in the foreground where the lightness of the field lights more closely approximated the lightness of the sky.

Again, the photo was taken with my Samsung Galaxy cell phone, hand held from our bleacher seats.

By Major League Baseball in historic Florida ballpark

It was on April 15, 1947 when baseball great Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in modern, Major League Baseball.  That milestone was celebrated for the second annual time this week at the Vero Beach, Florida facility, Dodgertown, where the then Brooklyn Dodgers held their spring training for many years.

Pro teams from nearby St. Lucie, FL (NY Mets) and Melbourne, FL (Milwaukee Brewers) engaged in this memorial game this April 15th with St. Lucie prevailing after a grand slam home run in the second inning sealed their ultimate victory.

Nearly 6,000 local fans were on hand for this soon to be classic celebration.

Robinson did spring training in this very facility every year he played in the major leagues and the Dodgers prepared for the season here until they moved West in 2008.

Fifty years after he became the first modern, black player, major league baseball retired his number 42 from every team in baseball; the first player ever so honored.  Robinson died in 1972.

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Photo by the author; with a cell phone camera *Gasp*

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Where Prescribed Burns are Beneficial and Geocaching is Welcomed

We were geocaching in this 2,568 acre preservation land just days after a prescribed burn.  That's Sue (in pink) walking a trail past this area of burn.  This trail is a tiny segment of the 7 miles of hiking, horseback riding, kayaking and mountain biking trails in this bountiful conservation area.

This sanctuary is part of the Brevard County, Florida EEL program--working to preserve Environmentally Endangered Lands.  The county also contains the Kennedy Space Center on Florida's East coast.

Population growth tends to fragment natural areas and this program preserves and sometimes recombines what is left.  The fragmentation also tends to reduce or eliminate natural forces--like lightning induced fires-- that have over eons of time helped create the areas we enjoy today.

Composting organic waste creates a marvelous byproduct well known to gardeners.  Think of fire as being an accelerated form of composting.  Initially, it makes a soot-blackened mess but, soon, very soon, fire, acting as a rapid mineralizing agent, produces natural fertilizer and new growth will appear to have spilled from the intense green of an artist's palette.

Long periods between fires also allow combustible material to build up thus creating the possibility of even more dangerous fires.

Firebreaks can be natural like a river or are man-created perimeter areas vacant of combustible material that contain the fires in their intended area like the one shown below.

Note the luscious green growth on the left of the firebreak while the acreage on the right appears ravished extending high in the background trees.  Within weeks with adequate rain the fire damage will escape notice except upon close examination.

Sue is following Greg and Leslie Cornet, our geocaching partners, as we worked our way to some caches in this huge area.  Turns out, a cache we were seeking, which was part of an event known as the Space Coast Geo Adventures Trail, had been destroyed by this very fire.

The cache also is likely to enjoy its own version of a regrowth soon.

Saturday, March 28, 2015


A web search for the above name for this popular Florida attraction will take you to a page where it trumpets itself as a thrill pack of adventures in zip-lining, horseback riding and motorized coach rides.  Ho hum.

But, believe me it is all of that and more.  A lot more!

On our visit we did the "motorized coach" attraction and promptly encountered horses enjoying rainy-day pastures of immense freedom; horses that were the direct descendants of their Spanish ancestors from the state's colonial period and before.

We intruded on mama alligator and three of her offspring (red arrows).  See the yellow vertical stripes.  They were very much in their wild habitat.  We humans were properly confined to an elevated platform on a smooth-running but clunky looking swamp-type vehicle being piloted by an extremely knowledgeable and just as friendly lady naturalist, Leslie (right).
We chugged our way, bouncing merrily over rutted tracks winding through thousands of acres of pristine natural habitat known as the Allan Broussard Conservancy.  

"The mission of the conservancy is to preserve and protect the fragile eco-systems of Florida's native wilderness to provide a permanent protective habitat for wildlife, to maintain the historical ranching operation and to educate the public about the importance of conservation and the preservation of our unique ranching heritage."  
We rambled through hundreds and hundreds of acres of active ranch land then crossed a magical divide into a wilderness of 3,200 acres of undisturbed natural ecosystems: longleaf pine, wiregrass and palmetto flatwoods, slash pine and sable palm flatwoods, dry and wet prairies, scrub cypress domes, a variety of hammocks, a blackwater creek and sloughs.

We enjoyed seeing this whitetailed deer lounging in her piece of tranquility.

We enjoyed the exquisite horsemanship demonstrated by this very patient equine while the rider cracked her whip so intensely its tip broke the sound barrier and left the cloud of vapor in the foreground of her head.

We disembarked from our jitney and wandered into our own sense of Nirvana via a hammock with indescribable, natural solitude.  Where Leslie...

...put scholarly meaning to the raw beauty of Florida Forever.