Thursday, January 30, 2014


This is a group photo of the Vero Beach, FL area geocachers taken earlier this month at a monthly meet-and-greet; this one at the Sebastian Airport where we enjoyed a delightful sky-diving show--then lots of geocaching, of course.

Our Ohio square dancing/geocaching friends are Mike Friedman, lower right in the yellow tee shirt and his lady, Linda Adkins, in the back row over his left shoulder with the Ohio State (red) ball cap.  You can see me centered in the back row with Sue partially hidden to my left.

There are three blue ball caps to my right.  Partially hidden behind the fellow (third ball cap) is Betty (Boop) Maus our geocaching friend from Upstate NY.  We introduced Betty, Mike and Linda to geocaching last winter in Vero Beach and they have been going strong in the sport ever since.

Angel's Napping:  Well, maybe just one Angel.  That's her, the fuzzy one snoozing on my lap.  She is now 18+ years old and we were concerned with her surviving our first winter in FL--four years ago.

She's having health challenges consistent with her age but still going strong.

Team OHNY; Geocachers extraordinaire

Last summer Sue and I were geocaching along the Richland, B&O Bike Trail and met Leslie and Greg Cornett (left above) from Sunbury, OH.  Turns out they also winter in Vero Beach about a mile from us.  In this photo we are finishing up a nice string of caches in Round Island Park between the ocean and intercoastal waterway south of town.  That's Betty on the right.

The black bag in the foreground is full of trash we gathered as Greg led our CITO (Cache In Trash Out) effort practiced by environmentally friendly geocachers.  Numerous manatees slid by.  We liked to think they appreciated our "house-cleaning".

Together with Mike and Linda we all like geocaching (naturally) as well as bicycling, hiking, bird-watching, kayaking etc., in various degrees. 

Stand by for more tales featuring our caching hobby with various means of locomotion.

Monday, January 27, 2014

and the living is easy, fish are jumpin' and...

This sunset photo was done January 27th at Fort Pierce, FL's Jetty Park inlet; the same evening overnight temperatures at home in Ohio were forecast to be 14 degrees--below zero.

A little poetic license was applied to the exposure to lend an ominous flavor to the day's residual cumulus clouds which, in reality, had treated us to an afternoon of pop-corn skies and temperatures pushing 80 degrees.

We were tempted to do a picture while frolicking on the beach but feared we eventually would pay for such extravagant mirth while folks back home were struggling with abysmal polar conditions.

Now, where did I put my beach chair?

Friday, January 24, 2014


Vero Beach locals tell us when the monstrous Saturn V rockets were blasting astronauts into space with night launches our Florida digs would be illuminated like daylight.

Last night's satellite launch was more like a lazy roman candle.

This pop-bottle blast was absolutely silent when it appeared above our northern horizon looking like a church-camp flashlight fighting a head-wind.

This exposure was 55 seconds long.  That's how long it took for this rendition of rocketcraft to huff and puff the 80 miles or so separating our mobile home-RV park from the Titusville launch site.

The 3.8 ton Atlas 5 Rocket lazied into Florida's night sky about 9:30 p.m., Thursday carrying a satellite for NASA's communications network.

I held my camera firmly against a nearby palm tree while making this exposure all the while pondering our celestial background which included the constellation Orion, it's travelling companion Sirius--the brightest star in our visible planetarium; both accompanied by the visiting planet Jupiter.

The Heavenly display trumped mankind's Lilliputian effort that evening.  By far.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Well sort'a

Sometimes a picture deserves a spot on the blog just because it is nice.  This photo came along during a recent geocaching outing on a cool day along the Stick Marsh north of Fellsmere, FL where we had just enjoyed a visit to their annual frog festival.

That's Betty Maus (aka Betty Boop in geocaching circles) who hails from Tupper Lake in the bumpy part of upstate NY and winters in our mobile home/RV park in Vero Beach.

The massive, fresh-water impoundment to the west of Betty's point of view was featured in our fishing tale Click! from last winter's sub-tropical celebration of winter's passage.

On this day she and I were beating our way through a palmetto wooded peninsula in search of a geocache with a high level of difficulty due to the fact it usually required a wading episode on the way through waters whose ownership usually was claimed by a large population of alligators.

We paid careful attention to our passage but the resident gators likely were enjoying their submerged solitude on this abnormally chilly day.  Nevertheless, we didn't brave the wade and stopped about 350 feet short of the cache's advertised location.

Maybe there will be a warm day and a kayak ride in my near future.

Our geocaching companions, my lady Sue and Ohio square dancing friends, Mike Friedman (Columbus) and Linda Adkins (Marion) chose to wait out our hike in the warm comfort of Mike's spiffy, pick-up truck; our chariot for the day.

Sue's choice was based on her trying to stay comfortable in the arctic-like (her opinion) afternoon temperature of 50 something degrees.  Linda stayed in the vehicle because of her abundant common sense and Mike sat out our adventure because of, well, let's say geriatric considerations.

I like it when Mike is in our daily crowd.

That demotes me from No 1 in the usual pecking order of most annual trips around the sun.

Curious about the resident gator population?  Take a peek here for our blog story about an airboat ride on adjacent Blue Cyprus Lake a year or so ago.

During preparation for the above event I swapped emails with Ohio square dancing and caching friend Nancy Meinzer, who, along with her hubby Mark, introduced Sue and me to geocaching.  Nancy, who would prefer to live trap rather than swat flies, was skeptical about the content of a "frog festival".

I told her the frog festival is like most other festivals but I suspected both she and a bunch of frogs would take exception to the menu.

Ain't life grand.

Friday, January 17, 2014


I was walking in the mall the other day and actually saw a teenage girl without a cell phone glued to her hand.

*            *            *

Can hardly wait 'till April when the vast majority of snowbirds leave Vero Beach and some sanity returns to local traffic volume.  They should put immigration limits on snowbirds, I mused quietly.


Bad idea now that I think more about it.

*            *            *

Reminds me of the time we were snarled in stop and go traffic on both I-26 and I-95 southbound while heading to Vero B.  After an hour or so of that experience I told Sue, "I think I know what the problem is.

She said, "Oh yeah, what's that?"

I said, "I think Florida is full."

Thursday, January 9, 2014


We delayed our planned, snow-birding departure from Ohio one day due to fairly heavy snow Jan 2nd and enjoyed a sunshine-drenched ride the following day--just a day or so before the blistering cold clamped an icy fist on the northeast.

Talk about good timing!

We toasted our continuing good luck when we managed to avoid a huge traffic jam on the Columbus outer belt by hearing a radio traffic report, changing course and sailing through town on I-71.

Our navigation luck continued when we diverted from I-71 as we were entering the Cincinnati metro area.  A semi had spilled its load of steel just ahead of us.  Our detour timing was exquisite and we rolled around town on the east outer-belt without a traffic hiccup.

Our game plan was to avoid I-77 and its torturous course through West Virginia's snowy mountains by taking I-71 to Cincinnati, I-75 to Knoxville then wiggling back east on I-40 to I-26.  That put us back on our routine course and we arrived right on schedule for our first over-night stop in Columbia, SC with the polar weather and the mountains behind us.

The only calamity on our trip was when we attempted to wash the white glaze of road salt off the car and the South Carolina car wash managed to dribble only a stream of soapy water through its obviously frozen nozzles.  They refunded our money and provided a hose for a temporary rinse.

We left Columbia and headed straight south toward our next planned, overnight stop in Jacksonville by following the old main highways of US 321 and US 301.

What a marvelous relief from the high-speed mayhem of the interstate highways.  We trundled leisurely through southern SC and enjoyed the ambiance of the old deep-south with its cotton fields and decaying small towns who mostly lost their economic vitality when traffic was routed away on the BIG highways.

In spite of the visual pain of abandoned motels everywhere the charm of the deep south blessed our comfortable passage and a simple sign silently announced our arrival in Florida!

We celebrated our second overnight stop with daughter TJ and grandson Eli with a delectable dinner and even nicer conversation after one of those too-long absences which occur between scattered families.

Our final leg was a 200 mile chip-shot to Vero Beach along which we quietly celebrated every advance in temperature through the upper 70s until it clicked into the 80s just before our destination.

This was Sunday just before lunch.  Two days earlier we had seen minus 8 degrees in southern Ohio.

Can you see our smiles?