Thursday, July 14, 2016

Florida 2015

Here we go again.  Fort Walton Beach Florida.  This place is awesome.  This is our third vacation to this same rental a block from the white sandy beaches of the panhandle.  We were almost on our way to Disneyland and Death Valley, but Florida won out.  We are celebrating our 20th anniversary a little early.  Justin is getting a new job December 1st that won't allow him to take many vacation days, so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity between jobs.
Yesterday, we got a ride to the airport with Kent who has been in utah with Genie visiting her mom (Grandma Cardon) in the hospital recovering from two heart attacks (at 95!! and she's still kicking it!)  Our 9 am flight was delayed for a part until noon.  Uuuuugah.  Long story shorter, we arrived in Fort Walton airport at 10:30 pm.  After picking up our rental car, a Chevy Spark, which is the cutest tiny car, we got to our rental after midnight.  I figured we traveld about 16 hours.
We slept in and didn't actually leave until 11 ish.  We ate breakfast at The Donut Hole just a couple miles north.  This place is amazing.  Justin bought a gigantic long john and a maple bacon donut.  I got a croissant egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich.  Delish!  We bought a few snack items at Publix and headed on a driving adventure.  Justin likes to visit the hightest peak in as many states as he can.  It's only a 1 1/2 hour drive from here, but we had never done it.  On the way there our cell phones alerted us to tornado watches and warnings.  We drove through some heavy torrential rain.  Well, it can be checked off on his list, no thanks to the weather.  You drive into the parking lot and walk to the monument, take a photo and, boom!  He's done.  We hiked the 1/2 mile loop being dripped upon by the trees, and surrounded by mosquitoes.  There were many mosses, lichens, and mushrooms growing.
We just HAD  to drive the extra 1/2 mile to go Alabama.  Neither of us had been there.  Check another state off on our lists!  We ate at a mexican restaurant.  We bought some groceries at a Walmart on the way home including mosquito repellant.
And boy did it rain on the way home.  It just poured.  There were ponds and rivers where there hadn't been earlier.
We played Tri-Bond (a new game for us) and jumped in the uncooled pool, which for some stupid reason has never worked for us any of the times we've come.  We're now going to eat potato skins and watch Jurassic World.  Night folks.

Ahhhh sleeping in.  Not too crazy: 9am.  We got breakfast at The Donut Hole again.  Delicious croissant sandwiches again, but don't buy the cinnamon roll.  $4 and very dried out.
 I wanted to revisit Eden Garden State Park which is just a few minutes away.  Even though it is a very beautiful park and peaceful, serene, I was disapointed.  Last time we were there was in the spring time and the azaeleas were in full bloom.  The splashes of color were not there.  But there were many mosquitoes.  Plus with the huge rainfall yesterday, there were puddles and soggy grass.  I'm glad we went, I just wish I remembered the time of year we went was not winter.
We went back to our place and took a lovely nap.  Woke up, drank a Dr. Pepper and headed down to the beach for a sunset stroll.  That caffeine is a wonderfully effective drug for me.  I get so chatty and happy.  Life is just that much more exciting.  Lots of giggling.
Every time we've come here, the pool hasn't heated.  This was no exception.  Except it now is an exception.  It was fixed and up to a balmy 85 degrees. It was nice to get in.
We ate general tso's chicken with yummy chow mein noodles.  I'm so full Ifeel like I have an 8 month food baby going on.

This was by far the nicest day weather wise.  We drove to Camp Helen State Park, paid the $4 and walked to the beach.  This is the ocean with the awesome pier photo I've sold several times.  I wanted to retake it and do a better job, but the water wasn't a pretty blue and was a low tide.  Ialso think it was the wrong time of day.  There were many nice shells at this beach.  There were also many many biting flies that made sitting on the beach impossible.  Like really really annoying.
We did swim at this beach.  It has big sandbars that break up the surf and the water is clear so I wasn't scared to go out a ways.  Justin swam in the waves and did a little body surfing.  He was much better at it from all his practice in Hawaii.
We did a nature hike on the way back to the car.  Most of the flies quit following us eventually, but then the mosquitoes found us.  Grrr.  I saw some cool deer moss with the light coming through and wanted to take a photo.  Well, I didn't get one.  I instead got a flip flop full of cacti.  And several pokes on the feet.  I've never had a run in with cactus and it really sucks!  The hike was really amazing though.
We ate at a Waffle House for the very first time.  Not very exciting, but now we know.  It's  like a poor mans Denny's but not that cheap.
We stopped and bought Magnum ice cream bars and went back to the house.  We went to the beach and tried to play paddle ball but again, the flies were so bad it was impossible.  We sat there swatting flies.  Justin got quite a pile under his legs.  He ended up swimming in the ocean while I stood in the water so the flies weren't AS bad.
The pool is fun at night.  We played with the beach ball and got quite a few hits going.  The pizza was less than par, but I won at Who Wants to Be a Millionare.  Justin creamed me in Pass the Pigs.  We watched Roxeanne.  80's movies sure have bad music, but the movie still had some great scenes.
Both of us talked about what we liked most about our trip and as much as we wanted to say the beach we couldn't due to the flies.  But we both enjoyed being lazy and watching a movie in bed snuggling.

We didn't need to be to the airport until 2 so we got to spend the day driving north and seeing new things.  We stopped at a farmers market and bought a glass blown ornament at a swanky shop.  We heard the Okaloosa pier was a cool place to go,  but found out they want $2 just to walk on it.  Lame.  We sat on the beach and only saw a few flies.
We ate a a mexican restaurant.  Justin last minute decided he wanted fish tacos.
I do love going to small airports, but this one has confusing signs, or lack of signs.  Also, every time we've come through security, they are very anal.  This was no exception.  We had sand in a bag they had to bomb check.
We made both flights but the one is Dallas was a close call.  We got home at 9pm, with Dyany picking us up.

Now that I'm home for a day, I'm ready to get back out traveling.  Reality can take a hike.

Grand Teton and Yellowstone Trip 2016

(Justin and Jacob stayed home to work for this trip)
We left Wednesday afternoon and made it to Logan in time for dinner.  We ate a few very unripe cherries from the Utah Giant tree and ate hamburgers.
We didn't get out of Logan until noon, but we stopped in Logan canyon at the Limber Pine trail to look for two geocaches, which we found!  Plus we got two shakes to share at Bear Lake.  

 Snow is always more fun in the summer.

 Geocache! Isaac and Allison got little word search books that entertained them for hours.
 Limber pine trees behind.

We stopped at Kmart in Jackson for a few forgotten things then found an amazing site in the Shadow Mountains.

 Evening view from campsite.


 Throwing rocks and exploring along river in the Tetons
 We found a rock that looked like a bar of soap.

 Great hike.  We all gave it a 10/10.  Moose ponds loop.

 This pic cracks me up.  Achooo!

 Skyrocket gilia.  Or Scarlet gilia.
 I'm a sucker for bison.
They are not as thrilled as I was.