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Of course we had to stop for some liquid refreshment!
Click on the photos to enlarge.
I am so far behind I think I am running backwards. Things just seem to have been a bit busy around here the past couple of days and consequently I have fallen behind in posting about our March holiday.
Rather than do a daily write up about the time we were with our friends in New Smyrna Beach I will just post some photos under a daily heading.
12 March 2018
Made a trip with with Barrie and Eve to the Alligator Farm and Zoological Park in St Augustine Florida and supper at the Columbia a Cuban restaurant. The Columbia restaurant, located in the historic district is one of the oldest restaurants in St. Augustine and has been family owned for five generations. While at the higher end on the price scale it is a highly recommended establishment for a meal. The service, meal presentation and taste were all well above average.
Earlier in the day we did visit the Alligator Farm and were there in time to watch the feeding frenzy. The Alligator Farm has been established since 1893 and is still going strong. The farm claims it is the only zoo that features all known species (24) of the world’s living crocodilian. While we may not have seen or noticed all 24 species we did see quite a few alligators and a few crocodiles.
One way to tell the difference between alligators and crocodiles is the shape of their snouts. Alligators have wider, U-shaped snouts, while crocodile front ends are more pointed and V-shaped. Toothy grin: When their snouts are shut, crocodiles look like they're flashing a toothy grin, as the fourth tooth on each side of the lower jaw sticks up over the upper lip.
There is also a large open air bird rookery where various types of shore birds come to roost and produce young!
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11 March 2018
After a pleasant night’s sleep and a scrumptious breakfast it was back onto the highway again. Heading south to New Smyrna Beach.
Distance remaining to NSB = 882 Kilometres (548 miles). We phoned Barrie and Eve and told them where we were and how far to go. We originally planned on spending a 3rd night in a motel along the way but they suggested that we drive straight through.
882 Kilometres (548 miles) to New Smyrna Beach
> 09:00 - Depart Smithfield 9 Celsius = 48 Fahrenheit. Completely cloudy and rain in the forecast. However, we only experienced a few drops. The area is very green with lots of Spring flowers in full bloom. It certainly is a different setting that what we left behind in Ottawa.
> 10:27 - Enter South Carolina which seems to be relatively flat and a pleasant 14 Celsius = 57 Fahrenheit.
> 10:30/10:45 - Visit South Carolina Welcome Centre. It seems as if the roads are not as well maintained in this area of the state and in the previous states that we have been through. But the sky is brightening up.
> 11:48/13:12 - Manning South Carolina for lunch at the Circle K. We opted for a la carte rather than buffet. Once lunch was finished we went in search of a car wash. We finally found one but the machine that took the money did not seem to be working. A person ahead of us put in his cash and nothing happened finally he decided to leave. I tried with a credit card but that did not seem to work. We decided not to take a chance on the machine eating our money. So it was back on the road again. Had to turn the air conditioning on 20 Celsius = 68 Fahrenheit and partly cloudy.
> 14:20 - Tried opening the top but it seemed to be a bit noisy on the highway. It is getting warmer 25 Celsius = 77 Fahrenheit much more pleasant that the Ottawa temperatures we left behind.
> 14:52/15:05 - Enter Georgia and visit Welcome Centre.
> 15:24 - Pass through Savannah.
> 16:43/17:00 - Enter Florida and visit Welcome Centre
> 19:05 - Arrive in New Smyrna Beach and are greeted by Barrie and Eve.
Distance approximately 2324 Kilometres (of course I didn’t write it down).
2324 kilometres = 1444 miles.
10 March 2018
Keeping up the log entries.
Bright and sunny in Enola Pennsylvania and +2celsius (36 Fahrenheit).
1497 kilometre (930 miles) to go
> 08:45 - Depart Enola
> 09:30 - Things are starting to look a lot greener.
> 09:38 - Enter Maryland. In this part of the US Maryland is very small - not even a Maryland tourist Welcome Centre.
> 09:48 - Enter West Virginia. As you can see Maryland was very small. Only took 10 minutes to drive through in this area.
> 10:00/10:10 - Visit West Virginia Welcome Centre. We try and stop at all of the Welcome Centres. It is a bit of a break to be able to get out and stretch your legs and pick up a map and a book of $ off hotel coupons.
> 10:40 - Off I81 and on US17/50/522.
Temperature +6 Celsius (43 Fahrenheit) and cloudy.
> 12:10 - Enter I95 at junction133 heading south with heavy traffic but moving well.
> 12:33/13:26 - Lunch at Poco Loco (Mexican) in Fredericksburg. Very good Mexican food provided by Mexican owner and staff.
Daffodils are out
> 13:30 - Accident on Northbound I95. Two cars - one off into the ditch and the other on roof facing the wrong way!
> 13:50 - Traffic becomes very slow north of Richmond.
> 13:55 - Police have two cars pulled over and traffic is now beginning to move much faster.
> 14:00 - Richmond and trees are in bloom. +11Celsius (52 Fahrenheit)
> 15:13/15:30 Enter North Carolina and visit N.C. Welcome Centre. Told that hotels in Wilson, where we thought we would spend the night, were all full. The reason may have been because of a junior baseball tournament and a US Army exercise. We were advised to carry on to Smithfield which was only a little further south.
> 17:00 - Arrive Smithfield and remain overnight. Tried to get into Best Western but full. B.W. called Sleep Inn and they had rooms so that is where we stayed. It just happens that the hotel complex is right beside (attached to) a Factory Outlet mall. Of course we had to do a bit of shopping and then supper at Texas Steakhouse and Saloon. Hotel gave a 10% discount.
Happy to recommend the Smithfield Sleep Inn. Very comfortable room and complimentary breakfast. It would be on parr with the Best Western.
Didn’t get the daily distance for today’s trip.
I kept a bit of a log in the CAA TripTik and a notebook of the times we reached various places so I will just list them in date time order along with any comments.
09 March 2018
GPS says it is 2224 Kms to New Smyrna Beach where we will spend time with our friends Barrie and Eve
> 08:45 - depart home - a little later than we had hoped for. Originally wanted to start at 08:00
We did not take the TripTik route along the 401 to cross at the Thousand Islands Bridge between Gananoque Ont. and Alexandria NY. We continued along 416 to cross at Prescott Ont. and Ogdensburg NY and then continue on highways 37 and 11 to connect to I81 at Watertown. We find this crossing and smaller road much more pleasant. Also most of the time it seems as if the Ogdensburg NY crossing has less traffic and is, therefore, quicker.
> 10:07 - reach Canada side of border with United States of America
> 10:11 - now in the USofA a nice easy crossing
> 11:40 - Watertown - and light snow.
> 11:48/12:37 Lunch - at Shorty’s on I81
> 13:13 - Mexico NY - Snowing and road is very wet
> 13:37 - Syracuse NY - much less snow on the ground
> 14:15 - Tulley NY - very heavy snow
> 14:20 - Stopped snowing, road dry almost no snow on the ground
> 15:05 - Binghamton
> 15:20 - Enter Pennsylvania
> 17:30 - Lebanon Penn - NO SNOW ON GROUND
> 18:08 - Enola/Harrisburg - remain overnight at Best Western
TRAVELLED 752.2Kms on first day
Through a very dirty windshield.
Our happiness is heading south to see good friends, warm weather and a relaxing cruise.
Back from a wonderful three weeks away. Mostly nice warm weather, although it was ‘cool when we first got to Florida but that did not deter us from walking on the beach or birdwatching.
The weather on the cruise was mostly in the high 20’s (high 70’s Fahrenheit) during the day and only one day with a little bit of warm rain in Grenada. The rain did not deter us at all.
Finally have my photos from the holiday and cruise edited now it is time to try and update my blog. At least I did keep a little bit of a log while we were away, for both the trip down and back as well as days on the ship.
Over the next several days I will be adding more information under separate blogs. I still have a little bit of other editing to do but that shouldn’t take to long.- - -
Supposed to have a bit of freezing rain and possible snow over night. Did have a bit of freezing rain a little while ago but it seems to have stopped now. That is going to deter me from doing my training run. I have signed up for the 5K on the Ottawa Race Weekend in May so I do have to get into a bit better shape. I did do some treadmill running as well as faster walks around the training track on the ship.
Also have to do some updates on my vegetable experiments. Heather was a good girl and took care of my seedlings while I was away. Mostly good results.
Time to get back to work on the editing.
OH yes, getting ready to head south tomorrow for the rest of the month. Hopefully the snow we are getting, at the moment, in Ottawa will have ended by tomorrow morning and the weather going through Watertown, New York is not to bad. According to the weather forecast there is still snow predicted for Watertown tomorrow. Pack suitcases tonight and should be ready to leave bright and early in the morning. Plan on taking 3 nights to get to New Smyrna Beach to spend a couple of days with friends and then off on an 11 night cruise to the Southern Caribbean.
I hope to keep a running log of our trip and will post it all once we are back home. I don't know just how much internet I will have while away. You have to pay for it on the ship and I think I will pass on that for now.
I have been doing a bit of gardening the past couple of days as well. Have to check on things and make sure that everything is damp. Heather is going to be looking after it while I am gone. I did plant some more seeds on the 3rd and some of the tomatoes sprouted yesterday and some more today. I know they are a little early but I wanted to get a bit of a head start just to see how they would turn out. I will be doing the rest once we are back.
Yesterday, the 1st of March I did some additional planting. Heather will be looking after them while we are away.
Tomato - Black Cherry - 5 pots
Tomato - Bonny Best - 5 pots
Tomato - Brandywine (Sudduth Strain) - 5 pots
Tomato - Diener - 5 pots
Tomato - Gray’s Sweet - 5 pots
Tomato - Indian Strip - 5 pots
Pepper - California Wonder - 5 pots
Squash - Blue Hubbard - 3 pots - 4 seeds per pot
Watermelon - Supar Lump - 2 pots - 4 seeds per pot
My 1st experiment is coming along nicely. I had to transplant the tomatoes that were growing in soil into larger compostable pots. I checked to see what size they were but no size was given but I suspect they would be close to 5 litres. Once Spring has really arrived I can then just plant the whole thing in the garden. You can check out the progress under the menu heading > EXPERIMENTS > 1ST EXPERIMENT. Once we return from out holiday I will be planting all of my seeds that need to be started prior to planting outdoors. The only reason I started my experiments and other plantings early is to see just how much further along they will be in May,
Almost finished painting our bedroom. What a job. If anyone ever suggests that we paint a room green again I think I will evict them. The ceiling took 3 coats to fully cover. Ah! but the boss likes the new lighter colours.
Checked out my wardrobe last night for our up coming cruise. On certain nights it is suggested that you dress for dinner. That is something that I do not mind doing so making sure my two suits, one as a suit, and the 2nd I use as a tuxedo, are ready to go and still fit.
Heather and her lot will be staying in the house of course and Hareth's parents are arriving from Dubai on Saturday the 10th of March. We will miss their arrival but will see them upon our return.
OUR CRUISE ITINERARY
We have been a little busy the past couple of days getting the upstairs bedrooms painted. When the renovations were done the contractor took out the existing baseboard electric heaters. Because of the new high efficiency gas furnace even the existing gas fire places would not be used for heating. It was considered that the fireplaces would not be able to supply enough heat for the new addition. Consequently a new furnace was installed.
Once the baseboard heaters were out, (they hadn't been used since 1997), the area had to be repaired with filler and sanded. Once that was done it was on to the painting. Finally getting that done.
We are off on the 9th of March to Florida. Taking a leisurely drive down to stay with friends for a week and then off on an 11 night cruise of the Southern Caribbean out of Fort Lauderdale. Predicting to be back sometime in the first week of April. Not sure how long it is going to take us to get back because we will be under no time constraint. Hopefully Spring will have sprung by the time we get back.
Our dutiful daughter Heather will be looking after the 'garden' while we are away. I may even do some more planting before we go. It may be a little early but I will also do some more seeding when we get back. That should be enough time to get things started before planting outside in mid-May.