A Travellerspoint blog

Florida the sunshine state

Fort Lauderdale, Cocoa Beach, back to Orlando...

20 °C
View Travel Border USA on ManicGypsy's travel map.

Was thinking I might stop this blog as I can't think of anything exciting to write about. Let's see.....the last entry I was in Orlando and opting to sit poolside rather than Disneyland....Since then I have been to Fort Lauderdale, Cocoa Beach and am now back in Orlando...yes, to visit Disneyland...(it just calls me..lol)....

I spent about 5 days in Fort Lauderdale visiting with another childhood friend and her family. I thought it was interesting that the last time I had been to Fort Lauderdale I was with this same friend....1974. My parents had taken us on a trip around the states and Vicki was a friend I was able to bring along. So, 37 years later, both living a lot of life in between, we meet again in the same place on planet earth.....interesting.....
Ft. Lauderdale 002

Ft. Lauderdale 002


Things were a little different then I remember...for starters, in 1974 I was young and able to walk the beach in a bikini...and I don't know but I suspect men looked....Today, 37 years later, whether in a bikini or not, no men would be watching. Why? Because a large percentage of the population in Ft. Lauderdale are gay men. Not that that's a bad thing, just unusual...Come to think of it that is probably not the only reason they woulldn't be looking.....could it be that I'm now old and fat????? lol.....Really don't know, nor care. Although the sun continued to shine it was very windy in Fort Lauderdale. Most of my time there was spent walking the beach front of Ft. Lauderdale and Hollywood Beach. Enjoyed a couple of evenings sharing dinner with friends as well as having a Spa Treatment at ??? I forget...something Neuman?
Had a fantastic dinner at Vicki's one night...bbq'd steak perfected by Don, refreshing and delicious salad by Darcy and original, uniquely spiced potatoes by Chad....delicious....We all sat down ready to dig in when Darcy suddenly shot out of her chair, "Oh no, I just sat on my meal!!!"....Of course she was wearing white shorts to which each food entry was idenitifiable on her butt! Very funny!!! Luckily we had extras....

After Ft. Lauderdale I drove up to Cocoa Beach. Love that place...The city is wrapped in and around with huge masses of water....beautiful trees and clean. Even though the city appeared quite large it had a very small town feel to it. Traffic was manageable. Wonderful place. Again I splurged and spent a few days beach front.

One day I decided that I really should get out and see some sights so looked into the Kennedy Space Center. I had no idea that it was so near where I was staying, only about 15 miles. Much to my surprise my day at KSC included a shuttle landing!!! I heard on the news that it was the 2nd last shuttle to land at KSC. Although I didn't get to see the landing, I did hear the shuttle breakthrough the sound barrier. (Have to tell you, just sounded like a car back firing, albeit a very large car!). KSC was very interesting but nothing compared to other theme parks I have visited. Oh yeah, I did take the simulated shuttle launch ride....hmmm....More or less the same sensation one gets on a really fast roller coaster. Nonetheless it was very educational and a wonderful way to spend a day. Other sights included Cape Canaveral and the Astronaut Hall of Fame.
Kennedy Space Center and Florida 016

Kennedy Space Center and Florida 016

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Kennedy Space Center and Florida 029

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Having been a couple of weeks without a "theme park" I thought I would return to Orlando and visit DisneyWorld. Not sure why I am initially so resistant to visiting these "Disney Places" when in fact the visit to Disneyland was one of the most "fun" days I've had....Anyway, the child in me managed to get me to Epcot Center. For those that don't know, Epcot Center is one of four theme parks at DisneyWorld....An amazing place....or should I say "places"...in one day I managed to visit
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Canada,
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]UK, France,Morocco, Japan, America, Italy, Germany, China, Norway and Mexico!!!! I lucked out again as it was the annual Flower and Garden festival at the park. Loads of gardens and trees trimmed to resemble Disney characters...
I 0pted out of the rides as the lines up were horrendous. I loved this place even though it was packed with probably a good 500,000 guests.....I couldn't help think, "I can't imagine touring this place alone.....would be incredible"..... Each venue was characterized by it's unique architecture, food , entertainment and of course tourist gift shops. I was very curious to see how Canada would be represented.....of course,,the totem pole....I"m sorry, I have lived in Canada all my life and I have yet to see a "totem pole" anywhere other than in tourist shops.....It would be fine if Canadians actually had pride in their native heritage...but unfortunately that has not been my experience....The native culture in our land is hardly recoginizable...such a shame....Enough of that....
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One full day amidst theme parks is all I can endure...as much as I love it I find it very exhausting...exhilirating but exhausting...so today I am finally taking a day off from "travelling" and just lazing about.

I can't help think how lucky I am to be able to do this at this time in my life....Iam reminded by the news of Japan just how fleeting moments in life can be. Imagine, one moment packing groceries and the next moment being run down by a 30 foot tall water giant moving 500 mph....It is absolutely devestating....

So, was I wrong to take this journey and to plan on many more? I think not....Life really is only 'now'. Geesh, I wish I could remember that!!

And more important, remind myself to appreciate it!!!

Posted by ManicGypsy 13:21 Archived in Canada Comments (5)

Serenaded in New Mexico, Texas and Louisianna

San Antonio, Bandera Texas, Alvin and Galveston Texas, Louisianna, Mississippi, and Florida

Wow! Two weeks since my last entry? I see in my last post I said that I had found some clarity about myself and life....hmmmmm......"that was fleeting?"....lol
To summarize the last 2 1/2 weeks:
Spent Valentines Day strolling the River Walk in San Antonio...a small piece of Venice. Although missing a soul mate I was serenaded by a man who improvised a love song for me..."Joni I love you, Joni I need you, No one treats me the way you do. Must be the Gods above sent me your heart to show me love..Joni I love you, Joni I need you...." A man whom after, knelt down and said in the sweetest voice..."Got 20 bucks?" ...Oh well, you take what you can get I guess...lol.
The River Walk

The River Walk


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P1000186

I moved on to Bandera Texas for a few days at a dude ranch. This area of Texas is quite beautiful with lush green acres of rolling hills, ranches and sunny skies. As I was the only "dudess" on the ranch I was escorted the entire time by my own personal wrangler, James. James was once a highly successful professional rodeo rider who due to injuries had to retire from the more extreme ends of the sport. Now, he roams from ranch to ranch across the USA teaching city slickers like myself how to ride, rope, feed and care for the livestock. We had a great time playing "Dallas".....riding, roping, barrel racing, horseshoes, two-step, playing pool and serenaded campfires. Thank you James. (We skipped the "hay" activities...lol)
Sunset at Bandera Ranch (Rancho Cortez)

Sunset at Bandera Ranch (Rancho Cortez)

James the Wrangler teaching me how to rope a calf...

James the Wrangler teaching me how to rope a calf...


In the coral

In the coral

From there I moved on to Alvin Texas to visit a childhood friend and her husband. My hosts were wonderful taking me to Galveston for the day and educating me on life in rural Texas. It was unfortunate the weather wasn't great but the company compensated. Thank you Lauren and Hector...oh yeah..we managed to get a flat tire in Galvaston. Luckily for me it has not yet shown to be an omen. Sad to say goodbye to my friends I moved on to Louisianna....Pre Mardi Gras!

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Now this part of my journy becomes too personal for blogging. Suffice to say I loved New Orleans. Most of all I loved the time I shared with a very special friend....
In terms of envirnoment I suspect New Orleans was once a beautiful place but due to the destruction of Katrina it is in need of much repair.
Of course I visited the French Quarter, Jackson Square, Canal Street, Plantations, Swamps and cemeteries... New Orleans, unlike Vegas, is full of color, culture and fine arts...a place where people can be who they are without judgement....New Orleans will remain a fond memory for me for many years to come.
The drive from New Orleans to Panama City Beach was much like my last entry (without the clarity..lol)...Florida is beautiful! I especially liked the area around Pensacola. Panama City Beach had the whitest, cleanest beaches I have visited thus far. The water was simply incredible..a soft, pale aqua green...Not only that, the town is fairly small and unpopulated...I only spent a night there but it is definitely a place I would revisit.
And now, I am in Orlando. I thought I would stop here so that I could relive my time at Disneyland via DisneyWorld. Now here, I find I do not have the energy to tackle theme parks, so opt to sit poolside and catch up on my blog.

I apologize for the monotony of this entry but I am not much into writing these days. I think the "withdrawl' of New Orleans brought me down a little...Tomorrow I will move down along east coast Florida, waiting for my next spurt of "mojo".....

"Scowee!!!"

Posted by ManicGypsy 12:54 Comments (4)

Highway Meditation

Drove from Carlsbad to San Antonio....

No tourist attraction, no pictures, no new faces to meet...just driving for seven hours and I loved it!
Was a great day cruising the Texas highways at 80 mph (that was the speed limit!) along scenery that
matched that of Alberta. I guess the landscape made me feel at home and totally relaxed.

Arriving to San Antonio about 7:30 pm I felt I had just experienced a seven hour meditation. Had moments of
complete clarity about where I've been in life, where I am and where I might go...

There were times I felt like "Easy Rider" in a Toyota (lol)....The sun was shining, the sky monotone blue and with windows wide open the wind was blowing warm air....I even managed to get some exercise by riding the waves of wind with my arm out the window....

And the music.....listened to 6 CD's of 60's best.....memories of good vibrations....

I hope this feeling comes again soon.....

Posted by ManicGypsy 19:47 Comments (7)

Twilight Zone

Carlsbad Caverns

Thanks Laurie, Bryan and everyone else who recommend I stop at Carlsbad Caverns. Yes they are incredible. I thought I had seen these before as a kid but those were the Louis and Clark Caverns. My memory from childhood was of crystal looking dripping ice...interesting how creative we are as children.....

No disappointment here.

I was a little concerned on whether my ancient body could make the hike...Even though I am a "mentathaloner" I thought this probably isn't the time to believe in my little fantasies of being a pro athelete...

Driving to Caverns

Driving to Caverns

Warning

Warning

STOP

STOP

I figure they must have been sued in the past because it really wasn't that bad.

Photo entering the cave...
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Cave enterance


Photo's inside the cave
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I was a little claustaphobic initially, but it soon left after breathing in genuine "fresh" air....such a rare commodity these days.
Much like the red rocks of Sedona thousands of images emerge as one looks at the stalactities, stalagmite and other decorations inside the cavern. (Didn't see Jesus today, but did see the mouth of a shark, fairies dancing, chinese temples and much more...)

mouth of Jaws

mouth of Jaws

Great way to spend a Saturday afternoon....
Tomorrow San Antonio...

Posted by ManicGypsy 17:27 Comments (3)

White powdered Sand in Saskatchewan!!!!

Driving from Tombstone AZ to White Sands NM and Carlsbad.

Rather than riding out of Dodge and heading west I chose to drive out of Tombstone and head east toward the white sands of New Mexico. As I mentioned earlier I wanted to get through AZ and NM real fast so had a long day ahead of me. As I do everyday now, I input my destination into my little GPS..."White Sands, NM"...I didn't have a street number so just entered the city and began following Nerva's (GPS) instructions.
After about 3 hours of driving what was becoming familiar landscape I started to wonder how in the world white sand could emerge from this???

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Untitled 0 00 09-13


But much to my surprise I saw the first sign. "White Sands .... .....". I couldn't make out what the rest of the sentence said so figured this must be it. I turned off the interstate and within minutes could see a couple of booths thinking they must be the entrance gates to the white sand dunes I was searching for.

I drove up and stopped behind a white van that was stopped ahead of me. A female was standing outside her van while a man in a green uniform was going through her stuff. "Hmm...I wonder why he's doing that?" I thought to myself. "What you need to go through security to look at white sand, and exactly where is this sand? I don't see it"....Anyway shortly after a chat between the two the girl got back in her van and drove off. The uniformed man, looking very serious began approaching my car. I rolled down the window to hear him say "Hello there, How are you today ma'am?"

"Well actually I think I might be lost. I'm from Canada and I was told that there was white powder stuff around here? Is that where this is?"

"Excuse ma'am? You're looking for what? White Powder?" his eyebrow lifted.

Oh, oh he's going to think I'm talking about coke or something. "No, no, I mean white powder sand, you know, I don't know white sand? Is there white sand around here?"

"Ma'am, you're at the White Sands American Missle Testing Site."

"Missles? You test missles here? HUH....I don't want to be here then. So there's no white sand here?"

Thank God he started to chuckle, "No Ma'am you want to turn around and drive the such and such..."

Phew, ok, done.

I turned around and then read the signs I had passed but ignored....One of them read:

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white sands and new mexico 001


(Betty if you're reading this you might understand I was just a tad nervous. I really need to get rid of that gift you gave me...lol)

I drove off while killing myself laughing soon to be greeted by this:

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white sands and new mexico 007

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Looks like snow doesn't it? It was very cool. (Pun intended)...my thought was it would be cool to create a poster using these dunes as a backdrop to the poem "Footprints in the sand"....but that was not to be.

I continued on to Carlsbad, where I am now. The landscape after Lincoln Forest, which was after the dunes was an exact replica of Saskatchewan....miles and miles of living skies.

Posted by ManicGypsy 08:34 Comments (3)

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