We now return to our regularly scheduled travel posts…
I’ve been in the Florida panhandle for several months. I love it here and hope to stay for a long time. It is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been in the U.S. Yes, California and Pennsylvania are both lovely, but this area has several things those two don’t: lots of greenery, trees and beaches all together, wide-open country farms, and polite Southerners. There’s also a nice little airport, and a couple big shopping malls.
The sugar-white sand beaches are loaded with amazing sea shells, some as large as your palm, others the size of your thumb, the kind of shells you see for sale in souvenir shops. On the beach, they’re free for the digging. I recently got to dig for shells with a couple friends. I felt like a kid again, looking for perfect shell treasures, and running to my friends to show them my find.
Florida panhandle beaches.
Florida panhandle beach panorama.
There are also millions of very small shells all over the shore.
As I’m sure I mentioned before, the sunsets are amazing. The place has an overall sense of peace and calm I haven’t often found, and certainly not in a long time. But, wait! There’s more…
Maryland’s Elk Neck State Point and Turkey Point Lighthouse
Shortly before I left Pennsylvania, I took a day trip to Elk Neck State Park in Maryland to meet some fellow campers. It’s on a long peninsula, across Chesapeake Bay from Havre De Grace, home of the world’s largest duck decoy museum. The campground at Elk Neck State Park is heavily wooded, the sites a tad rustic.
The beach a short drive from the Elk Neck State Park campground.
At the end of the peninsula is the historic Turkey Point Light, built in 1833. Although only a 35-foot tower, the 100-foot height of the bluffs on which the lighthouse stands makes it the third highest lighthouse off the water in the bay.
But, wait! There’s more…
I’m still in the Florida panhandle, but catching up on some earlier sightseeing adventures. There is a lot to see here in the Florida panhandle, but I haven’t yet seen anything other than the sunsets, and a few sunrises before the time change. However, I did get to meet the famous memory expert and motivational speaker Bob Kittell. It was an amazing experience – as fantastic as are his memory tips, his motivational stories about his life are inspirational and moving. He’s one of the better motivational speakers I’ve heard. If you get the chance, go see him.
Meanwhile, I’ll continue the long-overdue chronicling of my visit with BluzDude at Darwinfish and his tour of Baltimore Harbor. The first post about our meeting and the tour of Baltimore Harbor can be found by clicking here.
Today’s post is about my favorite site in the tour of Baltimore Harbor: the Seven-foot Knoll Lighthouse. I LOVE lighthouses – and a little, squat, red lighthouse is a bit of double awesomeness. The lighthouse was constructed in 1856, marking the entrance to the Patabsco River and Baltimore Harbor.
The Seven-foot Knoll Lighthouse in Baltimore Harbor.
They must be counting the seven feet from the floor, up. Or, I’m really much shorter than I thought. I look oddly short and squat next to the lighthouse… It must have a “short and squat” force field.
Here’s the other side… But, wait! There’s more…
I’ve always loved all things miniature: miniature decks of cards, little glass bottles, little Christmas villages under the tree. Even stamps are little miniature pieces of artwork to me. Of course this includes miniature villages – they are the best! It’s no wonder I love making gnome doors, and creating miniature gnome homes “in the wild”.
Choo Choo Barn Miniature Village in Strasburg, PA
There are two miniature village roadside attractions in Pennsylvania. The first, Roadside America, is in Shartlesville, Pennsylvania. The second is the Choo Choo Barn in Strasburg, Pennsylvania. Strasburg may sound familiar to some of you… it’s home to a couple attractions about which I’ve previously written, Famous Amos, and Amish Boy with Pig. (Also, Strasburg is where the tornado touched down in February.)
Because of the lighting, or my phone camera, or a sun flare, the photos of the miniature village at Roadside America were not turning out good – they were all fairly dark so I did not take that many. The colors of the exhibit are much more natural and realistic than my photos would indicate.
And now, mostly because I’ve run out of stuff to say… SLIDESHOW! But, wait! There’s more…
After visiting The Cadillac Ranch, I drove to the top of the Texas panhandle.
Perryton, Texas, the Wheatheart of the Nation.
There isn’t much to see or do around the top of the Texas panhandle, at least that I saw. (Note the landscape in the background of the above photo – it’s like that as far as the eye can see.) But, tucked away in Perryton, Texas, on the side of the highway shortly before entering Oklahoma, is one of the better museums I’ve seen in a long time.
From the outside, The Museum of the Plains in Perryton, Texas, looks small and nondescript. I had passed it a couple of times on my way somewhere else, before I noticed it. Mainly for lack of anything else to see or do in the area, one day I decided to check it out.
Holy Tardis, Batman! It’s bigger on the inside!
Much like Doctor Who’s Tardis, the museum is deceptively small-looking on the outside. However, But, wait! There’s more…
This is how rumors get started.
The cat is out of the bag: BluzDude is the fellow blogger who invited me for crab cakes a long time ago. Bluz used to live in Pennsylvania but has called Baltimore home for many years. Those of you who follow his blog know he is eloquent and possesses an enviable wit. If you don’t already follow him, check out Darwinfish.
A hearty Welcome! to any fans of Bluz who’ve ventured this way from his blog.
Here’s how Kernut and BluzDude Doing Baltimore got started: In a simple comment on one of my posts, he offered to buy me crab cakes if I ever made it to his neck of the woods. I was in Texas when he made the offer a few years ago. I don’t forget offers of food, especially from good-looking bloggers.
But here’s the odd part – I can not find the email or comment. Anywhere. Now, we all know I have a memory like a goldfish… once around the bowl and I’m thinking, “Oooh, that rock’s new!” But, I forget things – I never make them up. At this point, I can only assume Bluz was gentlemanly enough to agree he had once promised me crab cakes.
I digress. (To those of you who are new, if you stick around you will come to find that this is a common occurrence.)
The area of Baltimore Harbor done by Kernut and BluzDude.
BluzDude and Kernut doing the Stad Amsterdam in Baltimore Harbor.
The Tour of Baltimore Harbor
I spent a day in Baltimore and got The Official BluzDude Tour of Baltimore Harbor. It was great – he could charge tourists for that tour! We did But, wait! There’s more…
Today’s post is short, and mostly pictures. Have you noticed that as my photography skills improve, I’m writing less? And I’m sure you all can guess why… “A picture says a thousand words.” Which is awesome because I’m going to use the extra time to clean my house and paint my nails.
High atop a hill in north Texas Hill Country and visible from Interstate 10, a giant cross watches over the town below.
The view from above.
Kerrville, Texas, is home to The Empty Cross, a 77′ 7″-tall, 70-ton steel tribute to Christianity. It is the largest cross I’ve ever visited, but it isn’t the largest in the world, nor the largest in the US.
The cross tops a hill, the side of which is a sculpture and scripture garden. As you enter the park, you are greeted by this sculpture of three nails. The cross is seen in the background.
Three nails sculpture at entrance to park. The Empty Cross is seen in the background.
But, wait! There’s more…
The Good, The Bad, and The Pretty
Moving slower than molasses, I’m still in Ohio but determined to leave this week for Pennsylvania. It’s cold, it’s flat, and women are often treated as objects, and men are reluctant to stand up for a woman when they see a man verbally abusing her in public (a church-like environment). I didn’t witness that event, but heard of it in detail from a man who was bothered by it. A few of the other men listening said it was none of their business to say anything to this man they knew, a man who had done this before.
As the only woman present for this discussion, I was quick to tell the men who said it was none of their business that it was, in fact, their business to teach the other members of the fellowship how to treat people, to be respectful. I pointed out it was easy for me to see why I was the only woman there… they had chased all the others off as much by the aggressive behavior of some as the passive behavior of the others.
I probably just lost all male readers in Ohio, but I call them as I see them. Needless to say, this is not an isolated incident in that town but rather an underlying part of the culture in this area (near Dayton). It’s not everywhere, but it is a far more common and accepted occurrence than I’ve encountered in a long time. But this happens to some degree every day all over this country…
UPDATE: This article better describes how pervasive this problem is in our culture. Please read.
Now for something pretty… (hey, I never claimed to be good at segues)
Kerrville Chalk Festival
Every summer Kerrville, Texas, hosts a chalk art festival. But, wait! There’s more…
The day was hot – hot like only central Texas can be in mid-August. The kind of hot that would burn an egg on the sidewalk. Waves of heat radiated off the asphalt road. We were headed to Rough Canyon at Lake Amistad for the day, pulling a boat behind us. It’s a long drive from north Hill Country to Lake Amistad, a long barren drive through miles of nothing, punctuated by the rare intersection named as if it’s an entire town.
It was in the middle of this long stretch of nothing, the kind of nothing where cell phone signals are non-existent, that we got a flat tire. Because, you know, that’s where stuff happens – in the middle of nowhere with no cell signal.
Parked off to the side of the road, an area covered in fire ant hills (for you non-Texans and non-southwesterners, those are aggressive red ants that leave a burning bite) my friend fixed the flat with the help of a roadside mowing crew that I flagged down. (Because your tax dollars are hard at work, mowing the sides of roads in the middle of NOWHERE.) They didn’t speak English, and my limited Spanish wasn’t much help, but we all used hand signals. (All joking aside, I’d like to add that country Texans and native Mexicans are some of the kindest folks, always ready to lend a hand to someone in need.)
After numerous fire ant bites (on everyone), a nasty gash on a finger or two (not mine), and a string of cuss words (also not mine), we were back on our way to Lake Amistad. Like the weather, the truck was running hot for most of the trip but we finally made it to…
Rough Canyon at Lake Amistad
It’s a BIG lake… this picture doesn’t do it justice, but it’s the only long-shot I took.
The following is a slide show of the high cliffs and caves. Native Americans once lived in these caves. But, wait! There’s more…
This wasn’t my first time… I’ve been down before. Twice. But my trip to Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown, PA, is the second time in my life I’ve been underground. It was cool, literally and figuratively speaking.
This is the pond/lake! The blue color doesn’t show up as well on film, but in person it’s a lovely light turquoise.
From the Indian Echo Caverns website:
Natural Splendor along the Swatara.
Like many caverns in the Mid-Atlantic states, Indian Echo Caverns is a limestone cave. Cut through Beekmantown limestone, which is over 440 million years old, they were formed through the erosive properties of water. As time progressed, geological forces led to an “uplift” of the surrounding limestone, eventually allowing more and more water to flow through the formation. As the water flowed over the limestone, it began to create small crevices, these small crevices led to larger ones, and eventually, over a series of millions of years, it created the caverns as they are today.
The temperature inside the caverns is 52 degrees year around.
‘… 52 degrees year around.’ See? It’s “cool.” *rim shot*
Ok, But, wait! There’s more…