We are home. Back in the Q. Arrived Wednesday night – 4 hours later than anticipated due to strong winds in Denver that caused the airport to shut down for both incoming and outgoing planes. Southwest Airlines takes care of business, though. Received 2 $100.00 vouchers for the delay. That was unexpected and very much appreciated.

After three glorious days on the beach we headed inland to visit friends and family. Traffic was atrocious and was compounded by the fact that our Challenger kept losing air in the tires, particularly one. So before hitting the highway we wanted to amend that situation. Finding stations with working air pumps ain’t easy! We drove for a half hour at least. Finally i made Ed pull into a car dealership. They have service bays and service bays have air.

That managed, we executed a route to Davenport where Adriana lives with her husband Steve and their two boys. We got to visit before meeting Ed’s niece Karen and her family at a restaurant in Orlando. I hadn’t seen Karen for 25 years! I had met her daughters about 12 years prior when they were in St. Louis with their grandparents. The two of them and i had a blast of a good time at the City Museum. They both remembered it with delight – and even wondered if they had dreamed it.

City Museum citymuseum.org City Museum is a museum whose exhibits consist largely of repurposed architectural and industrial objects, housed in the former International Shoe building in the Washington Avenue Loft District of St. Louis, Missouri, United States.

Sammy, Genevieve, Karen, Ariana at Canvas

I highly recommend it. But be forewarned – it’s quite a physical experience. Lots of climbing and crawling. There’s a 10 story slide inside and you must take the stairway all the way to get to it. Which I did twice because the younger of the girls, about 5 or 6 at the time, decided that it was too scary. I couldn’t have her take herself down ten flights.

So, back in Davenport… Saturday morning was spent catching up – and playing with the boys, 2 and 6 years.

Then to Eva Park. But we missed it due to tire pressure issues again so we exchanged the car.

Our final stop on this trip was St. Augustine. We treated ourselves to a suite at the St. Francis Inn and b and b. It’s the oldest inn in the city. And we spent our first night of marriage at the St. Francis Inn in Santa Fe, so to celebrate 30 years it seemed apropos.

The city was lit up for the holidays!

The old town area is so much larger than Albuquerque’s. We enjoyed walking it and surrounding neighborhoods.

We toured Flagler College which originally had been the Ponce de Leon Hotel. Such a spectacularly beautiful building. Oak carving. Tiffany glass and chandeliers. A lobby with splendiferous artwork on the ceiling. No way to photograph much of it, but here are a few photos.

You can see the sky was overcast, as it was our entire time there. It was cool and breezy and i loved it. Such a difference between NE Florida and SW Florida and not such a long way between them.

One day we walked to the lighthouse and museum. It was about 6 miles RT. Walking over the bridge was lovely, but the rest of the walk was not. Still it was worthwhile. And i discovered my true calling – archeological diver! The museum is affiliated with the Smithsonian. A display highlighted divers reclaiming artifacts from the sea.

7 flights, 219 steps Information at each landing about lighthouse care and history
Strange fruit

So, that’s it. Kind of a boring post. It’s good to be home. I’m cooking spicy shrimp for dinner!

Beach day

We were not in the mood to go anywhere today by car. I declared a beach day, all day. The day broke to heavy fog. By 9 the sun was working hard to break through. By ten victory was declared! I was waterside by 10:30. I sit and gaze. I read. I swim. I walk, collect shells, swim, read. Today the beach offered up thousands of tiny clams where ocean laps shore. They are in the most beautiful array of colors. Golden, lavender, rust, pink, striated… I was enchanted watching them burrow into the sand. You must watch closely, but you’ll see them in this video. Such delightful creatures. At times I could see their gelatinous clear bodies stretching out from the shell. I wondered if they might be tasty morsels. It would require an awful lot of them to make even a tablespoon. I wonder if they grow to be larger clams or if the diminutive size is the natural state.

I returned to the apartment for lunch, then back to beach! Ed joined me later. We saw a dolphin, just a single one, nonchalantly making way across the water.

Dinner at the Sea Hag tonight. A low key local hangout. The fish special was grilled red snapper in parmesan sauce topped with grilled shrimp. Oh my. It was delicious. Tender and tasty, every bite and bit.

Now I am tired and off to dreamland.

Gulf Coast

We are staying on Treasure Island at the Twins Inn Apartments. As I mentioned in an earlier post, it is spacious – especially after 5 nights in small rooms. We have a bedroom – king bed – and living\dining\ kitchen space. Plus! A balcony, all on the second floor with a view. See…

Our pool

Of course I have not used the pool as the ocean is about 1000 steps away. The water (ocean) is about 72 degrees. Cool, but easy to get into and to swim in. Love, love, love it! Here’s a photo from today. So clear!

I go to the beach in the later morning – 9 or 10 or so. I do some exercises for my gimpy leg and foot. Exercising on the sand adds a new dimension.

I couldn’t believe it when I saw this! Advertising, using a giant screen, on a boat. Is no where sacred?

Yesterday and today we went out in the afternoon. 12.7 to St. Petersburg for the Dalí museum. They have a great app that provides information on several paintings. This marks my third viewing of Dalí’s work and it doesn’t get old. I think his autobiography would be worth reading. He was such a character. Amazing technical ability and far out surreal ideas. The two intro videos provide good background.

Other that the museum we stopped for a beer and then home, after picking up takeout brisket, pulled pork, cole slaw, collard greens, potato salad, and baked beans from Grillin’ n Chillin’. Delicious!

Today, 12.8, we drove up the coast to Dunedin. It’s certainly quieter than the Treasure Island area. Some beautiful stately homes along the waterfront – naturally. No photos of those, but here are a few along the walk.

Egret – obviously used to people
Useless gate. Must be historical artifact…?

Walked quiet a bit in Dunedin. There are many parks, a wonderful bike trail that goes all the way to Tarpon Springs, and a long public pier. Here is an interesting bit of history…

Post Dunedin we went 11 minutes north to Ozona. Because I like the name. And because it’s smaller and quieter yet than Dunedin. Still. Still. This whole area is so densely populated that it’s beyond my ken to imagine living here. Traffic! If you make it through a green light it’s a call for champagne! Stop. Go. Stop stop stop go. Ugh! I thought I wanted to see Clearwater, but after driving to it, i just wanted to leave. So we did.

After a satisfying pasta dinner hecho en casa we took a long walk on the beach. As we did last night as well. Right now the moon is a golden Cheshire Cat smile.

Along the beach at the same point both nights, we come upon birds. You hear them first. They parade at water’s edge, or cluster further up on the sand. This is not a good photo, but gives an impression.

Caught in a small rain shower tonight! How lovely and warm and surprising. Refreshing!


First – you must go to YouTube and search Christmas in Ocala by Truckstop Honeymoon. It’s impossible to spend time here and not have that song in mind. Did I ever think that I would actually be in Ocala? Never. We enjoyed the historic downtown area. Several restaurants, bars, and a beautifully decorated central square.

Lots of people spending time here, enjoying the sights and the live music.

We got a late start to the day on Sunday, sleeping in after a Saturday evening in downtown Ocala. After dinner at Bank Street, and a few drinks, we happened upon a speakeasy. Above the door it said Shhhh… But its real name is The Thirsty Cobbler. Password: Last Call. Small, evocative space with interesting drinks.

Once finally out the door, we headed to Salt Springs Recreational Area. We walked the Bear Swamp Trail through dense forest, with warnings of bear. We saw squirrels.

The salt springs was fab! A constant 72 degrees of 52 million gallons of water pulsing up from the earth. But shallow, so pretty warm. Easy to get into and swim around. Just grand. In one area with rocky ledges there were lots of fish and beautiful blue crabs

Sunday night many restaurants were closed. Long wait times at others. We found a spot that only locals go to: The Black Sheep. Good menu. I appreciated this banner. Full disclosure – i have a crush on DeSantis.

We stayed at a small historic inn that a friend recommended, The Shamrock Inn. Each room is decorated with different locales in mind. We were in the New England room. The owner has spent an inordinate number of hours collecting decor and filling the rooms and outside with comfort inducing pieces. And the plants! She also supplies coffee, fresh baked breakfast pastry, fruit, and a variety of snacks. Really a fun place to stay. And walking distance to the historic square!

Tonight we are in a spacious Inn\apartment, almost beach side, with an outdoor balcony in Treasure Island, on the Gulf. So nice after small rooms. More tomorrow! Well, i will post this photo of the very hazy day here. Quite lovely, really.

Avondale +

This is a neighborhood of the greater JAX area in which we are staying. It’s one of the oldest, along with sister neighborhood, Riverside. 5 Points is in Riverside. We popped into it last night and were none too impressed. Perhaps there’s more to Riverside, but we really like Avondale. We walked to the small downtown area this morning. Good vibes.

Upon returning to our abode of the moment, we saw David, our host. He had invited us earlier for a tour of his home and the timing was right. So loved getting the history. Built in 1923. Overgrown with vines and bushes when he came looking. Butt ugly, he said. But he recognized the solid goodness of the bones. The price had come down and a deal was struck. David peeled away, stripped away, and rebuilt. Result – a stunner. The front porch is intimate and welcoming.

Garage turned Air b &b

The interior is well appointed with many Japanese, Korean, and Chinese pieces of furniture and art from his time stationed in Japan while in the navy. He has a wonderful collection of Sake jugs! His are similar to the one pictured below. All are blue on white.

The foyer holds a beautiful Japanese Tansu staircase chest, similar to the one below.

Later on we headed to JAX beach. Took a languorous walk by the ocean and collected shells. The beaches are so long and so wide! And at this time of year, so empty and perfect. I was going to swim, but a phone call from a friend lasted a while and the sun hid and it got so cool, I didn’t. We headed to Neptune Beach upon the recommendation of a friend and found Fish Camp for dinner. Oh, my. What a meal. The flounder was tender, resting upon red potatoes, under which was a jalapeno cheese coulis, the whole surrounded by a rosemary gastric, and all topped with fried shoestring leek. It so made up for the disappointing redfish yesterday on Amelia Island. Although, while the fish lacked subtlety and grace the location made up for it. I got to sit in a swing at the bar, ocean just over the dune.

In the evening Christmas light extravaganza was in order. At JAX beach lifeguard chairs are hauled in from the beach and decorated.

One of many

In the same shared space many decorations made from plastic bottles are displayed, along with informative signs re longevity of stuff that often gets tossed: cigarettes, straws, plastic bottles… They ALL take far too long. So a use a trash can, already!

And then there was this house on Beauclerc Rd.

I love traveling at Christmas! Everything is so festive. And since we married mid December, we always feel especially appreciative of the decorations that enhance our anniversary. 30 years on 12.14.21! We realized tonight that we have been together for half my life. Wow. And good night.


That’s Jacksonville, FL. We arrived late yesterday afternoon to cooler than expected temps. 70 degrees here and 70 degrees in Albuquerque are quite different – especially in the shade. That is to say, cooler, and still very comfortable.

Our cuarto for 3 nights is compact and comfortable. The yard is private and perfect with tiki torches for nighttime ambiance. We sat outside around the gas fire pit with our host, David tonight drinking wine and swapping stories. He’s a gem. This morning we had breakfast outside in the sun.

Last night, after the requisite grocery run we had dinner at Carmine’s Pie House, recommended by friends who had lived in the area. Wonderfully quirky local pizza joint with craft tap beers. The decor included a mounted cow head. We shared a Chicago style deep dish – the Isabella Rossellini. Creamy red sauce, bacon, tomato, onion. Oh so tasty. Good enough to have the leftover for breakfast!

We noticed driving in the neighborhood has quite an eclectic variety of homes and so went for a walk, the better to view them. And to peer within for many don’t have window coverings. My favorite! The St. John river is nearby and we found ourselves by it. Million dollar homes on the waterfront are separated by pocket parks allowing access to us lowlifes.

Spanish Moss evening

Spanish Moss

Here is a link to 10 facts you want to know about it: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/67807/10-things-you-should-know-about-spanish-moss

Spanish Moss daytime

Today we went to Fort Clinch which was built for the Civil War. There was a small museum with artifacts from the era and a most informative and at times amusing video about life in the fort. Nature and history mingle here, where visitors can explore miles of beaches and trails as well as a Civil War fort on beautiful Amelia Island.

Officer quarters. Hay mattress.

I appreciated the natural state of linens, but in truth wanted to take everything for a good laundering.

Prior to Fort Clinch (named for Duncan Lamont Clinch who fought in the second Seminole Indian war) we stopped by Driftwood Beach. But before I post that photo, something about wealthy officers back in the day. They didn’t shirk their wartime duty, as so many of our own do today.

Driftwood Beach
Water not so cold! But wasn’t the day to get in.

Looking forward to tomorrow’s adventures…