November 14, 2004

Tallahassee, FL

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , at 8:48 pm by diandy2004

Well, we’re back in Florida. We crossed over the border yesterday. After setting up camp, we toured the old Capitol building yesterday and was quite surprised. After visiting Oklahoma’s and Texas’ Capitols we were expecting marble and grandeur. Our state capitol (the old one) more closely resembled a plantation home with red and white striped awnings over each window and a grand staircase in the lobby. No marble, no ornate woodwork. But pretty in its simplicity. Even the stained glass in the dome was simple. The new Capitol built in 1977 is a 22-story skyscraper without a dome at all. What’s a capitol building without a dome? We weren’t able to tour the new capitol building since it was closed on the weekends. But from what we saw, if I was Jeb I’d much prefer to work in the old capitol.

Old Florida Capitol from 1902

Old Florida Capitol from 1902

Inside the Capitol

Inside the Capitol

New Florida Capitol from 1977

New Florida Capitol from 1977

After touring the capitol we walked around downtown Tallahassee for a bit.  We had hoped to hit some more museums and the like, but it was after 5pm so everything was closing up.  We’ll have to revisit the city another visit.

Today we took a nice long bike ride on the Tallahassee-St Marks Historic Rail Trail. Sixteen miles each way with a lunch stop in St Marks. I was happy to see that the Riverside Cafe actually offered vegetarian items in this tiny (2-cafe)  fishing village near the Gulf of Mexico. Unfortunately it was quite chilly (high 50’s) and windy (15mph + and in our faces…both ways) making it feel even colder. So much for being in sunny Florida. But it was a nice ride on a paved bikeway with trees most of the way. At one point I was chased by a small pug shorter than my knee. Actually, I think it was more of a ‘race’ than a ‘chase’. He didn’t seem as much interested in biting me as he was in just beating me. I clocked the little guy at 20.8 mph – unbelievable for tiny little legs like his. It’s been a long time since we’ve ridden 32 miles. We’re sure we’re going to feel the pain tomorrow. Got to keep practicing though so we can keep up with Melissa when we get home to Boca!

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November 6, 2004

Oklahoma City, OK

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , at 8:46 pm by diandy2004

Since we got delayed those extra days in Palo Duro due to the snow, we knew we were going to have to make up some time.  That means, longer driving days and shorter visits.   So we bypassed Red Rock Canyon State Park, and drove through to Oklahoma City.

Spent the day in downtown Oklahoma City. We toured the capitol which had beautiful stained glass in the ceilings, an ornate dome, and lots of marble. There was even a lady playing the piano in the rotunda.  That added to the ambiance.  It is also the only state capitol built on top of an oil well.

Capitol on an Oil Well

Capitol on an Oil Well

Capitol Dome

Capitol Dome

I Just Loved this Painting

I Just Loved this Painting

We also went to the OKC Bombing Memorial to pay our respects. Just walking the grounds was extremely moving. We couldn’t muster the energy to go inside the museum. There was a lot of symbolism throughout the memorial. 168 chairs sit empty on the grass for each loss of life. Smaller chairs represent the children killed. Names of each person is etched into the glass bases. 9 rows of chairs represent the 9 stories of the building. The placement of the chairs represent the offices and their locations in the building. The grassy area is the same footprint on which the building stood. Loblolly Pines are planted on the perimeter, which will grow to 90′ the same height as the building. A reflection pond now sits where 5th Street used to be, before the truck drove up in front of the Murrah Federal Bldg. Some of the walls of the bldg remain, as the grassy playground where the kids used to play. The gates on either end of the reflection pond are stamped with 9:01 and 9:03 to represent the minutes before and after the bombing. The original fence is still up with the momentos left by family and friends.

OKC Bombing Memorial

OKC Bombing Memorial

OKC Bombing Memorial

OKC Bombing Memorial

After leaving the memorial we visited the Myriad Botanical Gardens housed in the “crystal bridge”.   It was a peaceful stroll after the emotional visit to the bombing memorial.

Flowers on the Bridge

Flowers on the Bridge

Myriad Botanical Gardens

Myriad Botanical Gardens

And then after that we walked around Bricktown District and the canal that meanders through this area of shops and restaurants.  This area is a renovated warehouse district.  The canal flows for one mile thru this district.

Bricktown Canal

Bricktown Canal

And now we’re off to Arkansas…

February 24, 2004

Texas – Eastern and Central

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 1:20 am by diandy2004

Eastern Texas is your expected oil rigs and natural gas pumps.  We were still experiencing cold (38 degrees), wet weather so it looked even more dreary.  While visiting Beaumont, TX we spent our time in museums.  We enjoyed:

  • the Fire Museum, (as CERT volunteers, we enjoy anything related to the Fire Department)
  • the Texas Energy Museum, (with all of the oil wells in the area, you might as well learn all about them)
  • and the McFadden House.  (a beautiful home and carriage house from 1905)

These were all well-done, so we were surprised to be very disappointed with the Art Museum.

Here’s a picture of me in front of the Disney-donated fire hydrant at the Fire Museum:
beaumont0011

I’m already struggling with my vegetarian diet that I try to maintain.  I thought it was a fluke that I ordered Vegetable Soup in Louisiana and it came with chunks of beef.  But then in Beaumont I ordered Spinach Enchiladas only to find chicken in it.  Do they feel the need to ‘warn’ me that there are vegetables in the food?  But the meat is a ‘given’?

In Central Texas we stopped in San Antonio and Austin.  We enjoyed both of these cities.  San Antonio has their beautiful little River Walk, and of course the Alamo.

The Alamo

The Alamo

Andy Washes the RV...while I watch!

Andy Washes the RV...while I watch!

Andy started a new hobby while we visited Groene, Texas – collecting pottery coffee mugs.  This purchase would be the first of many beautiful hand-made coffee mugs.

Austin has a nice Riverwalk area along the Colorado River in downtown.  The Congress Ave Bridge in Austin is well-known for their bats.  Unfortunately we’re not here at the right time.  You can expect to see them around mid-March or so.  And the Capitol is worth a visit and has a beautiful dome.

Capitol of Texas

Capitol of Texas

What we didn’t understand about Austin was that everyone used Highway 35, so it was congested and very slow moving, and there were all of these other roads they could use that were empty.  Go figure.  While in Austin we stayed at McKinney Falls SP and enjoyed biking and kayaking within the park and our closest neighbors were deers and birds.

Biking over the Falls

Biking over the Falls

Our campsite was huge, too.  They say everything is bigger in Texas, and so far we believe them.

This was the first area that we were able to use our road bikes.  We did a bike ride from Bastrop State Park to Beuscher State Park – hilly, curvy, and lots of trees – everything FL riding isn’t.  It was great!

Biking Bastrop to Beuscher

Biking Bastrop to Beuscher

After leaving Austin, we stopped in Fredericksburg.  This town offers a great micro-brewery and a great war museum – the Nimitz Museum – so give yourself several hours for the museum.  We also drove out to the Enchanted Rock for some hiking.  We combined several trails to make a loop trail that took us up and around the granite dome and past weather-formed mushroom formations.  Supposedly rock climbers use this area, but we didn’t see anyone out today.

We’ve been really wanting to do some caving though since we’ve gotten into central Texas.  So we scheduled a guided adventure tour at Sonora Caverns.  We’ll be driving through the town of Sonora, TX on our way to Big Bend National Park.

RVing “Firsts”:  RV repair – tire guard snapped (we assume it broke driving through Louisiana)