Well 2014 started with forty-four pictures, and I am shedding a lot of tears over eight of those photo’s that didn’t make the cut 😥 However I said I would only choose ten so, with hubby’s help, here are our top ten pictures of 2014.
Hobe Beach, Florida. Picture taken 24 January 2014
Hike Through Alpine Meadow in Manning Park, British Columbia. Picture taken 12 July 2014
Seagull, SR101, Oregon … can you believe I had a hard time choosing which seagull picture to post! Picture taken 23 October 2014
Port of Newport RV Park, Newport, Oregon. Picture taken 23 October 2014
SR101, Oregon. Picture taken 26 October 2014
Avenue of the Giants, Northern California SR101. Picture taken 28 October 2014
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California. Picture taken 01 November 2014
Rancho California RV Resort, Aguanga, California. Picture taken 8 November 2014
The Neon Museum Las Vegas, Nevada. Picture Taken 17 November 2014
Cotton Plant from Yuma, Arizona. Picture Taken 18 December 2014
And because I have Irish in my blood I just couldn’t cut this photo so I have to give it an honorable mention.
Shamrock, Trees of Mystery, Klamath, California. Picture taken 26 October 2014
Again I would love your input on your favorite 2014 photo 🙂
I’m not a fan of the year-end blog review where bloggers recap what they have done for the past year. I totally get why people do it, it is a nice record of your year, but I have read your blog all year so it’s nothing new. Of course that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t write one, I am very happy to peruse the pictures, ignore the story and wait for your next blog 🙂
However I did enjoy a blog written by Adventure Dog where she posted her favorite pictures of the year. I commented that I loved the idea and thought I would do that with my blog as well, and she replied “You’re very welcome although I’m not sure if you’ll be thanking me once you try to pick photos”, and wow was she right! I have been going through our pictures since the beginning of our travels making sure they are named correctly and thinning them out. Since I was doing that, I thought I would choose my favorites at the same time.
I decided I would limit my choices to our top ten pictures for each year. I really thought 2013 would be easy because we didn’t start traveling until November 21, 2013, but I manage to come up with twenty-two favorite pictures. So in comes hubby to help wheedle it down to ten … it still wasn’t easy, but here they are 🙂
Feel free to ignore this blog; I won’t be offended … although FYI the rest of the years will follow every Monday over the next four weeks!
I’m pretty sure this is a Blue Heron
Blue Heron, Poche’s Fish-n-Camp Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Picture taken 10 December 2013[/caption]
Of course there has to be a sunset in the top ten! Poche’s Fish-n-Camp Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Picture taken 10 December 2013[/caption]
River at end of boardwalk
Suwanee River, Suwanee County, Florida. Picture taken 16 December 2013[/caption]
Pretty Bobcat 🙂
Bobcat, Homosassa State Park, Homosassa, Florida. Picture taken 17 December 2013[/caption]
Great Horn Owl … he would not wake up for the picture!
I’m not sure what type of owl this is and when I asked hubby his response was “sleeping”, yup no help at all! So … Sleeping owl, Homosassa State Park, Homosassa, Florida. Picture taken 17 December 2013[/caption]
Squirrel, Homosassa State Park, Homosassa, Florida. Picture taken 17 December 2013
Waldo the alligator, Homosassa State Park, Homosassa, Florida. Picture taken 17 December 2013
Two friendly pelicans, Marathon, Florida. Picture taken 24 December 2013
If I am still blogging in another ten years, and I hope I am, I will probably do our top ten photo’s of the decade for my own records. If you want to vote on your favorite for 2013, feel free to do so in the comments … it would sure help me out, since we can’t come to an agreement on our favorite.
For the last ten days hubby and I have set the alarm clock for 5:50 a.m. so that we could log into the Florida State Park website and try and get a spot on the ocean in the Florida Keys for Christmas next year. This is no easy task, first there are only a limited number of sites actually on the ocean and then there are only so many that Maxx will fit into. For the first few days we concentrated on Bahai Honda State Park as it was the furthest down the keys, but when we had no success there we decided to look at Curry Hammock and Long Key. It turned out we actually like those two parks more than Bahai Honda because their waterfront sites don’t look out over the 7 Mile Bridge and the sand looks nicer. Of course we are making these judgments based on small photos provided on the web site so we could be wrong, but that is what we went with.
The night before we would check out which sites where coming available the next day. Often there was only one suitable site but several times we had up to four suitable sites. So every morning we would fire up the laptops, and sometimes both our iPad’s when there were four sites, and start clicking away on the “Book Now” button at 5:58 a.m. (the site opens at 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time which is 6:00 a.m. Yuma time). We would both click away and just as the clock turned to 6:00 a.m. we would get a message stating “Inventory Not Available” and just like that our dreams would be shattered 😦
Well I’m sure you can guess what’s coming … yesterday morning was no different, although we only had one site to work on and it’s not very big, but according to the web site we will fit in. Hubby and I both clicked away and at 6:00 a.m. I got the standard “Inventory Not Available” message. I looked over at hubby, all disappointed, only to see him staring at the computer in disbelief, hubby got in! We couldn’t believe it! We have a really nice spot on the ocean at Long Key State Park for Christmas next year! We arrive on December 21st, and don’t have to leave until January 4th.
Image from the Florida State Park website
In 2013 we spent Christmas in Marathon, Florida on the Florida Keys and it cost us $795.00 for one week at a private RV Park and we were not on the ocean. We had a view of the Gulf of Mexico but the park did not have a swimming beach. This was our reason for looking for a state park for Christmas this year, two weeks directly on the Atlantic Ocean and all for $608.70 for two weeks!
Our trip across Canada and down the Eastern Seaboard, starting later this year, will have us out of British Columbia longer than the seven months allowed by BC Medical. Once every five years BC Med will allow you to apply for a one-year leave of absence and still provide medical coverage … the only caveat to this absence is that you cannot come back into the province during your time away. If we go back to BC during this time our leave of absence ends, which means we can’t go home for Christmas. So now I’m hoping that our awesome Christmas location will encourage some of our family to come and spend Christmas with us 🙂
Today’s blog … and the final in my palm tree series … is about the Travellers Palm. We first saw this palm in Florida and were impressed with its beauty and uniqueness. It is usually lit up at night and prominently featured in the landscape.
The Travellers Palm leaf stems will store a lot of rainwater, which can be used as an emergency drinking water supply. There are many stories of travellers looking for the palm to get drinking water, hence the name Travellers Palm.
A young Travellers Palm has a trunk that grows underground. As the palm matures it develops a short green trunk, about 1 foot in diameter, with distinctive leaf scar rings.
The Travellers Palm has about 30 to 35 large, 10-foot long, fan-shaped leaves supported by long petioles. Leaves resemble those of the banana plant and are symmetrically grouped, giving the tree the appearance of a hand fan. High winds can shred the leaves giving them a feather like appearance. Leaf stem color varies from orange at the base of the stem to yellow in the middle and to the bright green closer to the end.
The Travellers Palm produces white flowers, supported by a large green flower stalk. Flowers can be as large as two feet in diameter. Flowers are followed by brown fruits that open to reveal stunning bright blue seeds inside.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about palm trees as much as I have, I will never say a palm tree is just a palm tree again!
This was an easy palm tree to identify since a coconut fell off the tree while we were sitting under it in Okeechobee, Florida! Fortunately it didn’t hit us and we did enjoy the meat once we broke the coconut open 🙂
Close-up of a Coconut Palm Tree
Photo taken at Water’s Edge RV Park in Okeechobee, Florida[/caption]
Photo taken at Water’s Edge RV Park in Okeechobee, Florida
Coconut Palms grow to a height of 80 feet and since coconuts float they have been dispersed widely by ocean currents and by humans throughout the tropics. The coconut is the most extensively grown and used nut in the world and the most important palm. It is an important commercial crop in many tropical countries, contributing significantly to their economies.
A coconut tree is 15 years old before it fully bears fruit. Fruits require a year to ripen and the annual yield per tree may reach 100, but 50 is considered good. Trees continue to be profitable until they are about 50 years old.
The coconut husk yields coir, a fibre highly resistant to salt water and used in the manufacture of ropes, mats, baskets, brushes, and brooms. Copra, the dried meat, or kernel, of the coconut is the source of coconut oil, which is used for making soap, shampoo, cosmetics, cooking oils and margarine. Other useful products derived from the coconut palm include toddy, palm cabbage, and construction materials. Toddy is produced from the sweetish sap yielded by the young flower stalks when wounded or cut; toddy is also a source of sugar and alcohol. Palm cabbage, the delicate young bud cut from the top of the tree, is eaten as a salad vegetable. Mature palm leaves are used in thatching and weaving baskets. The fibrous, decay-resistant tree trunk is incorporated into the construction of huts; it is also exported as a cabinet wood called porcupine wood.
Hubby is waiting for me to finish up so that we can get our grocery shopping done so I will research the rest of my pictures tomorrow 🙂
Sago Palm. Photo taken at Rancho California RV Park near Temecula, California.
The Sago Palm is native to the Far East but my research shows they do grow in California so I’m pretty sure that is what this palm is. They are cold hardy and have been used as a container and landscape plant for centuries. Rather than continuously adding foliage, a Sago Palm produces a periodic “flush” of new leaves, called a “break”. A Sago Palm can grow for a 100 years and are often referred to as a King Sago Palm.
Royal Palm. Photo taken at Grassy Key RV Park in Marathon, Florida.
The Royal Palm Tree is native to Cuba and North America. Royal Palm Trees are popular in warm coastal areas such as southern Florida and parts of California. They can be also found in the Caribbean, Central and South American, and Texas. The grace and beauty of a Royal Palm makes it a popular tree along the streets of many cities. Often they are used in the islands of large parking lots or in medians along the highway. In the summer the Royal Palm has fragrant yellow flowers and purple to black half-inch fruits that are showy but not edible. The Royal Palm can grow from to 60 to 70 feet tall and 5 to 10 feet wide and grow around a foot each year.
I still have a few more palm trees to identify so stay tune for part three 🙂
Yesterday we traveled through Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and into Texas … Wow!
In order to do all those miles we had to fill up twice, once when we entered Louisiana and again when we arrived for the night in Texas. When we filled up in Texas we got our cheapest diesel yet. So for us Canadians, with the exchange rate, this works out to $.866 per litre for gasoline and $1.017 per litre for diesel!
After filling up we headed off for dinner at the Black Eye Pea restaurant where we had some southern dishes; fried green tomatoes, Cajun catfish, red beans and rice, and black eye peas, which I thought were really yucky, but the rest of the meal was very good!
Today dawned overcast but warm as we headed out. Hubby was anxious to get through Houston … if you remember, our trip through Houston on the way out was not fun and he was not looking forward to it. This time we were taking I-10 right through which we hoped would allow us to avoid toll roads and overpasses. The overpasses in Houston are actually a work of art and we think it must take some extreme engineering to build them!
I don’t think Houston really wants tourists to visit because in order to exit I-10 you need to pay a toll, however if you are heading straight through you do not need to pay a toll. On the west side of Houston we did notice this sign …
So there is one road that you can exit on for free … or maybe not!
The exit for Texas 99 😦
In Luling, Texas we filled up the tank for $3.429 per gallon, which works out to $.996 Canadian per litre of diesel!!
We had a long drive today, almost ten hours, but we wanted to get the drive between San Antonio and Fort Stockton done today as the temperature is suppose to drop down to 32F, 0C tomorrow and rain in this area. This was the section we had the most trouble with when we headed east because of low temperatures, freezing rain, and icy roads and neither one of us wanted to go through that again! The weather is much better from Fort Stockton west tomorrow so we should have a good drive.
It has been fun but we sure have had some strange weather, one day we are at the beach, the next day it’s really cold, then your back at the beach, and then you hit northern Florida and it’s snowing! We almost decided to stay another day in Holt, Florida because the temperature was right at freezing, it was raining, and the fog was heavy but after checking out the weather in areas further west we decided to go for it and it turned out to be the right move. The start of our drive was very foggy …
Notice how I snuck in a bridge picture 🙂
but the temperature quickly rose to the low 50’sF, 10C and the fog lifted to reveal clear sunny skies.
As we were driving along today I remembered a funny story from Lake Okeechobee, we were sitting around the Tiki Hut talking about the weather one day, when I mentioned that I had looked at my weather app and it was supposed to get down to 1 degree the next day. While I thought that was a little cold I was very surprised by the shocked expression on all the faces around me … and then it dawned on me, my weather app is in Celsius … way to scare a bunch of American’s:-)
We drove through Alabama and Mississippi,
Mississippi Rest Stop … blue sky and 65F, 18C 🙂
and then into Louisiana where we started to see bayous again.
I think this is the main reason the interstate was closed on Wednesday and most of yesterday throughout the Florida Panhandle, Alabama, and parts of Louisiana. We saw a few vehicles that had rolled and they were all just after crossing a bridge.
This was an interesting sight in Baton Rouge … I didn’t think this was legal!
One vehicle towing two more!
We crossed the Mississippi River in Baton Rouge, not in Mississippi where I was expecting to cross it:-)
I can’t resist throwing in one little bridge tidbit:-) The open deck bridge on I-10 in Lake Charles, LA rises from 3 feet up to 141 feet and then a quick back down to 3 feet … it really creeps hubby out (okay me too)!
While the scenery is pretty in Louisiana the interstate is rough, it’s like driving over washboard, so we were happy to pass into Texas.
The Lone Star greeted us we entered Texas
We really want to spend more time exploring these southern states but unfortunately we have battled weather on our way out and again on our way back west. Our plan was to spend some time along the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama and Texas but the weather forecast is for cold and rain so I guess we will leave the Gulf for another year. Now we will make a fast trip through the weather to the west coast where it is much warmer:-)
It did occur to me this morning that it is kind of fun to lie on the beach one day and then snuggle under the duvet beside the fireplace the next day, especially because you know that in the not to distance future you will be back on the beach:-)
The RV Park we stayed at last night is right along I-10 and we were worried it would be noisy from the highway traffic but once the freezing rain started we just wanted to get off the road in a hurry and this park was handy. When we woke up this morning I mentioned to hubby that I had a great sleep and didn’t hear any traffic noises … well there was a reason for that … I-10 was closed in both directions due to ice, and had been since shortly after we pulled over last night! It is a foreign concept to us to see interstates, schools, and airports closed when the temperature is just below freezing and there is no snow, but then you consider that vehicles around here do not have snow tires and are not used to driving in these conditions and it does make sense.
No access to Interstate 10
At 1300 hours the interstate reopened and 1330 hours we headed out, the roads were dry, the sun was out and it had warmed up to 50F, 10C. We got 31 miles before the interstate was closed down again. We spent an hour stuck in traffic before we managed to creep our way into a Rest Stop where we got the last RV/Truck space. One thing that surprised us is how difficult it was to get information on why I-10 was closed. We tried local radio stations, television stations, searching the web for “I-10 closure Florida Panhandle” with no results and everyone at the Rest Stop was saying the same thing. Even pulling up the Florida 511 website which lists traffic incidents provided little information and long after the interstate reopened the website still listed it as closed. Finally a half hour after pulling into the Rest Stop traffic started moving again and then all was good … for another 80 miles when traffic came to a halt and this time there was no Rest Stop in site:-( After another 40 minute stop traffic started moving again, no idea what was up this time either but according to Florida 511 there was no closure! We travelled for about 50 miles before traffic finally flowed on the other side of the interstate.
Weird to see no traffic coming towards us!
After six hours of stop and go driving and only 175 miles we finally gave up and pulled in to a nice Passport America Park for $12.50 a night in Holt Florida … hopefully Florida will let us leave tomorrow:-)
It was sad leaving the Water’s Edge RV Park in Okeechobee, Florida this morning. We had a lot of fun the past month and made some new friends. We really wanted to stay for another month but we would have had to move somewhere else for three days so we decided to start heading west. Our plan was to drive to Tallahassee, Florida today but a check of the weather showed that might not be a good idea!
Yesterday Okeechobee broke a record with a high of 81F, 27C and now we are heading to snow:-( We left this morning in shorts and T-Shirts because I didn’t think to check the weather until we were on the road but we quickly changed into warmer clothes when we stopped for lunch!
About thirty miles east of Tallahassee we hit freezing rain so it was time to stop for the night. We found an RV Park just off I-10, got set up, turned the furnace on to warm Maxx up and headed out to get fuel and dinner. We decided to drive into Thomasville, Georgia, which was 30 miles north. We had a really nice dinner but while we were waiting for our food I decided to check what the weather was at home … bad move … at home it was 32F or 0C and in Thomasville is was 30F or -1C. So the ironic part of this story is we have spent around $2,600 to head for warmer weather and today it was warmer at home!