I recently returned from my extensive friends and family visiting trip around the US. I’ve been remiss in keeping people up to date via my leoralore list and this blog, so thought I’d start with a short piece that relays some of the statistics I’ve accumulated about the trip, and do some shorter write-ups about various aspects of the trip that were “story-worthy," later.
Over the entire trip, I:
- drove 14,764 miles (23,760 kilometers)
- visited 35 states (other than Oregon)
- visited the 8 continental states I’d never visited before: West Virginia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska
- was gone nearly 6 months, 3 of which were spent in Michigan
- slept in 36 different beds, only one of which was paid accommodation (when ice climbing in Ouray) [a HEARTY thank you to everyone who put me up on this trip!!!!]
- arranged to meet some 76 different families/individuals/groups
- did NOT get around to seeing some 18 individuals/families/groups I’d intended to visit when I started out on my trip!
- spent (only!) 8 nights camping out
- spent 1 night sleeping (fitfully) in the car (across the 2 front seats)
- took over 2000 pictures (mostly with the people whom I visited, and photos for Cure JM)
So, I’ve now been to 49 out of our 50 states, with my last state being Hawaii, although, I have, in point of fact “been” there, as I had a stopover in the Honolulu airport, although I don’t like to count that, and I do wish to visit the state.
One nice thing on this trip was that I got to visit the Big Cypress Natural Preserve, in Florida along the Tamiami (pronounced Tammy-ammy) highway. This was made possible by a relative of a friend opening up her house to me in the Miami area, so that I could shoot across the southern part of the state the next day to visit a cousin on the western side of the state. I was very much impressed, first with the highway, which was very straight, and typically had water on both sides, but also with trees and the tons of birds hanging out in the trees and along the edges of the water. When I got to the Big Cypress Visitor Center, I understood why. The water along the side of the highway was chock full of fish! As well, the water was chock full of alligators!! I never saw the alligators appear to eat anything, and only once saw a bird get a fish. But the fish, alligators, and birds were all plentiful!
Clockwise, from upper left: black vulture, anhinga, an-I-don't-know-what, egret (with a fish in its mouth), great blue heron.
And here’s a bunch of fish – I think that that may be an alligator head on the right:
And one of the many alligators that I saw:
I like the above picture, because you can see the whole alligator, but I like the below picture, because the eyes are so classic:
Here is a typical bird and alligator picture:
At one of the rest stops in Florida, I saw yet another heron, this time, with a ton of turtles:
There are no fewer than 7 turtles in the above picture!!!
While I’m not big on Florida, I was happy to see even that small section of the Big Cypress Preserve and all of the birds that were present in Florida, in general.
May you always have a nice place to sleep!