Carolyn’s Online Magazine
A BUCKET-LIST TRIP TO FLORIDA: Part 2
Funny WordPress should ask when was the last time I did something completely new and out of my element…followed by the questions how was it and would I do it again.
Strange, yet again, the WordPress prompt for May 10, 2015 is journey—Of course, the spontaneous, unexpected, journey my husband Monte and I took to Florida in April was a journey in relationships and experiences.
People who know me consider me an adventurer and believe I like traveling.
They are partially correct. I love being in and exploring in depth new places—and meeting the people along the way. However, I truly dislike the travel aspect. Thus, when my husband Monte suggested we fly to Florida, rent a car, and drive back to Southwestern Pennsylvania, This is the second part of our trip to Florida—started at A Bucket-List Trip to Florida: Part 1
I continue with Part 2:
We left Orlando and headed to Jacksonville. On the way we stopped at Joellen’s (Monte’s niece) and visited with her and her husband, Gerald and daughter Laura. Exhausted, I laid on the couch for a few minutes before Monte came and said “Get up.” He wanted me to photograph a pair of sandhill cranes visiting Joellen’s front yard. Gerald opened the door and I gingerly stepped out. The cranes seemed unimpressed and allowed me to shoot some good pictures. So far, my impression of Florida weather was a strong negative, while the activities were very enjoyable.
After leaving Orlando we stayed the night in St. Augustine. There we put our feet in the Atlantic Ocean. The beach sand was slanted and the surf was up. I could feel the undertow, which prevented us from stepping in the water more than half-leg deep. Even then one wave almost knocked me down. It swiped my flipflops off my feet, and I resisted the temptation to go in to retrieve it, remembering another wave would bring it to me. We watched surfers and our feet became covered with sand.
“I should have brought our laundry,” I told Monte as I noticed the sudsy water we were standing in. Later, someone told me it was sea foam: a.k.a. ocean foam, beach foam, or spume—a type of foam created by the agitation of seawater, particularly when it contains higher concentrations of dissolved organic matter (including proteins, lignins, and lipids derived from sources such as the offshore breakdown of algal blooms. These compounds can act as surfactants or foaming agents. As the seawater is churned by breaking waves in the surf zone adjacent to the shore, the presence of these surfactants under these turbulent conditions traps air, forming persistent bubbles that stick to each other through surface tension.
The next morning we visited Memorial Presbyterian Church, built in 1889 by Henry Morrison Flagler. Upon his 1913 death he was interred in a marble mausoleum within the church beside his daughter Jennie Louise and her infant Marjorie, as well as his first wife Mary Harkness Flagler. The lights were fantastic, and the ceiling was attractively painted.
While there I observed another photographer laying on the floor taking a photo of the ceiling. As he did so I shot him. We moved on to our next hosts, Lena, Mike, and their son Ramsey, whom we met in New Castle (Pa) and hadn’t seen for 15 years—. We ate dinner with them and Ramsey’s brother, Michael, who we hadn’t seen for 27 years, and his wife Heidi and son Sam, whom we had never met. Lena invited us to do laundry, which we did, being halfway through our time away from home.
While there we continued to watch the progress of the corpse plant on an online time-lapse video. I photographed—from my computer screen—the blossom opening up and posted them the next morning. Soon, though, I was sent beautiful photos of the open bloom and the men fertilizing the plant, after which it began to close up. I quickly did another post: Pollinating the Corpse Flower at the Rollins College Greenhouse. Sunday morning we attended St. Paul United Methodist Church in Jacksonville, after which Mike and Lena took us to the river for a river boat drive. Although the boat ride was enjoyable, the weather off the river was hot. We strolled around the Jacksonville Lane and stopped at a toy store that was closing. Monte began talking to a woman who was not from across the Atlantic Ocean, but “across the pond.” Turns out she was a writer of poetry, and later sent me three poems for my final poetry article, Poetry in April #5: A Fireworks Finale of Poetry
Mike then drove us to a boarded up strip mall with a broken up parking lot. However, in the center of the plaza was a sign: Wally’s. It was a mid-Eastern grocery store and restaurant where we had the most delicious meal.
We returned to Lena’s and then all took a nap, during which there was a heavy downpour.
Back to the original questions: how was it (stepping out of my comfort zone) and would I do it again.
I seem to step out of my comfort zone on a regular basis, so I guess doing so is a norm for me. t was uncomfortable at times, but not anything I couldn’t handle—except for the hot and humid weather.
Would I do it again. No.
However, I wonder if Monte will suggest trying this travel next year if the rental car agency makes their great offer of cheap rental fee again next year. He says not, it was a one-time deal.
As for myself, I have no desire to return, although I would love to revisit family and friends. Also, there were places I would have enjoyed visiting that were out-ruled due to time constraints.
I would not take this adventure again. It was a one-time deal, and I’m happy with that.